Saturday, November 28, 2009

Call to Action: International Migrant's Day December 18

A Call to Action

International Migrant's Day: December 18, 2009
Following another challenging year, the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR) invites you to close the year by organizing and supporting events to commemorate December 18 - International Migrants Day, and by reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all immigrants by joining us to call for an end to police collaboration with ICE, detentions and deportations, and for climate justice as well as immigration reform that recognizes the dignity and human rights of all immigrants.

About December 18, International Migrants Day
 On December 18, 1990, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was approved by the United Nations General Assembly, after almost a decade of governmental negotiations and pressure from migrant rights advocates around the world.  Following lobbying efforts by advocates and migrant groups including NNIRR, in December 2000 the United Nations proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants Day.
Since 2001, in solidarity with other migrant rights organizations around the world, NNIRR has commemorated this day with members and allies.  Each year we assist growing numbers of local events and initiatives with widely-endorsed call-to-actions, educational and organizing materials, and commemorative posters and t-shirts.

Click here for more details about December 18.

For international events, visit and
International Migrants Day 2009
2009 has been a challenging year in the struggle for immigrant rights, as heated debates around immigration reform coincided with ongoing attacks and abuses in immigrant communities.
In spite of a new Administration, we have continued to witness and experience the assault on the human rights of immigrants: families, workers and entire communities subjected to intense policing, hundreds of thousands detained, and due process rights blatantly violated and ignored.  NNIRR's recently-released human rights report, "Guilty by Immigration Status", documents how inter-agency and local police collaboration around immigration law enforcement, especially through the 287g agreements and the Secure Communities Program, have undermined community safety and made immigrants even more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

The global economic crisis further burdened already vulnerable immigrant communities around the world, and those in the U.S. were no exception.  For the first time in decades, immigrants were forced to reduce their remittances to their families abroad, who themselves faced increasing hardships as most countries in the Global South were not immune to the crippling effects of the crisis.  Many immigrants also become subject to scapegoating, as xenophobic rhetoric blamed immigrants and clouded failed economic policies.  Many ruthless employers also used the crisis to further exploit their immigrant workers.
As this year's International Migrants Day also falls during the pinnacle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Summit) in Copenhagen, we also recognize the estimated 25 million people around the world who have suffered from forced displacement from their homelands and communities due to the devastating effects of climate change, more than those displaced by war.  This number is expected to go up to 250 million in less than 50 years.  By 2100, more than 20 countries are expected to experience 30-60% of agricultural and food production loss, 2.3 billion people will be threatened by mega-droughts, and almost 90% of people in rural communities around the world will lose their livelihoods. 

Also on December 18 this year, NNIRR will be part of an international coalition that will launch of a year-long international campaign to ratify the Migrant Workers Convention, to culminate on the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the campaign on December 18, 2010. 

In recognition of the challenges ahead of us, NNIRR calls on organizations and individuals around the country to commemorate this year's International Migrants Day with a local event or action highlighting the following:

Real immigration reform that recognizes and respects the dignity and human rights of immigrants, regardless of status.
An end to immigration policing, raids, detentions and deportations. In particular, we call for immediate moratorium of all immigration enforcement measures through July to help ensure a safe, equitable, and thorough 2010 Census.
Protection and redress for communities displaced by the effects of climate changes, and an immediate halt and reversal of the levels of carbon emissions.
We also renew our call for the United States to ratify the 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of Rights All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

We encourage activities and messages that challenge the Administration and Congress to implement humanitarian policies and practices -- to decriminalize immigration status and protect the rights of all workers. We must continue to demand a fair and just immigration policy that is "de-linked" from national security, and which includes the demilitarization of our borders.

Especially on International Migrants Day, when we recognize and honor migrants throughout the world, we need to raise awareness about the need for policies that ameliorate involuntary displacement and forced migration, including climate justice, fair trade and sustainable community development, and fulfilling the need and access to healthcare, education, housing, jobs and safe, healthy environments.
* * * * * *
To spotlight these urgent petitions, NNIRR encourages you and your community to organize a local event on or around December 18, 2009.  Coming at the year's end, these events can also serve to bring together your constituents, communities and allies for a moment of reflection, celebration, and/or protest - and to recommit to the challenges and opportunities we will have to fight for the human rights of all immigrants in the coming year. These can take place at any number of places and in various forms, including an afternoon action at a Federal Building, an evening gathering at a place of worship, a potluck dinner at a local community center, a film showing at a local community college etc.  This year, we also encourage you to consider joining TIGRA (Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action) in one of their local events around the country from December 10-18 (contact:

We encourage you to publicize your activity in the media to call attention to the significance of the day. We also encourage groups to coordinate their efforts with others locally, and to reach out to allies through this event.

NNIRR will collect information on all these activities to publicize them nationally and internationally, to raise the collective power of grassroots community action.  We will also circulate a national press release on December 15, 2009, highlighting your events, and post this information on our website.

Click here to share the details of your activity/event for International Migrants Day. 

For more information, contact:
Colin Rajah, NNIRR
510-465-1984 x306


November 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

N.Y. Times: When Will the Obama Administration Reform Immigration Policy?

The N.Y. Times joins the chorus criticizing the Obama administration's enforcement now, enforcement forever immigration policy.


November 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Center for Justice and Accountability's New Website

From Pamela Merchant:

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to share CJA's brand new website with you!  We have greatly improved the site's layout to give you greater access to CJA and to our work.
As we grow, it is important to have a website that will grow with us.  To that end, we have expanded our case content and included information about our policy work to give you an in-depth look at the many ways that CJA pursues its human rights mission. You will be able to download a wide range of resources including pleadings and trial transcripts.  You will also be able to listen to oral arguments and watch video clips.
We hope our site will guide you to new facets of CJA's work and provide an entry point into the field of human rights law. Among our site's many new features, you'll notice...

Expanded pleadings section for each case with selected trial transcripts
Dedicated pages for each of CJA's amicus briefs with related documents
Coverage of CJA's policy work and transitional justice initiatives
Country background pages with historical information and human rights developments that place our legal and policy work in a broader context
A legal glossary

Please visit our new website now at !

All the best,

Pamela Merchant
Executive Director

November 27, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Nexus Between Labor Law & Immigration Policy

Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project had a guest post on the American Constitution Society blog on The Nexus Between Labor Law & Immigration Policy.   "[T]he AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project released a report detailing how, in case after case, employers were able to use the immigration status of their workers as a bludgeon to avoid labor claims. Here's an example of how it works: An immigrant worker is injured on the job. He files a workers compensation claim - a perfectly legal action. His employer or insurance company then investigates and discovers his social security number isn't good. The worker is turned in to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and deported. No workers compensation benefits for the worker. No workers compensation bill for the employer."


November 27, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What Killed Marcelo Lucero?

Lawrence Downes of the N.Y. Times writes about a play called “What Killed Marcelo Lucero?,” about the horrible murder one year ago of an Ecudoran immigrant on Long Island.   "[T]he play somehow succeeds where so many speeches and editorials fail. It points, at least, to where deeper understanding might lie and how people might get there together."


November 27, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Immigrant Chefs on Thanksgiving

This week, NPR's Morning Edition featured three chefs who are immigrants or children of immigrants and their takes on Thanksgiving. Here's in interesting take from French Chef Dominique Crenn.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Light-Hearted View of Thanksgiving: A Cartoon by Jeff Parker (c/o Bender's Immigration Bulletin)


November 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Pro-immigration reform PACS growing in influence

The Associated Press reports some good news for those who are hoping for immigration reform.  "For the first time, pro-immigration forces are raising more political donations than their immigration-control counterparts."  Immigrants' List and ImmigrationPAC have raised $100,000 combined this election cycle, more than the established groups that back enforcement-only policies.


November 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

LULAC Sues Ohio Over Vehicle Registration Policy

The League of United Latin American Citizens claims that Ohio state officials are seeking proof of legal U.S. residency for motor vehicle registrations and, by so doing, venturing into immigration regulation, which is a power reserved for the federal government.  Read the full story.


November 26, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Reps Rip DHS Secretary on Immigration Reform

Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and many other Republicans released letter contesting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's speech supporting comprehensive immigration reform at the Center for American Progress.  See a critique of the Republican immigration playbook on immigration on Immigration Impact.  I thought that Republicans would support immigration reform once enforcement had been tightened up?


November 26, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)



November 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever: DHS Interprets Law to Detain Refugees Across the Country

Read Immigration Impact about the Obama's decision to detain refugees.   Last month, President Obama authorized the admission of 80,000 refugees into the U.S. in fiscal year 2010, something every President has done annually since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. The United States has long recognized the importance of providing a safe haven for refugees. Yet, despite this commitment to helping refugees resettle in the U.S. permanently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its sub-agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have adopted a policy of incarcerating refugees who have not adjusted to permanent resident status after one year of residency in the U.S. ("unadjusted refugees").


November 25, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arrests of illegal immigrants along border drop 25%

Given the state of the U.S. economy, it is not really that surprising that border apprehensions have dropped dramatically.  For more on this story, click here.


November 25, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Articles

"Immigration, Wages, and Compositional Amenities" NBER Working Paper No. w15521 DAVID CARD, University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) CHRISTIAN DUSTMANN, University College London, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)IAN PRESTON, University College London - Department of Economics.  BLOGGER'S NOTE:  CARD IS ONE OF TEH MOST RESPECTED ECONOMISTS STUDYING IMMIGRATION TODAY.  ASTRACT:   Economists are often puzzled by the stronger public opposition to immigration than trade, since the two policies have similar effects on wages. Unlike trade, however, immigration can alter the composition of the local population, imposing potential externalities on natives. While previous studies have addressed fiscal spillover effects, a broader class of externalities arise because people value the 'compositional amenities' associated with the characteristics of their neighbors and co-workers. In this paper we present a new method for quantifying the relative importance of these amenities in shaping attitudes toward immigration. We use data for 21 countries in the 2002 European Social Survey, which included a series of questions on the economic and social impacts of immigration, as well as on the desirability of increasing or reducing immigrant inflows. We find that individual attitudes toward immigration policy reflect a combination of concerns over conventional economic impacts (i.e., wages and taxes) and compositional amenities, with substantially more weight on the latter. Most of the difference in attitudes toward immigration between more and less educated natives is attributable to heightened concerns over compositional amenities among the less-educated. Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at

"The Alien-Citizen Distinction and the Global War on Terrorism" Miami Law Research Paper Series DAVID ABRAHAM, University of Miami School of Law YUNG TIN, affiliation not provided to SSRN.  BLOGGER'S NOTE:  DAVID ABRAHAM IS A VERY THOUGHTFUL IMMIGRATION SCHOLAR AND ALL OF HIS WORK IS WELL WORTH READING.  ABSTRACT:  Since the start of the modern civil rights era, the notably harsh laws of citizenship and immigration in the United States have experienced some mitigation in the critical distinctions between citizens and aliens. Societies became “soft” on the “inside” while grappling with questions of how “hard” to be toward the “outside,” the border. The retrograde effects of globalization together with our security and imperial obsessions since 9/11, however, have led to a hardening of distinctions both on the inside and toward the outside. Immigration and citizenship have become more Schmittian affairs where the worthy “us” is confronted by the enemy “other.” The power of exclusion and especially of deportation has again grown more important (as it was during the Red Scares of the post-WWI and Cold War periods), making citizenship more important. As the government seeks to undermine constitutional protections in three ways — making it irrelevant who you are, where you are, or whose custody you are in — the benefits of the legal status of “citizen” seem to be in play. At the same time, we know the importance of citizenship as a mechanism for the defense of rights, perhaps especially of minority rights. Indeed, liberal immigration scholars have spent most of the past generation fretting over the discriminatory “bonus” offered by citizenship and have worked “human rights” and “due process” discourses to undermine that bonus. Since 9/11, however, a series of important Supreme Court cases has left us with only a murky sense of what rights apply to whom and where and how much of a guarantee “citizenship” offers. In this essay, we review the salient cases and seek to identify some current baselines around these “who, where, and whom” questions.

"Leveraging Asylum" U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 430 Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 3 JAMES C. HATHAWAY, Melbourne Law School.  BLOGGER'S NOTE:  PROFESSOR HATHAWAY IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LEADING REFUGEE LAW SCHOLARS.  The paper's thesis is that recent scholarly claims that a general right to asylum now exists are unfounded. The legal arguments underpinning the claim are twofold. First it is said that even states not bound by relevant conventions are nonetheless required by customary international law to honor the duty of non-refoulement in relation to refugees and others facing the prospect of serious harm. Second, the lex specialis principle is invoked to argue that all persons entitled to protection against refoulement (not just refugees) must be granted all of the refugee-specific entitlements codified in the Refugee Convention. Taken together, the two claims amount to an assertion that there is today a legally binding and universally applicable right to asylum for all seriously at-risk persons. Although both claims have normative appeal, the author contends that as a matter of international law they are conceptually flawed. Taking account of relevant ICJ jurisprudence, the paper argues that there is neither opinio juris nor relatively consistent state practice to support the putative duty of non-refoulement. And even if there were such a norm in customary international law, the lex specialis principle exists only to resolve normative conflict, not to fill a normative void, and therefore affords no basis for the attribution to non-refugees of Refugee Convention rights. In short, there is no leveraged right to asylum


November 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Cities Sue State Over Immigration Restrictions That Are Too Strict

Mary Jo Pitzi writes for the Arizona Republic:

Gov. Jan Brewer, flanked by key state legislators, reacted with shock Tuesday to a lawsuit by cities and towns and accused the local officials of coddling undocumented immigrants at state expense.

But the lawsuit disputes how state officials enacted the wide-ranging law, not the substance of the law itself.

At issue is a lawsuit filed with the state Supreme Court Monday by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. It argues that the Legislature unconstitutionally approved policy changes that affect local development practices as well as how cities enforce requirements that people show proof of citizenship to receive government benefits.

"Our policy will be to prevent benefits to illegal immigrants," she said.

The cities agree with that policy, said Ken Strobeck, executive director of the league, which represents 90 cities and towns.

"The law is already clear in Arizona that cities and towns don't provide services to illegal immigrants," Strobeck said.

But the cities fear that the new law, which took effect Tuesday, will trigger a flood of lawsuits because it allows anyone to take a city or town to court if they believe the local government provided a public benefit. That could be interpreted as something as simple as a library card, or perhaps even the use of a city street or sidewalk, municipal officials fear. Click here for the rest of the story.

November 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Persistent Inequality: Contemporary Realities in the Education of Undocumented Latina/o Students By Maria Pabon Lopez, Gerardo R. Lopez

Here is a book on a very topical pubic policy issue by two great authors:

Persistent Inequality: Contemporary Realities in the Education of Undocumented Latina/o Students By Maria Pabon Lopez, Gerardo R. Lopez.

Published by: Routledge • Publication Date: 18th November 2009.

About the Book:  The children of undocumented migrants in the U.S. are trapped at the intersection of two systems in crisis: the public education system and the immigration law system. Based on a long tradition of scholarship in Latino education and on newer critical race theory ideas, Persistent Inequality answers burning questions about how educational policy has to rise to meet the unique challenges of undocumented students’ lives as well as those which face nearly all Latinos in the U.S. educational system. How solid is the Supreme Court precedent, Plyler v. Doe, that allows undocumented children the opportunity to attend public K-12 school free of charge? What would happen if the Supreme Court overruled it? What is the DREAM Act and how would this proposed federal law affect the lives of undocumented students? How have immigration raids affected public children and school administrators? To shed some light on these vital questions, the authors provide a critical analysis of the various legal and policy aspects of the U.S. educational system, asserting that both the legal and educational systems in this country need to address the living and working conditions of undocumented Latino students and remove the obstacles to educational achievement which these students struggle with daily.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Undocumented Students in the United States: An Educational and Critical Overview

1. Examination of Plyler v. Doe and its Aftermath, Including Additional Bases for Undocumented Students’ Access to Public Education

2. Documented Dreams, the Underground Railroad and Underground Undergraduates: Extending Plyler’s Promise to the Higher Education and the Use of Undocumented Student Movements to Achieve this Goal

3. Speak No Evil: Language Education Policy: From Lau to the Unz Initiatives and Beyond

4. Accountability under No Child Left Behind: Implications for Undocumented Students

5. Examining Potential Dangers of the Law in the School House: Critical Implications for Undocumented Students Regarding Racial Privacy Initiatives and Immigration School Raids


Malopez  DisplayImage

About the Authors María Pabón López is a Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis. Gerardo R. López is an Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.


November 25, 2009 in Books | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NEW AMERICANS IN THE BEEHIVE STATE: Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are Growing Economic and Political Force in Utah

 The Immigration Policy Center, as part of its continuing series of papers of the economic impacts of immigration on the several states, has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an important part of Utah's economy, labor force, and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as workers, consumers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs. With the state working towards recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of the Beehive State.  Download New_Americans_in_the_Beehive_State_2009[1]

Highlights from Utah include:

• Utah was home to 215,757 immigrants in 2007.

• 33.2% of immigrants in 2007 (or 96,401 people) in Utah were naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.

• 1 in 7 Utahns are Latino or Asian.

• Latinos accounted for 2.2% (or 21,000) and Asians 1.2% ( or 11,000) of Utah voters in the 2008 elections.

• The 2008 purchasing power of Latinos in Utah totaled $5.8 billion and Asian buying power totaled $1.8 billion.

• If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Utah, the state would lose $2.3 billion in expenditures, $1.0 billion in economic output, and approximately 14,219 jobs.

There is no denying the contributions immigrants, Latinos, and Asians make and the important role they will play in Utah's political and economic future.


November 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Pew Research Center on Where the Public Stands on Immigration Reform

Pew Research Center polling has found "significant public support for both tougher enforcement and the so-called `path to citizenship,' but several factors suggest that the debate could be a difficult one."  No real surprises here.


November 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lou Dobbs for President?

Glenn Thrush at
reports that ex-CNN news anchor LOU DOBBS has stated that he has not ruled out a run for the Presidency in 2012,  Check out the audio on the link above.

Is a possible Palin/Dobbs ticket on the horizon?  Stay tuned.


November 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


See David Bacon's latest on the harsh treatment of undocumented workers on TruthOut.


November 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)