Saturday, January 16, 2010

Immigration Firms Sued for Fraud in New York

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo sued International Immigrants Foundation, Inc., and International Professional Association, Inc., two immigration services organizations operating in New York City, for defrauding immigrants with false promises of citizenship, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and illegally charging exorbitant fees for services. IIF and IPA are both not-for-profit organizations that generate millions of dollars in revenue each year. 

Fraudulent representation of immigrants is common and shameful and yet the practice is hardly scrutinized. Let's hope that other lawsuits and prosecutions are undertaken and that states adopt laws that sanction such practices.

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January 16, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good News From Washington: Haitians granted TPS!

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Good news from Washington D.C.!  Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced today that "As part of the Department's ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday's devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery."

Kudos to the Obama administration for doing the right thing!

UPDATE: Here is some information on various matters concerning immigration and Hatitian citizens in the wake of the earthquake disaster.

Haitian Relief Measures: Questions and Answers U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Jan. 15, 2010.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director U.S. CIS: Relief beyond TPS for Haitians USCIS Haiti Field Guidance, Jan. 15, 2010.

Tips for Filing Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status USCIS, Jan. 15, 2010.

UPDATE (Jan. 19):  On MLK Day, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week’s earthquake.

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mexican Immigrants in the United States

The Migration Information Source has released a "spotlight" focusing on Mexican immigrants residing in the United States, examining the population's size, flow, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics using data from the US Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) and 2000 Decennial Census, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) for 2008.

KJ

January 15, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fatal Flaws: Social Security Administration Shows Us How E-Verify Doesn't Work

Despite consistent reports of serious deficiencies in the system, E-Verify has often been said to be the answer to the enforcement of the employer sanctions provisions of the U.S. immigration laws.  Immigration Impact reports that the E-Verify website claims that the process for verifying whether workers are authorized for employment in the United States is simple. The practices of the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency that jointly administers E-Verify with the Department of Homeland Security, tell a different story. According to a report released this month by the SSA Inspector General, though required by law, the agency failed to use E-Verify on nearly 20 percent of their new hires. The report documenting SSA's myriad mishaps is proof of what workers' rights advocates have long believed: E-Verify is still not ready for widespread use.

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Death Match 2010: Schumer vs. Kerry

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Lisa Lerer
on Politico analyzes the possible battle between Senators Charles Schumer, a champion of immigration reform, and John Kerry, pushing climate change legislation, about whether immigration reform will get prioirity in the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Interesting that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin of Fox News appear to be making peaceful overtures on the possibility of immigration reform.

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Warren Institute Report on Operation Streamline

This report prepared by the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley examines a Department of Homeland Security program that requires the federal criminal prosecution and imprison unlawful border crossers. The program, known as Operation Streamline, mainly targets migrant workers with no criminal history and has resulted in skyrocketing caseloads in many federal district courts along the border. From 2007 to 2008, federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled, reaching more than 70,000 cases. To understand how Operation Streamline is working, Warren Institute Coblentz Fellow, Joanna Lydgate, visited four cities where versions of the program are in place in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Sbe observed Operation Streamline court proceedings in each city and conducted numerous in-person and telephone interviews with judges, U.S. attorneys, defense attorneys, Border Patrol representatives, and immigration lawyers involved in Operation Streamline’s implementation. Her findings and report conclude that Operation Streamline raises significant legal and policy concerns. The program diverts crucial law enforcement resources away from fighting violent crime along the border, fails to effectively reduce undocumented immigration, and violates the U.S. Constitution.

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Haitian Immigrants in the United States

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Migration Information Source has issued a new Spotlight on Haitian Immigrants in the United States, updated with the most recent demographic data available. The Spotlight, which uses 2008 data from the US Census Bureau and other sources, notes that:

 o One of every 20 Haitians lives in the United States.

o The Haitian immigrant population in the United States has risen from 92,000 in 1980 to about 535,000 in 2008.

o Haitian immigrants in the United States accounted for 1.4 percent of all US immigrants in 2008 and represented the fourth-largest immigrant group from the Caribbean.

o More than 70 percent of the Haitian born resided in Florida and New York.

In addition this Spotlight on Refugees and Asylees in the United States includes information pertinent to Haiti and its recent migration history, marked by emigration surges after political upheaval and natural disasters.

Additionally, in this video, Migration Policy Institute Vice President Donald Kerwin discusses the humanitarian tragedy in Haiti and some of the immigration policies at the U.S. government's disposal to assist in the near and longer terms.

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fear, the Abuse of Power, and the Need for Immigration Reform

John Amaya  has a nice piece on the Huffington Post on the law enforcement issues implicated by immigration enforcement and immigration reform.

KJ

January 15, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Temporary Protected Status Should Be Granted to Haitians

From America's Voice:

TPS For Haitian Immigrants: Timely, Humane and Just

Washington, DC - The Obama administration took the right and humane step by temporarily suspending deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants in the wake of this week’s massive earthquake in Haiti.  However, the next step that is urgently needed is to grant Haitians in the United States Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

The official designation, which has long been sought for undocumented Haitians by immigrant advocacy groups and elected officials with Haitian-American constituents, would permit the immigrants to remain in the U.S. for longer periods and obtain work permits. Allowing them to work here and earn money to support themselves, and just as importantly, to send much needed-financial help to families back home, makes good sense now more than ever given the extent of the devastation caused by the earthquake and the level of humanitarian and financial assistance needed.

America’s Voice strongly supports calls by members of South Florida's Congressional delegation for Pres. Obama to grant Haitian immigrants TPS, a designation that has been routinely granted to nationals of other countries that suffered natural disasters, wars, or other serious calamities, but consistently denied to Haitian nationals despite a series of natural disasters, military coups, and widespread and violent and civil and political unrest over the years. Immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Somalia currently have TPS.

“Given the situation on the ground in Haiti, the continued exclusion of Haitian nationals from TPS would be indefensible” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “It would reek of a double standard and raise troubling questions about why Haitians are being denied protection under a statutory framework designed precisely for situations such as this.”

“I’m optimistic that Pres. Obama will do the right thing,” said Sharry. “The death, destruction and devastation in Haiti call on us to use every lever at our disposal to help the people recover from a disaster of biblical proportions. TPS is one of those levers.” 

bh

January 15, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SECRETARY NAPOLITANO ANNOUNCES STREAMLINED CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS FOR MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY

The final rule will be in the Federal Register next Tuesday.  Here is the advance copy. 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the publication of a rule formalizing DHS’ longstanding policy to expedite and streamline the citizenship process for men and women bravely serving in America’s armed forces.

The rule amends DHS regulations to conform to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004, reducing the time requirements for naturalization through military service from three years to one year for applicants who served during peacetime, and extending benefits to members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of the U.S. Armed Forces. Service members who have served honorably in an active-duty status or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve for any time since Sept. 11, 2001, can file immediately for citizenship. The rule also eliminates the requirement for members of the military to file biographic information forms (Form G-325B) with their naturalization applications—removing administrative redundancy and increasing efficiency for those who risk their lives for the nation’s security. For more information on USCIS and its programs available to the military, visit http://www.uscis.gov/military

KJ

January 15, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IPC: Family Immigration: Repairing our Broken Immigration System

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) releases the next in its series of "Solutions Papers," Family Immigration: Repairing our Broken Immigration System. Family unification has always been a pillar of the U.S. legal immigration system. Since the first European settlers landed in the U.S., immigrants have come with their families to build better lives in the American; to work, become entrepreneurs, and contribute to our economy. The numerical caps for family-based immigration have not been updated for decades, and demand for visas clearly exceeds supply. Because there are more people who qualify than visas available, many close family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents must wait for years, even decades, to reunite with their family members. Furthermore, per-country numerical limits and processing delays create additional backlogs. Reforming our broken immigration system will require us to transform our family-based immigration system, clear out the backlogs, recapture unclaimed family-based visas, reset numerical caps and allow law-abiding families to reunite with loved ones in a humane and reasonable timeline. This paper lays out the key principles for family immigration within the context of comprehensive immigration reform.

KJ

January 15, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Articles

I ran across two especially interesting immigrtaion articles on the Social Science Research Network:

"Illegal Immigration and Media Exposure: Evidence on Individual Attitudes" CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7593 GIOVANNI FACCHINI, Tinbergen Institute ANNA MARIA MAYDA, Georgetown University - Department of Economics, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) RICCARDO PUGLISI, University of Pavia, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano.  ABSTRACT:   Illegal immigration has been the focus of much debate in receiving countries, but little is known about what drives individual attitudes towards illegal immigrants. To study this question, we use the CCES survey, which was carried out in 2006 in the United States. We find evidence that - in addition to standard labor market and welfare state considerations - media exposure is significantly correlated with public opinion on illegal immigration. Controlling for education, income and ideology, individuals watching Fox News are 9 percentage points more likely than CBS viewers to oppose the legalization of undocumented immigrants. We find an effect of the same size and direction for CNN viewers, whereas individuals watching PBS are instead more likely to support legalization. Ideological self-selection into different news programs plays an important role, but cannot entirely explain the correlation between media exposure and attitudes about illegal immigration.  This Blogger's bottom line:  It might be a good time to vow never to watch Fox News.

"The Politics of Refugee Protection" Refugee Survey Quarterly, Vol. 27, Issue 1, pp. 8-23, 2008 GUY S. GOODWIN-GILL, University of Oxford - Faculty of Law.  ABSTRACT:   This article looks back to the 1920s, and tries to tease out the politics of refugee protection as it evolved in the practice of States and international organizations in a period of growing ideological divide. The question addressed is whether the politics of protection at any particular moment are humanitarian or whether they serve primarily other purposes, in which the refugee is merely instrumental. It is unrealistic to imagine that the problem of refugees can ever be entirely non-political. What the history of the 1920–55 period confirms is the continued vitality of self-interest as a motivating factor in the responses of States to refugee flows. The international refugee regime that emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s defined refugees through the politics of denunciation in a persecution-oriented definition that continues to limit and confuse, not only at the international operations level, but also in national asylum procedures. In this context, the article concludes that the art for UNHCR is not to allow solutions or assistance to have priority over protection. For if it cannot provide protection, it will be judged a failure and accountable, and not merely excused because it tried hard in difficult political circumstances.  Blogger's Comment:  The argument is not truly surprising, especially how nations all-too-often have turned their backs on refugees in the post-WW II period. 

KJ

January 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

FAIR's "Generosity" Toward Haitian Earthquake Victims

The Dan Stein Report reports that the Federation for American Immigration Reform "FAIR Urges Termination of TPS for Other Nations to Accommodate Influx of Haitians." `Nuff said.

KJ 

January 14, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Do You Feel Any Safer? 8 Year Old Boy Mikey Hicks on Watch List

The N.Y. Times reports on the vacation travails of 8 year old Mikey Hicks, who apparently is on the "watch list" for airplane travelers.  Are all Cub Scouts on the watch list?  Maybe its the Swiss army knife?

KJ

January 14, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guantanamo for Haitian Earthquake Victims?

Mike Levine and Justin Fishel write for Fox News:

Haitians left homeless or without food and water by Tuesday’s major earthquake may be sent to live temporarily at Guantanamo Bay, according to two Defense Department officials.

Military planners are considering housing Haitian refugees at the Naval base in Cuba, the officials told FOX News.

"We are certainly keeping that option open," one official said. "Of course no final determinations have been made as the military is still in its 'assessment' mode."

Guantanamo Bay has a long history of housing refugees from the Caribbean, particularly Haitian refugees.

In 1991, after a military coup ignited a violent power struggle in Haiti, more than 30,000 Haitian refugees passed through Guantanamo Bay, according to GlobalSecurity.org.

If refugees from Tuesday’s earthquake are brought to Guantanamo Bay, they would likely be housed at Camp Justice, where reporters and other visitors have stayed when covering the military trials of terror suspects. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

January 14, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves -- Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America

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A new book, Rising Road A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America Sharon Davies (Ohio State)  (Oxford University Press 2010), that ran across my desk has piqued my interest and is on my bedside bookstand of "to read" books.  Here is an abstract of the book that touches on the 3 "Rs": race, religion, and romance:

It was among the most notorious criminal cases of its day. On August 11, 1921, in Birmingham, Alabama, a Methodist minister named Edwin Stephenson shot and killed a Catholic priest, James Coyle, in broad daylight and in front of numerous witnesses. The killer's motive? The priest had married Stephenson's eighteen-year-old daughter Ruth--who had secretly converted to Catholicism three months earlier--to Pedro Gussman, a Puerto Rican migrant and practicing Catholic. Having all but disappeared from historical memory, the murder of Father Coyle and the trial of Rev. Stephenson that followed are vividly resurrected in Sharon Davies's Rising Road . As Davies reveals in remarkable detail, the case laid bare all the bigotries of its time and place: a simmering hatred not only of African Americans, but of Catholics and foreigners as well. In one of the case's most interesting twists, Reverend Stephenson hired future U.S. Supreme Court justice Hugo Black to lead his defense team. Though Black would later be regarded as a champion of civil rights, at the time the talented defense lawyer was only months away from joining the Ku Klux Klan, which held fundraising drives to finance Stephenson's defense. Entering a plea of temporary insanity, Black and his client used both religion and race-accusing the Puerto Rican husband of being "a Negro"--in the hopes of persuading the jury to forgive the priest's murder. Placing this story in its full social and historical context, Davies brings to life a heinous crime and its aftermath, in a brilliant, in-depth examination of the consequences of prejudice in the Jim Crow era.

January 14, 2010 in Books | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Publications

Here is the latest immigration publications from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com):

"Women’s Unequal Citizenship at the Border: Lessons from Three Nonfiction Films about the Women of Juárez" in GENDER EQUALITY: DIMENSIONS OF WOMEN'S EQUAL CITIZENSHIP (Linda C. McClain, Johanna L. Grossman, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2009) by REGINA AUSTIN, University of Pennsylvania Law School.  ABSTRACT:  There is no better illustration of the impact of borders on women’s equal citizenship than the three documentaries reviewed in this essay. All three deal with the femicides that befell the young women of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico between 1993 and 2005. Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, Texas. Performing the Border (1999) stimulates the viewer’s imagination regarding the ephemeral nature of borders and their impact on the citizenship of women who live at the intersection of local, regional, national and international legal regimes. Señorita Extraviada (2001) is an intimate portrait of the victims which illustrates why the private grief of their survivors should have been a cause for public national mourning. Finally, Battle of the Crosses (2005), the work of social scientists, offers a panoramic description of the complicated social terrain on which the Juárez femicides occurred and their meaning was fought over. Together, the films suggest how borders are constructed and “performed” through law and law enforcement in ways that jeopardize women’s rights as citizens. The films also show how women in turn challenge law and law enforcement to transcend the limitations of social, political, and economic borders and assert their right to equal citizenship. Confronted with state intransigence in the face of the murders of dozens of young females, the women of Juárez used their traditional female roles as a springboard to political engagement. Overcoming the debilitating effect of class and ethnic marginality, patriarchal mass violence, and governmental corruption and lack of accountability, the women turned back the state’s effort to belittle the murders as private matters and the victims as deserving of their fate. The documentaries together provide a vivid case study that proves the importance of understanding the synthetic quality of borders and their relationship to women’s equal citizenship in a globalizing world where borders can pop up anywhere and at anytime.

"INA - 242(g): The Government's Attempt to Bar Immigration-Related Damages Claims" Yale Law Journal, Vol. 119 SAMEER AHMED.  ABSTRACT:  Ever since the jurisdiction-stripping provision was enacted in 1996, federal courts have struggled over whether - 242(g) prohibits damages claims. On the one hand, the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits have precluded damages claims under - 242(g), holding that the conduct alleged arose from the three actions mentioned in the provision: to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders. On the other hand, the Tenth Circuit, and district courts in the Second, Sixth, and Fourth Circuits have rejected the applicability of - 242(g), construing the provision narrowly and permitting the claims in order to avoid "grave constitutional issues." This Comment argues that the government's reading of - 242(g), supported by some federal courts, not only contravenes Congressional intent, but also contradicts the Supreme Court's ruling in Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee ("AADC") to interpret the provision narrowly. Because - 242(g) does not bar constitutional and legal challenges to non-discretionary government action as well as challenges collateral to removal proceedings, courts must have jurisdiction to hear monetary damages claims brought by foreign nationals against immigration enforcement agents.

KJ

January 14, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Let's Make Sure that Help is on the Way to Haiti

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By now, most readers have seen on the news the devastation and destruction wrought by the eathquake in Haiti.  We will know the magnitude of the human loss for weeks but it appears that tens of thousands of people have died.  Humanitarian assistance is much-needed.  Here is some information about aid efforts:

President Obama's Remarks on Humanitarian Relief to HaitiObamabarack

State Department Briefing on Earthquake Response Efforts in Haiti 

 USAID Responds Immediately to Haiti Earthquake

Here is a short list of charities that long have been involved In Haiti:

Direct Relief

Save the Children

Mercycorps 

Doctors Without Borders

Americares

International Relief Teams

World Hope International

Oxfam

Mennonite Central Committee

Plan USA

The Washington Post has a longer list.

KJ

January 14, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alvaro Huerta: Immigration bill adds little to reform

 

A previous guest blogger on ImmigrationProf, Alvaro Huerta has an op/ed against the Democrats' recent immigration reform bill.

The comments to the op/ed are sadly revealing.  Here are a few:

The author is an anchor baby. He is a racist xenophobe himself. Go back to Mexico you POS!

We're subsidizing this idiot's education at Berkeley.

Unbelievable. what about branding them with a forever disqualifying tatoo? we could so brand their families and extended families also. that should pretty much take care of mexico.

KJ

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

Stating the Obvious: Poll Shows that Latinos Feel Ignored by Obama Administration, Want Immigration Reform Before 2010

From the Daily Kos:  "In fact, a recent poll of Latino voters `found that 84% of Latino voters think it is either 'important, very important, or extremely important' that immigration reform is enacted before the 2010 midterm elections.'"

KJ

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