Saturday, April 10, 2010

Refugees from Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan

Mary Ann Zehr writes for Education Week:

The United States has received Iraqis, Burmese, and Bhutanese in larger numbers in 2010 than any other refugee groups. . . .. As of the end of last month, 8,734 Iraqis, 7,731 Burmese, and 6,632 Bhutanese had arrived in the United States during the 2010 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010.

I like to keep up to date on which groups are arriving in the largest numbers so I can write about the educational background and school expectations of different refugee groups. Educators who are expecting to receive a new group of refugees are also hungry to know something about the culture, history, and language of the people.

This school year I had a chance to tell you something about Iraqis arriving in schools in El Cajon, Calif. I think it's particularly important for schools to be aware that many Iraqi children didn't go to school in Syria, Jordan, and other countries they lived in after fleeing the war and related strife in Iraq. Because many Iraqi parents have received a good education, they have high expectations for U.S. schools.

Two years ago, I wrote about the first arrivals in U.S. schools of Bhutanese refugees, who are Nepalese-speaking people who didn't have family connections in the United States. Only 150 Bhutanese were living in the United States before the U.S. Department of State decided to accept about 60,000 Bhutanese seeking resettlement in this country. Many of the refugees had lived in camps in Nepal for 16 years. It was important for U.S. educators to know many children had learned some English already in refugee camp schools.

I haven't yet written about Burmese refugees, but I hope I'll get the chance to do so. In the meantime, I invite readers who are working with this group to share information about them.

In writing about Iraqis this year, I learned that resettlement has been particularly difficult because of the economic downturn. The entry-level jobs that refugees typically land have been scarce during the economic crisis. Some refugee advocacy groups say the United States isn't providing the kind of support the refugees need to get on their feet. click here for the rest of the piece.


April 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Maricopa Courthouse War: An Arizona showdown over populist politics, abuse of power and pink boxer shorts

The rather staid ABA Journal has an expose on controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. Here is a most telling line of the story:  "Attempts to interview Arpaio were unavailing."  It really does sound like the Wild Wild West in Arizona!


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

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

Why U.S. News and World Report Should Include a Faculty Diversity Index in its Ranking of Law Schools FindLaw columnist and U.C., Davis law professor Vikram Amar, and FindLaw guest columnist and U.C., Davis Dean and law professor Kevin Johnson continue their series (see the first in the series) critiquing the highly influential US News and World Report law school rankings. In a previous column, Amar and Johnson contended that the rankings should take student-body diversity into account; here, they argue that faculty diversity, too, should be a significant factor in the rankings' assessment of law schools' quality, as it contributes to both the quality of education a law school provides its students, and the quality of the law school's faculty's scholarship.


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

Friday, April 9, 2010

Linda Greenhouse on Padilla v. Kentucky

As Kevin Johnson noted earlier, Linda Greenhouse's column in the NY Times yesterday, made some wonderful points about the decision in Padilla v. Kentucky and the deportation of longtime lawful perament residents:

The Supreme Court’s ruling recently that lawyers have a duty to warn their noncitizen clients about the potentially disastrous immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a criminal charge seemed so sensible that it left me wondering why a question with such an obvious answer needed to be debated by the Supreme Court in the first place. Surely if the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of effective assistance of counsel means anything, it means that lawyers must advise their clients that admitting to even a minor offense can earn a noncitizen a quick one-way ticket into what immigration law delicately calls “removal proceedings.”

Before anyone objects that such individuals have no right to be in the country in the first place, I should make clear that today’s harshly anti-immigrant legal regime applies not only to the undocumented, but to permanent legal residents as well. Jose Padilla, the Honduran-born petitioner in the recent case, has lived legally in the United States for 40 years and served honorably in the military during the war in Vietnam. (This is a different Jose Padilla, not the American citizen whom the Bush administration held in a Navy brig as an enemy combatant for more than three years before he was convicted in federal court on charges of conspiring to commit terrorist acts.) . . . .

What on earth is going on here?

That question evidently occurred to Justice Ginsburg during an argument last week in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, a case mentioned in Ms. Bernstein’s article about a single marijuana cigarette leading to deportation. Jose Carachuri-Rosendo, a legal United States resident born in Mexico, father of four children who are United States citizens, was arrested in Texas in 2004 for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, a misdemeanor under Texas law. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 days in jail.

The next year, he was arrested for possession of a tablet of Xanax, a common anti-anxiety drug that requires a prescription, which Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo did not have. That offense, also a misdemeanor in Texas, earned him 10 days in jail. Under the federal government’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the combination of those two state-law misdemeanors amounts to an “aggravated felony.”

As an aggravated felon, the government argues, Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo is not only subject to deportation, but categorically ineligible for “cancellation of removal,” a form of administrative discretion that provides the only remaining safety net to immigrants caught in the deportation net.

During the argument on March 31, Justice Ginsburg had this to say to Nicole A. Saharsky, a lawyer from the solicitor general’s office:

“Here we are talking about two crimes. One is a small amount of marijuana. He gets 20 days in jail. The other is a pill that I never heard of, a Xan-something, and he gets what, 10 days in jail for that. If you could just present this scenario to an intelligent person who didn’t go to law school, that you are going to not only remove him from this country, but say ‘Never, ever darken our doors again’ because of one marijuana cigarette and one Xan-something pill — it, it just seems to me that if there is a way of reading the statute that would not lead to that absurd result, you would want to read the statute ….”  Click here for the entire piece.


April 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Stevens Announces Retirement

Justice John Paul Stevens
, author of the landmark immigration decision in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca (1986), announced today that he will be retiring at the end of the Supreme Court's current Term in June.  Just last week, Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that a noncitizen could base an ineffective assistance of counsel claim on a failure to notify him of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. (Be sure to see Linda Greenhouse's take on Padilla.).


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

Too Broken to Fix

The N.Y. Times reviews the evidence and concludes that it is time to throw in the towel on the controversial 287(g) progams. The introductory paragraph to the editorial says it all:  "The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has affirmed what sheriffs, police chiefs, civil-rights lawyers and immigrant advocates have said for years: Outsourcing immigration enforcement to an ill-trained and poorly supervised assortment of state and local law enforcement agencies creates a lot of problems."

Will the Obama administration listen?  Or, will we continue to see further expansion of the program as DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano relentlessly pursues the made-in-Arizona approach of "enforcement now, enforcement forever"?


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

Restructuring Immigration Adjudication

Legomskys09  One of the leading immigration law professors in the United States makes a novel proposal for improvement of the much-maligned immigration adjudication system.  Check out 
Restructuring Immigration Adjudication by Stephen H. Legomsky (Washington University School of Law),  Duke Law Journal, Vol. 59, pp. 1635-1721.

Here is an abstract:  For decades, the immigration adjudication system has been under relentless attack from both the left and the right. The left has been concerned with the fairness of the proceedings, the accuracy and consistency of the outcomes, and the acceptability of both the procedures and the outcomes to the parties and to the public. The right has focused on the fiscal costs and elapsed times of these proceedings. This Article demonstrates that all of these criticisms have been well founded and that the roots of the problems are severe underfunding, reckless procedural shortcuts, the politicization of the process, and a handful of adjudicators personally ill suited to the task. Over the years, commentators and commissions have offered thoughtful solutions, but consensus has proven elusive. This Article calls for redesigning the entire system. For the trial phase, this Article endorses previous proposals for converting the current immigration judges into administrative law judges, who enjoy greater job security, and moving them from the Department of Justice into a new, independent executive branch tribunal. For the appellate phase, this Article proposes radical surgery, replacing both administrative appeals and regional court of appeals review with a single round of appellate review by a new, Article III immigration court. The new court would be staffed by experienced Article III district and circuit judges serving two-year assignments. This new system would significantly depoliticize the hiring, judging, supervision, and control of immigration adjudicators. It would consolidate the two current, largely duplicative rounds of appellate review into one, in the process restoring the Article III jurisdiction that Congress stripped away in 1996. It would save tax dollars and speed the removal process, thus reducing not only prolonged detention, but also what some believe is a meaningful incentive to file frivolous appeals to delay removal. It would preserve both specialized expertise and a generalist perspective. And it is politically realistic, permitting all sides to meet the specific objectives they hold most dear while requiring each side to make only modest concessions.


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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mock Naturalization Interview and Test from USCIS

The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test

The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test was developed as an informational resource for individuals interested in learning more about the naturalization process. The 16-minute video provides an overview of the naturalization process including the eligibility requirements, the application process, preliminary steps, the naturalization interview, the English tests and the U.S. history and government test (civics). The video includes two simulated interviews between applicants and USCIS Officers. Individuals applying for naturalization may use this video as a reference tool to prepare for the naturalization interview. Teachers and volunteers can use this video to complement classroom instruction. Clickhere for the video.


April 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congressman Wants Answers on Enforcement Priorities From DHS Secretary Napolitano, ICE Asst. Secretary Morton

A champion of comprehensive immigration reform,  
U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) requested a meeting with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton to discuss his "extreme disappointment and unequivocal condemnation of the series of reports...regarding DHS and ICE enforcement activities." Specifically, the Congressman wants to know why what the Secretary and Assistant Secretary are saying to Congress and the American people is so at odds with what has been revealed about what the agency is actually doing.

Congressman Gutierrez's request comes after a series of internal ICE memos were published by the Washington Post that indicate that the job performance of ICE enforcement officers is measured by arrest quotas for immigrants with simple civil immigration status violations and an Inspector General's scathing report on the program, known as 287(g), by which state and local police agencies are enlisted to enforce federal civil and criminal immigration laws. I am astounded by how inconsistent these reports are with your stated priorities, and am left to wonder what your true priorities are, or to what degree agency directors and agents in the field actually understand and/or follow your stated priorities... I consider the recent reports to be both a crisis of leadership at the agency and a human crisis in our communities and ask to meet with you as soon as possible next week.

See  the letter at Download Gutierrez letter 

In December, Congressman Gutierrez introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform - American Security and Prosperity (CIR-ASAP) Act (HR 4321), which would, among other things, rescind 287(g) agreements. The bill currently has 94 cosponsors.


April 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles from SSRN

Here are two new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network (

"Loving the Alien? Citizenship, Law, and the Future in South Africa’s Demonic Society" African Affairs, Vol. 109, Issue 435, pp. 213-230, 2010 LOREN B. LANDAU, affiliation not provided to SSRN.  ABSTRACT:   In May 2008, South Africa witnessed two shocking weeks of deadly attacks on foreigners and other suspect outsiders. This article makes sense of the violence with reference to an extended history of South African statecraft that both induced the conflict and hamstrung efforts to address it. In particular, it describes how decades of discursive and institutional efforts to control political and physical space have generated two demons with which the country must now contend. The first is a perceived enemy within: an amorphously delimited group of outsiders that is inherently threatening, often indistinguishable from others, and effectively impossible to exclude spatially. The second demon rests in a society prepared to kill to rid itself of those retarding the country’s post-Apartheid renaissance. For many of those behind the attacks or empathizing with them, controlling the movement of people within the country and across its borders remains essential to security, prosperity, and South Africa’s national self-realization. Political leaders now face a dilemma: extending legal identities and constitutionally promised protections to outsiders and other foreigners risks being seen as betraying the national project by the demonic and visibly violent society they have helped create.

"Multiculturalism Versus Assimilation: Attitudes Towards Immigrants in Western Countries" International Journal of Economic Sciences and Applied Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, December 2009 VANI K. BOROOAH, University of Ulster at Jordanstown - School of Economics and Politics.  ABSTRACT:  JOHN MANGAN, University of Queensland - School of Economics Email: A long standing area of debate in Western countries is that of the appropriate philosophy for facilitating large scale immigration; should immigrants preserve their traditions and culture while living in the host country (integration/multiculturalism) or should they assimilate themselves into the ways and manners of their hosts? The ways that nations go about resolving this issue goes to the heart of internal policy formulation on immigration but is also influential to the image that the country projects overseas. Countries are often labeled according to the official views of their Governments. For example, France might be classed as essentially assimilationist and Britain as multi-cultural, whereas the Netherlands and Germany might be seen as somewhere between the two, but how did these policy differences come about and do they accurately reflect the views of the majority of residents of the various countries? This paper addresses part of this issue by seeking to identify and analyse the characteristics of those people in Western countries who think that immigrants should assimilate culturally and how they differ from those who think that immigrants should preserve a separate cultural existence? By doing so, it seeks to explain why these inter-country differences in views exist and whether they are caused primarily by attribute effects (the composition of the population) or by coefficient effects (the strength of the views they hold). This study exploits a unique set of data provided by The Human Beliefs and Values Survey to identify and to estimate the strength of those factors which lead people to favour cultural integration over multiculturalism for immigrants. In doing so, it provides Governments with a snapshot of contemporary views on this increasingly important issue and how these views may shift as demographic characteristics alter.


April 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Living on the Border

Check out Living on the Border, a new documentary by Karl W. Hoffman.


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Immigrant Initiative Stalls

Good News!  The Orange County Register reports that "A ballot initiative targeting children born to people who are in the country illegally is on hold after anti-illegal immigration activists failed to garner enough signatures to make June's California ballot."


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Library for Advocates in Removal Proceedings

The Immigration Advocates Network has launched a new library for advocates representing noncitizens in removal proceedings before the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals. Developed by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Deportation and Removal library contains essential resources by national experts, including training materials, practice advisories, sample pleadings, government-issued policy memoranda, checklists, and significant case law.


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court on Discriminatory Use of Peremptory Challenges

The Ninth Circuit, in a memorandum disposition signed on to by Judge Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins, with a dissent by a Sixth Circuit Judge (Siler) sitting by designation, ordered a new trial for minority women who were laid off by an employer after failing to get perfect scores on an English-only skills test. For a blog story on the case, click here.  The Hispanic and Southeast Asian workers sued NIBCO Inc.. Although the company prevailed in a jury trial, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court erred he denied a challenge by the plaintiffs to NIBCO's use of three of four permeptory challenges to strike Hispanic jurors.  Download 09-15136[1]


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Legalization: Assessing the Labor Market Effects

The Public Policy Institute of California has released Immigrant Legalization: Assessing the Labor Market Effects by Laura E. Hill, Magnus Lofstrom and Joseph M. Hayes.  This report finds that a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants is unlikely to lead to dramatic changes in the labor market, for immigrant or native workers. It also finds little evidence to support expectations of significant effects on the broader economy, particularly in terms of tax revenues or public assistance programs. To assess labor market outcomes, the authors examined the work and migration histories of both unauthorized and continuously legal immigrants, comparing their experiences both before and after they became legal permanent residents.


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Only in Immigration Law and in Alice in Wonderland: Aggravated Misdemeanors?

Raha Jorjani and me have an article on the American Constitution Society Blog analyzing Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, a case argued last week in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing the complex question whether a state misdemeanor conviction for drug possession amounts to an "aggravated felony" under the U.S. immigration laws.


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ALC Applauds Change in Airport Screening Policy

From the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco:

The Asian Law Caucus joins civil liberties groups across the nation in applauding the Transportation Security Administration's decision to rescind a misguided policy that exasperated the racial, religious, and national origin profiling at U.S. borders. Issued in January 2010, the now rescinded policy applied automatic enhanced security screening for passengers who held passports of or who were traveling from 14 predominantly Muslim-majority countries.

On Friday, April 2, 2010, DHS announced that new security protocols will supersede the 14-country directive. According to DHS, this new system will be based on specific threat-based intelligence information, and will be applied to all passengers traveling to the United States.

"Although this is certainly a positive step, we continue to be concerned about the intrusive searches and questioning of individuals who suffer because of DHS's inadequate policies on profiling and because of the bloated and mismanaged terrorist watchlist," said Veena Dubal, national security and civil rights staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "Our hope is that the new system will soon be accompanied by a directive that prohibits profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin."

Since 2007, the Asian Law Caucus has received a growing number of complaints from travelers who were racially and religiously profiled at the border. Many of these individuals complain that being repeatedly stopped, interrogated, and searched is not only inconvenient, but transforms their homecoming into one of anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

"Racial, religious, and national origin profiling at the border does not make us safer as a nation," said Summer Hararah, Project Coordinator at the Asian Law Caucus. "On the contrary, it distracts our resources from true threats and alienates communities. Americans who are profiled report feeling like they do not belong in their own country."

One year ago, the Asian Law Caucus released an extensive report documenting profiling at the U.S. border and advocating for change. This report, Returning Home: How U.S. Government Practices Undermine Civil Rights At Our Nation's Doorstep, was published prior to the 14-country directive. Since the 14-country directive was issued in January 2010, the Asian Law Caucus has advocated alongside civil liberties organizations from across the country to have it rescinded.


April 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NEW AMERICANS IN THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT: Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an Economic Powerhouse in New Mexico

The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an important part of New Mexico'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 in the Land of Enchantment.

Highlights from New Mexico include:

• Immigrants made up 9.3% of New Mexicans (or 182,936 people) in 2007.

• The Latino share of New Mexico's population is 44.4% (or 874,642 people) in 2007.

• The 2009 purchasing power of Latinos in New Mexico totaled $17.9 billion - an increase of 260.5% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.1 billion - an increase of 492.3% since 1990.

If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from New Mexico, the state would lose $1.8 billion in economic activity, $809.1 million in gross state product, and approximately 12,239 jobs.

There is no denying the contributions immigrants, Latinos, and Asians make in New Mexico and the important role they will play in the states' political and economic futures.


April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal Symposium

The Georgetown Immigration Law Journal is hosting a symposium focusing on the International Migrants Bill of Rights. The bill was originally drafted in April 2009 by Georgetown students working together with students from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and American University in Cairo. Since then, the bill has been read and commented on by experts in the fields of migration and human rights from around the world, and the students have written extensive commentaries to each of the articles.


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

USCIS Video: Naturalization Interview and Test

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has release a video providing an overview of the naturalization process including the eligibility requirements, the application process, preliminary steps, the naturalization interview, the English tests and the U.S. history and government test (civics).


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