Saturday, May 29, 2010

Arabesque Hip-Hop Video Explores Plight of Immigrants

Hip-Hop recording artist Arabesque explores the plight of landed immigrants. Telling the story of 4 immigrants and their trek to North America, and the struggle to find their feet. The song examines their hurdles in absorbing the country's culture and values. This is unfortunately a common tale, with work ready adults facing uphill battles.

A special thank you to every association, non profit, activist group, government outreach, community centre, church, temple and mosque for fueling a growing movement to defend immigrants' rights. What they have done for the community is beyond admirable.

ARABESQUE "Understand" Video >>Click here to watch <<

May 29, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arpaio Gets Sued by County Supervisor

From La Frontera Times:

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and her husband filed a notice of claim against county officials Thursday, saying she was illegally targeted in an investigation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

The claim alleges Arpaio and Thomas launched the high-profile investigation to retaliate for her vocal criticism of their efforts to combat undocumented immigration. The Wilcoxes will settle for $4.75 million.

The claim, filed by an attorney representing the Wilcoxes, names Arpaio, Thomas and others in their offices. Notice of claim is the first step toward filing a lawsuit against a government entity.

Wilcox joins Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe, Supervisor Don Stapley and his business associate Conley Wolfswinkel in filing notices of claims against the county because of investigations by Arpaio and Thomas. An attorney for Stapley's executive assistant, Susan Schuerman,is expected to file her notice of claim later Thursday or Friday.

The Sheriff's Office declined comment.

"I felt just so preyed upon," Wilcox said. "I stood up on an issue that, as an elected official, I have a right to speak out on. I was crucified for it. This was the worst time in my life."

Criminal charges against Wilcox and Stapley were dismissed after a judge ruled Thomas had a conflict of interest in investigating her.

Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!


May 29, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rebellious Lawyering Institute: Standing Up To Arizona



The Rebellious Lawyering Institute

September 23-25 2010/Bishop’s Lodge, Santa Fe, New Mexico

On every front, Arizona presents major challenges: how do we influence public perceptions? litigate effectively? lobby to avoid similar laws or to enact better ones? organize communities? learn and teach about law enforcement practices? assess the wisdom of and ways to implement boycotts?  Not surprisingly, no one group or no single strategic scheme dominates current thinking about and action in Arizona – much less across the United States or in other countries. Instead an often heated and fractured debate shapes compatible and divergent paths. 

Because of the significance of this crisis, the Rebellious Lawyering Institute has specially designed a training focusing on (1) how we can best stand up to Arizona and (2) what the Arizona experience can teach us about preparing for and avoiding the copycat actions of anti-immigrant and racist forces in other states.   In designing this special training, we have drawn on the wisdom of many and look forward to working with you in Santa Fe. 

A Big Heads-Up about Hotel Reservations:

New Mexico’s beautiful fall attracts lots of events and guests to Santa Fe, so please do book early.  If you book a room at Bishop’s Lodge on or before July 15, 2010, you can secure a special conference rate (mention Rebellious Lawyering-  From July 15 forward, you may still reserve a room at Bishop’s Lodge but only if rooms are available and only at the regular rate.  Or of course you may book your stay elsewhere in Santa Fe.  Please do book early, though. 

See you in September,

Kip Bobroff, Tara Ford, Bill Ong Hing, Gerald P. López, Shauna Marshall – and the many close friends and allies who will be with us in Santa Fe.


May 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Will Boycott of Arizona Yield Results?

From Julianne Hing of Colorlines:

It has been four weeks since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the state’s controversial SB 1070, and efforts to boycott the state have been mounting ever since. Calls for a boycott actually began days before SB 1070 even became law, when Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva warned the business community to prepare for backlash.    Boycott

“We’re asking organizations, civic, religious, labor, Latino, organizations of color to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site, to refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona,” he said on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show that week, “until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backwards and joins the rest of the union.”  

SB 1070 requires that people show proof of their immigration status if they’re questioned by police, and empowers police to ask for such proof when they’re enforcing local and state laws, and even civil code. Civil rights groups have called SB 1070 unconstitutional; five separate lawsuits are now challenging it.   
But while lawyers head to court, immigrant rights organizers are funneling the national outrage into a widespread, multi-pronged boycott against Arizona. Calls to move next year’s baseball All-Star Game out of Phoenix have drawn the most attention. But the boycott effort is gaining ground among convention planners and in local governments, too, particularly in cities with significant immigrant communities.  

On Tuesday, Seattle passed the latest city resolution declaring a boycott of Arizona--and became the eleventh locality in the United States to do so. Seattle joined the ranks of cities like Austin, Texas; Boston; Los Angeles; Oakland; St. Paul, Minn. and Washington, D.C., who’ve all vowed some form of economic response, ranging from clear travel bans for employees to more vague contracting commitments. (See graphic at end of article for details.)  

City officials in Dallas are mulling their own resolution, as are New Yorkers. Cook County, which encompasses Chicago, is considering its own boycott. Cities are folding their arms, turning up their noses and giving nasty looks at the Grand Canyon State. They don’t want to be part of a club that proudly relies on racial profiling to crack down on immigrants.   

But all of this begs an important question about boycotting as a tool for reform: Does it work? And if so, under what conditions? 

“Boycotts are tricky business,” warns Dana Frank, a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  

Precedent shows that if they’re carried out in a strategic way, boycotts can be effective—the famous thirteen-month Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in 1955 is a favorite example among historians of a smartly executed campaign. But efforts that do not have clearly outlined objectives and pathways of transmitting pressure often collapse. “Boycotts historically are most effective when they have a very specific target, or when they are part of a multi-pronged approach,” says Frank.  

Boycotts are also notoriously easy to start and hard to finish. Lawrence Glickman, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America, cites the NAACP’s 1990s boycott of South Carolina as an example of what can happen when targets and objectives aren’t clearly outlined. The NAACP announced a boycott of South Carolina in 1992 because the state refused to stop flying the Confederate flag at the capitol building. But when the state moved the flag from the top of the dome to the capitol grounds in 1999, there was confusion about whether they’d found an acceptable compromise.   

As recently as March of this year, people have debated whether the South Carolina boycott’s still going on, and disagreements have led to public tussling between the NAACP and other Black community leaders. “There was a lot of ambiguity, and that led to a loss of momentum,” says Glickman.  


May 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AMERICANS IN THE YELLOWHAMMER AND MAGNOLIA STATES: Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a Growing Economic Force in Alabama and Mississippi

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

Highlights from Alabama include:

Immigrants made up 3.0% of Alabamans (or 137,275 people) in 2007.

The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $3.1 billion and Asian buying power totaled nearly $1.8 billion in Alabama in 2009.

If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Alabama, the state could lose $2.6 billion in economic activity and $1.1 billion in gross state product.

Highlights from Mississippi include:

Immigrants made up 1.7% of Mississippians (or 49,483 people) in 2007.

The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $1.6 billion and Asian buying power totaled $862.1 million in Mississippi in 2009.

If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Mississippi, the state could lose $583 million in economic activity and $259 million in gross state product.

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


May 28, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U Visa Manual for Immigrant Victims of Crime

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:


The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crime

2nd Edition

By Sally Kinoshita, Susan Bowyer, and Catherine Ward-Seitz


The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crime will guide you through the entire process of handling an immigration case for a U visa applicant – from eligibility screening through adjustment of status to assisting eligible family members. In addition to providing a thorough explanation of the requirements and process, this manual includes numerous sample materials to help you in handling your client’s case. These include the immigration forms you will need, sample checklists, declarations, receipt notices and other correspondence you can expect to receive from USCIS, motions to submit to the immigration court, and more.

This second edition of this manual is almost 50% larger (more than 200 pages) than the first edition. The entire manual has been updated and includes expanded sections on the visa process for U nonimmigrants abroad, adjustment of status, stays of removal and more. There are also many more sample materials including applications and declarations for adjustment applications, motions for use in removal proceedings, and explanatory materials for clients obtaining a U visa at a consulate abroad.

This manual contains the following eight chapters and an extensive appendix:

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION covers an overview of benefits and eligibility for U nonimmigrant status, the contents of this manual and how to use it, and resources to assist you in navigating this topic.

CHAPTER 2 U NONIMMIGRANT STATUS ELIGIBILITY covers eligibility for U nonimmigrant status including a detailed discussion of the eligibility requirements for the visa, red flag issues and screening tips and practice pointers.

CHAPTER 3 U NONIMIGRANT STATUS PROCESS details step-by-step how to apply for U nonimmigrant status, including details on how to fill out the Form I-918, information about additional documentation required to obtain U nonimmigrant status, what to expect from the process, how to obtain work authorization, and how and when to communicate with CIS about your client’s case.  It also describes issues that arise after U nonimmigrant status is approved, including traveling and consular processing.

CHAPTER 4 INADMISSIBILITY GROUNDS AND WAIVERS provides information about the various grounds of inadmissibility applicable to the U nonimmigrant status applicant, the standard for overcoming them with a waiver, and strategies for how to apply for the inadmissibility waiver.

CHAPTER 5 ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS ELIGIBILITY details the requirements for U nonimmigrants to obtain lawful permanent residence, as well as how jurisdictional issues, inadmissibility grounds, and prior removal orders may affect your client’s case.

CHAPTER 6 ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS PROCESS is another step-by-step chapter providing details to guide you through completing the adjustment packet, including the I-485 and supporting documentation, for a U nonimmigrant.

CHAPTER 7 ASSISTING FAMILY MEMBERS is dedicated to providing information on how to help family members obtain immigration status—either as derivative family members with U nonimmigrant status or through the family petitioning process at the adjustment phase.

CHAPTER 8 REMOVAL ISSUES discusses issues impacting clients who are currently in removal proceedings and those with prior removal or deportation issues, including information on motions and stays.

The APPENDIX found at the end of this manual provides numerous sample materials, screening sheets, checklists, USCIS memoranda and other materials that advocates may find useful in helping a client successfully obtain U nonimmigrant status.


May 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Teen Sentenced in Hate Killing of Marcelo Lucero

Yesterday, the teenager convicted of killing a Latino immigrant in a 2008 hate crime attack in Patchogue, NY was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Jeffrey Conroy, now 19, was told by Justice Robert W. Doyle that the proof of guilt of killing Marcelo Lucero, an immigrant from Ecuador, was “overwhelming” and that he was convicted of “senseless and brutal crimes.” Evidence showed that the teens had went out that evening to find "some Mexicans" to beat up.  The 25-year sentence was the longest possible for first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime.  For the N.Y. Times story on the sentencing, click here.


May 28, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Minuteman Gilchrist Endorsement Comes With A Pricetag

From Doug Gibson of the Standard-Examiner:

There’s a very interesting story in The Politico Web site about allegations that Minuteman Project leader Jim Gilchrist has required that money be given to a firm, Election Impact Group, allied with him before an endorsement is given to a political candidate. Utah Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Tim Bridgewater, who has been endorsed by Gilchrist and has provided money to that firm, is mentioned.

In the article by Ben Smith, candidates who failed to get an endorsement from Gilchrist, described as gold for candidates, “were told bluntly that they would need to hire a consulting firm closely linked to the Minuteman founder and run by the project’s political director, Mississippi political consultant Howie Morgan. When they didn’t hire Morgan, the endorsements didn’t materialize — and in one case, Gilchrist went on to endorse a rival,” the article reads.

In an Alabama U.S. House race, Republican challenger Mo Brooks was approached by Morgan, who told Brooks he wanted to help defeat “imposter” Parker Griffith, the incumbent Republican who had been a Democrat. However, Brooks balked at paying many thousands of dollars to Morgan’s firm. A few months later, the Minuteman endorsed Griffiths, who election records show paid Morgan’s firm $6,500. Two other candidates in other races told Politico that efforts to get Gilchrist’s endorsement failed after negotiations with Morgan broke down.

In Utah, Bridgewater’s campaign admits it has provided money to have Gilchrist help the campaign but denies that it was inappropriate. “What we paid them for was basically to get Jim Gilchrist out to stump for us and all the costs — the plane tickets and the fees and the help with drafting press releases,” said Tiffany Gunnerson, a spokeswoman for Utah Senate candidate Tim Bridgewater. “We didn’t think there was anything suspicious or underboard about it, and we didn’t think we would have lost out to a competitor if we hadn’t brought him out,” the article reads.

No one’s accusing Bridgewater of any bad behavior. This is politics after all, and this kind of stuff is tolerated too often. But there seems to be evidence that an endorsement by political right-wing superstar Gilchrist has to come — in most cases — with a deal with Morgan’s firm. And that tarnishes the myth of grassroots activism that the Minuteman Project organizers and supporters try to pitch.

The Washington Post asks whether Gilchrist is selling endorsements.


May 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Unauthorized Aliens in the United States

The Congressional Research Service recently released a report entitled “Unauthorized Aliens in the United States.”


May 27, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Border Enforcement Amendments Defeated

From the Center for American Progress:

Three border enforcement amendments to the military supplemental bill were soundly defeated in the Senate today. Seeking to redirect nearly $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funding, the amendments would have mandated deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to the southwest border; massively increased border personnel, technology, and infrastructure; and expanded a program mandating 100 percent prosecution of misdemeanor immigration offenses, regardless of impact on other prosecutorial priorities.

CAP Action Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy Angela M. Kelley issued the following statement:

“Cooler heads prevailed today in the U.S. Senate as extreme Republican enforcement measures fell one by one. Led today by Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the Democrats successfully stymied the Republicans’ brazen political move to post an extraordinary 6,000 troops at the border, paid for by money that has been set aside for new jobs and military operations.

“While the National Guard is not an answer to the broken system, the President’s announcement earlier this week to post 1,200 National Guard troops along the border provided a sober and strategic way forward rather than the hyperbole and hysterics that have taken hold of the debate.

“With their votes today, the Senate asked and answered the question of whether enforcement alone will fix our broken immigration system. Now leaders of both parties, particularly Republicans with a track record in support of broad reform, should turn from heated rhetoric to smart solutions and begin bipartisan conversations. As poll after poll tells us, Americans are hungry for a solution that is tough, practical, and fair. Surely our leaders can find a way to satisfy the public and solve the problem.”


May 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Language Access and Due Process

From Appleseed:

Model Court Rule for Language Access 
People with limited proficiency in the English language face a number of barriers to social justice. As such, many Appleseed programs, both local and national, include important language access initiatives, one of which is gaining traction in Louisiana.

Louisiana Appleseed, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) and the Louisiana Language Access Coalition, is currently advocating for better interpreter services in the state's court system.  In January 2010, the LSBA House of Delegates adopted a resolution supporting the creation of Language Access Guidelines; shortly thereafter, the Louisiana Public Defender Board passed a similar resolution.
At the Language Access Coalition's request, Christy Kane, executive director of Louisiana Appleseed, engaged volunteer attorneys from Phelps Dunbar law firm to prepare a memo analyzing other states' standards for courtroom interpreters and draft a model court rule for consideration by the Louisiana Supreme Court.  That rule, drafted by volunteers Jackie Brettner and Stephanie Villagomez, and attached to the LSBA resolution, would govern the certification and appointment of interpreters, as well as their use in legal proceedings. 
Among the most notable of the proposed measures are:

  • The creation of a Language Access Administration to develop a certification program, a list of certified court interpreters, and a systematic method for recording costs and data related to the use of those interpreters;
  • The appointment of an interpreter in any court proceeding in which a non-English-speaking or limited-English-proficiency person is a litigant or the accused;
  • The adoption of a code of professional responsibility for interpreters and the administration of an oath at each proceeding.

In order to better assess interpreter services in state courts, the
Language Access Coalition has engaged law firm Fowler Rodriguez, with volunteer Cristi Fowler Chauvin working to develop survey questions for judges to determine the prevalence of language access issues.
The project mirrors an effort by National Appleseed and Chicago Appleseed to address translation problems on the federal level in U.S. immigration courts. As documented in Assembly Line Injustice, lack of fluent, unbiased interpreters represents a severe impediment to due process for immigrants.  The production of essential materials in non-English languages - from financial education brochures to legal guidebooks to remittance receipts - has likewise been a part of many Appleseed projects.
For Louisiana Appleseed's commitment to language access and other important efforts to promote justice, the LSBA this week presented the Center with a Friend of Pro Bono Award!  For more information, contact Christy Kane at


May 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Will Justice Department Pull the Trigger and Challenge the Arizona Law?

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Many news outlets are reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. are seriously considering  filing a legal challenge to the Arizona immigration law on the grounds that it intrudes on the federal power to regulate immigration.  Holder on Wednesday met with a group of police chiefs who expressed concerns about the impacts of the Arizona law on effective policing.

We will wait and see if the U.S. Department of Justice weighs in on the Arizona immigration law. 


May 27, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summary of Friendly House v. Whiting

My research assistant prepared a summary of the complaint in the MALDEF, ACLU, and NILC lawsuit challenging the Arizona immigration law.  Here it is.  Download Summary of Friendly House v Whiting


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Could you pass latest citizenship test?

Memorandum to the President: The Human Consequences of Immigration Enforcement

Consistent with the "enforcement now, enforcement forever" approach to immigration of his entire administration, President Obama has now decided to deploy the National Guard along the U.S./Mexico border.  No surprises but critics have been quick to respond (and here).  Will the deployment do much of anything in terms of reducing undocumented migration?  Almost definitely not.  It may provide the President some political cover and the administration no doubt will claim that the deployment of troops is necessary politically to secure immigration reform.  But, while the administration pushes enforcement efforts -- even the National Guard, where is his leadership and real push on immigration reform?  In the end, we will likely see the increased human costs -- and misery -- of increased immigration enforcement, which are sketched out generally in this talk that I gave yesterday at the Immigration Law Teachers Workshop 2010 (Download The Human Costs of Immigration Enforcement), with no enforcement benefits. 


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Law Teachers Workshop 2010 Concludes Today

The Immigration Law Teachers Conference 2010 ends today.  A rich event of immigration interchange, the conference in a little more than two days included a keynote speech by Judge Richard Posner (critical of the work of Board of Immigration Appeals), plenary panels on immigration enforcement and guest workers, discussions of works-in-progress, and a wide array of concurrent panels on teaching, scholarship, and other subjects.

Kudos to the organizing committee, chaired by the ever-smiling and cheerful Professor Lenni Benson (New York), for organizing an intellectually vibrant event that was efficiently run.  The Immigration Law Teachers Workshop was first held at the University of New Mexico in 1994; the inaugural event was organized by Professor Michael Olivas (Houston).  Over the years, attendance has grown from less than 50 to well over 100 law teachers.


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Hate Murder in Arizona?

Given the racial tensions in Arizona surrounding its new immigration law, is this report from the Arizona Republic the least bit surprising:

"Family members of a south Phoenix father slain last week amid protests over Arizona's strict immigration-enforcement law said Friday they want police and prosecutors to classify the case as an anti-Hispanic hate crime. Juan Varela, 44, was watering a tree in his front yard May 6 when police said his neighbor confronted him, pointed a snub-nosed revolver at his face, and fatally wounded him with a single shot to the neck. Investigators said the neighbor, who was arrested immediately after the shooting, repeated a racial slur several times and told Varela to "go back to Mexico" or he would die. Phoenix police Bias Crimes Unit investigators are looking into the allegations of a hate crime."

Not that long ago, Latino immigrants were killed in Shenandoah, PA, not far from Hazleton and its highly publicizied anti-immigrant ordinance, and Long Island, where local county officials had railed on the costs of immigrants to the county.   Hate crimes directed at Latinos, not coincidentally, have increased over the last few years as the nation as debated immigration reform.  The killing of Juan Varela in Arizona may be the latest chapter in this sordid story of anti-immigrant, anti-Latino -- and unfortunately may not be the last.


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants in America: A Hollywood Perspective

From the Opportunity Agenda:

A panel of Hollywood notables took the stage with immigration advocates at The Paley Center for Media earlier this month, to discuss the challenges in telling accurate, compelling immigrant stories in movies and television.

The event featured conversations with Bruce Evans, Senior Vice President of Drama Programming, NBC; Jesse Garcia, Actor, Quinceañera; Leon Ichasa, Screenwriter and Director; Alan Jenkins, Executive Director, The Opportunity Agenda; Nick Schenk, Writer, Gran Torino; Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Bee Vang, Actor, Gran Torino; and Ligiah Villalobos, Screenwriter, Under the Same Moon. Professor and film critic Emanuel Levy moderated the discussion.

The panelists all cited a need for a greater diversity of immigrant stories in popular media and greater diversity, too, in the writers, directors, and producers in Hollywood.

But combating those stereotypes is sometimes a challenge for an industry that depends on entertaining its audience. Evans noted that many Americans, after coming home from a long day at work, simply want to unwind in front of the television and not confront complex issues. “If they feel like that box is lecturing them,” they’ll simply turn it off, he said.

On the other hand, Angelica Salas of CHIRLA, focused on how difficult it can be to present complex ideas in television, citing the scene in Ugly Betty where the character Ignacio Suarez wears an immigration enforcement ankle bracelet. In real life, Salas argued, this is a very dehumanizing and often painful situation but on television it is often portrayed as a simple inconvenience. It is important to challenge false ideas promoted through TV, but also to work with Hollywood to elevate real stories.

All agreed that Hollywood has a vital role to play in changing the perceptions of immigration, and telling stories that stress the inclusion of immigrants into the American fabric—that members of the creative community can become more visible and vocal, galvanizing the media and fans to become more engaged on immigration reform and fighting new divisive legislation in Arizona.

“There are 50 million Latinos in this country,” said Villalobos, “and not one Latino show on network television. That has to change.”

Here is a link to videos and photos of the event.


May 26, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

How Earl Warren Previewed Today’s Civil Liberties Debate – And Got it Right in the End

I ran across a fascinating paper on the Social Science Research Network ( :

"How Earl Warren Previewed Today’s Civil Liberties Debate – And Got it Right in the End" Asian American Law Journal, Vol. 16, p. 73, 2009 SANDHYA RAMADAS. ABSTRACT:  Earl Warren is revered for his tenure as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and for his legacy as the icon of American civil liberties, but a dark moment lurked in his past. In late 1941 and early 1942, as the Attorney General of California, Warren confronted a host of difficult questions involving constitutional law, civil liberties, and race relations. With the United States still reeling from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and with the dawn of the involvement of American combat troops in World War II, Warren advocated for the relocation and internment of both Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants living in the United States. How did this heralded champion of individual freedom once decide to subordinate civil liberties to security? Two documents released in 2006 by the California State Archives, which houses Warren's California papers, shed light on his decision-making process. The first is a speech Warren delivered in June of 1942 to the Stanford Law Society entitled “Martial Rule in a Time of War.” The second is a set of 138 letters sent from February 17 to 24, 1942 by California law enforcement in response to Warren's request for suggested solutions to the “alien problem” in California. These documents have never before been the subject of scholarly publication. This Article is an attempt to focus on Warren's decision-making process concerning Internment in light of these newly released documents. It is also an attempt to analyze the lifetime transformation of Warren's attitude surrounding civil rights and the protection of individual liberties, as well as document Warren's progression from Internment advocate to civil rights proponent. Given the documented current of racism that underlay the Internment decision, many scholars have argued that Warren's changed attitude towards civil rights was influenced by his changed views of race over his lifetime. But another factor that arguably influenced Warren's transformation, and one that has been less explored by scholars, was his changing view of the law's role and function in our society. This Article argues that Warren began his legal career with a vision of the law as predominantly a means of securing state stability; by the end, he viewed state power as the ultimate threat and the law as the predominant mean of safeguarding citizens against it. This Article does not attempt to remove Warren's decision to advocate for Internment from its racial context, nor does it attempt to minimize that context. Rather, it attempts, with the information contained in these two newly released documents, to analyze Warren's support for Internment in the context of his views on the role of the law, and to trace the evolution of Warren's concept of the role of the law throughout his lifetime. This Article begins with a discussion of the historical context surrounding the decision to intern Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants, including Warren's role in Internment. Next, the Article examines Warren's decision-making process, exploring his speeches, articles, Congressional testimony, and the letters Warren solicited and received from California's local law enforcement. The article then discusses Warren's career following his time as Attorney General of California, from Governor of California to Chief Justice, including Warren's final reflections on his decision to intern the Japanese and his changing concept of the role and function of the law from depriver to protector of civil liberties. Finally, the Article examines the modern-day takeaway from Warren's evolving concept of the law and the law's legitimacy, possible parallels to the role of the law as perceived by the Bush administration in its “War on Terror,” and the Obama administration's likely attitude towards the protection of civil liberties.


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Anthropologists condemn Arizona immigration law

The world's leading anthropology organization, the American Anthropologoical Association, has condemned Arizona's new immigration law as targeted harassment of Latinos and said that it will not hold conferences in the state..  For the USA Today story on this, clickhere.


May 26, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)