November 21, 2009
Angel Island Centennial Event will Feature Mayorkas
From the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation:
We are happy to share some exciting news about the upcoming centennial of the U.S. Immigration Station, Angel Island. One hundred years ago, on January 21, 1910, over 200 Chinese immigrants were shipped from the Chinese Detention Shed located at First and Brannan Street in San Francisco to open the Angel Island Immigration Station. One hundred years later, we will commemorate the opening of this National Historic Landmark with a naturalization ceremony of 100 new U.S. citizens. The newly appointed Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas, will administer the Oath of Allegiance.
In addition, we will have invited Mayor Newsom, Governor Schwarzenegger, and other local officials to speak on the program along with AIISF leaders. We plan to pay tribute to several individuals who have played an instrumental role in restoring the Immigration Station.
Join us on Thursday, January 21, 2010 at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., in San Francisco. The program will start at 10 a.m. and conclude by 11:30 a.m. Admission is free.
Throughout the year we will hold public events, including a June 12 launch party for Erika Lee and Judy Yung's new book, Angel Island : Immigrant Gateway to America. We look forward to seeing you as we celebrate 100 years of Pacific immigration.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,
287(g) Training Materials
For those of you conducting research into 287(g) agreements, 287(g) training materials obtained by CASA de Maryland from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office under the Maryland Public Information Act ppursuant to litigation have been posted at Scribd here.
Immigration Charges Dropped Against Agriprocessors Manager
With Postville prosecutor Stephanie Rose's nomination to U.S. Attorney in Iowaprovoking controversy, the May 2008 Postvillle raids remain in the news. Now, Nigel Duara of the Associated Press reports that the federal district court dismissed immigration charges against the former manager of Agriprocessors at the request of prosecutors who had already won a conviction on multiple counts of financial fraud. Prosecutors said a conviction in that case would not affect the prison term because he was convicted of the charges with the longest sentences.
November 20, 2009
Four Members of Congress Promote Hate Against Muslims
From the Asian Law Caucus:
Groups Say Reps. Undermine Political Participation & Support a Backlash Against Muslims
SAN FRANCISCO - Over 20 national and local civil liberties organizations issued a rousing call today to four U.S. Representatives, Rep. Myrick (R-N.C.), Rep. Shadegg (R-Ariz), Rep. Broun (R-Ga) and Rep. Franks (R- Ariz), to retract their statements against the political participation of American Muslims and in promotion of the book, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, for which Rep. Myrick wrote the introduction. The Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization, spearheaded the effort after learning that the author of Muslim Mafia called for a "professional and legal backlash against Muslims."
"When elected government officials extol hatred and challenge democracy, core American values are undermined," said Veena Dubal, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "The fact that these Representatives had the audacity to publicly challenge the political participation of American Muslims is reflective of the state of siege American Muslims currently live in. We must hold our elected representatives accountable to principles of equality and freedom, and remember that these values apply to all members of our nation."
The Asian Law Caucus (ALC), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Equal Justice Society (EJW), Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Muslim Political Action Committee (MPAC), National Lawyers Guild- San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLG-SF), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the Sikh Coalition, and over a dozen other national and local organizations ask the Representatives to retract their comments concerning American Muslims and political participation.
Further, they invite the Representatives to enter a dialogue with American Muslims about their lives and realities over the past eight years, the persisting prevalence of violations of their civil rights, the numerous hate crimes perpetrated against them, and the constant public and private discrimination that they unfairly endure.
Summer Hararah, the National Security and Civil Rights Project Coordinator at the Asian Law Caucus, stated, "It is a sad day when elected representatives promote a bigoted witch hunt to intimidate Americans of the Islamic faith into silence and out of the political process. Our organizations believe this attempt to strong-arm obedience to political ideologies is a shameful abuse of power under the guise of national security. Fear-mongering employed with legal and governmental authority is reminiscent of McCarthyism, the internment of Japanese Americans and destruction of entire communities."
For a copy of the letter filed today, click here.
"A Tale of Two Decades: War Refugees and Asylum Policy in the European Union" by MARYELLEN FULLERTON
ABSTRACT: The past twenty years have seen profound developments in the institutional competence of the European Union to address issues of migration and refugee status. The growth of the internal market, the expansion of passport-free travel, and the continuing arrival of individuals fleeing war or persecution led to the realization that a joint European approach to asylum seekers was necessary. Negotiations among the Member States have resulted in a Common European Asylum System. These European developments are largely unknown among refugee scholars, decision makers, and advocates in the United States. This article outlines the Common European Asylum System in order to broaden the policy debates concerning immigration and asylum in the United States. An examination of the five components of the Common European Asylum System - laws defining those who qualify for legal status, minimum standards for asylum procedures, basic conditions for accommodating asylum seekers awaiting decisions on their applications, temporary protection, and apportioning state responsibility for determining asylum claims - identifies both similarities and differences from the legal protection afforded asylum seekers in the United States. One of the major innovations of the common EU policy is the creation of an enforceable right of asylum for those who do not qualify as refugees but who can show substantial grounds for believing that they will suffer serious harm if returned to their country of origin. Known as subsidiary protection, EU law now requires the Member States to provide renewable residence permits to civilians at risk due to indiscriminate violence from armed conflict. In contrast to the United States, where individuals fleeing countries engulfed in armed conflict might, at best, be eligible to apply for the discretionary Temporary Protected Status, in the EU war refugees now have a judicially enforceable right to subsidiary protection. Moreover, in its first interpretation of this right, the European Court of Justice ruled that those seeking subsidiary protection need not produce evidence in every case that they have been singled out or targeted for harm. In overturning the Dutch government’s denial of a residence permit to an Iraqi citizen who had fled the violence in his Baghdad neighborhood, the ECJ affirmed the new avenue of protection for civilians fleeing situations of indiscriminate violence. The arguments of the litigants before the ECJ resonate with arguments familiar to advocates and policy makers in the United States. Although refugees from war zones currently fall outside the scope of the U.S. refugee laws, the broad interpretation of subsidiary protection adopted by the ECJ gives new hope to migrants forced from their homes by the scourge of war.
Blame it on Rahm!?
Jonathan Allen at Politico.com has a tsory about how Latino politicians, including Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), blame White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for the exclusion of undocumented immigranst from health care refiorm.
More Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever from the Obama Administration
Last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke in support of comprehensive immigration reform. This week. DHS and its agencies have announced new, if not improved, enforcement measures.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton announced the issuance of Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 1,000 employers across the country that ICE will audit their hiring records to determine compliance with employment eligibility verification laws.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitao was joined by ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton and Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas to announce the new "I E-Verify" campaign to recognize the approximately 170,000 businesses nationwide that use this DHS' online system to verify employment eligibility of new hires. This system has been criticized as being less than accurate with its use threatening the loss of the jobs of many legal workers.
Please do not ask of DHS has promulgated regulations governing the detention of immigrants, has taken steps to reduce naturalization backlogs, moved to stop racial profiling of persons of Mexican ancestry in immigration enforcement, etc. At least for now, it is ENFORCEMENT NOW, ENFORCEMENT FOREVER!
November 19, 2009
UFCW Criticizes Steve King and Lamar Smith
From America's Voice:
Lamar Smith, Steve King, and Anti-Immigrant Allies Panic
Increased Activity by Mass Deportation Crowd Reflects Concern Debate has Shifted
Washington, DC – Leading anti-immigrant zealots in Congress, and controversial allied organizations like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), are busy today promoting several events and new studies that, shockingly, call for hard-line action against immigrants and mass deportation of undocumented workers. Between a new CIS “study” that tries to paint immigrants as criminals (never mind 100 years of data to the contrary), and a jobs forum featuring mass deportation champions Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), CIS and Numbers USA--pretending that they know what’s best for American workers, rather than organized labor (which supports comprehensive immigration reform)--the flurry of activity reeks of panic after several weeks of big successes and momentum on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform.
Following are statements from Esther Lopez, Director of Civil Rights and Community Action for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
According to Esther Lopez:
“Today’s forum, hosted by Reps. Smith and King, is nothing more than another attempt by the far right to mischaracterize and misconstrue the real issues involved in the immigration debate.
“With Lou Dobbs off the air, it seems that Congressman King and his allies are going through immigrant-bashing withdrawal and needed a new forum to spew their tired stereotypes and distract from the real issues facing workers today. Given their terrible track record on worker issues, it really is the height of hypocrisy that they are now trying to portray themselves as champions of workers.
“Let's be clear: What the American people really want is our Members of Congress to stop this noise and nonsense and to engage in a rational discussion about solutions to fix our broken immigration system. No more scapegoating. No more blaming others. We simply want Congress to tackle this issue and to do what is necessary to rebuild our economy.
“If the Bush Administration's approach to immigration enforcement, which these panelists seem to be enamored with, taught us anything, it was that heavy handed enforcement efforts will not fix our broken immigration system. What we need is an immigration system that works for the American worker. That means comprehensive immigration reform. It means ensuring that all workers are protected and that our nation’s labor laws are respected. Instead of media stunts like today's event, our elected officials should be rolling up their sleeves and drafting meaningful legislation that will address this critical issue.”
According to Frank Sharry:
“The anti-immigrant crowd’s bankrupt strategy of trying to tie every single issue to a ‘deport ‘em all’ policy prescription is increasingly transparent and desperate. In the latest incarnation of this worn strategy, it’s both wildly disingenuous and audacious that politicians like Lamar Smith and Steve King now pretend that they care more about the American worker than organized labor, or that they know law enforcement issues better than actual police leaders.
“Politically, the mass deportation crowd’s strategy seems an ideal blueprint for how to achieve permanent minority status. While we know that Lamar Smith and Steve King can’t resist the siren call of nativism, they seem determined to drive their party into long-term oblivion by pursuing a completely self-defeating strategy. As America’s Voice Education Fund showed this week in a new report, Latinos are driving population growth in key states, shaping the results of the upcoming Congressional reapportionment and exerting their power at the ballot box across the country. The continued attempt to demonize and drive a permanent wedge between the Republican Party and the fastest growing group of voters is a prescription for extinction, not election.
“The American people reject the mass deportation approach, and are demanding a practical solution to the broken immigration system that will benefit all Americans. Americans support immigration reform that will strengthen the rule of law, create more taxpayers, replace ineffective enforcement strategies with smart and effective policies, and level the playing field for all.”
Quote of the Day: Brookings and the U.S. Economy and Immigration
From the Brookings blog:
"You know the U.S. is in a recession when…
Mexicans are sending money to relatives in the United States."
The Brookings blog lists the impacts that the recession is having in immigration, including decreasing immigration and decreasing border apprehensions.
Teaching Fellowship in Refugee and Human Rights Law: UC Hastings
The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), at U.C. Hastings College of the Law, has announced its two year Teaching Fellowship in Refugee and Human Rights Law. The Fellow will co-teach the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, as well as be engaged in the cutting edge legal work of CGRS. The Fellowship is not for students who are just graduating, as bar membership at the time of application is required, as is significant practice experience. The Fellowship Announcement is posted here.
The Weekly Diaspora: Fort Hood, Pundits and Immigration Reform
Nezua at RaceWire, the ColorLines blog, notes that "First it was immigrants from Mexico, now Muslims in the armed services. After the tragic shootings at Fort Hood, conservative pundits are verbally attacking Muslims and Arab-Americans, much like they have vilified the Latino community."
Harvard Law Students Do Good!
The Harvard Law Record reports that "[t]hanks to the help of Harvard Law School volunteers, an HLS alumna, and a Stanford law grad, a U.S. citizen mistakenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and held among regular prisoners at the Bristol County House of Correction in North Dartmouth, Mass. was released after a monthlong detention."
Lou Dobbs’ Reputation Salvation Tour
Lou Dobbs has left CNN but he is far but gone. Along with Sarah Palin, Lou has hit the talk show circuit. For the latest Dobbs' update, see Adam Luna's story one the Daily Kos about the "Lou Dobbs' Reputation Salvation Tour." Check it out to see some great Lou Dobbs clips from Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and the Colbert Report. Also, Jon Stewart had a long interview with Lou last night on The Daily Show.
Migrant Economic Power and Immigration Reform
Thanks to Racewire.org for sharing this post:
La Liga Global: Asserting Migrant Economic Power
By Debayani Kar
The Obama administration made another pronouncement today about immigration reform being taken up in 2010. Apart from the valid critiques of whether or not proposed changes will truly constitute “comprehensive immigration reform,” there is a deeper question. What about the broader economic context of immigration?
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Seattle WTO protests which Naomi Klein reflected on today, it is time to pause and make the connection again between (im)migration and globalization.
Migration is largely fueled by economic necessity due to lack of sufficient opportunity in home countries. But the strong and vibrant ties between migrants and their families and communities back home speak to an unyielding connection complicated by simple economics.
For instance, Mexican hometown associations send back millions of dollars each year to fund projects in their communities of origin. These community-based transactions are replicated hundreds of times all over the globe. Taken together, it represents transnational action on an unprecedented scale.
This is what La Liga Global (or the Global League of Community Sustainers) plans to celebrate in activities in more than a dozen cities around the world between Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) and International Migrants Day (Dec. 18). They understand that migration is more than the laws that restrict life choices; it is an act of reconstructing transnational families. In the coming months, La Liga Global will launch a global social investment fund to further consolidate migrant economic power.
At $338 billion a year, remittances represent profits that could form the third largest company in the world. The world’s 200 million migrants form a population large enough to constitute the world’s fifth largest country.
Each remittance, then, represents an opportunity to hold accountable those who profit off migrants’ hard labor. This is where the work of La Liga Global to transform the money transfer industry comes in. Their campaign represents the possibility of replacing economic concentration with economic democracy.
La Liga Global works with its members to lead corporate social responsibility campaigns and legislative strategies that push a unified global agenda for a more fair and equitable system of money transfers. In the United States, there are active campaigns in Oakland, CA and Rhode Island to pass legislation that would better regulate the industry by mandating transparent pricing and profit generation.
Migrants are often the most vulnerable populations and are simultaneously scapegoated for a country’s economic woes (witness the United States). But migrants across the globe have demonstrated that they are not waiting for legal reforms to take control of their economic futures, to make migration a choice and not a necessity for economic survival.
Foreign Students Contribute Billions
The National Association of International Educators estimates that foreign students and their dependents contributed approximately $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2008-2009 academic year.
Immigrants do not Commit More Crime than the Native-Born
The Immigration Policy Center Writes:
November 18, 2009
From the Bookshelves: And You Welcomed Me: Migration and Catholic Social Teaching
ABSTRACT: Human beings leave their homelands for many reasons and they are called by many names: illegal aliens, strangers, asylum-seekers, displaced persons, economic migrants, lawful permanent residents, refugees, temporary workers, and victims of trafficking. Some are forced to flee because of violence, persecution, natural disaster, or intense economic privation. Most migrate in search of a better life, many as part of a family survival strategy. The movement of people from one place to another has remained a constant feature of human history. In an era characterized by the fast and cheaper movement of goods and services around the globe, migrants are the face of globalization. The world's two hundred million migrants often find themselves at the center of economic, social, and political debates. This book describes the distinctive way in which Catholic social teaching looks at migrants. It analyzes migration from the legal, social science, and cultural perspectives, and gives special consideration to the lived experience of immigrants themselves and their host communities. The book identifies gaps and opportunities to improve government and non-governmental responses to migration on a local, national, and international level. And You Welcomed Me aims to reframe perspectives on migration by focusing on the human beings at the heart of this phenomenon. It analyzes trade, immigration, labor, national security, and integration policies in light of the core Catholic commitment to the common good, human dignity, authentic development, and solidarity.
NYT Editorial on Immigrant Children
Editorial from the NY Times:
There are 16 million children in immigrant families in the United States, one of the fastest-growing segments of the population. It’s an old American story made new in the age of globalization, when waves of human displacement in recent decades have led to immigration on a scale not seen since Ellis Island. But a country that has been so good for so long at integrating new Americans is stumbling under the challenge.
That is the conclusion of Professors Marcelo and Carola Suárez-Orozco, fellows at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and co-directors of immigration studies at New York University. They have done basic research in immigration for more than 20 years, five of them studying 400 children from China, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Central America and Mexico.a country that has been so good for so long at integrating new Americans is stumbling under the challenge. The results of their research, released this month, show the stark effects of what Marcelo Suárez-Orozco calls “the age of global vertigo.” Dislocation breeds a host of difficulties, starting with family separation. Nearly half of the children in their sample had at some point lost contact with one or both parents, either through migration directly or through divorce or death. The absent parent was most often the father for long stretches or permanently. For 49 percent of the Central American children, separations lasted more than five years. Click here for the rest of the piece.
El reino de terror de Joe Arpaio
ImmigrationProf has posted many stories about the abuses of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, including humiliating male prisoners by forcing them to wear pink underwear, placing prisoners in exposed hards in 12o degree heat, etc. (Earlier this week, Arpaio was visited by Vice President Joe Biden on a swing through Arizona.). The latest Arpaio abuse story is told in a very sad video interview (in Spanish) of a detainee in a Maricopa County jail who was forced to give borth in chains.
What is happening in Arizona!
Hat tip to Cappy White.
MPI Report Finds Immigrants Hit Harder During Economic Downturn than Native-Born Workers
Immigrants surpassed native-born workers in several key labor market outcomes from the mid-1990s through 2007, recording higher employment and lower jobless rates — but the trend was reversed with the onset of the current recession, according to a report released today by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). The report, Tied to the Business Cycle: How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times, analyzes employment and unemployment patterns over the past 15 years and two recessions, showing that immigrant economic outcomes began deteriorating before the current recession officially began in December 2007. The authors, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Senior Economist Pia Orrenius and Agnes Scott College Economics Professor Madeline Zavodny, trace immigrants’ declining fortunes largely to the housing bust which began in spring 2006. As residential construction employment slumped, the immigrant unemployment rate began rising toward the end of 2006, and immigrants since have recorded higher unemployment rates and bigger declines in employment than native-born workers. The analysis tracks MPI’s own research, dating back to January, into how the recession has affected immigrants here and around the globe.
The report offers a number of possible explanations for why labor market outcomes for immigrants, who represent more than 15 percent of the workforce, are more cyclical. Among them: Immigrants are overrepresented in less-educated groups that have experienced the greatest job losses; and are more likely to work in cyclical occupations and sectors that suffer the largest job losses during downturns, such as construction and manufacturing.
Other key findings:
During the 15-year period surveyed, the immigrant employment rate peaked at 66 percent in 2007, compared to about 63 percent for natives.
Propelled by the housing boom, the immigrant jobless rate fell below that of natives in 2005-2007, hitting a low of 3.4 percent in 2006, versus 4.5 percent for natives.
By the first quarter 2009, the unemployment rate for immigrants stood at 9.2 percent and their employment rate had dropped by 4.6 percentage points from two years earlier. This compares to 7.8 percent unemployment and a 2.6 percentage point drop in employment rates for native workers in the same period.
The immigrant-native earnings gap has remained largely unchanged since the mid-1990s, with foreign-born workers earning about 20 percent less than their U.S.-born counterparts ($528 in median weekly earnings in the second quarter of 2009 compared to $646).
Economic outcomes tend to differ by region of origin. Immigrants from Latin America and Asia recorded employment rates over 10 percentage points higher than immigrants from Western Europe and Canada. On the other hand, Latin American immigrants (more of whom are likely to be unauthorized and less educated) have the greatest sensitivity to the business cycle and are more likely to be unemployed.
MPI has recommended creation of a permanent, independent executive-branch agency that would make regular recommendations to the president and Congress for adjusting employment-based immigration levels. The Standing Commission on Labor Markets, Economic Competitiveness and Immigration –- staffed by a professional corps of career economists, demographers and social scientists –- would provide evidence-based and impartial analysis of labor market immigration circumstances and needs. The report also notes that the poverty rate is higher among immigrants than natives. In 2008, the most recent year for which poverty data are available, 19.9 percent of people in immigrant-headed households lived in poverty, compared to 12.1 percent of those in native-headed households. Given the drop in employment rates, poverty likely became even more prevalent for both immigrant and native families in 2009.