Saturday, December 5, 2009

Juan Hernandez on the Myths About Immigrants

Dr. Juan Hernandez
, author of the book The New American Pioneers, is a firm supporter of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.  To help counter some of the myths about immigrants, he is preparing a series of videos. Here is one on Myth #1.

Hat tip to Robert Gittelson.


December 5, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Deporting Longtime Resident Who Entered at Age 6 Makes No Sense

Rick Brown writes for the Chicago Sun-Times:

The United States government wants Rigo Padilla to go back where he came from.

If he doesn't return to Mexico within the next 14 days, federal immigration agents have promised to do the job for him.

Never mind that Padilla's parents brought him here from Mexico at age 6 and that he hasn't been back there in the 15 years since.

Never mind that Chicago is the only home the 21-year-old can remember and that he has no close relatives left in Mexico.

Never mind that he's a good kid, a top student and a longtime volunteer with Erie Neighborhood House, a community social service agency.

None of that matters because Padilla made a mistake, the type of blunder feared by every undocumented immigrant living in America, even though it would probably have amounted to little more than a temporary setback in the life of your average 21-year-old born on this side of the border.

Padilla was arrested in January for driving under the influence, and in the process, he showed up on the grid. By that I mean his arrest brought him to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who troll the intake at Cook County Jail looking for candidates for deportation.

Once Padilla was "discovered" living openly and in plain sight here -- alongside millions and millions of other U.S. residents who came here illegally from Mexico and whom we will continue to intentionally overlook -- he was told he'd have to leave.

In order to pass an immigration reform law through Congress, it seems the Obama administration is intent on showing it is serious about deporting "criminals" who weren't supposed to be here in the first place. Deportations are up 18 percent. Padilla's removal counts the same in that particular Capitol Hill box score as that of a drug-dealing, gang-banging ax murderer.

This makes absolutely no sense, which only brings it in line with everything else about this country's totally dysfunctional immigration system.

Some day, we will sort out our great immigration mess and figure out what to do with those millions and millions of Mexicans who tried to live the American dream without first receiving our express permission -- my own stated preference for some version of legalization already having irritated many of you to no end.

But until we can reach some agreement, or one side gets the upper hand on the other, we ought to at least continue to use common-sense discretion in how we enforce our immigration laws. Even George Bush did that. And we ought to start by leaving Rigo Padilla alone. Click here for the rest of the column.


December 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Presidents Denied Visas!

Carl Schusterman has a nice column on Nation of Immigrants showing how, if our last three Presidents (Obama, Bush, and Clinton) had been noncitizens, there drug use admissions would have resulted in the denial of visa applications by U.S. immigration authorities.  Food for thought!


December 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Follow MLK's guidance on immigration reform

Reverend Harvey Clemons, Jr., pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Houston, has written in the Houston Chronicle about how we should pay heed to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in thinking about immigration and the immigrant.


December 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Haitians Taking over Football!!!

Everyone knows that football is big in Florida. The Wall Street Journal reports on an interesting immigration-related development there.  Three of Florida's top high-school football prospects are the sons of Haitian immigrants  "Along with a handful of Latinos and West Africans, the National Football League this season boasts about two dozen players either born in Haiti or first-generation Americans raised by immigrant parents from the Caribbean nation."

Please do not tell Lou Dobbs!


December 5, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Outstanding American: Maria Hinojosa

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday was joined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas to lead a naturalization ceremony for more than 100 citizenship candidates from more than 40 countries at Ellis Island. During the ceremony, Secretary Napolitano presented the “Outstanding American by Choice Award” to distinguished journalist and host of National Public Radio’s “Latino USA.,” Maria Hinojosa. A previous ImmigrationProf Immigrant of the Day, Ms. Hinojosa is the 74th recipient of this award—which recognizes the commitment of naturalized citizens to the United States and their local communities—for her involvement with the Hispanic community in New York and professional achievements as a journalist.


December 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Did Asian Americans Scare Palin Out of Hawaii?

From the Daily Beast:

The Palin story of the day seems to be her semi-endorsment of the birther movement, but there's another question now being asked: Why did Sarah Palin leave Hawaii after one semester when she was an 18-year-old student? The New Republic draws attention to a startling passage from Sam Tanenhaus’s recent New Yorker review of Palin’s book: In Going Rogue, Palin says “Hawaii was a little too perfect. Perpetual sunshine isn’t necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls.” But Tanenhaus then flags another passage from Scott Conroy’s and Shushannah Walshe’s biography of Palin, in which Palin’s own father says she left because she was uncomfortable around Asians and Pacific Islanders: “They were a minority type thing,” her father says, “and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.”


December 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Inspector General Criticizes ICE Detention System

Nina Bernstein writes in the NY Times:

Growing numbers of noncitizens, including legal immigrants, are held unnecessarily and transferred heedlessly in an expensive immigration detention system that denies many of them basic fairness, a bipartisan study group and a human rights organization concluded in reports released jointly on Wednesday.

Confirmation of some of their critical conclusions came separately from the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, in an investigation that found detainee transfers by Immigration and Customs Enforcement were so haphazard that some detainees arrived at a new detention center without having been served a notice of why they were being held, or despite a high probability of being granted bond, or with pending criminal prosecutions or arrest warrants in the previous jurisdiction.

The bipartisan group, the Constitution Project, whose members include Asa Hutchinson, a former under secretary of homeland security, called for sweeping changes in agency policies and amendments to immigration law, including new access to government-appointed counsel for many of those facing deportation.

In its report, the human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, revealed government data showing 1.4 million detainee transfers from 1999 to 2008, most of them since 2006. The transfers are accelerating, the report found, with tens of thousands of longtime residents of cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles being sent to remote immigration jails in Texas and Louisiana, far from legal counsel and the evidence that might help them win release.

“ICE is increasingly subjecting detainees to a chaotic game of musical chairs, and it’s a game with dire consequences,” said Alison Parker, deputy director in the United States for the human rights group, and author of its report. The data underlying the report was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University, which issued its own report.

The inspector general’s investigation found that the consequences of haphazard transfers include a loss of access to legal counsel and relevant evidence; additional time in detention; and “errors, delays and confusion for detainees, their families, legal representatives” and the immigration courts. Click here for the rest of the story.


December 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

State Legislation Allowing Undocumented College Students to Establish Residency (by Statute)

This table (Download Table One) includes the most recent and updated statutory provisions for state DREAM Acts, and is forthcoming in Michael A. Olivas, The Political Economy of the DREAM Act and the Legislative Process: A Case Study of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Wayne Law Review, 2010. It includes the rescission of the Oklahoma and the new Wisconsin statute below. 


December 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Illegal Immigration and Media Exposure: Evidence on Individual Attitudes"

I found the results of this study to be interesting, if not surprising:

"Illegal Immigration and Media Exposure: Evidence on Individual Attitudes" GIOVANNI FACCHINI, Tinbergen Institute Email: ANNA MARIA MAYDA, Georgetown University - Department of Economics, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), RICCARDO PUGLISI, University of Pavia, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano.  ABSTRACT:   Illegal immigration has been the focus of much debate in receiving countries, but little is known about what drives individual attitudes towards illegal immigrants. To study this question, we use the CCES survey, which was carried out in 2006 in the United States. We find evidence that -in addition to standard labor market and welfare state considerations- media exposure is significantly correlated with public opinion on illegal immigration. Controlling for education, income and ideology, individuals watching Fox News are 9 percentage points more likely than CBS viewers to oppose the legalization of undocumented immigrants. We find an effect of the same size and direction for CNN viewers, whereas individuals watching PBS are instead more likely to support legalization. Ideological self-selection into different news programs plays an important role, but cannot entirely explain the correlation between media exposure and attitudes about illegal immigration.


December 4, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Naturalization and Integration: Repairing our Broken Immigration System

Today, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) releases the next in the series of "Solutions Papers," titled Naturalization and Integration: Repairing our Broken Immigration System. Most Americans want immigrants to fully integrate in the U.S., and most immigrants want to be Americans and fully participate in social and civic life. We can expect naturalization and integration programs to be an important part of comprehensive immigration reform. Questions of naturalization and integration are unique within the comprehensive immigration reform debate because the issues involved are less about reforming existing law and more about generating support for sufficient planning and resources to create a more robust integration program. This paper lays out the key principles for naturalization and integration within the context of comprehensive immigration reform.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Top 10 Migration Issues for 2009

Check out Migration information Source for the Top 10 Migration Issues for 2009, which has detailed stories for each of the top 10 issues:

 1. The Recession's Impact on Immigrants - The recession that began in the United States two years ago and spread to most other parts of the worlds has had a deeper and more global effect on migration than any other economic downturn in the post-World War II era. Among the immigrants most affected are those in North America, Asia, and Europe.

2. Enforcement Tactics Shift in the Obama Era - But What About Immigration Reform? - In the absence of congressional action on any broad immigration reform, the election of President Barack Obama was expected to lead to changes in US immigration policy at the executive level.

3. Buyer's Remorse on Immigration Continues - The global recession has caused countries that once welcomed foreign workers by the tens and hundreds of thousands - particularly Spain - to rethink generous immigration policies as unemployment rates have risen.

4. What the Recession Wasn't - Some speculated that increasing unemployment could prompt thousands of immigrants to head home and citizens of hard-hit countries to assault immigrants for taking "their" jobs and causing other problems. However, no country in 2009 has seen a mass exodus of immigrants due to the recession, and immigrants have not been systematically attacked.

5. Recession Prompts Some Governments to Cut Immigrant Integration Funding - Commitments to immigrant integration have proved hard to keep in Spain, Ireland, and some US states as governments reexamined their recession-battered budgets in 2009.

6. Canada Bucks the Trend and Keeps Immigration Targets Steady - Despite the highest unemployment rate in nearly a decade, Canada chose to leave untouched its long-standing points system and the number of immigrants admitted for permanent residence.

7. The World Is Talking about Climate Change and Migration - Discussions about climate change and migration ramped up in 2009, in large part due to a number of conferences and reports surrounding the highly anticipated United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference in Copenhagen.

8. More Countries Entering into Post 9/11-Era Information-Sharing Agreements - Over the past year, long-standing discussions and negotiations have resulted in several new information-sharing initiatives that seek to boost security while facilitating travel for legitimate travelers.

9. Some Relief for Immigrants in the Developing World - South Africa, Brazil, and Costa Rica - all destinations for migrants from the region - sought to make the lives of immigrants a little better in 2009.

10. Asylum Seekers Unnerve Governments - As violence flared from Afghanistan to Iraq to Mexico this year, hundreds of thousands fled over land and by boat in search of safety. Asylum seekers' main destinations - Europe, Australia, and Canada - were not new, but the governments in these countries took a harder line in 2009.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowship

The Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowship was established jointly in 2009 by the America Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL), and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), to commemorate the life and legal contributions of Michael Maggio. The primary mission of the fellowship program is to strengthen law students' long-term commitment to promote justice and equality for vulnerable immigrant groups. Fellows will be chosen by the three sponsoring organizations, and will be selected based on the strength of their proposed host site and project. Michael Maggio was an extraordinary immigration attorney and individual who was a life-long advocate for justice, equality, and peace. Throughout his career, Michael received countless professional awards and was honored for his extraordinary legal representation, astute strategizing, unwavering commitment to the highest ethical standards, and his deep passion for justice and upholding the rule of law. He was an active member of AILA, the National Lawyers Guild, and served on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project. He was also an active supporter of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Michael died in February 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. The Maggio Immigrants' Right Fellowship program will select its first recipient in 2009, for summer 2010. One summer fellowship will be awarded to a law student each year. Please see for application form and additional information. The deadline has been extended to December 31, 2009.


December 3, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: James Gathii, War, Commerce & International Law

Oxford University Press has published Professor James Gathii’s book, War, Commerce & International Law.  Professor Gathii is the Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and the Governor George E. Pataki Professor of International Commercial Law at Albany Law School.

War, Commerce & International Law
explores the changing definitions war and commerce in Gathii06
international law; their changing applications and interpretations in different places at the same time and at different times; as well as their functional linkages and slippages. It explores the extent to which belligerents continue to confiscate, pillage, destroy private property, and ignore contract rights upon conquest and during occupation, as well as in resource wars. It exposes the sometimes confounding applications, interpretations and adjudications of international law that arise in these contexts. In so doing, War, Commerce and International Law shows how these applications, interpretations and adjudications constitute these rules while simultaneously carrying forward both the legacy of colonial disempowerment and the promise of better outcomes for peoples everywhere in the contemporary period.


December 3, 2009 in Books | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Former Vietnamese Refugee Confirmed as Federal Judge


WASHINGTON — Another racial hurdle was cleared [this week] when the Senate confirmed Jacqueline H. Nguyen to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, making her the first Vietnamese American Article III judge.

“Judge Nguyen has made history and we congratulate her,” said Joseph J. Centeno National Asian Pacific American Bar Association president. “She has an excellent record with the California Superior Court and we are confident that she will serve as an outstanding District Court judge.”

The Senate approved Judge Nguyen this afternoon by a vote of 97-0. Judge Nguyen will also be the first Asian Pacific American female Article III judge in California history. Article III judgeships are lifetime presidential appointments.

“We have historically stressed the importance of diversity in the judiciary and hope that Judge Nguyen’s confirmation is the first of many which will change the makeup of the federal judiciary to better reflect the American people,” said Karen K. Narasaki, Asian American Justice Center president and executive director.

Prior to her Superior Court appointment, Judge Nguyen served in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office. Before that, she was a commercial disputes, intellectual property and construction defects attorney with Musick, Peeler & Garrett in Los Angeles.

“This is an historic hearing and an historic day …the progress that we make today is long overdue,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy stated after his panel approved Judge Nguyen in September.

    Nguyen was 9 years old when her family boarded a packed helicopter in Saigon for a flight to freedom. Gunfire could be heard in the distance as communist troops closed in on the South Vietnamese capitol.

    Years later in California, she and her siblings joined their mother to clean dental offices while her father worked at night as a computer programmer and during the morning as a gas station attendant.

    With that same family determination, Nguyen earned a scholarship, graduated from Occidental College and UCLA’s School of Law, and later became a federal prosecutor. On weekends, she assisted her mother at the family donut shop in North Hollywood until it was sold.

    “I did a lot of my homework at the donut shop,” she recounted. “Throughout my college years, my mom was still working a lot of hours. On the weekends I would come home … to help her out for a few hours. On the weekends I would take our son Nolan there so he could spend some time with her.”


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Two separate Reports Confirm Immigration Detention Failings

A bipartisan study group and a human rights organization concluded in independent reports released on Wednesday a growing numbers of noncitizens, including legal immigrants, are held unnecessarily and transferred heedlessly in an expensiveimmigration detention system that denies many of them basic fairness.  The first report from the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general called for sweeping changes in agency policies and amendments to immigration law, including new access to government-appointed counsel for many of those facing deportation. The Human Rights Watch Report revealed government data showing 1.4 million detainee transfers from 1999 to 2008, most of them since 2006. The inspector general’s investigation found that the consequences of haphazard transfers include a loss of access to legal counsel and relevant evidence; additional time in detention; and “errors, delays and confusion for detainees, their families, legal representatives” and the immigration courts. Click here for the full story in the New York Times.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Survey: Global economic downturn has changed little about North American, European views of immigration

The second-annual Transatlantic Trends: Immigration survey shows that while majorities on both sides of the Atlantic are preoccupied with economic troubles, the global financial crisis has not had a strong impact on views toward immigration. Overall assessments of immigration as more of a problem or an opportunity have gone up slightly from last year; in 2009, 50 percent of Europeans and 54 percent of respondents in the United States described immigration as "more of a problem," an increase from 43 percent and 50 percent, respectively, in 2008.

The Transatlantic Trends: Immigration public opinion survey addresses immigration and integration issues including the effect of the economic crisis on attitudes toward immigration, immigrants' labor market impacts and effects on wages, and preferences for temporary vs. permanent labor migration programs. The survey also gauges opinion on a legalization program for illegal immigrants and asks respondents to rate how their government is managing immigration.

Transatlantic Trends: Immigration is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (U.S.), the Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), and the Barrow Cadbury Trust (U.K.), with additional support from the Fundación BBVA. It measures public opinion on immigration issues in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Respondents in all countries grossly overestimated the share of immigrants in their countries. Americans thought that 35% of the population in the United States are immigrants (the real number is closer to 14%), Canadians estimated 37% (20% in reality), and Europeans estimated an average of 24% (of the European countries surveyed, Spain and Germany have the highest share at 13%).

Key findings include:


In all countries except the United States, respondents whose household economic situation got worse in the past year were slightly more likely to be worried about legal immigration. However, the economic crisis has not had a large effect on overall attitudes. Instead, self-described political leaning is much more pronounced when related to changing attitudes—those on the political right in Europe and describing themselves as Republican in the United States had 7- and 15-point jumps, respectively, in saying that immigration was more of a problem than an opportunity compared to 2008.


Countries were divided on whether or not to give illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain legal status— German and French respondents were in favor, Italians and Brits were against, and Dutch, Spanish, and Canadian respondents were split. But all European countries saw an increase in support for legalization over the previous year. The United States showed declining support for a legalization measure (49% supported it in 2008, 44% in 2009).


As in 2008, majorities in all countries surveyed indicated that "legal immigrants who come to the country to work" should be given the opportunity to immigrate permanently, rather than forced to return to their countries of origin after a temporary period.


Majorities in all countries supported providing social benefits and granting political participation rights to legal immigrants, though only France (65%), Italy (53%), and Spain (53%) clearly support granting local voting rights to them.


 A plurality or majority in the three Mediterranean countries surveyed—France (44%), Italy (45%), and Spain (51%)—thought that increasing development aid would be the best way to reduce illegal immigration, favoring this policy over border controls, employer sanctions, and facilitating legal immigration.


Opinions as to how governments are managing immigration differed wildly across countries—British (71%), Spanish (64%), American (63%), and Italian (53%) respondents disapproved of their governments' management, but Germans (71%), Canadians (59%), the Dutch (53%), and the French (50%) approved of the steps taken thus far.


A majority in all European countries except the U.K. favored immigration policy formulation by the European Union as a whole, rather than at national or local levels. Across European countries as a whole, support averaged 56%—but was only at 30% among respondents in the U.K.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles From SSRN

Here are some new immigration articles on the Social Science Research Network (

"Immigrant Labor and the Occupational Safety & Health Regime; Part I: A New Vision for Workplace Regulation" New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2009 JAYESH RATHOD, American University - Washington College of Law.

ABSTRACT:  This article is the first in a series of three articles that together form a scholarly project that unearths the causes of recent trends in immigrant worker fatalities and injuries in the U.S., and presents recommendations for reversing it. The article examines how the history, structure, and operations of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have, at times, obscured the workplace safety concerns of immigrant workers and have left these workers with no meaningful voice in the regulatory process. The article presents a set of regulatory imperatives to guide OSHA’s future work with respect to immigrant workers. These imperatives provide a framework for other agencies that have failed to adequately protect or otherwise address the concerns of a historically disadvantaged constituency.

"Allowing Judicial Review of Motions to Reopen: Kucana v. Holder" American Bar Association, Section of International Law, Immigration & Naturalization Committee, Fall 2009 Newsletter, Volume XI, Issue 2, pp. 1-4 JOHANNA K. P. DENNIS, Vermont Law School.

ABSTRACT: This casenote discusses Kucana v. Holder, in which the U.S. Supreme Court is called to determine whether motions to reopen are not judicially reviewable outside the immigration agency context based on 8 U.S.C. § 1252.

"The Hidden Dimension of Nineteenth-Century Immigration Law" Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 5, pp. 1353-1418, October 2009 KERRY ABRAMS, University of Virginia School of Law.  BLOGGER'S NOTE:  PROFESSOR ABRANMS IS DOING SOME GREAT IMMIGRATION SCHOLARSHIP.

ABSTRACT:   This Article challenges the conventional wisdom that the law had little to say about immigration before 1875. Instead, it offers a reframing of immigration law history as including what scholars have previously thought of as “settlement history”: The immigration of whites to the western territories. The Article focuses on a particular group of immigrants-the so-called Mercer Girls-to explore both how the failure to invoke exclusionary immigration law and the presence of other kinds of laws (including homestead acts and anti-miscegenation statutes) functioned to shape the population of the nascent western territories. A close look at this type of immigration and this group of immigrants in particular facilitates a reconceptualization not only of narratives of American westward immigration, but also of the way immigration law actually works, both on its own and in tandem with other doctrinal schemes. The story of the Mercer immigrants can help us put exclusionary immigration law in context as part of a broad set of legal strategies used to produce, shape, and maintain populations. More importantly, it shows us that the study of restriction only tells part of the story of our country. To understand whether immigration policy is meeting its goals, we must look to see how the law fosters immigration as well as how the law restricts it.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Infighting Among Anti-Immigrant Zealots? Lou Dobbs Soft on Immigration, Says Americans for Legal Immigration

The Wonk Room reports on an ironic twist of fate resulting from the Lou Dobbs Reputation Salvation Tour following his sudden departure from CNN:  "The anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) was crushed to hear [Lou] Dobbs say that he supports a path to legalization for undocumented workers in an interview on Telemundo late last month after all the years he dedicated to railing on `amnesty.'”  Read the article linked above for details.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Alex Aleinikoff to Be New UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees

Georgetown University Law Center Dean (and immigration and refugee law expert) T. Alexander Aleinikoff has been appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, effective February 1, 2010. The UNHCR, located in Geneva, Switzerland, is responsible for leading and coordinating international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Aleinikoff will continue to serve as dean of the Law Center until late January. Complete releases are available here and here.


December 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)