May 22, 2010
Job Announcement: American Immigration Council Legal Action Center Director
The American Immigration Council seeks a dynamic, creative, strategic thinker with 7+ years of experience in immigration law and policy and who is adept at performing complex legal analysis to assume the leadership role of Director of the Legal Action Center (LAC).
The LAC is the legal arm of the American Immigration Council that focuses on holding the government accountable to the law and promoting immigration laws and policies that respect fundamental constitutional and human rights.
The LAC Director reports to the Executive Director and works closely with program committees and other program staff to execute the legal work and related program activities with emphasis on government accountability and reform through administrative advocacy and litigation.
To access the full job announcement and application directions use the following link.
Prayer Vigil when President Obama Comes to San Francisco Tuesday
From CARECEN in San Francisco:
Hello friends! Please join the Immigrant and Interfaith Community at this gathering, Tuesday.
There will be prayer and the building of an altar- so bring any symbols and photos of loved ones.
Here is a link which describes a new Homeland Security "S-Comm" enforcement program which is being rolled out in all states and counties which will result in an increase in ICE/police collaborations and deportations. SF Sheriff Hennessy- said could increase numbers from 1000 this year- to 35,000.
Join us to let him know:
1100 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
President Obama will be joining Senator Barbara Boxer’s fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel and we want him to hear our message loud and clear: We are calling on President Obama to (1) push for comprehensive immigration reform, (2) end police and ICE collaboration and (3) stop the deportation and separation of hard working families that contribute to our economy. There will be prayer and the building of an altar. Photos and memories of loved ones are strongly encouraged.
African Advocacy Network, Asian Law Caucus, CA DREAM Network, Mission Asset Fund, Padres Unidos, SIREN and UFCW Local 5
May 21, 2010
Rest in Peace: Esequiel Hernandez, Jr., Collateral Damage in the War on Undocumented Immigrants
On May 20, 1997, 13 years ago, Esequiel Hernández, Jr., an 18 year old U.S. citizen, was herding goats 100 yards from his home on the U.S.-Mexican border in Redford, Texas. Marines were encamped outside the small town along the Rio Grande River. After watering his goats in the river, Hernández was walking home when four Marines, well-armed with modern with surveillance equipment, followed. Hernández carried an old caliber rifle to protect against dogs and rattlesnakes. Marines shot and killed Hernández.
Esequel Hernández Jr.'s tragic death resulted from increased military drug and border enforcement along the U.S./Mexico border. Thousands of migrants have died as a result of increased enforcement efforts over the last 15+ years. For more information about Hernández's death, as well as a documentary, click here.
Gutierrez Supports Same-Sex Immigration Rights
From the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center:
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois' 4th Congressional District will hold a press conference on Monday, May 24, at 12:00 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre in the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Street, Chicago.
The Congressman plans to address the immigrant and LGBT communities and announce his support for truly comprehensive immigration reform that includes equal rights for same-sex binational couples. This event is free and open to the public. Representative Gutierrez is Congress's leading voice on immigration reform and it is essential that we join him in supporting the rights of all immigrants, including binational same-sex couples. We encourage everyone to come show your support for truly comprehensive immigration reform.
Eric Berndt, National Immigrant Justice Center
Is Dora The Explorer An Illegal Immigrant?
Is Dora The Explorer An Illegal Immigrant? AP PHOTO
Read this fascinating AP story by Sophia Tareen.
Re-Living Our Immigrant Past From Hazleton to Arizona and Back Again
Arizona's immigration law (SB 1070) has garnered the lion's share of media attention in recent weeks - from boycotts to demonstrations and legal challenges. While the spotlight has been on Arizona, however, copycat legislation has been brewing in at least 16 (at last count) other states. What supporters of similar state "attrition through enforcement" immigration legislation might not realize, however, is that we've been here more than once before.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania, provides an opportunity to put anti-immigrant sentiment in context. In the late 1800s, German, Irish, Italian and eastern European migrant workers faced discrimination and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In more recent years, the immigrants living in Hazleton, although from different parts of the world, experienced the same discrimination and rhetoric. For example, in 2006, the Hazleton City Council attempted to make English the official city language, impose fines on landlords for renting to illegal immigrants, and revoke business permits of employers who hired them. These patterns unfortunately are found throughout the U.S. and over the entire course of U.S. history.
In Immigration Policy Center's latest Perspectives on Immigration, journalist and author Jeffrey Kaye finds that present-day patterns of economic opportunity, ensuing migration, and the reactions to the influx of newcomers are recycled versions of old stories. Kaye juxtaposes the heated rhetoric surrounding Hazleton's 2006 immigration laws with those following Hazleton's immigrant influx in the late 1800s. While migrant workers' countries of origins might differ, the anti-immigrant arguments are just the same.
(UN)FAIR Asks EOIR to Make Public Aunt Onyango’s Case
Jason Dzubow on The Asylumist reports that the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is calling upon the Justice Department and the Executive Office for Immigration Review to make public the record in the asylum case of President Obama’s aunt. One wonders whether FAIR would have made such a demand if Aunt Bee, Sheriff Taylor's aunt in the old "The Andy Griffith Show," had been granted asylum.
Mexico Honors Ted Kennedy for Commitment to Immigrants
From the Associated Press:
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday presented the Order of the Aztec Eagle to Kennedy's widow, Vicki, in Washington, D.C. Click here for the story.
Northeastern University President Supports DREAM Act
From Fox News in Boston:
Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun has endorsed a federal proposal that would allow undocumented college students a pathway to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.
Aoun sent Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown a letter last week urging the passage of a bill known as the Dream Act, a proposal being considered in Congress. It would open an avenue to conditional permanent residency for students who are illegally in the country but want to go to college.
Brown spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Brown would review the legislation if and when it comes before the Senate.
Last month, Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow sent Brown and Sen. John Kerry a similar letter. Harvard President Drew Faust wrote a similar letter last year to Kerry and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Deportations Under Obama Exceed Bush Record
From America's Voice:
Washington, DC – Yesterday’s heartbreaking conversation between a second-grade student and First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted the fear and deportation rampant under the broken immigration system. The conversation also drew attention to an underreported fact – that the Obama administration is deporting more immigrants than the Bush administration.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “As the chart here shows, the Obama administration is on track to deport a record 400,000 people in 2010, 70% of whom are non-criminal undocumented immigrants who have been caught up in an aggressive dragnet of local, state and federal raids and enforcement actions. As shocking as these numbers are, they are proof that Republican calls for increased immigration enforcement as a pretext to comprehensive immigration reform are just hollow political pot shots.”
Deportations more than doubled in the Bush years and are increasing even more in the Obama administration. And even among those considered “criminal” deportees, immigrants could be classified as such for infractions as minor as selling an unauthorized phone cards. In conjunction with the fact that border security spending and personnel have also increased in recent years, the deportation numbers show that ramped-up, enforcement-only immigration policy already is the status quo. As a result, Republican calls for increased immigration enforcement as a necessity before moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform do not ring true in light of these numbers and this reality.
Said Sharry, “Every day, bad actor employers exploit immigrant workers, undercut American workers and undermine honest competitors. Every day, Americans become more frustrated and more polarized as Washington dithers. Unfortunately, the vacuum created by the lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform has been filled by ramped up federal enforcement and discriminatory laws like Arizona’s. It’s time to deliver on the change that Obama promised on immigration, such as when he spoke eloquently to the National Council of La Raza and said, “The system isn't working when 12 million people live in hiding, and hundreds of thousands cross our borders illegally each year; when companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens to avoid paying overtime or to avoid a union; when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids - when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel.”
Rahm Emanuel Blamed by Congressional Dems for Lack of Movement on Immigration Reform
The L.A. Times reports that Congressional Democrats are pointing the finger at Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for the reluctance to push forward on immigration reform. "Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff and longtime party strategist, has argued privately that it's a bad time for Democrats to push an immigration bill, a potential land mine in the midst of a crucial midterm election year. Emanuel's stance, coupled with his long-held wariness about the politics of immigration, is emboldening key Democrats to come forward and ask that he step aside from the issue. . . . Emanuel has a complicated history with the immigration issue, dating back to the 1990s. As a top aide to former President Bill Clinton, he stressed the message that Clinton was hard-nosed about policing illegal immigration."
May 20, 2010
From the Book Shelves: Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity by Tomás R. Jiménez
Replenished Ethnicity Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity by Tomás R. Jiménez. Unlike the wave of immigration that came through Ellis Island and then subsided, immigration to the United States from Mexico has been virtually uninterrupted for one hundred years. In this vividly detailed book, Tomás R. Jiménez takes us into the lives of later-generation descendents of Mexican immigrants, asking for the first time how this constant influx of immigrants from their ethnic homeland has shaped their assimilation. His nuanced investigation of this complex and little-studied phenomenon finds that continuous immigration has resulted in a vibrant ethnicity that later-generation Mexican Americans describe as both costly and beneficial. Replenished Ethnicity sheds new light on America's largest ethnic group, making it must reading for anyone interested in how immigration is changing the United States.
Implicit Bias May Make Evenhanded Application of New Immigration Law Impossible, Psychologist Says by the American Psychological Association
As readers of this blog are well aware. Arizona recently adopted a new law requiring local police with a "reasonable suspicion" about a person's immigration status, to check that status with federal authorities. The American Psychological Association interviewed social psychologist John F. Dovidio of Yale about the how that new law might be implemented. Here is the intereview.
Border Enforcement Prioritizes Non-Violent Migrants over Dangerous Criminals Data on Federal Court Prosecutions Reveal Non-Violent Immigration Prosecutions Up, Organized Crime, Drugs and Weapons Charges Down
Here is some information from the Immigration Policy Center:
The Mexican President's visit to the United States allowed both he and President Obama to address the important issues of immigration, border control and crime. Both Presidents made the important point that we address and not conflate these serious issues. This approach stands in stark contrast to the drafters of Arizona law SB1070 and those members of Congress, including Senators Kyl and McCain, who continue to equate dangerous criminals and migrant workers. These legislators share either a misguided understanding of who is really perpetrating violence at the border or a willingness to do anything to win an election.
The horrific violence which currently afflicts our southern neighbor is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution. This violence is driven by the flow of guns, drugs and money across the borders. Yesterday, the President reaffirmed his administration's commitment "to stem the southbound flow of American guns and money" and to develop "new approaches to reducing the demand for drugs in our country," pledging to keep up law-enforcement pressure on the criminal gangs that "traffic in drugs, guns, and people." In practice, however, the Justice Department seems to have given in to the political rhetoric behind laws like SB1070.
Obama's pledge to focus on these serious criminal enterprises should mean that law enforcement resources are also focused there, rather than on rounding up non-criminal border crossers. However, that's simply not the case according to recent reports that show Department of Justice prosecutions of drug and weapons violations are down while low level immigration violators are being prosecuted at record levels.
A January 2010 Warren Institute report highlights the impact of Operation Streamline (a program that focuses on prosecuting border crossers) on immigration enforcement and how increased attention on nonviolent border crossers has taken resources away from investigating smuggling operations. An additional report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year 2009, and that a shift in priorities has created the largest number of federal immigration prosecutions of non-violent border crossers ever. Thus, while the federal government spends billions of dollars prosecuting non-violent immigration violators, more serious criminals involved in drugs, weapons, and organized crime face a lower probability of prosecution.
· The federal government is focusing on low level immigration crimes, while prosecutions of smugglers and drug traffickers are way down. Immigration prosecutions now account for over one half of all federal prosecutions, while federal prosecutions of non immigration-related crimes have decreased. The majority of these immigration prosecutions are for low-level crimes, mainly first time illegal entry. In contrast, smuggling and drug trafficking charges were brought less frequently. Drug prosecutions currently represent approximately 16% of the total number of federal prosecutions. Between 2003 and 2008, weapons prosecutions decreased 19% and drug prosecutions declined by 20%.
· Border prosecutions of first time crossers take resources away from prosecuting serious violent crimes. A May 2010 study by the Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School found that increased federal criminal prosecution of first time illegal border crossers has channeled law enforcement resources away from prosecuting more serious crimes, such as drug crimes. The Warren Institute also looked at districts that focus on more serious border crimes. In the Southern District of California, the U.S. Attorney's Office has decided to target the border crossers who have already been deported or who have substantial criminal records. This approach ensures that U.S. attorneys have the time and resources to prosecute other crimes along the border. As a result, the district leads the nation in prosecutions of alien smuggling and importing controlled substances.
Disentangling the role of immigration from these serious crimes is important, not only because we have limited resources but because confusing the issues helps to ensure that neither set of problems are solved. Immigrants will continue to be scapegoated and lumped together with dangerous criminals as long as we fail to challenge the assumptions that are reflected in programs such as Operation Streamline. Getting things right along the border won't happen solely by focusing on immigration or by focusing on crime alone, but by looking realistically at where the problems are and targeting resources accordingly. The President may need Congress in order to reach a full comprehensive solution to the broken immigration system, but bold action to disentangle immigration from crime is within his power. He has said the right words and we look forward to actions that match.
From the Book Shelves: Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America
Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America ~ Erika Lee Erika Lee and Judy Yung (soon to be released). ABSTRACT: From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island immigration station in San Francisco served as the processing and detention center for over one million people from around the world. The majority of newcomers came from China and Japan, but there were also immigrants from India, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Mexico, and over seventy other countries. The full history of these immigrants and their experiences on Angel Island is told for the first time in this landmark book, published to commemorate the immigration station's 100th anniversary. Based on extensive new research and oral histories, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America examines the great diversity of immigration through Angel Island: Chinese "paper sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean refugee students, South Asian political activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, Filipino workers, and many others. Together, their stories offer a more complete and complicated history of immigration to America than we have ever known. Like its counterpart on Ellis Island, the immigration station on Angel Island was one of the country's main ports of entry for immigrants in the early twentieth century. But while Ellis Island was mainly a processing center for European immigrants, Angel Island was designed to detain and exclude immigrants from Asia. The immigrant experience on Angel Island-more than any other site-reveals how U.S. immigration policies and their hierarchical treatment of immigrants according to race, ethnicity, class, nationality, and gender played out in daily practices and decisions at the nation's borders with real consequences on immigrant lives and on the country itself. Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America is officially sponsored by the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. Proceeds will benefit the Foundation. About the Author Erika Lee is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943. Judy Yung is Professor Emerita of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island and Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco.
Obama's Broken Promise to Mexico
The Daily Beast has an interesting piece by John M. Ackerman entitled "Obama's Broken Promise to Mexico." Ackerman writes of how President Obama is becoming a disappointment to many Mexicans. Here is an excerpt: "He has failed to control the sale of assault weapons or stop their flow across the border. Drug consumption remains obscenely high in the U.S. The president has not given immigration reform the priority it deserves. He has not even dared to challenge the discriminatory Arizona legislation in the courts. Meanwhile, Obama and Calderón toast with elegant crystal wine glasses, share their `dreams' for the future and boogie down to Beyoncé." Tough talk indeed!
The Meaning of Marriage: Immigration Rules and Their Implications for Same-Sex Spouses in a World Without DOMA by Scott Titshaw
Here is a topical article: The Meaning of Marriage: Immigration Rules and Their Implications for Same-Sex Spouses in a World Without DOMA by Scott Titshaw (Mercer University School of Law), 16 Wm. & Mary J. Women & the Law 537 (2010). Abstract: An estimated 35,000 U.S. Citizens are living in our country with same-sex foreign partners, but with no right to stay here together on the basis of their relationship. Many are faced with a choice between their partners and the country they love. This is true, even if the couple is legally married in one of the growing number of states and foreign countries that recognize same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines “marriage” under all federal law as an exclusively heterosexual institution, now stands squarely in their way. Reform options that would help these couples to stay together in the United States include a judicial determination that marriage discrimination violates the U.S. Constitution, federal legislation specifically recognizing these couples under U.S. immigration law, and the repeal or striking down of DOMA. This article assumes that the latter possibility is the most likely. If DOMA were repealed or struck down, that would not result in a clear, uniform rule recognizing all same-sex marriages under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). However, there is a wealth of guidance about how our immigration system deals with marriages that are recognized in some, but not all U.S. states. This article maps out the legal terrain that would remain in an immigration world without DOMA. It turns out that US Attorneys General, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), immigration officials, and most federal courts have consistently applied the same standards to determine marriage validity under the INA. This analysis has been used in dozens of cases, including those involving bi-racial marriage, marriage between close relatives, marriage involving minors, marriage involving transgender spouses, proxy marriage, polygamy, and even same-sex marriage before DOMA. After setting out the well-established rules for dealing with disputed categories of marriage, this article applies them to same-sex spouses. It identifies some answers and illuminates possible approaches to a few hard questions that would remain.
American Night: The Ballad of Juan José
American Night: The Ballad of Juan José. Presented at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival June 29 to Oct. 31:
As Juan José studies for his citizenship exam, his obsession to pass takes him on a fantastical odyssey. On a zig-zag journey through U.S. history, Juan discovers America’s best in a handful of unsung citizens who made courageous choices in some of the country’s toughest times. L.A.’s legendary Culture Clash partners with company actors in a cutting, comic mix of past and present, stereotype and truth that will move you into a deeper vision of our shared story. American Night premieres OSF’s highly anticipated U.S. history cycle, American Revolutions.
Suspicious Behavior on Cinco de Mayo
I missed it but a a week or so ago, but just ran across this Daily Show instructive -- and hilarious -- analysis of the "reasonable suspicion" standard in the new Arizona immigration law.
American Gulag: 350 immigrants held more than 6 months while fighting deportation, Tip of detention iceberg
Anna Gorman of the Los Angeles Timeswrites that "More than 350 immigrant detainees in the Los Angeles area have been held behind bars longer than six months while fighting deportation, according to a list recently released by the federal government. The list of names was turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California late last month as part of a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The ACLU is battling for the right of detainees held for six months or more to have hearings on whether they can be released from custody while their cases are pending."
Since 1996, as we all know, the U.S. government's detention of immigrants has increased astronomically. The numbers of detentions, as well as the conditions, lack of hearings, etc. have frequently been criticized. Hello, is anyone out there?