Saturday, January 9, 2010

Which Is Acceptable: "Undocumented" vs. "Illegal" Immigrant?

Michel Martin's NPR show "Tell Me More" earlier this week explored the terminological question whether "'Undocumented" was preferable to "Illegal" in reference to immigrants in news stories and the general discussion of immigration.  The show followed up on a column by syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, who prefers "illegal immigrant." I disagreed.

For analysis of related terminological questions in discussing immigration and immigrants, click here.


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration at the AALS

The Association of American Law Schools is holding their annual meeting this week, with this one being held in surprisingly cold (and at times wet) New Orleans.  This explains my sporadc blogging the last few days.

Although a plane delay made me miss the immigration professors field trip to the local U.S. immigration and border enforcement authorities (which was, by all accounts, well-organized by Professor Isabel Medina (Loyola-New Orleans), I did attend the Section on Immigration Law (co-sponsored by the Section on Administrative Law) program on Friday afternoon on "Adjudication in Immigration Law:  Concerns and Realities."  It really was a super panel, with Mathilde Cohen (currently at Columbia) offering a wonderful comparative perspective based on fieldwork in immigration adjudication in France, Jill Family (Widener) and Jaya Ramji Nogales (Temple) providing careful analysis of issues at the intersection of administrative law, immigration law, and immigration adjudcation, and  Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Michael McGoings adding practical insights from the ground level about the formidable challenges of immigration judging.  Incoming section chair Lenni Benson (New York) was in great form as the insightful moderator who also kept the trains running on time.


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants Go Home! Arizona Law Frightens Immigrants

Various news reports that a new law in Arizona appears to be causing Arizona immigrants to avoid services.  The law "requiring public workers to alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement when illegal immigrants apply for benefits has terrified the immigrant community in Arizona, leading to discussions at schools, churches and community meetings about whether it is safe to ask for government help in Arizona. The author of the law, state Sen. Russell Pearce, is happy about that."

My guess is that Sheriff Joe's antics contribute to the generalized climate of fear among immigrants in Arizona.


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Back to the Future? The Security Responses to the Latest Bomb Scare

RaceWire explains how the U.S. government has responded in enhanced airport security measures after the latest Christmas Day underpants bomb care, labeling it "a throwhrowback to post-9/11 paranoia: travelers now face enhanced screening procedures for 14 countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and of course, the perennial warmed-over Cold War boogeyman, Cuba."

 Also, Race Matters Blog (  has posted

1.   American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee  Statement Regarding New TSA Directives: "New TSA Guidelines Troubling and Ultimately Ineffective"; and 

2.  A Politico Article Draws Ties Between New Transportation Security Administration Security Measures and NSEERS (also known as "special registration").

There is a briefing on January 11 sponsored by the Arab American Institute on the new TSA Guidelines. Titled "Targeting Needles or Adding More Hay?: Airport Profiling, 'Countries of Interest', and American Security," the briefing will feature three policy experts.  Download Needles_and_Hay_Brief_(Jan_2010)[1]


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NAACP, NCLR, and Other Groups Question Exclusion of Undocumented Immigrants from Health Care Reform

The NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and other groups have sent a letter to the President, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid identifying problematic aspects of proposed health reform legislation, including the exclusion of undocumented immigrants.  Download 2010healthcarecoalitionletter[2][1] .


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

America's Secret ICE Castles

Jacqueline Stevens has written several articles for The Nation about how and why immigration agents are holding U.S. residents in unlisted and unmarked subfield offices. Her most recent articles are "America’s Secret ICE Castles," and "ICE Agents’ Ruse Operations." She was interviewed on the radio station WNYC earlier this week.  


January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bad Omen for the Patriots? Immigrant Snow Shovelers Stopped by ICE

The Boston Globe reported that dozens of immigrants were pulled over Wednesday in Foxborough, Massachusetts by U.S. immigration authorities on their way to Gillette Stadium to shovel snow before this weekend’s New England Patriots playoff game.Many of those stopped were from Guatemala.  "Wednesday’s road stop was part of a routine Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation seeking specific fugitives who had been ordered deported, including some with criminal records that included domestic violence and driving while intoxicated, said agency spokeswoman Paula Grenier."  ICE apparently stopped vans of buses taking the workers to work.   Nine men from Guatemala were detained and are facing deportation. Five who illegally reentered the country after having been deported are being referred for criminal prosecution. "But 49 other people, most of whom are believed to be from Guatemala, were also questioned and released on orders to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the future to determine whether they are here legally."

I do not know about you but I am taking the Baltimore Ravens and the points in their NFL Wild Card Game on Sunday.


UPDATE  On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens upset the New England Patriiots 33-14 and knocked the Pats out of the NFL playoffs.  The Boston Globe reported that ICE, after questioning, took many of the workers to the stadium to work clearing the field.  

January 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Political Economy of Immigration

About a year ago, Tom Barry of the Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP) wrote this thought-provoking piece that is worth keeping in mind when contemplating immigration reform, detention, and enforcement.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 drastically altered the traditional political economy of immigration. The millions of undocumented immigrants—those who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas—who were living and working in the United States were no longer simply regarded as a shadow population or as surplus cheap labor. In the public and policy debates, immigrants were increasingly defined as threats to the nation's security. Categorizing immigrants as national security threats gave the government's flailing immigration law enforcement and border control operations a new unifying logic that has propelled the immigrant crackdown forward.

Responsibility for immigration law enforcement and border control passed from the Justice Department (DOJ) to the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In Congress Democrats and Republicans alike readily supported a vast expansion of the country's immigration control apparatus—doubling the number of Border Patrol agents and authorizing a tripling of immigrant prison beds.

Today, after the shift in the immigration debate, the $15 billion-plus DHS budget for immigration affairs has fueled an immigrant-crackdown economy that has greatly boosted the already-bloated prison industry. Even now, with the economy imploding, immigrants are currently behind one of the country's most profitable industries: they are the nation's fastest growing sector of the U.S. prison population.

Across the country new prisons are hurriedly being constructed to house the hundreds of thousands of immigrants caught each year. State and local governments are vying with each other to attract new immigrant prisons as the foundation of their rural "economic development" plans.

While DHS is driving immigrants from their jobs and homes, U.S. firms in the business of providing prison beds are raking in record profits from the immigrant crackdown. Although only one piece of the broader story of immigration, it's all a part of the new political economy of immigration. Click here for the rest of the piece.


January 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UCLA Study Finds Legalization Good for the Economy

A new report  by UCLA  Professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda concluded that legalization, along with a program that allows for future immigration based on the labor market, would create jobs, increase wages and generate more tax revenue. The report estimates that comprehensive immigration reform would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.


January 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Disspelling the Conventional Wisdom on Immigration Reform

New Report Proves Conventional Wisdom on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Wrong

Washington, DC - Some inside-the-beltway pundits argue that comprehensive immigration reform legislation has little chance of being brought up this year because it makes no sense to legalize millions of undocumented immigrant workers during a down economy. A new report by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center proves both of these views wrong.

The report, Raising the Floor for American Workers, found that fixing the nation’s broken immigration system would have far-reaching economic benefits that would help American workers and promote economic growth.  Most notably, it refutes the conventional wisdom that immigration reform is costly and unwise.

The report found that U.S. Gross Domestic Product would rise by $1.5 trillion over 10 years if Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform. Granting legal status to undocumented immigrants and creating flexible legal limits on future immigration flows would also raise the “wage floor” for all workers and would generate enough consumer-spending to support 750,000-900,000 jobs.  The report also finds that the option preferred by anti-immigrant groups and Congressional hardliners – forcing the 12 million immigrants in the United States illegally out of the country – would reduce GDP by 1.46 percent annually, amounting to a loss of $2.6 trillion over 10 years.

“Opponents of reform say we can’t afford to change the immigration system right now, but this report shows we can’t afford not to,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of Americas Voice. “Reforming the immigration system will lift wages, increase revenues, and help honest employers create jobs – at the same time that we are restoring the rule of law to our broken immigration system.”

“If lawmakers opposed to reform acknowledged the true costs of keeping the immigration system as is – reduced wages and tax collections, exploitable and expendable workers, expensive enforcement policies that neither control nor end illegal immigration – they would support reform because they would understand that the cost of doing nothing is much more expensive,” Sharry said.


January 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Catholic Bishops Pressure Obama for Immigration Reform

Alfonso Chardya writes for the Miami Herald:

Stepping up the pressure on President Obama, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday urged the administration to make legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants a priority to enhance national security and improve the nation's battered economy.

``We are in this to win,'' J. Kevin Appleby, the group's director of migration policy and public affairs told a telephone news briefing in which conference leaders announced a national postcard campaign to mobilize Catholics behind immigration reform.

Though the Catholic Church has been in favor of immigration reform for years, the announcement of the campaign Wednesday marked the first major new effort by U.S. church leaders to demonstrate commitment to the issue which the White House has indicated may be the next major legislative priority after healthcare reform. Click here for the rest of the story.


January 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Senate Candidates Offer Few Specifics on Immigration

Sophia Tareen writes for the Associated Press:

Illinois politicians and activists have helped shape the national Immigration debate, but those vying for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat had little of substance to say when asked about the issue recently by The Associated Press.

Democratic and Republican candidates alike stuck close to their party lines when answering a recent questionnaire on Immigration. They offered few specifics about what to do with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the country. And several candidates don't list Immigration as an issue on their Web sites.

The issue touches millions: families that could be split apart because of Immigration status, employers who are under scrutiny about hiring, workers in many industries and anyone concerned about border security.

The five Democrats seeking their party's nomination on Feb. 2 support a major overhaul of Immigration laws, including a path to citizenship status for iundcoumented immigrants. The six Republican candidates focus on better enforcement of existing laws.

Experts say the lack of specifics from candidates on both sides is disheartening. Click here for the rest of the story.


January 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Muslim Cleric Deported from Kenya to Gambia Accused of Racial Hatred

Liam Clifford writes for GlobalVisas:

The notorious Muslim-cleric Abdullah al-Faisal, who was deported by UK immigration in 2006, has been deported from Kenya to Gambia.

Kenya has announced the deportation of Jamaican born Muslim cleric Abdullah al-Faisal, infamous for preaching racial hatred.

Faisal was detained last week, however there have been contradictory reports about his location.

The Muslim-cleric has served a prison sentence of four years in the UK on the charge of soliciting the murder of Hindus and Jews.

Speaking of the deportation, Minister for Kenya immigration, Otieno Kajwang said; "He chose Gambia and we have deported him there this morning."

The cleric was born Trevor William Forrest in the St. James area of Jamaica, but left for the United Kingdom 26-years ago.

At the age of 16 Faisal went to Saudi Arabia, where it is believed he spent eight years and subsequently became a Muslim.

Prior to his arrest in the UK Faisal spent years travelling the country advocating racial hatred and urging his audience to kill people of other beliefs including Westerners, Jews and Hindus.

Upon his release from a UK prison he was deported by UK immigration, a year after in 2007, he was found preaching his illegal views in South Africa. Click here for the rest of the story.


January 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Campaign to Release Jean Montrevil from ICE Custody

From Families for Feedom and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

Sign on to statement below to support campaign to free Jean Montrevil from ICE detention and stop his deportation.

On the morning of December 30th, 2009, long time community leader and activist, Jean Montrevil, was detained for deportation to Haiti. A legal permanent resident since 1986 and father of four U.S. citizen children, Mr. Montrevil faces deportation for a 20-year old conviction. Mr.Montrevil was attending a regular check-in when he was detained by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

At this moment, when the debate on immigration reform is about the regain the spotlight, Jean's case has become a catalyst for change.  His case demonstrates why the system so desperately needs to be reformed.  Jean is a man who came here from Haiti on a greencard in 1986, was convicted of a crime in 1989, served his time and has never been in trouble with the law again.  Yet today, he faces permanent exile from his family. 
(Click here to see info on Jean's case and his family)


Many elected officials (Reps. Nadler, Valasquez, Serrano,  NY City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, NY State Senator Tom Duane, NY State Assemblywoman Glick, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer) have all given their full support to Jean's case and are privately and publicly advocating for him to remain with his family.
Yesterday, at a rally attended by over a hundred people outside the Varick Street Immigrant Detention Center in New York, eight clergy and two community leaders were arrested after stopping traffic for a half hour to prevent vans from transporting new immigrant detainees to the center.  The participants called for Jean Montrevil's release from detention and for reform of draconian immigration laws that cause separation of families. 
Click here for info on rally
Since 11pm last night over 350 people have already signed a petition to ask their Congressional representatives to help keep Jean and his family together. 
Click here for info on the petition


In addition to the massive support that we have already gained for Mr. Montrevil, we are asking for organizations to sign on to the following statement of support for Mr. Montrevil:

We, the undersigned organizations, support the campaign to free human rights advocate and nationally renowned immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil.  We call upon Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately release Mr. Montrevil from detention, grant him deferral of removal and return him to his family in Brooklyn.  Mr. Montrevil entered the U.S. from Haiti in 1986 as a legal permanent resident.  ICE is trying to de-legalize him for a 1989 drug conviction, for which he served 11 years.  He has kept an exemplary record ever since.  Mr. Montrevil is married to a U.S. citizen and has four U.S. citizen children who need him here to raise them and provide for their well being.  In Mr. Montrevil's case we recognize the struggles of millions of families who are ensnared in the devastating realities of a broken immigration system.  We affirm the need for greater discretion in the immigration system that will keep families together. We will continue to fight for such reforms in the name of Mr. Montrevil and the millions like him across the nation until all families win justice. 

To sign on, please contact Janis Rosheuvel with your name, organizational affiliation, and location, or call her at: 917-526-1136


January 6, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection Removed from CDC List of Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance

These questions and answers released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services address the removal of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and provide information about the change in law.


January 6, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Never Forget: Death on the Border, Chapter 1001

This Arizona Republic reminds is what is at stake when it comes to immigration reform:  "With the Obama administration offering assurances that immigration reform remains a priority, many are sizing up the political realities of doing this in an election year. But with deaths mounting under the current failed system, there is a moral imperative that should drive reform this year." (emphasis added).

Also in the news -- AP reports that the Mexican government has expressed concern over the recent fatal shooting of a migrant by the U.S. Border Patrol.


January 6, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latinos and the 2008 Election in California

CCIS Research Seminar Series: Latinos and the 2008 Elections in California

Marisa Abrajano
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego; Visiting Research Fellow, CCIS

January 12 at 2:00 PM
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor

Similar to the outcomes in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, California was expected to be a solidly blue state in the 2008 presidential race. What makes this presidential election distinct from previous ones, however, is the significant role that California played in the democratic nomination process. For the first time in the modern day presidential nomination process, the state’s fastest growing share of the electorate, Latinos, were given the opportunity to express their political preferences in a meaningful and important way. This paper examines the factors influencing Latino vote choice in the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. Can Latino vote choice be explained in the same manner as non-Latinos? Do potential distinctions in the information they receive (e.g. political ads, the media) affect their vote decisions in any way? In the months that followed California’s primary election, Latino voters remained in the spotlight, though not with respect to the presidential race. Instead, the importance of capturing the Latino vote turned to Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would amend the California constitution to ban same sex-marriage in the state.

Paper co-authored with Fernando Guerra, Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University

January 6, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Book Recommendation: Lac Su's "I Love Yous Are For White People"

Lac Su's memoir, "I Love Yous Are for White People" is a beautifully written account of the experiences of a young Vietnamese refugee growing up in rough neighborhoods in southern California. His complicated relationship with his father is the center of the book, but Su's descriptions of his life on the streets are captivating. I highly recommend the book. For more, click here and here.


January 6, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

UC Davis Law School Clinics Free Client from Immigration Detention

As we briefly reported on Christmas eve, a collaborative effort by the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Clinic and Civil Rights Clinic won the December 23 release of Herbert Flores-Torres, who had been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for nearly three years, allowing the client to enjoy a holiday reunion with family. Many members of the King Hall community contributed to the victory, including Professor Holly Cooper, supervising attorney with the Immigration Law Clinic, and Professor Carter White, supervising attorney with the Civil Rights Clinic, who acted as the lead attorneys in the case. Also assisting in the effort were current and former students Asha Jennings '09, Hua Hoang '08, Jessica Zweng '09, Carolyn Hsu '09, Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi '10, Su Yon Yi '10, Layla Razavi '11, and Rachel Prandini '10, as well as Shanti Martin, a Distinguished Fellow with the Immigration Law Clinic.

(Pictured: Yi, Flores-Torres, and Martin).

For more details, click here.


January 5, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant gets a fresh start after false arrest in Dallas fake-drug scandal

DIANNE SOLÍS of the Dallas Morning News reports on the a follow-up to a police scandal in Dallas involving Mexican immigrants falsely accused of drug-dealing and one man who was then falsely accused again as he tried to get his green card.


January 5, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)