Saturday, March 13, 2010

Good Immigration News from the USS Blue Ridge

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Six sailors assigned to the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, home-based at Yokosuka, Japan, became citizens of the United States on March 8, 2010, while the ship was in South Korea for a military training exercise. The naturalization ceremony was held onboard the ship after Kenneth Sherman, Director ofU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office in Seoul, learned the training exercise meant the six would miss an upcoming ceremony in Japan. He arranged for two USCIS officers to meet the ship in Busan and complete the naturalization process without delay.

KJ

March 13, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Clarissa Martinez De Castro: Mr. President, Congress: The Time for Immigration Reform Is Now

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For an argument on the need to ACT, not talk more, about immigration reform from a leading voice from National Council of La Raza on Huffington Post, click here.

KJ

March 13, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ICE Raids in Maryland

As the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform movement keeps getting delayed, ICE raids continue. We need reform. As you can see from this article below, the justification for ICE raids is employer sanctions. But employer sanctions are emblematic of the institutional racism ingrained in our immigration laws. We need to repeal employer sanctions as a part of reform.

Frank D. Roylance writes for the Baltimore Sun:

Twenty-nine people were taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in simultaneous raids Thursday morning in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties at two restaurants, several residences and an office.

One of the raids focused on the Timbuktu Restaurant in the 1700 block of Dorsey Road in Hanover and several nearby homes where restaurant workers were housed, according to Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. Eighteen Anne Arundel County police officers assisted federal agents.

William Winter, special agent in charge at the Baltimore ICE office, said Thursday's action was carried out "to ensure that employers are held accountable for maintaining a legal work force.

"ICE is committed to investigating employers who engage in illegal employment schemes that utilize illegal labor." ICE spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs declined to provide further details on the raids while the investigation was continuing. She said the people detained during the raids were from a variety of countries. Some appeared to be Hispanic, she said. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

March 13, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Immigration Law Article: The Implausible Alien: Iqbal and the Influence of Immigration Law by Juliet P. Stumpf

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The Implausible Alien: Iqbal and the Influence of Immigration Law by Juliet P. Stumpf
 Lewis & Clark Law School. Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 231, 2010  Abstract: This Article addresses the subterranean impact of immigration law on the outcome of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a watershed case for civil pleading standards. In a new generation of cases seeking remedies for alleged mistreatment by high-level government officials, immigration law is exercising a quiet but powerful influence. Due to Iqbal, that influence will have a tremendous impact on the survival of civil complaints generally. The Supreme Court’s adoption of a heightened civil pleading standard results from the limits that the immigration context placed on the scope of Iqbal’s claims. This Article unearths the relevance of Iqbal’s immigration status through comparison with two cases that apply Iqbal’s holding to U.S. citizens in circumstances strikingly similar to Iqbal’s, yet rule in favor of the plaintiffs. In each case, the courts seized upon U.S. citizenship as the distinction that made the difference. The Article concludes that Iqbal relies on a questionable subtextual link between immigration law, national security, and ethnicity and religion.  BLOGGER'S NOTE:  Professor Stumpf has written some first-rate immigration scholarship.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Why U.S. News and World Report Should Include A Diversity Index in its Ranking of Law Schools

Some readers might find this FindLaw.com column of interest:  Why U.S. News and World Report Should Include A Diversity Index in its Ranking of Law Schools By VIKRAM DAVID AMAR and KEVIN R. JOHNSON.

KJ 

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conference for Undocumented Students--April 3

From R.I.S.E.:

Over 65,000 undocumented students graduate from High School each year across the United States.  At least 25,000 are from our State of California.  Due to their immigration status these students are ineligible for all Federal and State funded government financial aid.  They forfeit the pursuit of their dreams to attend a four-year University or College Institution as well as the opportunity of becoming talented doctors, nurses, lawyers, secondary school teachers, entrepreneurs, electrical engineers, and researchers.

Our student organization, therefore, recognizes that all students regardless of their citizenship status should have access to a higher education.  With the objective to close the educational gap among underrepresented communities, we seek to recruit, inform, and retain students from this particular background by providing them with the necessary resources to successfully navigate and achieve a higher education in order for them to contribute to the well-being of our State economy.

To this end, we will host our 3rd Annual "Achieving Your DREAMS" AB-540 Conference occurring on Saturday April 3rd, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm at our University of California, Berkeley campus.  Our Annual Conference will provide multiple workshops regarding alternative financial aid opportunities, academic support as well as additional resources essential for them to successfully achieve a higher education at the University or College of their choice.  We expect over 350 High School and Community College students as well as concerned parents from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to attend our conference based on previous attendance records. 

We, therefore would like to extend this invitation to you and kindly ask that you distribute the attached flyer to your networks and all students that you might benefit from the conference. For further information please feel free to contact the Co-Chairs of our organization at [email protected]

WHO: Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education at UC Berkeley aka R.I.S.E @ UC Berkeley
WHAT: 3rd Annual "Achieving Your DREAMS" AB-540 Conference
WHEN: Saturday April 3rd from 9am-4:30pm
WHERE: University of California, Berkeley campus-Sproul Plaza near the Water Fountain. 
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Any and all undocumented High School and Community College students as well as concerned parents.

For more information please feel free to contact [email protected]
To RSVP: http://www.tinyurl.com/riseconference2010 

bh

March 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Has the Time Come for the Push for Immigration Reform?

As we reported yesterday, the much-awaited meetings with Senators Schumer and Graham were slated for yesterday.  Julia Preston of the N.Y. Times reports that "President Obama said Thursday that he would proceed with an overhaul of the immigration system this year if he could attract substantial Republican support. But a leading Republican who supports an overhaul said an immigration bill could not go forward if the president used a legislative shortcut sidestepping Republicans to pass his health care bill."   The President met with the Senators but also with immigrants advocates, labor leaders, and religious organizations on immigration reform and emphasized the need to build bipartisan support.

Will other leaders step up to the plate?  Can bipartisan support be built for immigration reform?  Stay tuned!

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Backlogged Immigration Matters Climb, Details by Court Location and Nationality

Pending cases backlogged in the nation's Immigration Courts reached an all time high of 228,421 matters in the first months of FY 2010, according to an analysis of very timely court data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The case backlog was up 23% since the end of FY 2008 and 82% from ten years ago. The average length of time cases had been pending increased to 439 days.

Key to the growing backlogs and wait times is the failure of both the Bush and Obama administrations to fill the judge vacancies on the Immigration Courts which numbered 48 as of January 12, 2010. The number of vacancies means that one out of six of the judge positions -- 17% of the total -- are now unfilled. TRAC's latest report on the Immigration Courts can be viewed here.

Released with this special report is TRAC's Immigration Court Caseload Tool that for the first time ever gives anyone a way to obtain case backlogs and waiting times in each state, court, and hearing location. This information is also available by nationality.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ICE Raids at Walmart?

I received this message yesterday afternoon from a reader.  

Have you heard of (or received) the Walmart-related text messages alerting folks about supposed ICE raids in those stores? I have received several messages since March 7. Some of them claimed that Walmart had given ICE authorization to conduct ICE raids in their stores beginning March 20. One claimed that an ICE raid was taking place at that very moment in a Fremont store. All of them asked for a boycott.

It seems that this rumor stemmed from “A Month Without Wal-Mart” campaign that was launched sometime around March 3 - possibly out of Georgia. Below are some articles. There is also an official statement from Walmart now.

"Group wants Walmart to back immigration reform." March 03, 2010. http://www.laprensasa.com/2.0/3/309/609328/America-in-English/Group-wants-Walmart-to-back-immigration-reform.html

 "Immigration raid rumors cause panic." March 10, 2010. http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7323659

"Statement on Immigration Text Message Rumors." March 9, 2010. Updated March 10, 2010. http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/9692.aspx

 "Text message hoax: Shop at Walmart and you'll get deported." March 11, 2010. http://www.kens5.com/news/Text-message-hoax-Shop-at-Walmart-and-youll-get-deported-87333142.html

 "Texts warn immigrants to stay away from Wal-Mart." March 11, 2010. http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/87292287.html

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

USCIS Reminds Chilean Nationals of Immigration Benefits Available

In light of the recent natural catastrophes in Chile, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reminded Chileans of U.S. immigration benefits available to eligible Chilean nationals upon request.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ICE Memo on Detainees Claiming to be U.S. Citizens

Andrew Becker at the Center for Investigative Reporting reports that "On the heels of several reports documenting U.S. citizens who have been detained or even deported by federal immigration officers, a top Homeland Security Department official in November issued a memo that aims to guide his agency on what to do when a person suspected of being illegally in the country claims to be a citizen."  The story includes a link to the ICE memo.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DOS Releases 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

The U.S. Department of Stat6e has released the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.  This, of course, is one of the first stops in researching any asylum case.  Click here for President Clinton's remarks on teh release of the reports.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Will New Immigration Judge Hiring Be Based on Qualifications? Or Partisan Political Concerns?

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has released a Fact Sheet on the Immigration Judge Hiring Initiative.  Download EOIR_IJHiring_FactSheet  Hopefully, partisan political concerns will not be part of the hiring criteria, a problem in the Bush administration.

KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Farmingvillle Redux

Farmingville was once the epicenter of the national immigration debate and was the subject of a documentary film. It is 10 years since the beating of two day laborers by men with white supremicist tattoos.The immigrant community contiues to exist and thrive there. A report has been prepared that documents the lives of a number of immigrants in the Farmingville area. It looks at the reasons for coming to Farmingville, the journey, work and living experience, and plans for the future. It is part of a larger report. A pdf of the report can be found on www.farmingvilleresearch.info.

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KJ

March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Confidentiality and the Census

From the Asian American Justice Center:

AAJC Applauds Tri-Caucus and DOJ for Leadership on Census Confidentiality Reassurances 
WASHINGTON — AAJC applauds the Tri-Caucus, including Rep. Mike Honda of California, for taking leadership in requesting that the Department of Justice assess the strength of the federal law protecting the confidentiality of census responses.  

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chairman Honda and the chairwomen of the Congressional Black Caucus (Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.) wrote Attorney General Eric Holder in September at the urging of AAJC, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP, NALEO Educational Fund, and National Congress of American Indians – all partners in a national collaborative census campaign. Recognizing that the communities the Tri-Caucus represents are the most often missed and hardest to count in the decennial census, they asked Holder to determine whether the privacy protections for individual census responses afforded by the law (Title 13) trumped all other federal statutes.

Congressional and community leaders have been hearing for months that many in our community are fearful of participating in the census, and, in particular, that there is uncertainty about potential Patriot Act ramifications.

In responding to the Tri-Caucus letter, DOJ made clear that Congress did not intend to override the confidentiality protections in the Census Act (Title 13) when it passed the Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56, 115 Stat. 272, as amended). Title 13 prohibits the Census Bureau and its employees from sharing any personally-identifiable information with any government agency, court or outside entity and sets forth severe violation penalties.

“Census 2010 is paramount to our community’s ability to get its fair share of political power and government money and have its needs addressed,” said Terry Ao, AAJC’s director of census and voting programs. “The Department of Justice simply reaffirmed what we have known all along – that participating in the census will not harm any individual because all responses are confidential. We urge everyone in our community to fill out and mail back their census forms in the upcoming weeks – it’s safe; it’s easy; and it’s vital.”

bh

March 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

President's Immigration Summit Today

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There has been lots of buzz and chatter about immigration reform this week.  It looks like the long-delayed meeting between President Obama and Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) on immigrtaion reform will finally take place later today.  Stay tuned for details!

KJ

March 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Publications

Here are some new immigration-related articles from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com):

"Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men" Economica, Vol. 77, Issue 306, pp. 255-282, April 2010 GEORGE J. BORJAS, Harvard University, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); JEFFREY GROGGER, University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); GORDON H. HANSON.  ABSTRACT:  The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skilled black men, fell precipitously between 1960 and 2000. At the same time, their incarceration rate rose. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in employment and incarceration. Using data from the 1960–2000 US censuses, we find that a 10% immigration-induced increase in the supply of workers in a particular skill group reduced the black wage of that group by 2.5%, lowered the employment rate by 5.9 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate by 1.3 percentage points.  [PROFESSOR BORJAS IS ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN ECONOMISTS WHO CONTENDS THAT IMMIGRATION HAS A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON AMERICAN WORKERS.]

"Ten Guiding Principles for Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Blueprint" Wayne Law Review, Forthcoming.  KEVIN R. JOHNSON, University of California, Davis - School of Law.  ABSTRACT:  This Essay is part of a symposium held at Wayne State University Law School in February 2010 that will be published in a symposium issue of the Wayne Law Review. It articulates ten principles that I contend should guide immigration reform that would be meaningful, comprehensive, and long-lasting. My hope is to offer a roadmap to truly comprehensive immigration reform, rather than the ineffective piecemeal (and often half-baked) efforts at reform that we have seen over the last few decades. This is my basic pitch: to avoid a repeat of the failure of the last major attempt at “comprehensive” immigration reform in the Immigration reform and Control Act of 1986, we need to acknowledge that immigration – undocumented and not – is largely labor-driven; only by addressing that unquestionable truth reasonably and responsibly will we be able to reform the nation’s immigration laws so that they are enforceable, effective, efficient, and respected. At the same time, family unification, protection of refugees, and national security and public safety are other goals that, of course, cannot be ignored by the immigration laws. Still, those goals must be appropriately – and expressly – folded into, and carefully balanced in an, overall immigration reform package.

"Citizenship and Allegiance: Before and After the Fourteenth Amendment" DAN GOODMAN.  ABSTRACT:  Before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, one was considered a citizen of a State as well as a citizen of the United States. As such, one owe allegiance to both the individual State government as well as the United States government. After the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment; in the Slaughterhouse Cases, it was held that citizenship of a State was separate and distinct from citizenship of the United States. That a citizen of a State was separate and distinct from a citizen of the United States. Now a citizen of a State owes allegiance to the individual State government while a citizen of the United States owes allegiance to the United States government. A citizen of the United States, in addition, as a citizen of the United States and a citizen of a State, owes allegiance to the individual State government and the United States government. Quotes and cites to cases of the Supreme Court of the United States included.

"The Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada: Low-Skilled Workers as an Extreme Form of Flexible Labour" Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 31, p. 101-139, 2009 JUDY FUDGE, University of Victoria - Faculty of Law; FIONA MACPHAIL, University of Northern British Columbia.  ABSTRACT:  This article focuses on the legal regime that regulates the entry and exit of low-skilled temporary foreign and these workers’ rights and terms and conditions of employment while in Canada. We have chosen to study this program because little has been written on it and it is an example of the international trend towards a proliferation of temporary migration programs for low-skilled workers. Our primary concern is the employment-related rights of the temporary foreign workers, although we are also interested in beginning to explore the impact of this program in relation to the Canadian labour market. In order to understand the distinctive features and effects of the low-skilled temporary foreign workers program, we situate the low-skill Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in the context of the emergence and development of Canada’s general TFWP. We begin by tracing the changes in the TFWP from its birth in the 1970s, and the gradual shift from immigration for permanent settlement to a reliance on temporary workers to address labour market shortages. We show how changes introduced in the 1990s resulted in the polarization and proliferation of targeted temporary migrant worker programs with different restrictions and entitlements for different groups of workers. We present data to demonstrate the rise in the numbers of temporary foreign workers entering Canada associated with these Program changes. The data also foreshadows the changes to the low-skill TFWP, which we concentrate on in the second part of the article. In our discussion of the low-skill TFWP, first we analyze the changes that have made the program more “employer-friendly” and then we examine the mechanisms designed to protect temporary foreign workers. In the conclusion, we offer a preliminary (and tentative) assessment of the impact of the program on the Canadian labour market and evaluate whether or not the employment rights of the workers who are admitted under it are protected. We also indicate how the economic crisis has influenced the legitimacy of the low-skilled TFWP.

KJ 

March 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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

The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an important part of Washington's economy, labor force, and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, Latinos, Asians and immigrants will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of the Evergreen State.

Highlights from Washington include:

• Immigrants made up one-in-eight (12.3%) Washingtonians (or 795,179 people) in 2007.

• 41.8% of immigrants in 2007 (or 332,755 people) in Washington were naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.

• Latinos accounted for 9.4% (608,032) and Asians 6.6% (or 426,916) of Washingtonians in 2007.

• The purchasing power of Asians totaled $16.6 billion and Latino buying power totaled $13.4 billion in Washington in 2009.

• If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Washington, the state could lose $14.5 billion in economic activity, $6.4 billion in gross state product, and approximately 71,197 jobs.

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

KJ

March 10, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The 30th Anniversary of the 1980 Refugee Act: What the Refugee Program’s History Suggests for a Better Future

The 30th Anniversary of the 1980 Refugee Act: What the Refugee Program’s History Suggests for a Better Future

Mon, Mar 15, 2010 4:00 PM

Where: US Capitol Building, Room HC-6 Washington, DC Metro stops- Union Station and Capitol South. 

Speakers:

Representative James McGovern, Third Congressional District of Massachusetts and Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Congressional Human Rights Commission

Representative Anh "Joseph" Cao, Second Congressional District of Louisiana António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Kathleen Newland, Director, Refugee Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute

Kay Bellor, Vice President, US Programs, International Rescue Committee

Tara Magner, Senior Counsel, Office of Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, US Senate Committee on the Judiciary

The Refugee Act of 1980, a bipartisan bill, represented the commitment of the US government to refugee protection through the resettlement and asylum programs. From the resettlement of the Vietnamese boat people and refugees fleeing the former Soviet Union, to the Sudanese Lost Boys and today's Iraqi and Bhutanese refugees, the refugee resettlement program has been an enduring symbol of the US commitment to protect those who flee persecution. Refugee resettlement also plays a crucial role in US foreign policy and humanitarian assistance. The Act also created the US asylum system, through which people who arrive on our shores and are in need of protection can start new lives free from harm. The Act's 30-year anniversary offers an opportunity for reflection. Refugees and asylees in the United States have revitalized communities and contributed greatly to the nation's diverse cultural heritage. The impact of the economic crisis, the decrease in assistance, and the increased diversity and needs of resettled populations raise important questions about the need to reform the program, both in structure and funding. In addition, improvements are needed in the asylum system to ensure access and fairness. This is the time to look back to see how policymakers and interested communities can look forward and work to bring the refugee and asylum programs into the 21st century.

Click here for more details.

KJ

March 10, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Administrative Changes Can Benefit Immigration System, David Martin Says

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From UVA Today:  "Though comprehensive legislation would provide the best fix for the country's immigration system, administrative reforms can accomplish much in the interim, University of Virginia law professor David Martin said recently. Martin, who is on a leave of absence to serve as principal deputy counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke to students and faculty at an March 1 event sponsored by the Immigration Law Program. A lot of behind-the-scenes work has been under way on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, but passage of a bill isn't imminent, Martin said."

Professor Martin is exactly right.  Hopefully, we soon will see some administrative improvements in the Obama administration in the administration and enforcement of the immigration laws. 

KJ

March 10, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)