February 21, 2009
Old News: U.S. Immigration Courts “Overburdened, Under-Resourced” -- Is Help on the Way?
Talk Radio News Service ran a story that is not very surprising given what has been reported about immigration adjudication for years. But it is not an issue that seems to be getting much attention from the new Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder (who heads the U.S. Department of Justice, the home of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (and the Board of Immigration Appeals and the immigration courts)).
The TRNS reports that the Brookings Institution held a meeting on Friday to discuss immigration and the U.S. court system. The focus was on the many issues in the current system and what needs to be done to improve it. Juan Osuna, Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals, began the meeting by saying, “I think that the most significant issue is basically the lack of resources. There are simply too many cases and too few judges to hear them.” He pointed out that the average judge in an immigration court hears about 1200 cases every year, compared to an average 480 case load per year for district judges."
In addition, Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit emphasized that "the issue is not only with the lack of judges, but with the poor quality of representation. “The problem of quality of representation is a severe problem in the courts… There are many fine immigration lawyers but all too often I see cases where the immigrants representation is substandard.” Additionally, he pointed out that only about 35% of immigrants have representation when they go to court. Katzmann believes improving the quality of representation is a critical issue to improve the immigration court system as a whole.
Census Bureau Data Show Characteristics of the U.S. Foreign-Born Population
Here is the Census Bureau's press release about the new data analysis:
"According to a new analysis of data about the U.S. foreign-born population from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS), a higher percentage of people born in India have a bachelors degree or higher (74 percent) than people born in any other foreign country. Egypt and Nigeria had rates above 60 percent. Based on 2007 ACS data, these figures come from new detailed characteristic profiles on the foreign-born population — people who were not U.S. citizens at birth — available by country of birth. Meanwhile, among the nation’s foreign-born, Somalis and Kenyans living in the United States are the most likely to be newcomers, and Somalis are among the youngest and poorest.
“These new ‘selected population profiles’ highlight the diversity among the many different foreign-born groups in the United States,” said Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff. “This diversity is due in part to the way the various communities were established, whether it be through labor migration, family reunification or refugee flows.” The new data reveal the diversity among the 38.1 million foreign-born living in the United States in 2007, not only by where they were born, but also by where they live now. For example, about 80 percent of the nation’s population born in China are high school graduates. In the New York metropolitan area, about two-thirds of those born in China are high school graduates, while in the metro area of San Jose, Calif., the figure rises to 93 percent.
Other findings available for foreign-born populations of 65,000 or more in areas with a total population of 500,000 or more include the following:
Country of Birth: Mexico tops the country of birth list with more than 11.7 million people. The next highest countries by birth include China (1.9 million), the Philippines (1.7 million), India (1.5 million), El Salvador and Vietnam (both at 1.1 million), and Korea (1 million). Cuba, Canada and the Dominican Republic round out the top 10 countries of birth.
Educational Attainment: Foreign-born from several African nations are among the likeliest to have graduated from high school, specifically from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa. About 96 percent or more of the foreign-born age 25 and over from these nations are high school graduates. Overall, about 85 percent of the total U.S. population, 68 percent of the U.S. foreign-born and 88 percent of the native-born are high school graduates. About 27 percent of the foreign-born and about 28 percent of natives have bachelor’s degrees.
Household Income: Among the foreign-born, those from India, Australia, South Africa and the Philippines have the highest median household incomes. The median household income for U.S. residents born in India is $91,195. The foreign-born from Somalia and the Dominican Republic had some of the lowest median household incomes. Median household income is $50,740 for the total population, $46,881 for the foreign-born population and $51,249 for the native population.
Age: Europe is the source of some of the “oldest” foreign-born. U.S. residents born in Hungary (64 years) and Italy (63.1) share the distinction, statistically, of having the oldest median ages. The foreign-born from Greece, Germany and Ireland also have median ages of about 60. U.S. residents born in Somalia have the youngest median age (26.8). Nationally, the median age for the total U.S. population is 36.7. The total foreign-born population has a median age of 40.2 and the total native population has a median age of 35.8.
Year of Entry: The foreign-born from Somalia and Kenya are the most likely to have entered the United States in 2000 or later. Nearly 60 percent are in this category. Overall, about 28 percent of the nation’s foreign-born entered in 2000 or later, 29 percent between 1990 and 1999, and 43 percent entered the United States before 1990.
Employment and Occupations: Approximately 81 percent of the foreign-born age 16 and over from Nigeria and Kenya are in the labor force. Nationally, about 65 percent of the U.S. population in this age group are in the labor force, compared with about 67 percent of the foreign-born population and 64 percent of natives. U.S. residents born in India have the highest percentage of civilian-employed people working in management, professional and related occupations (69 percent). These occupations employ about 36 percent of the native civilian-employed U.S. population and 27 percent of the foreign-born. The foreign-born from Liberia and Haiti have the highest percentage of civilian-employed people working in service occupations (at 40 percent and 39 percent respectively, the differences are not statistically significant). About 16 percent of natives and 23 percent of the foreign-born civilian-employed populations are working in service occupations. The foreign-born from Jordan (40 percent) and Bangladesh (36 percent) are among the most likely to work in sales and office occupations (the differences between the two are not statistically significant). Among natives, 27 percent work in sales and office occupations, compared with 18 percent among the foreign-born population.
English Language Ability: About 97 percent of the foreign-born population from Mexico and the Dominican Republic age 5 and over speak a language other than English at home. Those born in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Armenia, Honduras, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ecuador also have high rates of speaking a language other than English. People born in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador age 5 and over are most likely to speak English less than “very well.” More than 70 percent of the foreign-born population from these countries identified themselves in that category. On average, 52 percent of the foreign-born population, 2 percent of the native population and 9 percent of the total U.S. population speak English less than “very well.”
Poverty: Among people for whom poverty status is determined, about 51 percent of residents born in Somalia are living in poverty. About a quarter of the population born in Iraq, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico are also living in poverty. On the low end of the poverty spectrum for the countries of birth, U.S. residents born in the Netherlands and Ireland each have a poverty rate of about 5 percent. About 13 percent of both natives and the total U.S. population are living in poverty, while about 16 percent of the foreign-born are."
This is the N.Y. Times summary of the Census data.
Here's an interesting comment from Professor Jessica Slavin of Marquette:
Claudia Meléndez on Immigration
Claudia Meléndez on NeonTommy writes on on immigration in her column, "The Coming Majority." She has a nice piece this week debunking some of the misrepresentations (and a nice response to the exaggerated claims of "chain migration"about immigration from some anti-immigrant pundits such as Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilley, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga).
Here is the an archive of her work.
February 20, 2009
Don't Forget Iraqi Refugees
From Refugees International:
Here is information about Refugees International's new campaign urging President Obama not to forget Iraqi refugees.
Did you know? 1 in 5 Iraqis have been uprooted by violence in their homeland. Many have fled to Syria where the situation has become increasingly desperate.
The campaign features a petition urging President Obama to help Iraqi refugees in Syria as well as two candid new videos about this issue: "The View From Syria" and "Khaled's Story".
You can find more details, as well as the two videos, here: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/iraq-release
New Media Strategist
New Immigration Leaders in DC
The changing of the immigrtaion guard in Washington, D.C. continues. DHS Secretary Napolitano has been on board for a while. The Washington Post now reports that
"Immigrant advocates say the White House and the Department of Homeland Security have nearly finalized their choices to lead two major immigration agencies. For DHS assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, all signs point to John T. Morton, a career Justice Department official who has overseen complex immigration and terrorism cases -- most recently as chief of the Domestic Security Section. For Citizenship and Immigration Services, . . . Maryland Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez appears to be the pick. Perez, a key player in Obama's transition, was a top official in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton."
Earlier this week, it was reported that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) would be the new chair of the U.S. Senate Immigration Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, taking the reigns from Senator Edward Kennedy who held the position for 28 years.
Kobach's Latest Immigration Article
Professor Kris Kobach (UMKC), who recentlly argued on behalf of Hazleton, PA in the Third Circuit and against in-state fees for undocumented residents attending California public universities, always writes provocative immigration law articles, almost invariably for more enforcement, deportations, and against any other kind of reform . Here is his latest from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com):
"Immigration, Amnesty, and the Rule of Law" Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 36, No. 4 ABSTRACT: Recent years have seen an unprecedented number of state laws proposed and enacted on the subject of illegal immigration. In addition, municipalities across the country have enacted ordinances designed to discourage illegal immigration and the employment of unauthorized aliens. Some observers have suggested that these efforts are simply the result of energized political activists, frustrated with inaction in Congress, turning their attention to state and local legislation. According to this view, such state and local laws are merely spillover consequences of the larger debate regarding controversial imigration bills in Congress. These explanations do not accurately reflect what has been happening in the effort to confront illegal immigration at the state and local level. To be sure, frustration with congressional inaction sometimes fuels enthusiasm for state and local action. But that explanation does not fully account for what has been occurring in state legislatures and city halls nationwide. Independent forces motivate state and local governments to confront illegal immigration within their respective jurisdictions. While illegal immigration is a national issue, the consequences are felt first and foremost at the state and local level. This article addresses the fiscal burden to state and local governments of illegal immigration, argues that amnesty is not the answer, and, that amnesty actually exacerbates the fiscal costs of illegal immigration. It concludes that even if granting amnesty to twelve million illegal aliens could be accomplished with ease, it would not alleviate the burden that so many cities and states are bearing. Illegal immigration is very expensive for the cities and states in which the illegal aliens live. An amnesty, like so many "solutions" that gain currency in the halls of Congress, is no solution at all.
February 19, 2009
Obama Needs to Focus on Mexico
San Francisco Chronicle Editorial:
With a full plate ranging from war to recession, a new president might want to avoid Mexico. Topping the reasons are the minefield of immigration policy, a raging drug war, and free-trade frictions.
But President Obama can't afford to dodge a foreign-policy challenge on his southern doorstep. Mexico is the latest and most sweeping test of the "too big to fail" imperative as White House policymakers try to steady a shaky world.
Mexico is hardly in the same dire shape as the auto or banking industries. But it has problems that light up the worry-meter. These issues can't be solved on one side of the border alone. The situation requires a steady, unswerving partnership that both countries have not yet forged.
Mexico, in many ways, is a stand-in for the rest of Latin America. Booming economies are slowing sharply as oil and mining prices tank. Remittance money sent home by foreign workers is dropping. Anti-Yankee emotions, easily stirred by President George W. Bush, have cooled as the Obama honeymoon sails on. Click here for the rest of the piece.
Gitmo Chinese Uigur Detainees Cannot Enter the U.S.
Hope Yen writes for the Associated Press:
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that 17 Turkic Muslims cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay must stay at the prison camp, raising the stakes for an Obama administration that has pledged to quickly close the facility and free those who have not been charged.
In a showdown over presidential power, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said a judge went too far last October in ordering the U.S. entry of the 17 men, known as Uighurs (WEE'-gurz), over the objections of the Bush administration.
The three-judge panel suggested the detainees might be able to seek entry by applying to the Homeland Security Department, which administers U.S. immigration laws. But the court bluntly concluded the detainees otherwise had no constitutional right to immediate freedom after being held in custody at the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without charges for nearly seven years. Click here for the rest of the story.
Deporting Assets While Ignoring Threats
Commentary from the National Immigration Forum:
It is hard to argue that our immigration enforcement priorities make sense. Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of raids, detention beds, boots at the border, and enforcement of every kind against immigrants in the country illegally. But what is the result? For the most part, we are arresting, jailing, and deporting immigrant family members who have committed no crimes beyond violating immigration regulations. These people are assets to our economy and communities, not threats to them. Click here for the rest.
February 18, 2009
Exposing FAIR, NumbersUSA and CIS
From America's Voice and the Southern Poverty Law Center:
We are pleased to invite you to attend a briefing tomorrow at 11:00 am on Capitol Hill hosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on the new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the extremist roots of the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for Immigration Reform and NumbersUSA. We hope to educate Congressional staff about the true nature of these organizations, how they operate together to stop a wide range of progressive priorities in Congress and present concrete evidence to prove that their bark is much louder than their bite.
See below for the invitation from the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) and Lynn Woolsey (CA-6). For those of you who aren’t able to make it, the materials will be available on the America’s Voice website following the event.
Briefing on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report on the extremist roots of leading anti-immigrant groups
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Cannon 121: 11:00 am
Light snacks and refreshments will be provided
According to a recently released report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, three Washington, D.C., organizations most responsible for blocking comprehensive immigration reform and SCHIP during the 110th Congress, and that have tried but failed to block SCHIP and the economic stimulus plan this year, are part of a network of groups created by a man who has been at the heart of the white nationalist movement for decades.
The report, entitled The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance, describes how the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA were founded and funded by John Tanton, who operates a racist publishing company and has written that to maintain American culture, "a European-American majority" is required. It also examines how each of these groups maintain close ties to Mr. Tanton and other extremist elements while infiltrating the mainstream and presenting themselves as legitimate and unbiased commentators and policy experts.
This briefing will be a valuable opportunity for you and your staff to learn about the extremist roots of these organizations, how they have blocked progressive priorities such as the expansion of health care and jobs, and the passage of fair and just immigration reform, and how you can dispel the myths they propagate.
· Gloria Montano, Chief of Staff to US Rep. Raul M. Grijalva
· Mark Potok and Heidi Beirich, Southern Poverty Law Center
· Henry Fernandez, Center for American Progress
· Adam Luna, America’s Voice
If you have further questions, please contact Greg Staff with America’s Voice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, CPC Co-Chair
U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, CPC Co-Chair
Study Shows Sharp Rise in Latino Federal Convicts
It is not really surprising but the sharp increase in enforcement of the criminal immigration laws has dramatically altered the ethnic composition of offenders sentenced in federal courts. In 2007, Latinos accounted for 40 percent of all those convicted of federal crimes and one third of all federal prison inmates, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. For the NY Times report on teh study, click here.
Accoring to the study, Latinos, who are 13% of the U.S. adult population, accounted for 40% of all sentenced federal offenders in 2007—up from 24% in 1991. Immigration offenses now represent about one-quarter of all federal convictions, compared with 7% in 1991. Most Latinos with federal sentences are not U.S. citizens. Hispanics are more likely to receive a prison term but it is generally shorter than prison terms for whites and blacks.
UPDATE: Roberto Lovato's take on the report ("The Age of Crimmigration") is well worth reading.
ARIZONA JURY FINDS VIGILANTE RANCHER LIABLE FOR ATTACK ON IMMIGRANT
The Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund hails a jury verdict yesterday that a rancher on the Arizona-Mexico border is liable for assaulting and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on a group of immigrants he found on public land. The plaintiffs were resting in Douglas, Arizona when they were accosted by defendant Roger Barnett, who has been a defendant in other similar suits, who was armed with a gun and accompanied by a large dog. Roger Barnett held the group captive at gunpoint, threatening that his dog would attack and that he would shoot anyone who tried to leave. During the encounter, Barnett kicked a plaintiff as she was lying, unarmed, on the ground. The jury found in favor of the women plaintiffs and awarded damages on their claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Barnett was assessed $73,352 in damages.
This is not the first racial assault case filed against the Barnett family. The Morales family and Emma English, a family friend, are U.S. citizens who filed suit after Barnett confronted them on state land in November 2004, while they were on a family hunting trip. Armed with a semi-automatic military-style assault rifle, Barnett held the family at gunpoint, cursed and screamed racial slurs at them and threatened to kill them all. In September 2008, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected Barnett’s appeal and allowed to stand a jury award to the family of close to $100,000 in damages.
"This verdict in favor of the plaintiffs sends a strong message condemning vigilante violence against immigrants,” stated Marisol Perez, MALDEF staff attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs. The law firms of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally, P.L.C. participated as pro bono counsel on behalf of the plaintiffs.
New report shows ICE agents were ordered to indiscriminately target immigrant communities in Baltimore in order to reach quota
We previously reported on allegations of ICE engaging in racial profiling in Baltimore. Now, a new report from Casa de Maryland shows that in desperation to meet monthly quota, ICE agents arrested 24 Latinos at a 7-11 based solely on racial profiling. According CASA de Maryland, ICE agents acknowledge open air raids in busy city centers were done to meet quota in an internal investigation released after a lawsuit was filed by CASA de Maryland. Further information from the report shows contradictory information from the sworn declarations of the agents involved in the 2007 raid in Baltimore. This release comes mere weeks after the release of explosive video footage of the same raid showing ICE agents gathering together Latino shoppers, day laborers, and pedestrians, while Caucasians and African-Americans are ignored. “This is the federal government, and these are agents who took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland, the state largest advocacy group for immigrants’ rights. “Is this the America contemplated by our founders?” said Torres. Immediately after the raid, Senator Barbara Mikulski began an inquiry at federal level for an in depth investigation. After a Freedom of Information Act request was insufficiently responded to, CASA de Maryland filed litigation against the department and only recently received the report created in response to Senator Mikulski’s request. That report also reveals that information provided to Senator Ben Cardin’s office by ICE immediately after the raid was false. "Street raids to meet quotas are absolutely unbelievable. It will take time to reverse the Bush years and the abridgement of our constitutional rights, but I look forward to standing with CASA de Maryland, and my Latino and immigrant brothers and sisters to get it done" said June White-Dillard, NAACP Prince George’s County Branch President.
The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Law in North Carolina
The University of North Carolina Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic (with Professor Deborah Weissman as Director of Clinical Prgrams) and the ACLU in North Carolina Legal Foundation has released its report on the 287(g) Program in North Carolina titled "The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Law." This report, the first to present a comprehensive legal and policy evaluation of the 287(g) program in North Carolina, represents a valuable collaboration between advocates and academia in a state at the forefront of immigration collaborations between the federal government and local law enforcement. Here are lionks to the reports and executive summary.
Here is a quick summary or the report's findings:
"The 287(g) program was originally intended to target and remove undocumented immigrants convicted of `violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering.' However, [memoranda of argeements] are in actuality being used to purge towns and cities of “unwelcome” immigrants and thereby having detrimental effects on North Carolina’s communities. Such effects include:
• The marginalization of an already vulnerable population, as 287(g) encourages, or at the very least tolerates, racial profiling and baseless stereotyping, resulting in the harassment of citizens and isolation of the Hispanic community.
• A fear of law enforcement that causes immigrant communities to refrain from reporting crimes, thereby compromising public safety for immigrants and citizens alike.
• Economic devastation for already struggling municipalities, as immigrants are forced to flee communities, causing a loss of profits for local businesses and a decrease in tax revenues.
• Violations of basic American liberties and legal protections that threaten to diminish the civil rights of citizens and ease the way for future encroachments into basic fundamental freedoms."
February 17, 2009
February 28 Protest Against Sheriff Arpaio
Call for Teach-ins Across the Country: No to Sheriff Arpaio, No to Hate.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) along with a broad coalition of grassroots and national organizations is calling for you to mobilize to hold teach-ins and organize local actions leading up to a massive march and demonstration in Phoenix 2/28 to shut down the immigrant detention camp.
These teach-ins serve to resist the systematic normalization of hate and xenophobia occurring in Arizona through the use of immigration laws. Arizona is the testing ground for right-wing immigration policy. If we cannot stop it there, we'll see similar activities spread across the country.
It is crucial that you help raise awareness and collect resources in support of the communities terrorized by the Maricopa Sheriff and his volunteer posses.
Last week, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa, Arizona marched 200 chained and shackled immigrants from a detention center to a segregated "tent city," in the desert surrounded by a recently installed electric fence, where it will soon reach 120 degrees daily. Sheriff Arpaio has cut their access to healthcare and plans to force them to work in chain gangs if they "misbehave."
We are calling for federal intervention in this crisis and for Pres. Obama's appointee to the Dept. of Homeland Security, Arizona Governor Napolitano, to sever Sheriff Arpaio's agreement with federal immigration authorities due to his gross human rights violations
Please join Community organizations, faith-based institutions, students, and academics by holding a teach-in to discuss the human rights crisis in Maricopa, Arizona and coming to Phoenix February 27th and 28th. The teach-ins explore the latest civil and human rights violations in Arizona as an alarming trend to criminalize immigrants that last week reached apartheid-like proportions.
Sign up for action alerts: www.ndlon.org
If you are interested in hosting a teach-in and would like a tool-kit or a speaker from the campaign contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
REPLY TO: Yadira Hernandez Herrera [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!
Presentation on Immigrant Workers
From Professor Maria Ontiveros:
This year marks the Fifth Anniversary of the Jack Pemberton Lecture on Workplace Justice, and I wanted to personally invite you to come. The lecture takes place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday evening, Feb. 26, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Students, faculty, alums, lawyers and activists are all invited.
The last lecture drew about 100 attendees, all of whom had a wonderful time. I am confident you will find this year's event to be enlightening and engaging. If you would like to come, please register at the link below to help us manage numbers and to help with security. There is free on street parking after 6:00 p.m., and one hour of MCLE credit is available. Attendees are required to bring a photo I.D. to enter the federal courthouse.
Here are details on the lecture:
Lecture: "'And Deliver us from Evil': Constitutional Themes and the Perpetuation of Servitude."
Professor Juan Perea of the University of Florida College of Law
Commentary: "The EEOC and Immigrant Workers" by William R. Tamayo, Regional Attorney (S.F. District) E.E.O.C.
Professor Emeritus Delos Putz will deliver a tribute to Jack Pemberton.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
95 Seventh Street, San Francisco
Prof. Perea will explore how the compromises struck in the original Constitution, those which protected slavery, endorsed a culture in which some workers were cast in perpetual servitude because of their race. Despite the attempted corrective of the Reconstruction Amendments, servitude in some form has persisted without interruption, most recently visible in the recurrent plight of undocumented immigrants. Mr. Tamayo will discuss the current work of the E.E.O.C. as it relates to immigrant workers.
The Pemberton Lecture serves as a kick-off to the Law Review Symposium on "The Evolving Definition of the Immigrant Worker: The Intersection Between Employment, Labor and Human Rights Law," being held on Friday, Feb. 27 at Fromm Hall on the USF campus. Registration for both events is available on-line at https://eleph.us/lawreviewsympreg.php
Day Labor Markets and Public Space
Not much has been written in the law reviews about day laborers, who are to be found on the streets in cities across the United States. Here is an exception. Day Labor Markets and Public Space Gregg W. Kettles (visiting, Loyola Law School - Los Angeles; Mississippi College School of Law).
Abstract: Day laborers standing on street corners have become a more common, and more controversial, sight in many U.S. cities. Taking them to be evidence of public disorder and illegal immigration out of control, some communities have responded by adopting the strategy of exclusion. They have revived the enforcement of ordinances against loitering and vagrancy, and changed traffic rules to discourage drivers from stopping to pick up workers. Other communities have responded by adopting the strategy of shelter. Viewing street corner day laborers as vulnerable, these communities have opened indoor work centers that offer job placement and other services. Both of these approaches are fundamentally flawed. The strategy of exclusion ignores economic theory, which justifies the presence of day labor markets in public space. Exclusion also overlooks the nation's rich history of allowing day laborers and other temporary workers to use the sidewalk to solicit work. Exclusion further ignores fundamental economic and demographic changes that have increased demand for day laborers - whether illegal immigrants or not - and made public sidewalks the most efficient way to match these workers with potential employers. Finally, the strategy of exclusion is at odds with the contemporary push toward the "New Urbanism," with its sidewalk-intense uses, and the character of today's suburbs, which are increasingly integrated. The strategy of shelter similarly misunderstands the advantages offered by the street to day laborers. Like those who in earlier advocated sheltering the homeless and helping them find work, advocates of sheltering day laborers exhibit good intentions. But they risk turning street entrepreneurs into dependents. The defects of exclusion and shelter point to a third way to respond to day labor - one that gives them a place on the street.
February 16, 2009
DHS Secretary Napolitano Outlines Immigration Policies on NPR: U.S. Needs More Enforcement and "Boots on the Ground"
Madeleine Brand interviewed DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on immigration policy on NPR today. It was a troubling interview, specifically her almost myopic focus on the need for more enforcement, more "manpower," "boots on the ground", technology, etc. Indeed, Napolitano sounded just as hawkish on enforcement as Secretary Chertof did.
Napolitano might well have been talking about the war in Iraq as opposed to immigration law and its enforcement. The interviewer caught the drift, with Napolitano's response telling:
"Q I'm hearing a lot of enforcement from you right now. What about the other side of it? What about the immigration part of it, and changing immigration policy to allow more or fewer immigrants in?
A. Again, that's for the Congress to decide."
There is no mention of non-enforcement immigration issues within the Secretary's purview. Here are a few:
1. The many problems with immigrant detention, including poor health care, poor conditions, deaths, etc. that make the news regularly.
2. The persistent claims of racial profiling in immigation enforcement.
3. The thousands of deaths along the U.S./Mexico border resulting from increased enforcement operations.
4. The fact that, despite a great increase in fees last year, the processing of petitions for naturalization and other immigration benefits have long, long backlogs.
5. The fact that, despite record numbers of removals ever year, which cost the taxpayers billions of dollars, there was no indication until the recent slide in the American economy that the undocumented immigrant population in the United States was decreasing.
6. The fact that increased enforcement and removal campaigns have overwhelmed the immigration courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal courts.
On a very specific level, this letter to the Secretary (Hat tip to Dan Kowalski!) lists some simple administrative changes that the Secretary could take to resolve some hardships on immigrant widows and widowers of U.S. citizens.
One possible good sign. In response to a question about human impacts of immigration raids, Napolitano mentioned that there would be a focus on employers. However, she did not say that there would be any reduction in workplace raids like we saw in New Bedford, Postville, and other small towns, which resulted in the arrest and removal of large percentages of the community (with, coincidentally, Latinos comprising more than 90%-plus of those arrested).
Click here for Roberto Lovato's take on Napolitano's militaristic stance on immigration.
Happy Presidents Day! What About the Natural Born Citizen Requirement for the American Presidency?
Presidents Day seems to be the appropriate day to ask whether the Article Two of the U.S. Constitution provides, which provides that “ No Person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President . . . . ", serves modern purposes or should be eliminated through constitutional amendment.
This provision has gotten a fair amount of airplay in recent years, with discussion of the ineligibility of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the President as well as heated questions posed about whether President Obama and Senator John McCain are constitutionally eligible for the highest office in the land.
Given the many changes in the United States since 1789, include increasing global travel, growing recognition of dual nationality and citizenship, and the like, it seems appropriate to look hard at Article I's citizenship requirement, which is not a requirement for any other constitutional office in the United States.