March 27, 2010
Ninth Circuit Credibility Decision
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed an adverse credibility finding by the immigration judge in an asylum case: "The IJ articulated six reasons for finding Chawla not credible, and the BIA independently articulated a seventh reason. None of the reasons articulated by the IJ or BIA, considered either separately or in combination, provide a legitimate basis to question Chawla’s credibility. Therefore, we hold that the adverse credibility finding is not supported by substantial evidence." While some might not find this surprising -- it is the Ninth Circuit, I was surprised that the opinion was written by Judge Stephen Trott, not known to frequently reverse decisions of the immigration agencies, and joined by Judges Diarmuid O'Scannlain and Paez.
BIA: De Novo Review of Asylum Decisions by BIA
Here is the latest from the BIA:
Matter of H-L-H- & Z-Y-Z-, Interim Decision #3676, 25 I&N Dec. 209 (BIA 2010)
(1) Whether an alien has presented sufficient evidence to establish a well-founded fear of persecution is a legal determination that is reviewed de novo by the Board of Immigration Appeals.
(2) In order to determine, under de novo review, whether specific facts are sufficient to meet a legal standard such as a “well-founded fear,” the Board has authority to give different weight to the evidence from that given by the Immigration Judge.
(3) State Department reports on country conditions are highly probative evidence and are usually the best source of information on conditions in foreign nations.
(4) The evidence presented by the respondents, considered in light of State Department country reports specific to Fujian Province, failed to establish a reasonable possibility that either respondent would be subject to forced sterilization due to having two children born in the United States or would face penalties or sanctions so severe that they would rise to the level of persecution.
Federal Defenders' "Immigration Raids" Resources and Information
The Federal Defenders' have created a "Immigration Raids" page with a wealth of inofrmation about recent immigration raids in the United States and links to resources available to attorneys representing clients caught up in the raids. "Over the past several years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has conducted workplace raids after which the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminally prosecuted undocumented workers for identity theft and other related charges. In at least one instance, hundreds of prosecutions were conducted en masse and fast-tracked. CJA panel attorneys have been appointed in many of these cases. We have compiled the following resources to educate and assist CJA lawyers who might be faced with defending immigrants in similar prosecutions."
Immigrants with Mental Disabilities Lost in Detention for Years
The ACLU of Southern California reports on how "[f]or five years, two men with mental disabilities have languished in immigration detention, effectively lost in a system that has no established procedures to determine whether they should be released or whether their cases should be resolved in another way."
Oakland Black Ministers Pledge Support for 'Comprehensive and Just Immigration Reform'
To view a recording of a press conference held on March 24, 2010 at the Federal Building in Oakland CA where a group of African American clergy pledged to support the fight for comprehensive and just immigration reform, clickhere. The press conference was organized by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, http://www.blackalliance.org; the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy , East Bay Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, http://www.workingeastbay.org; and the East Bay Housing Organizations, EBHO; http://www.ebho.org.
ICE officials set quotas to deport more illegal immigrants
Spencer Hsu and Andrew Becker of the Washington Post shed some troubling light on the Obama administration's deportation efforts:
"Seeking to reverse a steep drop in deportations, U.S. immigration authorities have set controversial new quotas for agents. At the same time, officials have stepped back from an Obama administration commitment to focus enforcement efforts primarily on illegal immigrants who are dangerous or have violent criminal backgrounds. The moves, outlined in internal documents and a recent e-mail by a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official to field directors nationwide, differ from pledges by ICE chief John T. Morton and his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, to focus enforcement on the most dangerous illegal immigrants. That approach represented a break from the mass factory raids and neighborhood sweeps the Bush administration used to drive up arrests."
UPDATE (March 30): ICE issued aresponse to the Post article: "Significant portions of the memo cited in The Washington Post (3/27/10 - Becker/Hsu) did not reflect our policies, was sent without my authorization, and has since been withdrawn and corrected. We are strongly committed to carrying out our priorities to remove serious criminal offenders first and we definitively do not set quotas."
“International Education Is Key to Making Immigration Reform Work for America” by Heather Stewart
“International Education Is Key to Making Immigration Reform Work for America” by Heather Stewart explains the pivotal role international education plays andy addresses the need for policies to attract more international students and scholars in order to boost the U.S. economy, competitiveness, and ability to connect with the global community. Pleading for a productive national conversation on immigration, the article states that “Historically, immigration reform is an issue that cuts across party lines, only succeeding with bipartisan cooperation” and “Immigration reform is a moral and economic imperative, not a political football to be fumbled or kicked down the field. When our members of Congress treat immigration as a game, we all lose.”
Chapman Dean Search
The Chapman University School of Law invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the School of Law. Here are the details. Download DSC Ad (2010) This is a great opportunity. Chapman has a great faculty and student body.
March 26, 2010
Unionization Improves Pay for Immigrant Workers
Unionization Substantially Improves the Pay and Benefits of Immigrant Workers
Contact: Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115
Washington, D.C.- A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for immigrant workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.
The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Immigrant Workers," found that unionized immigrant workers earned, on average, 17 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, immigrant workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan.
"It is the labor market, not the border that is broken," said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. "Unionization raises wages and benefits - and substantially - for both US-born and immigrant workers."
The report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), found that unionization raises the pay of immigrant workers about $2.00 per hour. According to the report, immigrant workers in unions were also 50 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and almost twice as likely to have an employer-provided pension plan than immigrant workers who were not in unions.
The study also shows that unionization strongly benefited immigrant workers in otherwise low-wage occupations. Among immigrant workers in the 15 lowest-paying occupations, union members earned almost 20 percent more per hour than those workers who were not in unions. In the same low-wage occupations, unionized immigrants were more than twice as likely to have employer-provided health insurance and almost three times as likely to have a pension plan than their non-union counterparts.
Additional information is available from the following organizations:
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Malcolm Amado Uno
Muno - at - apalanet.org
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Director of Policy and Research
UPS Firing Immigrant Workers in Chicago
Dupage Latino Leaders Reject UPS Firings
Press Contacts: Cristobal Cavazos 630 260 0142; Deacon Guadalupe Villareal 630 529-3045
Members of the Dupage clergy along with Latino leaders including Father Luis Gutierrez of St. Joseph in Addison, Deacon Lupe Villareal of St. Isidore's in Bloomingdale and Cristobal Cavazos of Immigrant Solidarity Dupage have denounced the firings of more than 200 Latino workers on their verge of losing their jobs in UPS plants across Chicagoland.
UPS in Chicagoland is asking all workers to fill out new I-9 forms. Many of the Latino workers in Addison and other plants--many with up to 15-20 years of seniority-- fear they will be fired at the end of the month when the company attempts to verify their social security numbers through the "E-Verify" Employer Verification system.
Workers have expressed their concern to local groups and community leaders in the past three (3) months who are committed to struggling with the workers for their jobs, jobs that are vital to the community, while expressing the injustice of long-time Latino workers being targeted with firings in times to economic crisis due to an employment eligibility system, E-Verify, designed to target terrorists.
Letter that has been sent to UPS:
United Parcel Service, Inc
102 S Lombard Rd
Addison, IL 60101
Our organization Immigrant Solidarity Dupage, along with various local area churches such as St. Joseph in Addison and St. Isidore's in Bloomingdale, have been made aware that your company is on the verge of firing many Latino workers from this and other United Parcel Service plants across Chicagoland. The firings will total over 200 by the end of March, the date you have given workers to re-verify their work status, with many other Latino workers quitting before that date.
UPS will be using the "E-Verify," Employment Verification System on all workers, after re-verifying their work status with new I-9 forms due by the end of March. The E-Verify system checks workers' social security numbers up against records in the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies data banks-- records shown to be rife with errors. Of course, as the Department of Homeland Security makes clear at their website (http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm), E-Verify is a mostly voluntary program for employers to check the work eligibility of new hires. However, our organization has been made aware that UPS will not only be checking new hires-- a requirement for UPS as federal contractors-- but will be voluntarily running the E-Verify system on all workers, including those with seniority. We have spoken to workers with 15-20 years of seniority at your plant who will be fired. The choice by UPS to run E-Verify on workers with seniority will result in hundreds of jobs lost in the Latino community, both here in Dupage County and across Illinois.
We the undersigned, and the organizations and houses of faith that we represent, reject these firings and call on UPS to immediately opt out of the use of the E-Verify system on current workers. We call on you to suspend the firings of the over 200 Latino women and men who will be targeted with firings. Our community will not stand by as we lose 200 jobs of our family members, friends and community without a struggle, and if these firings are to occur, UPS can expect further community action, mobilizations and a national boycott of the United Parcel Service by the Latino community along with our allies with our close to 50 million people and over 1 billion dollars in purchasing power. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Cristobal Cavazos at 630 260 0142.
March 25, 2010
On Biometric Systems for Visa Overstays
Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, testified before the House Homeland Security Committee for a hearing entitled: “Visa Overstays: Can they be Eliminated?” The Department of Homeland Security is trying to figure out whether or how to proceed with setting up a biometric exit system for all temporary visa holders at U.S. airports and at the land borders, which has been required by Congress in legislation. Alden argues that the costs of creating a full biometric exit system far exceed the likely benefits. The testimony is online at: https://secure.www.cfr.org/publication/21734/prepared_testimony_by_edward_alden.html
The prepared testimony of all the witnesses and a video of the hearing is at: http://hsc.house.gov/hearings/index.asp?ID=245
Are the 287(g) Agreements Any Better in the Obama Administration?
State and local enforcement of federal immigration laws has generated considerable controversy in public policy circles in recent years, particularly with respect to the Section 287(g) program. The program, which authorizes state, county, and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law under agreement with the federal government, has grown and evolved tremendously since created by statute in 1996.
The 287(g) program aims to expand the federal government's enforcement capacities while enabling law enforcement agencies to respond directly to local concerns regarding illegal immigration. At the same time, critics have charged that policing practices associated with the program have undermined community trust in law enforcement, led to arrests based on minor infractions, and given rise to racial profiling.
In July 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama administration would continue -- but reform -- the program, which had grown rapidly during the second term of the Bush administration. At the heart of the Obama administration's approach to the program is a new standardized memorandum of agreement that will govern all future Section 287(g) collaborations. Today, the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is releasing a report, A Program in Flux: New Priorities and Implementation Challenges for 287(g), which examines how the new standardized agreement (signed to date by 66 jurisdictions) differs from the earlier 287(g) agreements -- finding that some aspects may address criticisms of the program, while others could complicate implementation.
The report also details a research agenda for determining whether the 287(g) program generates greater benefits than costs and is worth maintaining. The report identifies the crucial factors that must be considered as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its law enforcement agency partners implement the new memorandum of agreement. And, it discusses the research and field work that MPI and the New York University School of Law will be undertaking with respect to the 287(g) program.
To read the report online, visit http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/287g-March2010.pdf
The Lasting Impact of Mendez v. Westminster in the Struggle for Desegregation
Asylum Levels and Trends for Industrialized Countries
From the UNHCR:
This is to inform you that the following report has been published today and is available from the UNHCR statistics website at www.unhcr.org/statistics :
Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, 2009
Key findings of the report:
A. Compared to 2008, the overall number of asylum-seekers remained the same with 377,000 applications, despite significant regional disparities highlighted by the report.
B. Afghans topped the list of asylum applicants with 26,800 submissions representing a 45 per cent increase over 2008. Iraqis dropped to second place with some 24,000 claims, while Somalis moved to third position with 22,600 asylum applications. Among the top countries of origin were also the Russian Federation, China, Serbia, and Nigeria.
C. In terms of regions of origin, nearly half of the total 377,000 applicants originate from Asia and the Middle East (45%), followed by Africa (29%), Europe (15.5%), and the Americas (9%).
D. The United States stayed the main destination country for the fourth year, with 13 percent of the claims representing an estimated 49,000 people, in particular from China. Second was France, receiving 42,000 new applications in 2009, a 19 percent hike compared to 2008, due to increasing claims from citizens of Serbia originating predominantly from Kosovo. Canada, while still ranking third among receiving countries, saw the number of asylum applications decrease by 10 percent in 2009 down to 33,000 after a drop in Mexican and Haitian claims. Following was The United Kingdom which also registered a drop in claims with 29,800 applications, one of the lowest in 15 years. On the other hand, claims in Germany increased by 25 percent with 27,600 applications recorded in 2009, making it the fifth largest receiving country. Together, these five top destination countries received 48 percent of the total claims recorded in 2009.
Field Information and Coordination Support Section
Division of Programme Support and Management
Policy Problems and Solutions
From the Immigration Policy Center:
Yesterday, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released its final problem and solutions series which outline the key challenges in our current immigration system and provide an overview of the various areas that must be addressed in a legislative immigration reform package. Last week, Senators Schumer and Graham released an outline for reform, advancing the process one more step. However, the details that will fill-in their outline are critical and can make the difference between solving our immigration problems and maintaining the status quo.
To read the papers in their entirety see:
Focusing on the Solutions: Key Principals of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
(IPC Special Report, March 23, 2010)
Breaking Down the Problems: What's Wrong With our Current Immigration System
(IPC Special Report, October 21, 2009)
Immigration Line of the Day
Immigration line of the day: "What part of `immigration reform' don’t you understand — or, rather, don’t want to understand?"
Chicago Immigration Court has a Backlog of almost 9000 Cases!
The workloads of the immigration courts continues to grow, as the Obama administration ramps up removal efforts. Chicago Public Radio reports that "Chicago’s federal immigration court is backed up with a record 8,696 cases. The average wait for a hearing is more than a year. Some immigrants don’t mind, since the backlog buys them time here. But it’s hard on asylum seekers. And it has consequences on other parts of the justice system."
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Removal Proceedings: "Matter of Compean and the Fundamental Fairness Doctrine" Article
Juan Pierre Espinoza (Stetson) has a new immigration article on the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com) "Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Removal Proceedings: `Matter of Compean and the Fundamental Fairness Doctrine'" It will has been published in the “Florida Journal of International Law” (vol. 22). ABSTRACT: Attorney Genenal Mukasey surprised and outraged the immigration law community with his decision in Matter of Compean. In his decision, adopted in January 2009, during his last days of holding the position, Mukasey ruled that "aliens do not have a constitutional right to effective legal representation in removal proceedings" under the Fifth Amendment. In June 2009, Attorney General Holder vacated Matter of Compean and restored Matter of Lozada and Matter of Assaad. Holder also directed the Acting Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to initiate a rulemaking procedure to evaluate the Lozada framework in order to propose a final rule. This "final rule" is extremely important because the circuit courts are currently divided regarding the adjudication of motions to reopen in cases of ineffective assistance of counsel.
When Will They Learn? Arizona Legislature Considering Extreme Anti-Immigration Bill
The N.Y. Times reports that "The Arizona Legislature gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposal that would allow the police to arrest illegal immigrants on trespassing charges simply for being in the state." For more on this bill, click he here.
Unfortunately, states and localities are not learning much from the successful (and costly) legal challenges to state and local efforts to regulate immigrtaion such as in Oklahoma and Framer's Branch, Texas (yesterday).
House of Death Informant Prevails, Won't Be Deported to Mexico
House of Death informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, has won after five years of battling in the immigration courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The BIA has finally ruled in Ramirez Peyro's favor." Bill Conroy has been reporting on this case for 6 years. Here is a link to the decision.