Saturday, October 24, 2009

Filipino American History Month

From Filipinos for Affirmative Action:

On September 25th, Representative Filner (D-CA) submitted HRES 780 which would recognize the celebration of Filipino American History Month in October. To see the full text, please click here. To pass, this resolution needs at least 50 co-sponsors in the coming days in the House of Representatives.  The California State Senate has already passed a similar resolution under Senator Leland Yee's leadership, and Senate Resolution 298 was unanimously passed as of Oct. 1st. In the early 1990s, President Clinton proclaimed a Filipino American History month, however, it never passed Congress. Please take a moment to voice your support for House Resolution 780 today by emailing or calling your district representative. Take action now--this WILL NOT pass without you.

Sample phone script: "As a constituent of your district, I urge you to support House Resolution 780 which will recognize the celebration of Filipino American History Month in October. It will allow the contributions of the Filipino American community to history, politics, culture, and the arts to be appropriately recognized and celebrated. The Filipino American community is one of the fastest growing in the US and is the largest Asian American population.

On Oct. 1st, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution 298, to recognize this important milestone. We urge the House to do the same. Please support passing House Resolution 780. Thank you for your time."


October 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Crime on the Streets! Driving While Black, Driving While Brown, Driving While Speaking Spanish??????????????

Here is a new one on me.  The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle admitted that his officers have written at least 39 citations to people over the past three years for not speaking English. The chief apologized and said that all officers and supervisors involved will be investigated for dereliction of duty. All pending citations will be dismissed, and people who paid fines will be reimbursed.

This, of course, raises many questions.  But where were the courts and why were they accepting fines on fictitious crimes?  Lots of explaining to do deep in the heart of Texas.


October 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Impractical and Unconstitutional: Sen. Vitter Tries to Use the Census to Further Anti-Immigration Agenda

Sen. Vitter it trying to use the Census to further his anti-immigration agenda, potentially costing the United States millions, writes Gebe Martinez.  "Some politicians come up with dumb ideas. Some come up with impractical ideas that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars. And then there are those lawmakers with crazy proposals that would violate the United States Constitution. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has hit the trifecta by playing politics with the 2010 Census. Vitter is demanding that Congress cut off funding for the 2010 Census unless the survey asks an additional question: whether the respondent is a U.S. citizen."  Click the link above to read more.


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Information on an Oft-Ignored Port of Entry: Galveston Texas

Thanks to Professor Michael Olivas (Houston) for this tip.  Ellis Island and Angel Island, of course, were the two major ports of entry for immigration processing. However, Galveston, Texas was another important venue.  Here is some online information about Galveston.

Traveling Exhibit--Bob Bullock Texas State Museum Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island View the exhibit at Moody Gardens Galveston Island November 21, 2009 - September 11, 2010

 TEXAS SEAPORT MUSEUM TEXAS SEAPORT MUSEUM has compiled the nation’s only computerized listing of immigrants to Galveston, Texas. The museum’s immigration exhibit features text and historic photographs illustrating Galveston’s role in immigration history and the major organized immigration movements of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Computer terminals in the exhibit area allow visitors to search for information taken from ships’ passenger manifests pertaining to their ancestors’ arrival in Texas. For your convenience, the database is also available online.

Special Collections, Galveston Rosenberg Library Microfilmed copies of Galveston immigration passenger manifests, 1840-70’s, [1872-1894 missing], 1895-1948 Casey Edward Greene Department Head 409 763-8854 ext. 117


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congress likely to extend E-verify, at the Request of DHS

The Senate this week opted to maintain E-verify for three more years as part of a $44 billion funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that passed on a 79-19 vote. E-verify is expected to come up in any proposed bill on comprehensive immigration reform. Click here for the full story.


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Detained immigrant children face legal maze in U.S.

This is not technically "news" since it has long been a problem in the United States, with Professor Michael Olivas having written a seminal article on the topic well over a decade ago.  Still, it remains a growing problem. CNN reports on unaccomapnied minors who come to the United States, are detained, and face a legal maze beyond ordinary human comprehension.

Hattip to law student Sarah Jebrock who is working to help immigrant minors navigate the immigration maze in detention in Yolo County, CA!


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sacramento Police Chief: It's time to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants who are productive, law-abiding citizens - the public's safety depends on it

With changes earlier this week by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on the reporting of suspected undocumented youths upon arrests for felonies, local police treatment of immigrants has been in the news.  Now, the police chief of Sacramento, CA is making a bold proposal.  Steve Magagnini and Susan Ferris of the Sacramento Bee report that, according to none other than Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel, "It's time to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants who are productive, law-abiding citizens - the public's safety depends on it,"  Braziel has 30 years of law enforcement experience and expressed concern that crimes are going unsolved because undocumented witnesses are afraid to testify for fear of being deported. More generally, immigrant communities are more likely to report crime to police, testify at trial, and generally cooperate with local law enforcement if local law enforcement is not seen as part of immigration enforcement.

Sacramento police do not routinely check immigration status in traffic stops.

Braziel made his call for immigration reform as part of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, an organization founded by former Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr. to give police a voice in the immigration debate.

Hattip to Pamela Wu!


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration-Related Articles from SSRN

Here are two new immigration-related articles from the Social Science Research Network (

 "A Clinical Model for Bringing International Human Rights Home: Human Rights Reporting on Conditions of Immigrant Detention" Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Vol. 7, No. 649, Spring/Summer 2009 GWYNNE SKINNER, Willamette University - College of Law.  ABSTRACT:  This article describes the design of the Seattle University School of Law International Human Rights Clinic and the model the Clinic developed and used in preparing an international human rights report regarding the conditions of immigrant detention at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. The report continues to have a substantial impact on a very important human rights issue close to home-the treatment of both documented and undocumented immigrants. In addition, this article details why the project was chosen and how it was designed and developed. Finally, the article measures the project's pedagogical outcomes against accepted legal clinical pedagogical principles.

Constitutional Clash: When English-Only Meets Voting Rights, Yale Law & Policy Review, Vol. 28, 2010 Michael A. Zuckerman Cornell University.  ABSTRACT: This paper examines the constitutional vulnerability of English-only laws as they relate to voting materials. The topic is timely in light of King v. Mauro, a recent Iowa decision that drew national attention by interpreting a state statute to bar non-English voter registration materials. In short, this paper argues that English-only policies as applied to voting are constitutionally suspect. After providing background about the English-only movement and the recent high-profile Iowa decision, the paper considers complex and uncertain areas of constitutional law, outlining how one might argue that English-only laws violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. In the end, the nation has an important choice to make: encourage participation in the electoral process, or use voting rights as means to disenfranchise language minority citizens. If the nation continues down the latter path, civil rights lawyers must be ready to respond.


October 23, 2009 in Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A New Startup Founders Visa?

reports that tech entrepreneurs support an effort by U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), who was a sucessful with several internet start-ups, to make it easier for foreign founders of investor-backed startups to secure visas to remain in the United States. Supporters see the effort as seeking to keep technology developed in the United States by foreign-born entrepreneurs in the United States.

Polis plans to introduce legislation that he hopes will stop the trend of immigrants starting companies in the United States that attract investors, but then the companies close or move abroad because the founder cannot legally stay here.  To me, it is unclear what the magnitude of the problem and thus whether there would be much economic gain from the new visas.  Still, it seems like a sensible fine-tuning of the U.S. immigration laws if economic benefits from immigration are important to the nation (which it seems that they should be).

The U.S. immigration laws make visas available to foreign investors in the United States, certain foreign workers at U.S. companies, and for workers at established foreign companies transferred to this country. But there is no visa for a foreign-born entrepreneur who has investor backing to start a U.S. company.

For more information on the Startup Founder Visa Movement, click here.

Hattip to Richard T. Herman.


October 23, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Torn Apart: On the Road from New York to Jamaica

Deportation often results in tragic effects on families who are torn apart. From Colorlines Magazine:

ColorLines magazine went on the road from New York to Jamaica this summer to investigate the collateral effects of deportation on immigrant communities. The resulting Torn Apart article series and multimedia project is being released today at

Earlier this month, Obama administration officials announced plans to reform immigrant detention policy, ostensibly to make improvements to the broken system. The New York Times reported on the detention framework’s serious flaws, namely that people who have committed no crime are being swept up into the system and locked away in detention. Meanwhile the 287(g) program begun under President Bush and continued by President Obama has come under fire for widespread abuses.

Harsh immigration policy, compounded by systemic inequities built into the criminal justice system, might not be thwarting terrorists or making our country a whole lot safer. But the laws are doing a great job of breaking up another entity: families of color. This broken immigration system inflicts as much harm on Black immigrants as other immigrants of color.

“Immigrants face de facto double jeopardy,” says Torn Apart coauthor Julianne Ong Hing. “Even legal residents caught in the criminal justice system for the most minor crimes are vulnerable to deportation. After their criminal cases end, immigrants are subject to the civil procedures of immigration courts. Deportation follows incarceration.”

Visit today for the Torn Apart article series, video, photo essay, and more.

A separate written piece can be found here:


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Court Reform Panel

How an Article 1 Immigration Court Will Improve Due Process for Immigrants

•    The Honorable Dana Leigh Marks, President of the National Association of Immigration Judges
•    The Honorable Denise Noonan Slavin, Vice-President of the National Association of Immigration Judges

Widespread agreement exists among judges, practitioners, immigrants and advocates that the current immigration court system does not have the capacity to ensure the protection of due process rights.  Some have proposed that an Article 1 immigration court will better serve the rights of immigrants and result in improved court procedures.  The morning will commence with an overview of the Article 1 court concept, and then quickly transition into a lively discussion among all participants.

Date:         October 23, 2009
Time:         10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Location:   Amnesty International USA
                  600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
                  Fifth Floor
                  Washington, DC 20003

To RSVP and for call-in information, please email:


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Tax Assistance to Deportees

BNA reports that a partnership between a Pennsylvania accounting firm and a Mexican human rights group aims to seek out Mexicans recently deported from the United States and offer to help them file for thousands of dollars in tax refunds. The Center for Border Studies and Human Rights Promotion is registering deportees.


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Issues Faced by U.S. Servicemembers: Challenges and Solutions

Check out "Immigration Issues Faced by U.S. Servicemembers: Challenges and Solutions By Susan E. Timmons and Margaret D. Stock."  Download ClearingHouse Review Article.  Margaret Stock has written some influential scholarship in this area.


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Let's Not Forget Hate Killing Victim Luis Ramirez, RIP

As part of the website promotion of "Latino in America," CNN has an update on the sad case of Luis Ramirez, a young Mexican immigrant killed last year by some youths on the streets of Shenandoah, PA, not that far from Hazleton, a city that has seen in recent years a good bit of anti-immigrant, anti-Latino sentiment.  The Ramirez case unfortunately is the tip of the iceberg with respect to the recent rise in hate crimes against Latinos.


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More Insanity Proposed in Arizona

Being from Arizona originally, I'm pretty embarrassed by the likes of Sheriff Joe, Proposition 200, and now more crazy proposals from State Senator Russell Pearce.

From Jon Garrido of Hispanic News:

The Arizona Legislature's main champion of legislation (Russell Pearce of Mesa) to combat undocumented immigration announced Wednesday he plans a triple-barreled attack on the issue early in the 2010 session, with an initiative measure waiting in the wings.

Key components include prohibiting municipalities from restricting enforcement of immigration laws, making it a state trespassing crime to be present in Arizona undocumented and giving subpoena powers to prosecutors to enforce the state's groundbreaking law to punish employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. Click here for the full story.


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CNN's "Latino in America" Sparks Comment

The CNN special "Latino in America" has sparked discussion.  CNN has solicited comments about the special  (here) and they are interesting.  Many are critical and claimed that the special focused excessively on stereotypical Latinos (unwed teen mothers, for example) and failed to highlight Latino success stories, and was too soft on "ILLEGAL" immigration.  As far as I could tell, none of the comments complained about the failure to include sweet Lou Dobbs, which did not go without notice, in the special!


October 22, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breaking Down the Problems: What's Wrong With our Immigration System

Today, the Immigration Policy Center released a new report, Breaking Down the Problems: What's Wrong With our Immigration System. Download Problem%20Paper%20FINAL%20102109[1]  This special report looks at the impact our outdated and inefficient immigration system is having on our nation and discusses the failures of the system under two broad categories: structural failure and inadequate responses. "We are embarking on a new round of immigration reform debates and to accomplish genuine reform, we must understand that immigration is about more than the 11-12 million people living without status in our country" said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "That group is a symptom of our failure to create an immigration system that works for the needs of America. It is time to shift the terms of the debate. We need to begin a discussion about what living without a functional immigration system has done to our nation over the last 20 years. We need to begin to ask the question: how is it in all our interests to reform immigration?"


October 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

RIP: Congress Ends Widow Penalty -- A Tiny Bit of Immigration Reform, More to Come?

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure that would end the much-maligned “widow penalty” — the government’s practice of annulling foreigners’ applications for permanent residency when their American spouses die before the marriage is two years old. The measure was contained in a conference report that accompanied an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The House of Representatives passed the conference report last week. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.  For the full N.Y. Times story, click here. For a FAQ about the new law, see Download Legislation_Passed_FAQ[1]


October 21, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SF Changes Policy on Immigrant Youth Offenders, Mayor's Policy Rejected

In the latest round arising from a blow-up last year over some Honduran youths charged with drug dealing that San Francisco did not report to federal immigration authorities, Jesse McKinley of the N.Y. Times (see also the S.F. Chronicle report) reports that the San Francisco board of supervisors voted Tuesday to overturn a city policy ordered by Mayor (and candidate for Governor) Gavin Newsom last summer, which requires the police to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they arrest a juvenile on felony charges who they suspect is undocumented. Under the policy, an estimated 100 undocumented minors have been turned over to federal immigration authorities.  Under the policy as changed by the S.F. board of supervisors, referrals would be required only after juveniles were convicted of crimes, not merely upon arrest. "Immigration advocates say that referrals upon arrest have resulted in the deportation of innocent youths, the breakup of families, and a fear among immigrants of contacting the police when they are the victims of crime."

ImmigrationProf blogger Bill Hing and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center worked diligently to ensure that the Board of Supervisors approved this new change in policy.

UPDATE:  For a N.Y. Times blog posting on the new law, including comments from Professors Rose Villazor (Hofstra) and Pratheepan Gulasekaram (Santa Clara), click here.  I think that Professor Gulasekaram has the better of the argument as it applies to the new SF policy, which does not involve enforcement of the immigration laws by local authorities (like the Hazelton ordinace, for example) but only whether to report a youth offender to the federal immigration authorities upon arrest or conviction. 


October 21, 2009 in Current Affairs, Food and Drinks | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Roxana Bacon Named Chief Counsel at USCIS

Long-time immigration attorney Roxana Bacon has been named as Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services starting 10/21/09 (today). Formerly based in Arizona, Bacon will supervise the 150+ attorneys in the office and their staff as well as participate in developing the administration’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal.

Bacon was the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Arizona, the first woman to serve as General Counsel for both the American Immigration Lawyers Association and its Foundation, and the first woman lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She received the 2001 Sarah Herring Sorin Award (highest award give to a woman attorney) and the 2003 State Bar Distinguished Service Award (highest award given to a Arizona State Bar member). In 2007, she received the ABA's Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award for her leadership and service to the profession. She endowed the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at Arizona Law School.


October 21, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)