Saturday, June 12, 2010

Attacking LGBTQ Community Part of Anti-Immigrant Strategy

Chris Bober writes for

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, is in the news again attacking immigrants. This time his target is the LGBTQ community – specifically bi-national, same-sex families.

In a June 4 article in the Boston Globe, Mr. Krikorian went on record opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to grant a temporary parole to Genesio Oliveira of Brazil. The humanitarian parole allows Mr. Oliveira to be reunited with his spouse, Tim Coco, for one year. Although they were married in Massachusetts in 2005, Mr. Coco has been unable to sponsor his spouse for legal residency because their marriage is not recognized under federal law.

In the same article, Mr. Krikorian is quoted saying,

“It’s a side-door attempt at changing the Defense of Marriage Act…that’s the problem with our immigration laws; it’s just this vast collection of exceptions for people who get the attention of a particular bureaucrat or judge or politician.” Click here for the rest of the story.


June 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Harvard Student Faces Deportation

Maria Sacchetti writes for the Boston Globe:

A 19-year-old Harvard biology student, who has been in the United States unlawfully since he was 4 years old, was detained at a Texas airport this week and is now fighting deportation to his native Mexico.

Eric Balderas, a sophomore on a full scholarship to Harvard, was detained Monday while preparing to board a flight back to Boston to spend the summer conducting research at the university. He had been visiting his mother in San Antonio, where he grew up and was valedictorian of his high school class.

Balderas said he had lost his Mexican passport and tried to board the flight using a consular card from the Mexican government and his Harvard identification. Instead, he said, airport security called immigration officials, who handcuffed and fingerprinted him, and detained him for five hours before letting him go. He boarded a flight back to Boston the next day, pending a July 6 court date with an immigration judge, probably in Boston.

We need the DREAM Act!


June 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race and Citizenship by Rose Cuison Villazor

Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race and Citizenship by Rose Cuison Villazor Hofstra University - School of Law Washington University Law Review, Vol. 87, p. 979, 2010 Hofstra University Legal Studies Research.   Paper Abstract: Oyama v. California was a landmark case in the history of civil rights. Decided in January 1948, Oyama held unconstitutional a provision of California’s Alien Land Law, which allowed the state to take an escheat action on property given to U.S. citizens that had been purchased by their parents who were not eligible to become citizens. At the time, the country’s naturalization law prohibited Japanese nationals from becoming U.S. citizens. Thus, the Alien Land Law applied primarily to Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans. Critically, Oyama recognized that the state’s attempted taking of a citizen’s property because his father was Japanese constituted a violation of his equal protection rights. In so doing, Oyama created a paradigm shift in the treatment of property rights of Japanese Americans. Despite its significance, Oyama has received surprisingly little attention in legal scholarship. Leading constitutional and property law casebooks have virtually ignored the case. This Article seeks to correct that oversight. As this Article argues, Oyama fills a neglected void in our collective historical understanding of race, property law, and citizenship. Equally important, it provides a timely normative and prescriptive response to contentious contemporary debates about the validity of state and local law restrictions on leaseholds against a select group of noncitizens, namely undocumented immigrants. By calling attention to the historical and contemporary contributions of this largely unnoticed case, this Article argues why Oyama should be included in the canons of property and constitutional laws.

June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Support TPS for Guatemalans

From MIGUA: Movimiento de Inmigrantes Guatemaltecos en los Estados Unidos

Ask the U.S. government to support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guatemalans


Edgar Ayala (510) 332-4187; Oakland, CA.
Carlos Gómez (773) 610-3053; Chicago IL
Claudia Carias (646) 220-2460 New York

Tropical Storm Agatha hit Central America on May 29, 2010, creating great devastation in El Salvador, Honduras and especially in Guatemala. The storm dropped the greatest amount of rain in Guatemalan history in just a few hours. To make matters worse, a few days earlier the Pacaya Volcano erupted sending millions of tons of ash and sand over one quarter of the country. Between the storm and the eruption, the devastation is enormous. Dozens of bridges collapsed, communities were flooded and crops destroyed.

Please help convince President Obama to grant Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to Guatemala. TPS would stop the deportation of Guatemalan citizens, who are in the US without authorization, to a country without resources to take them back. Over 387,790 Guatemalans were expelled from the US under the Obama Administration in 2009, a 5% increase from under Bush in 2008. El Salvador and Honduras already have TPS protection because of past natural disasters. Guatemala needs it today!

Ask the U.S. government to support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guatemalans currently in the U.S.

Contact President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security:

Call the Department of Homeland Security Comment Line today at 202-282-8495

[if unable to get through, call the White House Comment line at 202-456-1111 (Fax: 202-456-2461)] and urge them to grant TPS for Guatemalans.


·     President Obama HAS NOT approved TPS for Guatemalans yet. DO NOT pay money to any party offering to fill out a TPS application or advise you on how to apply.

·     If TPS is granted, you will not need a lawyer, there are dozens of community service organizations that would assist you, PLEASE DO NOT flood community organizations or the Guatemalan Consulate with questions about how to applying for TPS, it hasn’t been granted yet!

·     TPS IS NOT PERMAMENT RESIDENCE but a temporary suspension of removal or deportation. As with other adjustment of immigration status, some rules and filing fees would apply once, only if TPS is granted to Guatemalans.


For financial and other relief assistance for Guatemalan victims, please contact:

1)    CCDA, a community-based organization in Sololá, one of the hardest hit areas. The organization is providing emergency services in communities and coordinating with 10 local shelters. In addition to financial donations, the CCDA needs food, water, material goods, phone cards (TIGO), medical volunteers and equipment. Visit the CCDA blog <>; and;
2)    Asociación Civil Grupo Pro-Justicia Nueva Linda. The storm destroyed the encampment that the group maintains as a permanent presence in front of the Nueva Linda plantation (finca) to demand justice for the 2003 forced disappearance of leader Hector Reyes and a 2004 violent eviction that led to the death of 9 group members. The group estimates the losses as a result of tropical storm Agatha at $10,000.  Read more and see pictures from the group here <>.

For disaster aid ONLY, please send your tax-deductible donations made out to NISGUA to:

c/o Melinda Van Slyke
228 East Jefferson Street
Spring Green, WI, 53588


June 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Secret Evidence Proceedings in the UK and Canada

Amalia King has put together some materials on secret evidence proceedings in Canada and the UK.  Such proceedings are not only in the United States, it appears.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Immigration Law as Discrimination (Not Anti-Discrimination) Law

I visited New York City earlier this week to participate in a panel of the Association of American Law Schools Mid-Year meeting.  My presentation focused on how color-blind U.S. immigration laws have racially disparate impacts -- yet another example of the damage done through the veil of color blindness.  Here is an outline of my remarks.  Download AALS New York Immigration Reform[2]


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Possible Foreign Policy Consequences of Immigration Law and Enforcement

The Mexican government has registered strong objections to U.S. immigration officers' killing of a Mexican teenager on the U.S./Mexico border earlier this week, an incident that has generated great controversy.  In addition, over the last month, the highest levels of the Mexican government, including President Felipe Calderon in a visit to the United States last month, have harshly criticized the Arizona immigration law.  Both incidents demonstrate clearly how U.S. immigration law and enforcement can have foreign policy consequences for the nation as a whole and therefore should be in the hands of one federal government rather than the governments of 50 different states.  The U.S. government, of course, does make mistakes in this realm.  Still, it can be held accountable for the missteps by the President much more easily than if 50 different states had their own immigration enforcement regimes.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Attorney Norton Tooby Honored

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild has announced that they will be honoring Mr. Norton Tooby
for his outstanding contributions to defending human rights and to securing post-conviction relief for immigrants, on Friday, July 2, 2010 from 6-7:30pm at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conference in National Harbor, MD. Tooby is being honored for his lifetime dedication to defending the rights of the most disenfranchised in society, and to upholding dignity, integrity, and the rights of all.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Obama Administration Must Form an Answer on State Immigration Regulations

Marshall Fitz for the Center for American Progress has a thoughtful column on how the Obama administration can put an end to the increasing number of state and local anti-immigration laws and re-establish federal supremacy over immigration law and policy.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SHOCKING NEWS: "ILLEGAL ALIENS" Cleaning up BP Spill in Gulf

It did not take long: Colorlines reports that "A local sheriff [in Louisiana] has set up checkpoints and called federal agents to BP’s cleanup sites because he says `illegal aliens' are building `criminal enterprises'—just like they did after Katrina."


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles from SSRN

Here are some new immigration articles from the Social Scioence Research Network (

"Human Trafficking Violates Anti-Slavery Provision: Introductory Note to Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia - European Court of Human Rights" International Legal Materials, Vol. 49, 2010 Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 10-36 STEPHANIE FARRIOR, Vermont Law School.  ABSTRACT:  In a landmark judgment, the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously in Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia that human trafficking violates Article 4 (prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced labor) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Although the Court had held in an earlier case that trafficking of a child domestic worker fell within the scope of Article 4, this is the first case in which it has addressed sex trafficking under that provision. This Introductory Note, which will appear in Volume 49 of International Legal Materials, provides an overview of the case and comments on the significance of the judgment.

 "Constraint Through Delegation: The Case of Executive Control Over Immigration Policy" Duke Law Journal, Vol. 59, p. 1787, 2010 NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper, Forthcoming Migration & Immigration: Trends & Critical Policy Issues Paper CRISTINA RODRIGUEZ, New York University - School of Law.  ABSTRACT:  This Article proposes recalibrating the separation of powers between the political branches in the context of their regulation of immigration law’s core questions: how many and what types of immigrants to admit to the United States. Whereas Congress holds a virtual monopoly over formal decisionmaking, the executive branch makes de facto admissions decisions using its discretionary enforcement power. As a result of this structure, stasis and excessive prosecutorial discretion characterize the regime, particularly with respect to labor migration. Both of these features exacerbate pathologies associated with illegal immigration and call for a structural response. This Article contends that Congress should create an executive branch agency, marked by indicia of independence, to set labor visa policy - an avenue increasingly contemplated by reformers. Though it may seem counterintuitive, delegation of greater authority can help constrain executive power by substituting a transparent process, subject to monitoring, for decisionmaking that occurs hidden from view. Delegation can also help overcome limitations in the legislative process that contribute to the current regime’s limitations, making immigration policy more efficient and effective. The Refugee Act of 1980 provides a parallel helpful to thinking through what it would mean to delegate ex ante admissions power to the executive.

"Reclaiming the Immigration Constitution of the Early Republic" Virginia Law Review, Vol. 96, No. 1, 2010 Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-13 JAMES E. PFANDER, Northwestern University School of Law.  THERESA WARDON, affiliation not provided to SSRN.  ABSTRACT:  In contrast to the view that national immigration policy began in 1875, this article explores evidence that immigration policy dates from the early republic period. Built around the naturalization clause, which regulates the ability of aliens to own land and shaped their willingness to immigrate to America, this early republic immigration policy included strong norms of prospectivity, uniformity, and transparency. Drawing on these norms, which readily apply in both the naturalization and immigration contexts, the paper argues against the plenary power doctrine, particularly as it purports to authorize Congress to change the rules of immigration midstream and apply them to individuals who have already arrived in this country. The paper also argues against Congress’s practice of adopting private legislation. These contentions, in turn, provide the foundation for a criticism of the so-called public rights doctrine and its use to justify restrictions on the judicial role.

"Development Actors and Protracted Refugee Situations: Progress, Challenges, Opportunities" in PROTRACTED REFUGEE SITUATIONS: POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SECURITY IMPLICATIONS, G. Loescher, J. Milner, E. Newman, G. Troeller, eds., New York: United Nations University Press, 2009 MARK MATTNER, McGill University - Department of Political Science.  ABSTRACT:  This paper discusses the reception of “relief to development” approaches among development actors, and the headway those actors have made in addressing the socioeconomic, security and political dimensions of conflict. The paper’s main argument is that the role of development actors in conflict situations goes far beyond forging operational partnerships with relief actors. While efforts to strengthen linkages between relief and development support should be further strengthened, such partnerships offer only a starting point in efforts to bring development assistance to bear in achieving genuinely durable solutions. The role of development actors encompasses supporting overall efforts at conflict prevention, mitigation and post-conflict reconstruction. With reference to protracted refugee situations, this translates into ensuring that the specific needs of refugees are met and that they have access to the range of resources made available to local populations across development portfolios. The paper is structured as follows: First, it offers a review of approaches to development assistance in transition environments. Second, discusses the involvement of development actors in security, human rights and peace support activities. Third, it considers institutional barriers that impede effective interventions. Finally, it submits a set of policy suggestions.

"Speaking Across Borders: The Limits and Potential of Transnational Dialogue on Refugee Law in Ireland" TRANSNATIONAL JUDICIAL DIALOGUE IN REFUGEE LAW, Guy Goodwin-Gill, Helene Lambert, eds., Cambridge University Press: 2010 SIOBHAN MULLALLY, University College Cork.  ABSTRACT:  Refugee Law in Ireland has developed rapidly over the last decade. This chapter highlights the extent to which lawyers, judges and policy-makers at the forefront of developing Irish law in this field have benefited from the greater availability of comparative and international law in recent years. As the cases explored in this chapter highlight, refugee law in Ireland is marked by significant transnational judicial dialogue. The adoption of the ECHR Act 2003 has further expanded the scope of this dialogue allowing for increasing reference to the practice of the Strasbourg Court and the UK Courts in matters of fundamental rights. However, it is also clear that the scope of this dialogue, and its potential to contribute to a European consensus on key concepts of refugee law, is limited. Constraining further harmonization of refugee law across EU member states is a common law / civil law divide that has limited the scope of transnational judicial dialogue in Ireland, and in other Member States. This is further compounded by a strict dualist approach to international law adopted by Irish courts. This chapter explores a series of rational and cultural factors that underpin the nature of judicial dialogue on refugee law in Ireland, drawing on selected cases from the superior courts and the published decisions of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

 "International Refugee Law" in THE LIBRARY OF ESSAYS IN INTERNATIOINAL LAW, Ashgate, Forthcoming HELENE LAMBERT, University of Westminster - School of Law.  ABSTRACT:  The essays selected and reproduced in this volume explore how international refugee law is dynamic and constantly evolving. From an instrument designed to protect mostly those civilians fleeing the worse excesses of World War II, the 1951 Refugee Convention has developed into a set of principles, customary rules, and values that are now firmly embedded in the human rights framework, and are applicable to a far broader range of refugees. In addition, international refugee law has been affected by international humanitarian law and international criminal law (and vice versa). Thus, there is a reinforcing dynamic in the development of these complementary areas of law. At the same time, in recent decades states have shown a renewed interest in managing migration, thereby raising issues of how to reconcile such interests with refugee protection principles. In addition, the emergence of concepts of participation and responsibility to protect promise to have an impact on international refugee law.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not In Competition: Data Underscores Differences Between Immigrant and Native-Born Workers

High levels of unemployment have led some to propagate the myth that every immigrant added to the U.S. labor force amounts to a job lost by a native-born worker, or that every job loss for a native-born worker is evidence that there is need for one less immigrant worker. In fact, this has been the rationale behind any number of harsh legislative proposals targeting immigrants. These kinds of proposals may be appealing politically, but they reflect dangerously simplistic assumptions about labor-force dynamics. Moreover, such proposals distract from the far more important goal of creating economic policies that generate growth and create jobs for workers across the U.S. labor market. As data from the 2009 Current Population Survey illustrates, most immigrant and native-born workers are not competing with each other in today's tight job markets. The data demonstrates - as have other, more detailed analyses - that most foreign-born workers differ from most native-born workers in terms of what occupations they work in, where in the country they live, and how much education they have. What this means in practical terms is that most native-born workers are not directly competing for jobs with immigrant workers because they are in different labor markets. In fact, even within the same company, immigrants and natives may not be in competition with each other due to differences in occupation, education, and location. A company may be laying off workers from a management staff dominated by the native-born, yet hiring workers for a production staff that is dominated by immigrants. In light of this simple fact, the claims heard in some quarters that immigrants must be stealing jobs from native-born Americans have little credibility.

To read an Immigration Policy Center fact sheet on this issue, clickhere.


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Fears and Loathes Brown People by Alvaro Huerta

Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Berkeley’s Dept. of City & Regional Planning.

Not to be outdone by the late segregationist, Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will go down in the history books as an ardent  xenophobe and racist. Brewer’s hatred of immigrants and disregard for the civil rights of Latinos (both legal residents and citizens) have come to fruition in Arizona’s recently passed laws aimed at criminalizing immigrants, racially profiling Latinos and denying racial minorities the right to learn about their history.

I’m speaking, of course, of SB 1070, the unconstitutional law that requires police officers to demand legal documentation of individuals suspected of being undocumented immigrants under the premise of “reasonable suspicion” and HB 2281, the racist law that bans ethnic studies (optional courses, as a matter of fact) in public schools.  Instead of chastising Brewer for her racist legislative actions, President  Barack Obama recently invited her to the White House to discuss the controversial immigration law that the president referred to as “misguided.” This is the same president that had a “Beer Summit” at the White House with a racist police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, shortly after he arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—a distinguished African American scholar—in his own home. This high profile arrest can be traced to Gates’ initial “inability” to verify proof of residence to Crowley even after Gates provided his Harvard faculty identification card.

As any parent should know, this is no way of rewarding bad behavior!  Better yet, instead of meeting with Brewer in a one-to-one meeting usually afforded to world leaders, Obama should chastise the rogue governor and take direct action against Arizona’s racist agenda. Obama can learn a thing or two from previous presidents. For instance, in 1963, then-President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard when Gov. Wallace attempted to prevent two African American students from attending the University of Alabama under a federal court order to desegregate public schools.

An ardent segregationist, Wallace, who operated under the political platform "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," eventually caved under pressure when confronted by the military might of the federal government. Taking this historical event as a “teachable moment,” Obama needs to use all of executive powers, including unmatchable oratory skills, to immediately repeal both SB 1070 and HB 2281. While Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder contemplate legal action,  individuals of Mexican decent in this desert state live in a constant state of fear, anxiety and financial insecurity.

When she originally signed SB 1070 into law on April 23rd, Brewer assured the public that racial profiling would not be tolerated. However, what does she—a white, privileged politician—know about racial profiling? I wonder if she, or any member of her family, has even been a victim of racial profiling? More specifically, has she ever been denied a taxicab in the city of New York or other major city because of the color of her skin? Has she ever been pulled over by a police officer for simply being in the “wrong neighborhood” or because she allegedly “matched the description” of someone suspected of committing a crime?

While Brewer and the supporters of this anti-immigrant law attempt to frame this policy measure as one of “crime” and “safety,” especially with the law’s official name, “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” they have yet to produce any hard data correlating immigration with crime in the state. There is a word in the dictionary for making false accusations: slander.

While much of the attention in the media has been given to this cruel immigration law, Brewer wasted no time in attacking the Latino community, once again, with the elimination of ethnic studies programs in public schools.

In an Orwellian maneuver, Brewer, the architect of this ban—Arizona’s school chief Tom Horne—and other supporters argue that ethnic studies programs allegedly promote ethnic chauvinism, reverse racism against whites and the overthrow of the U.S. government. It is amazing how educational programs aimed at providing a more ethnically diverse interpretation of American life and history have now become eminent enemies of the state.

For instance, how is teaching a Latino high school student about the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the fact that Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona, suddenly un-American? How is teaching a young Latina student about Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the UFW, now a criminal act? Does this mean that Latino and Asian students can’t learn about the unconscionable Japanese American interment camps, where the state of Arizona hosted one, during the mid-20th Century since this falls under the purview of “ethnic studies” programs? The only logical conclusion here is an obvious attempt by those in power to erase the history of discrimination and social injustice committed against racial minorities in the state and beyond.

Finally, if we critically examine the motives behind these anti-Latino laws, it’s clear that many people in Arizona and beyond fear and loathe the long-term consequence of Mexican immigration in particular and the demographic boom of Latinos in general, resulting in the browning of America.

June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oppose Secure Communities Program

From Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco:

Dear Friends,

In the wake of Arizona's misguided SB1070, the California Department of Justice has called on San Francisco to participate in a new collaboration between local police and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), known as "Secure Communities" beginning on June 8, 2010. This new police/ICE collaboration program will automatically investigate the immigration status of anyone, citizen or non‐citizen, who is arrested and fingerprinted for any crime, no matter the severity, by electronically crosschecking their fingerprints against an ICE database.

The new, voluntary "Secure Communities" program is extremely worrisome for the community.  Like SB 1070, "Secure Communities" compromises public safety by eroding the hard‐earned trust built over the past decades between community members and local law enforcement.  "S-Comm" also promotes racial profiling because the police can use pre‐textual arrests such as a minor traffic violation to investigate the immigration status of individuals they encounter.

CAA opposes the implementation of "Secure Communities."  Both S-Comm and Arizona's disastrous SB1070 are outgrowths of a disturbing trend of police-ICE entanglements.  These misguided efforts to put immigration enforcement into local hands are sabotaging trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.  Like SB1070, S-Comm gives dangerous discretion to individual police officers to falsely arrest or overcharge innocent immigrant residents based on their appearance and thereby cause their deportation.

On June 1, the day that S-Comm was originally planned to go into effect, CAA joined Latino, Labor, and fellow Asian American allies of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee to launch a picket outside ICE's San Francisco office.  San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey has also requested to opt-out of S-Comm, but Attorney General Jerry Brown has denied his request.  Meanwhile, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a non-binding resolution on June 8 calling for local law enforcement to opt-out of S-Comm, and community and legal advocates continue to explore other options.

As one community, we need to stop this disturbing trend of police-ICE cooperation and ensure that community members are not targeted based on their perceived immigration status.  Please take a look at the list of actions you can take and work with us to act now.

Actions You Can Take

Sign up to receive updates on CAA's immigrant rights and immigration reform efforts by replying to this email.
Join San Francisco in the boycott of Arizona-based businesses including its sports teams like the Diamondbacks.  
Send a quick email to thank the San Francisco Supervisors who voted to pass the resolution to opt-out from S-Comm:

Donate to CAA  so we can continue doing this work.

Thank you.


Jenny Lam
Director of Community Initiatives


June 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Save the Schomburg On-Line Petition

From Bill Chandler of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance:

To All: Please sign the "Save the Schomburg Library & Research Center" petition! This is one of the treasures of the African diapora in the United States.  Patricia and I visited it in Harlem, NYC, when we were there last year.  At that time it had a very moving photo display about migrant workers leaving their African homeland, attempting to enter Europe to earn money to send to their families in their various countries in Africa.  Sound familiar?

Click here to sign the petition.


June 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

USCIS Proposes Fee Hikes and Revisions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Seeks Public Comment on Proposal to Adjust Fees for Immigration Benefits


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking public comment on a proposed federal rule that would adjust fees for immigration benefit applications and petitions.  The proposal, posted to the Federal Register on June 9, 2010 for public viewing, would increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent but would not increase the fee for the naturalization application.


USCIS is a fee-based organization with about 90 percent of its budget coming from fees paid by applicants and petitioners to obtain immigration benefits.  The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine whether it is recovering its costs to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process applications, and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.  This proposed rule results from a comprehensive fee review begun in 2009.  

USCIS’s fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was much lower than projected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 remains low.  While USCIS did receive appropriations from Congress, budget cuts of approximately $160 million have not bridged the remaining gap between costs and anticipated revenue.  A fee adjustment, as detailed in the proposed rule, is necessary to ensure USCIS recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting the application processing goals identified in the 2007 fee rule. 

Highlights of 2010 Proposed Fee Rule

The proposed fee rule would increase the average application and petition fees by approximately 10 percent.

Understanding the unique importance of naturalization, USCIS is proposing that the naturalization application fee not be increased.

The proposed rule would establish three new fees for:
• Regional center designation under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program (EB-5);
• Individuals seeking civil surgeon designation; and
• Recovery of the cost of processing immigrant visas granted by the Department of State.

The rule also proposes to adjust fees for the premium processing service.  This would ensure that USCIS can continue to modernize to become a more efficient and effective organization.

The proposed fee structure also reduces fees for five individual applications and petitions as a result of lower processing costs:
• Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-129F);
• Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539);
• Application to Adjust Status From Temporary To Permanent Resident (Form I-698);
• Application for Family Unity Benefits (Form I-817); and
• Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565). 

Current and Proposed Immigration Fees


Application/Petition Description

Current Fees

Proposed Fees

I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card



I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document



I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker



I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e)



I-130 Petition for Alien Relative



I-131 Application for Travel Document



I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker



I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion



I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant



I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status



I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur



I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status



I-600/600A Orphan Petitions



I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident



I-690 Application for Waiver on Grounds of Inadmissibility



I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision



I-698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident



I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence



I-765 Application for Employment Authorization



I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits



I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition



I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions



Civil Surgeon Designation



I-924 Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program



N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention



N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings



N-400 Application for Naturalization



N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes



N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document



N-600/N-600K Naturalization Certificate Applications



Waiver Forms (I-191, I-192, I-193, I-212, I-601, I-612)



Immigrant Visa



Biometric Services




June 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Former Manager of Iowa Slaughterhouse Is Acquitted of Labor Charges

JULIA PRESTON of the New York Times reports that "The former manager of a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that was the site of a 2008 immigration raid was acquitted on Monday of criminal charges that he knowingly employed under-age workers at the plant."   Ask the hundreds of Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants arrested, convicted of crimes, and deported:  there is no justice in Postville!


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

Reality at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Experts Describe the Real Sources of Violence and How We Can Best Respond

On Monday, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) hosted a teleconference with border and national-security experts who dissected the myths linking immigration and border violence. These experts shared their analyses of the reality of crime and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, what the real sources of violence are, and how the U.S. should respond. They all made the point that nearly twenty years of immigration policy focusing on "securing the border first" has failed to address the underlying issues and criminal cartels that are the real cause of violence along the border. The experts noted that immigration laws and policies of the past two decades have, ironically, made the border less safe and have actually benefitted the traffickers and smugglers who operate at the border.

Benjamin Johnson of the American Immigration Council stressed the need to disentangle unauthorized immigration and border violence as a means for solving both problems, noting that "we are pursuing a lopsided approach of border-enforcement only and placing the highest priority on prosecuting nonviolent border-crossers rather than dangerous criminals. Everyone wants an easy solution to solving our problems at the border, but the reality is a simple solution does not exist for complex problems."

According to David Shirk, Director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, "the Border Patrol has doubled to 20,000 agents, there are also more than 3,000 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, 300 National Guard troops (with 1,200 more on their way), and a significant surge in the number of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms personnel. However, border security-only advocates say that this is still not enough. Further saturating the border is costly and ineffective. Indeed, the border-centric approach has encouraged drug trafficking organizations to evolve from relatively small-scale, low-level operations in the 1980s into the highly sophisticated, heavily-armed criminal organizations that are today seriously undermining the Mexican state. The flow of drugs and immigrants continues practically unabated, despite these very costly investments in border security." He added, "the argument that can be made is that we have gone as far as reasonable to secure this part of the comprehensive approach. We have entered into a free trade agreement with Mexico that allows the flow of goods and capital, but we have not figured out how to manage labor. Border security is made difficult by the creation of a haystack of people; 200,000 people were apprehended at the border last year and 200 were found to have criminal histories. In my view, we need to figure out how to get the 99% of people who don't pose a threat out of the way through work-visa programs or other means. This would make the Border Patrol's job much easier by shrinking the size of the haystack."

Jennifer Bernal Garcia of the Center for New American Security explained, "it's true that the U.S. faces a problem of national security relevance at its border. However, focusing on the problem of crime rather than crime and immigration is needed. When you build a fence, you are pushing immigrants straight into the arms of criminal cartels. There hasn't been enough of a focus placed on prosecution and enforcement measures against criminal cartels. Many think that the border is the 'choke point,' but drug cartels are sprawled out. We must think beyond the border. Going after scapegoats at the border does nothing to change or deter the criminal element." She explains, "what is needed along the border is a coordinated strategy among federal agencies and foreign governments, not incremental acts and feel-good deployments. Such a broad strategy would focus on reducing criminal groups' ability to violently contest state authority, both by diminishing the sources of their proceeds (drugs) and their social base (through a mix of regional law enforcement and social programs)."

Aarti Kohli of the Warren Institute at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law noted that programs like Operation Streamline, which places all illegal border crossers in federal criminal proceedings in certain regions, are examples of a misdirected policy. "All border crossers regardless of their criminal history are pushed through federal district courts rather than through the civil immigration court. One of the unintended consequences is that resources are taken from prosecuting higher-level offenses. In 2009, federal prosecutors in border districts turned away 1,800 drug prosecutions mostly because they did not have enough investigative and prosecutorial resources. We have created an environment where non-violent border crossers are being prioritized over more dangerous criminals like kidnappers, drug smugglers, and others." In a recent report she found that "between 2002 and 2008, federal magistrate judges along the U.S.-Mexico border saw their misdemeanor immigration caseloads more than quadruple. Criminal prosecutions of petty immigration-related offenses increased by more than 330% in the border district courts, while smuggling and drug trafficking charges were brought less frequently or remained flat."

The panel made the compelling point that "border security first" as a policy choice long ago reached the point of diminishing returns. Reducing illegal immigration will not be accomplished solely by securing the border, but by a coordinated and comprehensive strategy. Creating sensible immigration policies, while simultaneously and comprehensively addressing the criminal issues that are at the heart of border violence, is the only way to provide genuine security along the border and throughout the United States. To hear a recorded version of the call click here.


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

Border Patrol Shoot and Kill a 14-Year-Old at the Border

Does rock throwing justify responding with a gun?

From the Associated Press:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed a 14-year-old boy after a confrontation at an international bridge near downtown El Paso, Mexican authorities said Tuesday.

Agents detaining suspected illegal immigrants Monday came under assault from rock throwers across the border in Mexico, FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said.

The FBI is leading the investigation because it involved an assault on a federal officer. The agent was not injured, she said.

Chihuahua State officials released a statement Tuesday demanding a full investigation into the death of the boy, identified as Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca.

It was not immediately known if the boy was among the rock throwers.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Doug Mosier said preliminary reports indicated one person was shot Monday evening on the U.S. side of the Paso Del Norte bridge, across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The Rio Grande, which marks the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, is now a broad muddy moat flanked by shallow concrete banks.

T.J. Bonner, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents, said rock throwing incidents against Border Patrol agents are common and capable of causing serious injury.

"It is a deadly force encounter," Bonner said. "One that justifies the use of deadly force."

The violence in Mexico combined with assaults against Border Patrol agents in the U.S. has increased the level of apprehension agents have about their safety, Bonner said. Click here for the rest of the story.


June 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Plyer v. Doe by Professor Chris Faltis