Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kenya to Open New Camp for Somali Refugees

Lisa Schlein writes for Voice of America:

The UN refugee agency says the Kenyan government has agreed to allocate land to accommodate the increasing numbers of Somali refugees who are fleeing to Kenya to escape the escalating conflict in their country. In the meantime, the UNHCR says Somalis also are fleeing to Ethiopia.

The deal with the Kenyan government was concluded by Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Craig Johnstone. UN refugee spokesman, Ron Redmond, says Johnstone has just returned to Geneva from a three-day visit to Kenya, where he successfully carried out his mission. Click here for more.


February 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Indonesia Critical of Thailand on Burmese Refugees

Katie Hamann writes for Voice of America:

Indonesia has criticized Thailand for towing hundreds of Burmese Muslims out to sea in boats and demanded an end to persecution of minorities in the region. Almost 400 Rohingya refugees have been rescued in boats of the coast of Indonesia in the last month. Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda says the men have a clear case for applying for refugee status. Click here for more.


February 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NY Times on Arpaio

NY Times editorial critical of Sheriff Joe:

It has come to this: In Phoenix on Wednesday, more than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence. They were inmates being sent to await deportation in a new immigrant detention camp minutes from the center of America’s fifth-largest city.

The judge, jury and exhibitioner of this degrading spectacle was the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, the publicity-obsessed star of a Fox reality show and the self-appointed scourge of illegal immigrants. Though he frequently and proudly insists that he answers to no one, except at election time, the sheriff is not an isolated rogue. As a participant in the federal policing program called 287(g), he is an official partner of the United States government in its warped crackdown on illegal immigration.

The immigration enforcement regime left by the Bush Administration is out of control. It is up to President Obama and the new secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, to rein it in and clean it up. This applies not just to off-the-rails deputies like Sheriff Arpaio, but to the federal enforcement agencies themselves. Click here for more.

Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!


February 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Advocates Letter to A.G. Holder

Today, the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) is joined by more than 130 immigrants' rights organizations, law firms, and lawyers from across the country in calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse a last-minute legal decision issued by outgoing Attorney General Michael Mukasey.  Mukasey's legal opinion unraveled decades of precedent guaranteeing due process to people facing life-changing consequences - namely, deportation. 

AILF is encouraged by Attorney General Holder's testimony during his confirmation process, where he said he would reexamine the Compean decision.   

"The Constitution guarantees due process of law to those who are the subjects of deportation proceedings. I understand Attorney General Mukasey's desire to expedite immigration court proceedings, but the Constitution requires that those proceedings be fundamentally fair. For this reason, I intend to reexamine the decision should I become Attorney General."

AILF is submitting a letter to Attorney General Holder today, asking him to vacate and reconsider Mukasey's legal opinion in Matter of Compean, 24 I & N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009).  In that decision, Mukasey declared that there is no legal or constitutional right to a lawyer in removal proceedings, therefore, people have no right to complain or request a new hearing when their lawyer is incompetent.  For decades, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and most federal courts have operated under the principle that people DO have such rights.   

"We are very encouraged that Attorney General Holder appreciates the import of Mukasey's action and already has said he intends to reexamine the Compean decision," said Nadine Wettstein, the Director of AILF's Legal Action Center.   "As we say in our letter to Mr. Holder, Mukasey's decision was wrong on the law and would require years of litigation to fix.   Mukasey's decision, if left in place, will create years of confusion in the immigration and federal court system and throw deserving people out of the country."

"Mukasey's decision was yet another in a long line of midnight changes and an example of the Bush administration's disregard for fundamental principles of due process of law," said Ben Johnson, AILF Executive Director.   "We are gratified that Attorney General Holder has expressed a higher regard for the fundamental principles of due process and improving the integrity of immigration court decisions." 

AILF's letter to Holder and related materials are available at:

Mukasey's decision in Matter of Compean, 24 I & N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009) is available at:

Eric Holder's Congressional testimony is available at:

For further analysis of the decision, contact Nadine Wettstein, Director, American Immigration Law Foundation, Legal Action Center, phone 202-507-7523 or


February 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Booskhelves: Shattering Orthodoxies

I am trying to hunt down a copy of Shattering Orthodoxies: An Economic and Foreign Policy Blueprint for America by A. Haag Sherman, a Houston businessman.  One blog reports that the book lays "out some pretty provocative ideas about immigration" and contends that "America must promote immigration unless it wants to turn into a washed-up superpower" akin to the now-defunct Roman empire.


February 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Immigration Enforcement Mess

The N.Y. Times today criticizes in strong terms the immigration enforcement excesses in the United States today, with a focus of a television spectacle, with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio  serving as the master of ceremonies as more "than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence. They were inmates being sent to await deportation in a new immigrant detention camp minutes from [Phoenix]."

Reports of racial profiling, detention abuse, misplaced goals and priorities, excesses of immigration raids, arrest quotas, etc., etc. fill this blog and the newspapers.  Just yesterday, the Washington Post wreported on a Latina who accused local police in Virginia of bias and beating her.  She was hospitalized after, police allege, she resisted arrest during a traffic stop.  Her claim was that "she was treated `like an animal' by police because she is Hispanic and does not speak English."  Such reports are too frequent to ignore, especially with hate crimes -- including murder -- on the rise across the country.

As we have said before, these are the kinds of things that we would hope that a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security would look at.  Hopefully, the N.Y. Times editorial will bring attention to these real problems of immigration enforcement.


February 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Expanding E-Verify Would Hurt Economic Stimulus

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Efforts by anti-immigrant groups to persuade Congress to expand the "E-Verify" program as part of the economic stimulus bill would hinder, not help, the U.S. economy's recovery.  E-Verify is a voluntary federal program which is deeply flawed and ensnares American job-seekers in database errors, adds to the costs incurred by employers required to use it, and does not actually prevent undocumented immigrants from getting jobs.  With the U.S. economy sinking deeper into recession and the ranks of the unemployed growing with every passing day, now is not the time to delay a rescue package for jobless Americans so that it can be used to score political points in the immigration debate. Yet anti-immigrant groups seem to regard unemployed Americans as little more than collateral damage in their endless war against the foreign-born.

To learn more about the effects that the expansion of E-Verify would have on the nation's economic recovery check out:

IPC Fact Sheet:

How Expanding E-Verify in the Stimulus Bill Would Hurt American Workers and Business

IPC Press Release:

Want to Stall, not Stimulate, the Economy?  Expand "E-Verify" in the Stimulus Bill

IPC Blog Post:

Unemployed Americans Are Just Collateral Damage in War on Immigrants


For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 (office) or 202-631-0358 (cell) or or
Andrea Nill at 202-507-7520 or


February 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Letter to the President on HIV Status Rules

From Victoria Nielson of Immigration Equality:

Hi all,

We are writing to you because your organization has signed onto past letters our coalition has circulated advocating for the repeal of the HIV ban on travel and immigration.

As you probably know, last summer Congress completed the first of two steps necessary to lift the HIV ban when it removed the statutory HIV ban from the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Nevertheless, until HHS issues regulations removing HIV from its list of “communicable diseases of public health significance” nothing has changed for non-citizens living with HIV.  While we were optimistic that the Bush administration would issue the regulations, it didn’t happen.  As a candidate, Obama publicly stated his support for lifting the ban, and we want him to know that we will keep up the pressure until the ban is lifted once and for all.

Please reply to Danny Alicea, to sign your organization onto the letter.  The deadline for sign on is next Wednesday, February 11, 2009.


Victoria Neilson
Legal Director
Immigration Equality
40 Exchange Place, 17th Flr.
New York, NY 10005
(212) 714-2904 x. 25

February 11, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re:  Removal of HIV-related travel and immigration restrictions

Dear President Obama,

We write to urge you to order the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to publish a proposed rule to remove HIV from the HHS list of communicable diseases of public health significance as soon as possible. 

As a former co-sponsor of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (“PEPFAR”), we are sure you are aware that this landmark legislation included a provision which struck the statutory language that required HIV to be designated a communicable disease of public health significance.  In response to concerns about the potential increased costs to the U.S. health care system of removing HIV from the list, PEPFAR also raised future visa fees as an offset.  On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed PEPFAR into law completing the first step in a two step process to end the ban.

However, as long as HIV remains on the HHS list of “communicable diseases of public health significance,” non-citizens living with HIV are barred from visiting or immigrating to the U.S.  You have publicly stated your support for lifting the ban  and we ask you to take immediate action to do so and thus to end the stigma against people with HIV and treat it like all other routine, chronic diseases.

As HIV and immigration organizations, we call upon your Administration to carry out the will of Congress in lifting the ban.  The ban on travel and immigration for non-citizens with HIV is anachronistic, discriminatory and undermines public health.  As HHS recognized when it amended the definition of “communicable diseases” in October 2008, the American public needs protection from airborne, quarantinable diseases, not from viruses which cannot be casually transmitted such as HIV. 

We applaud your commitment to moving this regulatory action forward expeditiously.  The world is watching to see this ruling put into place. On August 3, 2008 at the International AIDS conference in Mexico City, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot, and International AIDS Society president Pedro Cahn all welcomed the action taken by the United States government towards lifting restrictions on entry for people living with HIV.  It is time for HHS to take the final step and lift the ban.


AIDS Action Council
The AIDS Institute


February 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Halt Deportations to Haiti

From: Half-Hour for Haiti: Tell President Obama to Stop Deporting Haitians

Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced H.R.331 , a bill “To establish the Independent Commission on the 2004 Coup d’Etat in the Republic of Haiti.” The bill has 10 co-sponsors already we’ll have an alert on it soon.

This week’s action:  In December, the Bush Administration resumed deportations to Haiti. The deportations had been halted in October, because Haiti was reeling from the hurricanes of August  and September. Unfortunately Ha iti is still reeling, from the hurricanes and now from increased hung er as food that would have been ready for harvest the last few months was destroyed in the storms. But the U.S. immigration system keeps sending people back, often breaking up families here to do so. See three good recent articles from the Miami Herald: Deportations Slide under Obama’s Radar (January 28), Haitians Snubbed Again in bid for TPS (January 8), and Inhumane to Deport Haitians, Rep. Alcee Hastings (Op-Ed) ( December 29, 2008).

We need to show the Obama Administration that deporting Haitians is one of the failed policies of the past that he has pledged to reverse. A coalition of religious, solidarity, labor, immigration and Haitian organizations in South Florida have put their heads together, and drafted a letter urging President Obama to immediately stop the deportations. They are asking all of us to sign on. The letter is below, please sign20it at:

To:  President Barack H. Obama

January 30, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Fax: 202-456-2461

RE: The Administration Should Urgently Stay Deportations to Haiti

Dear President Obama:

First, congratulations on your new job. Immigrant communities look forward to working with your administration. Certainly you have many pressing priorities. We are compelled, however, to bring to your attention a life or death matter: Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness and unemployment, if not worse, in the wake of four killer storms that further devastated our hemisphere’s poorest nation. We urge you to immediately stay deportations to Haiti pending review of U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians.

These deportations are inhumane and, we believe, contrary to your administration’s values of fairness, transparency and respect for human rights. Please consider:

• The former administration stayed deport ations to Haiti in September only to resume them abruptly in December without notice or reasonable explanation. This was a last-minute Department of Homeland Security policy reversal. It should not stand.

• Conditions in Haiti remain abysmal. The storms destroyed 15 percent of its GDP—the equivalent of eight to 10 Hurricane Katrinas hitting the U.S. in one month. Yesterday the State Department renewed warnings to not to travel to Haiti due to the “destructive impact” of the storms.

• Staying the deportations is in the interest of the U.S. Sending more people in need of food and shelter will further burden the Haitian government, which already is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural disaster. Deportees only delay recovery efforts. Meanwhile, Haitians who remain here would continue to send remittances, encouraging relatives to stay in Haiti and help rebuild their country.

• These deportations tear apart families, hurting U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Vialine Jean Paul, 34, married a U.S. citizen. Their 7-year-old, U.S-born daughter is being treated for a chronic viral infection. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Ms. Jean Paul to buy plane tickets for herself and her daughter to go to Haiti on February 9. Her dilemma: Should she put her daughter at risk of malaria, hepatitis, cholera, malnutrition and uncertain medical care in Haiti or leave her sick daughter behind?

Across America, many want our government to stand with the Haitian people. Haiti still needs U.S. help. Please help by immediately staying deportations to Haiti and undoing the last administration’s late-term policy reversal. It is the fair and decent course of action.


Marleine Bastien
Executive Director
Fanm Ayisyen Nan
Women of Miami

Cheryl Little
Executive Director
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

Maria Rodriguez
Executive Director
Florida Immigrant Coalition

Randolph P. McGrorty
Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Legal Services

Winnie Cantave
Co-Executive Director
UNITE for Dignity

Jean-Robert Lafortune
Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition

Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary
Notre Dame d’Haiti Mission

Preval Floreal
Grace Haitian United Methodist Church


The Undersigned

For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti program, the Insti tute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) or human rights in Ha iti, see our website, To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts (about 2 per month), send an email to


February 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


ObamabarackOn the eve of the Presidential election, numerous press outlets reported (possibly based on a  government leak) that President Obama's aunt was an "illegal alien" living in Boston.  The November suprise failed to change the election outcome.  But the background noise continues.

Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC, is calling on President Barack Obama to deport his aunt, who had unsuccessfully sought asylum, who is facing removal. The group has issued a public demand for Obama to deport Zeituni Onyango, who has an immigration hearing in April.


February 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

EOIR Director to be Holder's Chief of Staff

Attorney General Eric Holder has chosen UVA law grad Kevin Ohlson as his chief of staff. Ohlson, who is currently the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), served as Holder’s chief of staff when he was deputy attorney general. 

The question is who will head up EOIR.  The the quality of BIA and immigration court adjudication and professionalism has been in serious question for years.  See, e.g., this post (one of many) about Judge Posner criticism of the BIA's analysis.


February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Crime Does NOT Pay!!

The Los Angeles City Council agreed unanimously today to pay $12.85 million to demonstrators and bystanders who sued the city claiming they were injured or mistreated by police officers during the May Day 2007 immigration protests in MacArthur Park. The settlement covers nine lawsuits against the city.

We previously reported on this legal action, with the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund co-counsel on a class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department for the excessive actions against peaceful march participants taken at MacArthur Park on May 1.


February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Critical Bill Providing Children's Health Care Coverage

160pxobamabarack President Obama signed into law today the 2009 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA - H.R.2). Passed with bi-partisan support in the House and Senate and with unwavering support by President Obama, the bill reauthorizes the successful Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides states with federal dollars to provide health coverage to our nation's children. The bill also takes an important step to ensure all children in the U.S. have the opportunity to be healthy by removing the five-year waiting period for many legal immigrant children and pregnant women and allowing states to use federal funding to provide health coverage through the CHIP and Medicaid programs to these future citizens.

February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sheriff Joe Has Got To Go!

Folks, Sheriff Joe has got to go! Arpaio is apparently parading 220 chained immigrant detainees today, carrying their own bedding, through the streets of Phoenix from the county jail to their new home in a newly expanded area in Arpaio's infamous "Tent City." 
Having expanded his tent facility to house 2500 of the 10,000 inmates currently incarcerated in the county jail with a newly authorized $1.6 million dollar grant from the state, Arpaio vows to fill it with immigrant detainees. Click here.

We can't stand for this. Here's an online petition you can sign to ask the new AG Eric Holder to investigate Sheriff Joe for civil rights violations.  If you'd like to sign on, here's the link.

Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!


February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Civil Trial Against Border Vigilante

Brady McCombs writes for the Arizona Daily Star:

Trial in a civil rights lawsuit against Cochise County rancher Roger Barnett began Monday in federal court in Tucson.

The latest suit against the controversial rancher stems from a 2004 incident in a wash near Douglas when Barnett approached a group of illegal immigrants while he was carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross into the U.S. illegally - say that Barnett held the group captive at gunpoint, threatening that his dog would attack and that he would shoot anyone who tried to escape, a press release from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said.

The group says Barnett also kicked one of the members of the group. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is representing the 16 people.

The federal lawsuit charges Barnett, his wife, Barbara Barnett, and his brother, Donald Barnett, with conspiring to violate the plaintiffs' civil rights, the release said.

In March 2008, U.S. District Judge John Roll rejected Barnett's efforts to have the charges thrown out. Roll ruled that there was sufficient evidence of a conspiracy - that the conspiracy denied the plaintiffs their right to interstate travel and the actions of the Barnetts were motivated by race - to allow the matter to be presented to a jury.

Barnett's attorney, David Hardy, had argued that illegal immigrants didn't have the same rights as citizens. That setback came on the heels of another judgment against Barnett in February 2008. At that time, the Arizona Court of Appeals refused to throw out a jury verdict of guilty from November 2006 - and a nearly $100,000 monetary award - against Barnett in another civil case in which a jury concluded he falsely imprisoned members of a Douglas family. Click here for more.


February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Raids: First They Came for the Criminals, Then . . . .

The N.Y. Times has a story on a report by the Migration Policy Institute over the trends in immigration raids over the last few years.  No really surprises but U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement convinced Congress for more funding for removal of "criminal aliens" but, in the fervor to get political backing for comprehensive immigration reform, moved to raids resulting in the removals of noncitizens not convicted of any crimes.  Indeed, "[a]nalyzing more than five years of arrest data . . . , the report found that over all, as the program spent a total of $625 million, nearly three-quarters of the 96,000 people it apprehended had no criminal convictions. "

Internal agency directives "obtained by a professor and students at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law through a Freedom of Information lawsuit and shared with The New York Times, shows the power of administrative memos to significantly alter immigration enforcement policy without any legislative Thumb_markowtiz change."  According to the times, "Peter L. Markowitz, who teaches immigration law at Cardozo and directs its immigration legal clinic, said the memos obtained in its lawsuit reflected the Bush administration’s effort to appear tough on immigration enforcement during the unsuccessful push to pass comprehensive immigration legislation in 2006, and amid rising anger over illegal immigration. `It looks like what happened here is that the law enforcement strategy was hijacked by the political agenda of the administration,' he said."

The MPI report, is to be released today.  We wil post a link when available.

UPDATE  Here is the report.  Download nfop_feb091.pdf  And here is the press release that accompanied it:

The federal fugitive operations program established in 2003 to locate, apprehend and remove fugitive aliens who pose a threat to the community has instead focused chiefly on arresting unauthorized immigrants without criminal convictions, according to a Migration Policy Institute report issued today. The report, Collateral Damage: An Examination of ICE’s Fugitive Operations Program, found that 73 percent of the nearly 97,000 people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fugitive operations teams between the program’s inception in 2003 and early 2008 were unauthorized immigrants without criminal records. Despite the National Fugitive Operations Program’s mandate to apprehend dangerous fugitives, arrests of fugitive aliens with criminal convictions have represented a steadily declining share of total arrests by the teams, accounting for just 9 percent of total arrests in 2007, down from 32 percent in 2003, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own estimates. The National Fugitive Operations Program has experienced greater growth than any other DHS immigration enforcement program — its budget rising from $9 million in 2003 to $218 million last year. In its first five years, the program has received more than $625 million. Yet ICE estimated last October that 557,762 fugitive aliens remain in the United States.

“The National Fugitive Operations Program has not delivered on its promise to find and remove dangerous fugitives. The evidence suggests that this is a case of ‘mission drift,’ in which the program has used public funding intended for one purpose for something entirely different: Apprehending non-violent non-fugitives — who constitute the easiest targets,” said MPI Non-resident Fellow Michael Wishnie, a Clinical Professor at Yale Law School and co-author of the report. While the approximately 100 fugitive operations teams (up from eight in 2003) are supposed to arrest fugitive aliens — i.e. those with outstanding deportation, exclusion or removal orders, or those who have failed to report to the Department of Homeland Security as ordered — fully 40 percent of those arrested in 2007 had no outstanding removal order (known as ordinary status violators).

The arrests of ordinary status violators have increased since ICE in 2006 increased the quota for each seven-person fugitive operations teams from 125 arrests annually to 1,000. Said Muzaffar Chishti, Director of MPI’s Office at New York University School of Law: “It is troubling that a program billed as having an explicit national security focus instead appears to be aimed mainly at arresting non-criminal unauthorized immigrants through the use of SWAT-like operations — typically in residential settings — that increase the risks to law enforcement personnel and civilians alike, alienate communities and misdirect scarce personnel resources." A series of ICE memos obtained by the Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which were released today, illustrate the 2006 policy shift that de-emphasized the focus on high-priority targets in favor of increased arrests. “ICE has created tremendous bureaucratic incentives for fugitive operation teams to abandon focus on high-priority targets in favor of a shotgun approach of undisciplined home raids. ICE’s home raids have primarily led to the arrests of individuals who posed no risk to society and have come at a significant cost to immigrant families and to ICE’s own enforcement priorities,” said Cardozo law professor Peter L. Markowitz, who directs the Immigration Justice Clinic and represented plaintiffs in the FOIA lawsuit. The MPI report offers a series of recommendations, including:

• The 1,000-person annual arrest quota per team should be replaced with a system that prioritizes the arrest of dangerous fugitives over all other arrests. And the arrest priority system should be re-ordered to reflect that individuals with no criminal history or with in absentia removal orders should be designated the lowest priority.

• Fugitive operations teams should approach only targeted houses and persons.

• ICE should redeploy resources when the teams are unable to identify or pursue dangerous fugitives.

• ICE should develop a standard operating procedure addressing constitutional and humanitarian concerns that arise during fugitive operations team enforcement actions. All team agents should be required to undergo comprehensive training in accordance with this procedure, in addition to their basic law-enforcement training.

• Substantial National Fugitive Operations Team resources should be directed at improving the often error-ridden database from which information about fugitive aliens is drawn.

UPDATE U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the appointment of Dora Schriro as her Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal. Schriro is an expert on correctional policies.


February 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Municipal ID Conference in Oakland

Dear Friend , 

Please accept my invitation and join other community members, attorneys, scholars, artists, and community organizers this Friday, February 6th and Saturday 7th for a conference/community forum focusing on the implementation of municipal id/resident cards at Laney College in Oakland.  I have helped organize this event and your participation would be greatly appreciated.  As you may have already learned, a few weeks ago San Francisco became the second but largest city to issue municipal id cards that are available to all residents regardless of immigration status. Through this conference we would like to brainstorm the possible implementation of such programs in other cities.  We have invited people from around the country and state to come learn and discuss such possibilities. 

The conference will begin on Friday afternoon, where there will be some art exhibits, videos and music and will continue on to Saturday where there will be a series of presentations and workshops around the municipal id and surrounding issues. (see agenda below for more information.

If you have any questions about the conference please feel free to contact me at 831.261.2493 or via email at  If you are interested in attending please let us know by emailing or calling 415. 269.9547   


Daniel Luna

For more information about the conference visit:


Friday, February 6, 2009

2:00 pm-6:00pm- Alternative Presentations and Performances:  Art, Culture and Social Integration

Carlos Cartagena Salvadoran Artist
Made in L.A, Hecho en Los Angeles,  A documentary film by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar
Sobrevivir en el Imperio Documentary
Aztec Dancers. 

6:00pm- Conference Welcome

UC Davis Professor of Law Bill Hing
Miguel Robles, ALDI
Musical performance 

8:00 pm-Dinner 

Saturday,  February 7, 2009

8:00am-8:30am- Breakfast

8: 30 a.m. -9:00 a.m. - Opening Forum

Presentation and Workshops

9: 15 am – 11:10 am:    Shared Experiences—immigrant, homeless, elderly and LGBT communities   

Identity and Safety 

Facilitator: Beatriz Herrera, Community Organizer, POWER

Paule Cruz Takash, Sociocultural Anthropologist and Independent Researcher
Lisette Molina, UCLA North American Integration and Development (NAID) Center

Personal Privacy and Inclusiveness 

Facilitator: Julio Garcia, Community Organizer 

Alexandra Byerly, El-LA Program para Trans Latinas
Rene Quiñonez, Director Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY)
Laura Guzman, Director, Mission Resource Center
John Gilmore, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Co-Founder, Board Member, entrepreneur; technologist

Economic/Social/Political Context for Federal Law Immigration Reform 

Facilitator: Ramon Cardona, Diputado Suplemente de la Asamblea Legislative de el Salvador, Director del Centro Latino Cuzcatlan in San Pablo

Ted Lewis, Director of Human Rights Program Global Exchange
David Bacon, Union organizer and Writer
Nativo Lopez, National President of MAPA and HGTUI

11:20 am-1:15 pm:       What is a Municipal ID/Resident Card?

Municipal ID and its Multiple Uses

Maria Dominguez, Oakland Community Activist

Local Economic Sustainability for Marginalized Communities

Facilitador: Miguel Robles Founder/coordinator of Alianza Latinoamericana por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes

Wilson Riles, Former Oakland City Council Member, Community Activist
Francis Calpotura, Director, Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action
Dr. Raul Hinjosa-Ojeda, Founder, SF Global 

Implementation, Key Study: San Francisco 

Facilitator, Nicole Valentino, Community Advocate, Office of the Mayor of Richmond

Sheila Chung-Hagen, Former SF Immigrant Rights Administrator 
Jeff Atkinson, Capture Technologies

1:15pm- 2:00 p.m:        Lunch 

2:00 pm- 4:00 pm:        Overcoming Barriers with Strategic Planning and Collaboration

Building Alliances between Community and Media Outlets 

Facilitator, Rosie Reyes, Independent Media Consultant

Abigail Sterling, Investigative Producer KPIX TV 5 News
Richard Gonzales, Correspondent based in San Francisco for National Public Radio
Marcos Gutierrez PhD., 1010 A.M. Radio Broadcaster

Grassroots Strategies and Breaking Political Divisions to form Cross-Alliances 


Tom Wilson, Executive Director, Canal Alliance
Els de Graauw, Visiting Research Fellow, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University
Phil Hutchings, Specialist in Nonprofit & Community Issues

The Legislative Process and Defeating Legal Challenges in Court

Facilitator: Fernando Flores, Attorney

Julia Mass, ACLU Staff Attorney
Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, Esq. Litigation Associate, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Public Interest Fellow, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Daniel Luna, ALDI Legal Adviser

4:00pm:            Closing Discussion

Speakers: Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond, Felipe Aguirre, Mayor of Maywood, Nativo Lopez, Wilson Riles, Miguel Robles and Attendants

Statement of Purpose   

It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome you to the Cities for All: Integrating our Communities National Conference.   We hope that you and your organizations have come prepared to participate and engage in honest and open discussions about the possible implementation of municipal identification cards in your respective cities. 

As you may be aware, federal, and most of our state's laws, currently do not allow for the proper integration of all of our cities' residents.  For example, federal immigration law, via its lack of just legalization programs and the 2005 REAL ID Act prevent the full integration of our immigrant communities.  Current state identification and licensing mechanisms also repeatedly fail to provide access to adequate identification cards to our homeless, transgender, youth, and elderly city residents.  This lack of integration often hinders public safety, stifles community morale, and eliminates opportunities for economic growth in our communities. Unfortunately, any national or state solutions pertaining to integration are too often manipulated by political forces outside the reach of our communities.

As a consequence of the existence and social impact of this gap, the Cities for All conference seeks to propose that the implementation of municipal identification cards is an important and necessary approach in achieving increased community integration. Ordinances establishing municipal identification programs can assist in more fully integrating our communities, and can also fuel healthy local and national discussions about the social, moral, economic, and political integration of our communities. 
Therefore, this conference has been designed:

·       To facilitate the justification of such municipal identification programs

·       To provide tools for the effective implementation of such programs

·       To prepare for obstacles in implementing such programs, and

·       To establish working relationships among community groups in the pursuit of these programs, and

·         To motivate, encourage, and entreat city residents from cities across the nation to successfully promote the integration of all city residents through these programs

The Cities for All conference seeks to bring people together from different backgrounds, who have different interests and experiences, to think creatively and work collectively to ultimately accomplish the goal of living in cities that truly serve all of its residents.


We hope that you will enjoy the performances, art presentations, and discussions, and that you will gain new perspectives and allies to assist you in your pursuit of more fully integrated cities and communities. 

Alianza Latinoamericana por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes (aldi) and the

"Cities for All" National Conference Steering Committee


February 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Immigration Issue Surfaces in the Stimulus Package

An amendment to the House bill, sponsored by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), would require contractors that receive federal funds through the bill to verify the immigration status of their employees using a = E-Verify. For the full story, click here.


February 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Casa de Md U-Tube Video: Raid Outside a 7-11

Click here.


February 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guatemalan Woman Granted Asylum for Domestic Abuse

Maira Farfán Maldonado, one of 31 janitors arrested during immigration raids on Rhode Island courthouses last July, has been granted asylum based on domestic abuse in her home country of Guatemala.

While not precedent-setting, such asylum is unusual and much-debated. For the full story, click here.


February 3, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)