Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ruben Reyes on SB1070

From the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center:
We need you to participate in this important movement for justice!

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ruben Reyes
Film Maker and Political Analyst
Tucson, Arizona
Thursday, July 15th
7 PM
Room D-200
Laney College
Arizona’s Laws Attack Civil Rights of Latinos
Arizona Immigration Law Attacks U.S. Constitution
Arizona’s SB 1070 permits racial profiling. It violates the civil rights of people of color. It also
violates the U.S. Constitution, which reserves all authority for U.S. immigration policy and
enforcement to the U.S. federal government.
Contact: Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center
510 587 7896


July 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Silent Raids Part of "Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever" Policy of the Obama Administration

With a few variations, the Obama administration continues to follow the enforcement-oriented immigration policies of the last days of the Bush administration.  Over the past 18 months, the President has bolstered enforcement at every turn, including deploying the National Guard to the border (in the drug war not for immigration purpoises, he says).  Julia Preston of the N.Y. Times now reports that "The Obama administration has replaced immigration raids at factories and farms with a quieter enforcement strategy: sending federal agents to scour companies’ records for illegal immigrant workers."

The President continues to voice support for comprehensive immigration reform.  But will that ever come?  Or will we simply see more and more enforcement and no reform as occurred in the Bush administration?


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

Colbert Takes on Farmworkers!

Comedy Central’s Steven Colbert has volunteered to become a farm worker through the United Farm Workers of America’s "Take Our Jobs" campaign.  UFW President Arturo Rodriguez appeared with comedian Stephen Colbert on “The Colbert Report”  as part of the national "Take Our Jobs" campaign aimed at recruiting U.S. citizens to the world of farmworkers.  At Rodriquez's invitation. Colbert volunteered to become a farmworker and help ensure that lettuce will be available for his BLT!


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

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Yorkers Want All-Star Game Out of Arizona in 2011

From the New York Immigration Coalition:

New Yorkers Rally to Move Next Year’s MLB All-Star Game Out of Arizona

July 8, 2010, New York City.  In the lead-up to next Tuesday’s All-Star Game, around two hundred New Yorkers rallied in front of Major League Baseball’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan today, calling on the league and its commissioner, Bud Selig, to move next year’s All-Star Game out of Phoenix, Arizona.  The move would signal major disapproval of the state’s controversial SB1070 immigration law, which threatens the civil rights of Latino and immigrant players and fans and sets the stage for rampant racial profiling, said participants.   

“Major League Baseball should refuse to hold next year’s All-Star Game in Arizona until all baseball players and their fans can live in and visit Arizona with the confidence that their civil rights will be respected and the police will not single them out because of the color of their skin or the accent of their speech,” said Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, lead organizer of today’s rally.  “The league needs to give serious consideration to moving the game, and meet with elected officials and community leaders ASAP to discuss this urgent issue.”

The Arizona law is inherently an issue for the professional baseball league, where 27 percent of the players are Latino, and 28 percent of players are foreign-born.  The Major League Baseball Player’s Association has already publicly denounced the law because of the negative impact it could have on its members.  The league has a similar responsibility to back up its players and fans, said participants. 

“Major League Baseball has a responsibility to show not only its players, but also the millions of Latino and immigrant fans of baseball, that it values their support and contributions to the sport and is prepared to take a stand for them,” said Angela Fernandez, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. 

“Moving the 2011 All-Star game out of Arizona sends the message that baseball, the quintessential American sport, will not accept the un-American treatment of its players and fans.  Major League Baseball is uniquely positioned to show that Americans hold their laws to a higher standard,” said Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference. 

The Arizona SB1070 law requires police to ask any person who looks “reasonably suspicious” for their immigration papers.  In effect, it forces police to engage in racial profiling targeting Latinos and other people of color living in or visiting the state.  It also marginalizes immigrant communities in the state and drives a wedge between immigrant community members and the law enforcement officials who are sworn to serve and protect them, said critics of the law.

Beyond the repeal of SB1070, organizers said the federal government must act now to fix the broken immigration system—a critical step for our nation’s security and prosperity.  Instead of forcing local police to go after immigrants, they said, President Obama and Congress should enact legislation that legalizes undocumented youth and agricultural and other undocumented workers; unites families; and restores due process and fairness in the immigration system. 

There is a long history of sports leagues and organizations standing up for what is right: from the international boycott of South Africa during Apartheid, to the National Football League’s refusal to hold a Super Bowl game in Arizona when the state did not acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a holiday.  Major League Baseball itself is tied to the struggle for civil rights in America, beginning with Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in 1947. 

A number of prominent elected officials joined the rally, including Congressman Charles Rangel, Congressman Jose Serrano, New York City Comptroller John Liu, State Assemblyman Peter Rivera, and City Council Members Danny Dromm, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Ydanis Rodriguez. 

Today’s rally was loosely modeled after a baseball game: it opened with the national anthem, featured an intermission where participants sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with new lyrics, and had the audience doing the “Wave.”  The participants, representing more than 30 co-sponsoring groups from New York’s diverse immigrant, religious, labor, and civil rights communities, wore T-shirts and held signs that read, “Support the Players, Support the Fans, Move the Game,” and “Strike Out SB1070!” 


July 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Key to Immigration Reform: Economic Development in Mexico

President Obama’s recent speech on the need for immigration reform missed an essential element for reducing undocumented immigration: economic development in Mexico. The President’s detailed message spoke of the “two poles” of the debate between those who advocate for legalization of the hardworking undocumented immigrants and others who advocate a round-them-up-and-deport approach. The President’s balanced tone spoke of the need to make undocumented immigrants accountable for violating immigration laws and enforcing laws against employers who rely on those workers, while working to make the border more secure.

The emphasis on employer sanctions and border enforcement ignores a basic question. Why are Mexican workers willing to pay hundreds of dollars to smugglers to cram into vans or to risk life and limb by crossing the border in treacherous mountain or desert terrain? Saying that they do so for a better life, begs the more important question—why isn’t that better life available in Mexico? Last Fall, former Mexican president, Vicente Fox, reminded us in a speech of his own in New Mexico: the economy in Mexico is in shambles, and Mexican migration will continue no matter how much money is invested into border enforcement and erecting walls. The answer to undocumented Mexican migration is in investment and job development in Mexico, not erecting fences.

President Obama has made a commitment to tackle immigration reform, and that’s good news for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. However, if the package does not include at least the first steps toward helping Mexico improve its economy and infrastructure, undocumented Mexican migration will not be solved permanently. When comprehensive immigration reform legislation is introduced, the package no doubt will include much-needed proposals for increased family and employment-based visas. Expanding those categories is necessary and will help reduce the pressure that leads to unauthorized border crossings. But reducing the substantial flow across the southern border permanently will require the expansion of the economy and job growth in Mexico so that more Mexicans will be able to stay home.

In 1994, we were told that NAFTA would solve the undocumented problem because jobs would be created in Mexico. But NAFTA contributed to huge job losses in Mexico. Mexican corn farmers could not compete with heavily-subsidized U.S. corn farmers, and now Mexico imports most of its corn from the United States. Because of globalization,100,000 jobs in Mexico’s domestic manufacturing sector were lost in the last ten years.

Where do those out-of-work farm workers and manufacturing employees look for work? El Norte.

When the European Union experienced its own push to expand its ranks to include poorer nations, member countries faced similar concerns. Because EU membership includes the right to open labor migration for all nationals of EU countries, the wealthier countries worried that as soon as membership was granted, there would a flood of workers from poorer nations into the wealthier ones. Beginning with the 1973 EU enlargement to include Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, the British insisted on an approach to aid poorer regions. When Greece (1981), and Portugal and Spain (1986) were added, all three nations, as well as Ireland, received infusions of capital and assistance with institutional planning.

The approach worked. Their economies transformed, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, who were all emigrant-sending nations prior to EU membership, now are net immigrant-receiving nations. Today, only 2 percent of EU citizens look for work in other EU countries.

Likewise, the United States needs to consider the EU model and include investment – with close monitoring of that investment – in Mexico as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Reducing undocumented migration is in Mexico’s interest as well; the persistent loss of able-bodied workers needed to build its infrastructure and economy cannot be good for Mexico. Mexican workers who come to the U.S. are ambitious and hardworking; Mexico needs them to develop, but can’t put them to work without better infrastructure and investment.

Ironically, when he was running for the presidency, candidate Obama understood that to “reduce illegal immigration, we also have to help Mexico develop its own economy, so that more Mexicans can live their dreams south of the border." I wish he had remembered that understanding earlier this week, because that’s what we need for a permanent resolution of the undocumented migration challenge.

[For more, see Ethical Borders: NAFTA, Globalization and Mexican Migration (Temple Univ. Press 2010)]


July 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Border Conference Cancelled, Arizona Law to Blame

AP reports that "Gov. Jan Brewer has called off a September border conference in Phoenix due to Mexican governors' objections to Arizona's tough new immigration enforcement law, though some officials are discussing holding the annual gathering elsewhere."


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

They Keep Coming! Alabama City Copycats Arizona

The Irondale, Alabama City Council has passed a resolution that police should determine the immigration status of a person during a traffic stop or a criminal investigation. The resolution was based on Arizona's immigration law.

Irondale is a suburb of Birmingham.


July 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ratification of the UN Migrant Workers Convention

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary year of the UN Migrant Workers Convention, December18, the International Resource Centre on the Human Rights of Migrants, together with the European Platform for Migrant Workers Rights, launches the campaign: “Europe it’s Time to Ratify the Migrant Workers Convention,” demanding the European Union to live up to its core values. All 27 Member States of the EU are asked to ratify this core international human rights instrument. Sign the petition by clicking here:

A l`occasion du 20e Anniversaire de la Convention des Nations Unies sur les Travailleurs Migrants, Décembre 18, le centre international de ressources sur les droits des migrants et la Plateforme Européenne pour les droits des travailleurs migrants, lancent la campagne : « Europe, il est temps de ratifier la Convention sur les travailleurs migrants ». Nous exigeons ensemble que l’Union Européenne adopte une politique à la hauteur de ses valeurs fondamentales. Tous les Etats membres de l’UE doivent ratifier ce principal instrument international relatif aux droits de l’homme. Signez la pétition en cliquant ici:

En ocasión del 20 aniversario de la Convención de Naciones Unidas por los Derechos de los Trabajadores Migratorios y sus Familias, Diciembre 18 Centro Internacional de Recursos sobre los Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes junto con la Plataforma Europea por los Derechos de los Trabajadores Migrantes lanza la campaña: Es tiempo que Europa ratifique la Convención de Trabajadores Migrantes, pidiendo a la Unión Europea que esté a la altura de sus valores fundamentales. Se les pide a los 27 Estados Miembros de la UE que ratifiquen este instrumento básico del sistema de Derechos Humanos Universal. Firma la petición clicando aquí:ón


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

The Cost of Educating Children of Undocumented

Mary Ann Zehr writes for Education Week:

An organization that seeks to halt illegal immigration to this country has put out a report saying that educating the children of undocumented immigrants costs $52 billion and is the largest public expense for providing services to families with undocumented adults. The report says that the lion's share of that cost is absorbed by state and local governments.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, says in its July 6 report, "The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on the United States Taxpayers," that services to the families of undocumented immigrants in this country—including education, health care, welfare, and the expense of deporting foreigners—cost $113 billion.

The Immigration Policy Center, the research and policy arm of the Washington-based American Immigration Council, put out a statement saying the report was "highly misleading" because FAIR "completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers."

I wanted to understand, however, how on target the report might be in its statement that it costs state and local governments $49.4 billion to provide schooling for the children of undocumented immigrants. I checked the FAIR statements with statistics from Jeffrey S. Passel, a senior demographer at the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

The FAIR report estimates that U.S. schools enroll about 3.5 million children of undocumented immigrants, including both U.S.-born children and foreign-born children. Passel puts that number at about 3.4 million. As of 2008, he said, 1.3 million immigrant children in schools had a parent who was undocumented. The same was true for 2.1 million U.S.-born children.

FAIR multiplies the 3.5 million statistic times the average per-pupil expenditure in states to come up with its estimate that state and local governments spend $40.9 billion to provide a regular education to the children of undocumented children. FAIR also estimates that state and local governments pay $244 million to pay for tuition subsidies for children of undocumented immigrants at colleges and universities.

But what's particularly interesting for readers of this blog, I think, is that FAIR also estimates the cost to state and local governments of providing English-acquisition services to the children of undocumented children above and beyond providing a regular education, which the organization puts at $8.3 billion. To come up with $8.3 billion, FAIR estimated the amount each state spends on English-language-acquisition services by multiplying the number of ELLs in that state times a dollar amount that equals one-fourth of the average per-pupil spending in the state (with a few exceptions). Then it added up all the state figures to come up with the national figure of $8.3 billion.

In that section of the report, FAIR seems to be off base. That's because it says it calculates cost according to a premise that "most often, although not exclusively" English-language learners are the children of undocumented immigrants. FAIR doesn't provide any data to back up that premise.

Passel doesn't have statistics that answer the question directly of what proportion of English-language learners have at least one undocumented parent. But he did give me some information that raises questions about FAIR's claim.

Passel says that slightly fewer than half of immigrant children in U.S. schools, those who were born in another country and then moved to this country and attend school here, have at least one undocumented parent. Of 2.7 million children ages 6 to 17 who are immigrants themselves, 1.3 million have at least one undocumented parent, he said. And only about a quarter of the 8 million children ages 6 to 17 who have immigrant parents and were born in the United States have at least one undocumented parent, Passel says.

Since most English-language learners are either immigrants themselves or the U.S.-born children of immigrants (based on a chart on page 15 of Quality Counts 2009), FAIR's contention that "most often, although not exclusively" ELLs are the children of undocumented parents cannot be correct.


July 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Immigration Reform

From America's Voice:

Pollsters Find Strong Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trumps Public Support for Arizona’s Immigration Law

Public wants action, prefers federal action that will actually solve the problem

Washington, DC – Leading public opinion researchers Drew Westen and Celinda Lake participated in telephonic press conference yesterday to analyze public opinion related to Arizona’s controversial immigration law.  Their power point presentation and the audio recording of the call can be found here.

With the Department of Justice announcing its lawsuit against the Arizona law, which followed a major speech regarding the need for comprehensive immigration reform by President Obama, the researchers said that support for the Arizona law, while strong, is not as strong as support for comprehensive immigration reform.  In fact, many of those who support the Arizona law prefer comprehensive immigration reform.  The reason?  Voters are frustrated with the fact that Washington has failed to step up and solve the problem of illegal immigration once and for all. 

Westen’s research, employing an innovative dial-testing methodology, shows that strong arguments in favor of comprehensive immigration reform beat out strong arguments in favor of the Arizona law.  Lake’s research, conducted in conjunction with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies and sponsored by America’s Voice, finds that 84% of those who support the Arizona law support comprehensive immigration reform, and that overall only one out of five voters support the deportation of those in the U.S. illegally.  Moreover, voters overwhelmingly want a national solution carried out by the federal government rather than state-by-state measures.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and moderator of today’s call, “The conventional wisdom is that the Arizona law is popular because voters are in an anti-immigrant mood.  These findings show that voters are in an anti-Washington mood.  They want their elected leaders in Washington to step and solve the problem of illegal immigration, they much prefer comprehensive immigration reform to the other options, and they won’t be satisfied until it’s done.”


July 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Maye Saephanh (Thailand)

Photo Courtesy of Autumn Cruz, Sacramento Bee

 Born in a Thai refugee camp and raised in a Sacramento housing project, Maye Saephanh has provided humanitarian aid in East Timor, Thailand, and Haiti. Next month, she will go to Afghanistan with the U.S. Agency for International Development, working to stabilize war-torn communities. Saephanh's family fled communism in Southeast Asia and she was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. The family resettled in the Bay Area when she was 5 and later moved to Sacramento. By age 9, at the Wellspring Women's Center in Oak Park, Maye was translating for many of the Mien refugees. She attended Loretto High School and went on to UC Santa Barbara on full scholarship.  Read more.


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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Diverse German Soccer Team Loses

Congratulations to Spain for its World Cup victory over Germany today. I confess that I'm not much of a soccer fan, but I was rooting for Germany because of its celebrated diversity. On the other hand, I understand that Spain has some of the most racist soccer fans in the world.

From Sports News: Legendary footballer Gerd Mueller feels that the ethnic diversity in the German team has played a role in transforming it into a winning outfit and it should be preserved.

Mueller, who holds the German record of 68 goals from 62 internationals, said the talented youngsters in the squad belonging to different backgrounds have gelled well here as a unit during the ongoing Football World Cup.

“We all should be proud of this team. In fact, we should try to preserve this young squad for the future. The guys are extremely talented,” said Mueller, who won the Golden Boot award in the 1970 World Cup.

The German team’s eclectic mix of nationalities has also impressed Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Sport is a fantastic instrument of social integration,” Rogge said.

Germany’s team is one of the youngest squads in the World Cup and eleven of its 23 players have foreign backgrounds. These players have their origins in nine different countries.

Football is a popular sport among Germany’s working class and a route to earn great riches. Right from their childhood, youngsters from ethnically-diverse, humble backgrounds try to work their way up the ladder in the sport.

Two members of this team, Serdar Tasci and Mesut Oezil, were born to Turkish parents. Coach Joachim Loew describes Oezil as “a gift to German football”.

Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Piotr Trochowski were born in Poland, but moved to Germany at an early age.

Youngster Marko Marin was born in war-ravaged Bosnia-Herzegovina, but his parents moved to Frankfurt when he was two and when the time came to represent the national team, he went for the German passport.

Mario Gomez was born in the German town Baden-Wuerttemberg to a Spanish father.

Germany’s in form striker Cacau, nicknamed Helmut, was born in Brazil’s Sao Paulo province, and started playing in German lower-league football ten years ago. He extended his contract with Bundesliga champion club Stuttgart in 2007 until 2013. It was only last year that Cacau became a German citizen.

Dennis Aogo’s father is Nigerian while Jerome Boateng, was born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father. Boateng’s half-brother Kevin Prince Boateng was born in Berlin and represented the German Under-21 team but preferred to play for Ghana in the World Cup.

Sami Khedira, a replacement after captain Michael Ballack was ruled out with an injury, has a Tunisian father. Ballack was born in East Germany


July 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Americans on Hold Documentary Film and Advocacy Project

In 2010, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justuice at NYU School of Law produced a documentary film Americans on Hold: Profiling, Prejudice, and National Security. The documentary film exposes the U.S. government’s use of discriminatory profiling in the name of national security, and its impact on South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim community members. Through the personal stories of Zuhair Mahd and Anila Ali, the film reveals the discriminatory profiling at the heart of both citizenship delays and border-crossing detentions and delays. Ali, a teacher, mother, and community organizer originally from Pakistan, received her American citizenship in 2002, but continues to experience humiliating and invasive treatment by Customs and Border Protection officials as a consequence of her national origin. Mahd, a blind adaptive technology specialist from Jordan, waged and won a five-year legal struggle against the Department of Homeland Security in his effort to become a U.S. citizen. In the process, he was repeatedly interrogated and pressured by the FBI to become an informant.


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

Conservative Evangelicals Support Obama's Call for Immigration Reform

Evangelical Christians are attempting to send a message to Republican politicians: support comprehensive immigration reform.

Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference offered these views in the Washington Post:

President Obama's much anticipated speech on immigration began with a much unexpected introduction by Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Church near Chicago and one of the nation's largest congregations. Hybels also oversees the Willow Creek Association, an influential evangelical network. So why would a conservative evangelical pastor introduce Obama when evangelicals and the president disagree on so many issues? The answer lies embedded in the underlying threads that surround the immigration reform debate.
While the immigration reform continues to polarize communities and divide our country, it also has fostered a constructive conversation and relationship between conservative evangelicals and Obama. In addition to Hybels, other evangelical leaders who attended the president's speech at American University included Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals, and myself.
In 2006, business and immigrant advocacy groups led the charge for immigration reform. Today, the faith community, particularly the evangelical community, stands front and center for a comprehensive solution to immigration issues -- for three primary reasons:
First, the growth of evangelical communities in the majority of denominations stems from their ethnic and immigrant constituency. In other words, support for immigration is a matter of both short-term and long-term viability and sustainability.
Second, evangelicals refuse to repeat the mistakes of the past. In the 1960's as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched on Washington, evangelicals -- with a few exceptions -- stood on the sidelines, some openly hostile to the movement, others just apathetic. Consequently, the lack of support for Civil Rights resulted in the building of a wall between the African American church and the evangelical community.
Finally, Evangelicals support immigration reform because we see it as a biblical imperative. From Leviticus 19 to the Good Samaritan Parable, evangelical pastors understand that the Bible supports the reconciliation of the rule of law (Romans 13) with compassion for the stranger (Leviticus 19). President Obama recognizes the influence that faith and family voters have with the Republican Party. Possibly, the only hope for successful passage of immigration reform legislation lies in the prophetic witness of the vociferous community.

As the President framed the argument for reform, he spoke about the moral imperative. Evangelicals stand poised to support the President as he continues to push for a just immigration strategy. At the end of the day, this partnership between the President and evangelicals may very serve as the tipping point that awakens the conscience of a nation to push back on extremism and reconcile before the altar of compassion and grace. This is a partnership that can also serve our nation as we confront other challenges.
This partnership is one of the good things that has come from immigration reform. More good things are ahead.


July 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What's Next for United States v. Arizona

The immigration news of the week broke yesterday with the U.S. Department of Justice filing a challenge to the Arizona immigration law.  Law professor, and SB 1070 drafter, Kris Kobach quickly declared that the law will survive.

I have read the complaint and preliminary injunction brief filed yesterday by the United States in United States v. Arizona.  I must say that I was impressed, not a verb that I often use to describe my reaction to briefs filed by the Department of Justice in immigration cases.  The three claims for relief are based on the Supremacy Clause, federal preemption, and the Commerce Clause.  The complaint and the injunction papers sketch out a powerful argument about how national interests (imcluding foreign relations) are at stake in the regulation of immigration and how there must be one national immigration law, not a patchwork of 50 states' immigration laws. The argument of the United States is almost identical to the one I sketched out in an op/ed not long after the Arizona legislature passed its law.  

The lawsuit does not seek to invalidate all of SB 1070 but targets sections 1 through 6 of the law, those sections most directly dealing with immigration.  The United States does not challenge, for example, the sections of SB 1070 prohibiting the solicitation of work by day laborers. The lawsuit filed by  by the ACLU, MALDEF, and others go further and target the day laborer and other provisions of the law.

The case has been assigned to District Court Judge Neil Wake, who heard the Arizona business licensing case currently before the Supreme Court (Chamber of Commerce v.  Candelaria).  That case raises federal preemption issues but under a slightly different statutory provision (and one that in my view is more favorable to that Arizona law, which I still believe will be invalidated).  See here for more details on the case.  Judge Wake ruled against preemption (based in large part on statutory language exempting state licensing decisions from preemption) and rejected other legal challenges to the Arizona law.

Although United States v. Arizona has been assigned to Judge Wake, it has been reported that the United States will ask that the case be transferred to U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who has scheduled hearings for July 15 and 22 for other legal challenges already filed against SB 1070.


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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Job Opening: Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is seeking a full-time staff attorney to further our technical support and capacity building work on behalf of immigrants and the practitioners who defend their rights.  The ILRC is a national non-profit legal support center located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1979, we specialize in immigration law, policy, and immigrants' rights.  The ILRC’s work concentrates on three main areas: (1) building the capacity of attorneys, paralegals, organizers, service providers, immigrants, and others by providing legal technical assistance, trainings, and publications; (2) assisting immigrants with civic engagement projects to help expand immigrants’ rights and political power; and (3) conducting policy and advocacy work related to immigration law and immigrant rights.

The ILRC is a team-based organization that makes most of its decisions in a collaborative fashion that allows for significant staff input. 

Job Responsibilities: The staff attorney will be responsible for contributing to several concurrent projects including:

·     Responding to legal technical requests from nonprofit agency staff and pro bono attorneys who work with low-income immigrants on issues relating to family-based immigration, removal and deportation defense, VAWA, asylum, and other issues;

·     Working with networks of other immigrant rights organizations and/or organizing with and presenting to groups on immigration law, policy and immigrant rights issues;

·     Engaging in policy and advocacy work on immigration law issues;

·     Writing manuals, practitioner advisories, and outreach and educational materials for attorneys, paralegals, community organizers, members of the immigrant community, and others;

·     Helping immigrants lead and participate in civic engagement projects;

·     Writing grant proposals and reports to foundations and corporations, and representing the ILRC in meetings with funders and supporters; and

·     Traveling for trainings, funder visits, and other events in California and throughout the United States.

Qualifications: The successful applicant is required to have:

·     A minimum of two - three years of experience representing low-income clients in the practice of general immigration law, especially family-based and removal cases;

·     Broad knowledge of family-based immigration law and removal cases including the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability;

·     Excellent writing, editing, legal analysis, and oral presentation skills; 

·     A work ethic that is organized, flexible, reliable, and dependable, with the ability to be an independent worker, and able to handle several projects simultaneously while thriving in a team-based collaborative decision-making environment;

·     Spanish-speaking skills within the range of conversational to fluent;

·     A willingness to travel throughout California and the United States; and

·     A current license to practice law in some state in the United States.

It is a plus if the applicant has additional experience including:

·     More than three years representing low-income clients in the practice of general immigration law, especially family-based and removal cases;

·     Writing and securing grants from foundations and corporations;

·     Working in, leading, or forming coalitions;

·     Collaborating with immigrant communities;

·     Coordinating civic engagement projects or working as a community organizer: and/or  

·     The ability to speak Mandarin or Cantonese fluently or conversationally.

Salary/Benefits: Pay is commensurate with experience. The ILRC provides excellent benefits including health, dental, vision, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The ILRC sponsors a retirement plan option upon fulfillment of eligibility. 

Applications: This position will remain open until it is filled.  We will consider applications on an ongoing basis beginning immediately.  To ensure consideration of your application, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position and salary requirement, a resume, a writing sample, and the names of three references as soon as possible to:

Eric Cohen, Executive Director
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco, CA  94103
Fax: (415)255-9792 (no calls, please)


July 6, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Will the Sleeping Giant Awake in Arizona?

After the California voters approved Proposition 187 at the behest of Governor Pete Wilson in 1994 (who's he?, you might ask), Latina/os responded.  Naturalization rates spiked.  Latina/os voted in record numbers.  Republicans paid the price at the polls.  Will the same thing happen in Arizona?  For analysis, see here.


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

Letter to Obama: Stop namby-pamby talk on immigration

MARY SANCHEZ of the Kansas City Star offers some "tough love" to President Obama on his immigration speech last week.  She gave him a "C" and unquestionably would be a tough grader if she were a law professor.


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

Justice Department to Challenge Arizona Law

Jerry Markon of the Washington Post
 reports that numerous sources have confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice will join many civil rights, immigrant rights, and other groups and challenge the Arizona immigration law.  This has been rumored for many weeks.  The nature of the legal challenge is one that one of your ImmigrationProf editors highlighted (because it was so obvious) soon after the law's passage -- that the Arizona law is preempted by federal immigration law and thus is unconstituitional.

Stay tuned as we will report further developments on DOJ's actions in Arizona.

UPDATE:  Here is the complaint.  Download Complaint filed version  Here is the motion for a preliminary injunction.  Download Arizona PI Brief (3)

Here is the DOJ's press relase:

"The Department of Justice challenged the state of Arizona’s recently passed immigration law, S.B. 1070, in federal court today. In a brief filed in the District of Arizona, the Department said S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, explaining that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.” A patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement. Having enacted its own immigration policy that conflicts with federal immigration law, Arizona “crossed a constitutional line.”

The Department’s brief said that S.B. 1070 will place significant burdens on federal agencies, diverting their resources away from high-priority targets, such as aliens implicated in terrorism, drug smuggling, and gang activity, and those with criminal records. The law’s mandates on Arizona law enforcement will also result in the harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, who cannot readily prove their lawful status.

In declarations filed with the brief, Arizona law enforcement officials, including the Chiefs of Police of Phoenix and Tucson, said that S.B. 1070 will hamper their ability to effectively police their communities. The chiefs said that victims of or witnesses to crimes would be less likely to contact or cooperate with law enforcement officials and that implementation of the law would require them to reassign officers from critical areas such as violent crimes, property crimes, and home invasions.

The Department filed the suit after extensive consultation with Arizona officials, law enforcement officers and groups, and civil rights advocates. The suit was filed on behalf of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, which share responsibilities in administering federal immigration law.

“Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney General Holder said. “But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety. Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.”

“With the strong support of state and local law enforcement, I vetoed several similar pieces of legislation as Governor of Arizona because they would have diverted critical law enforcement resources from the most serious threats to public safety and undermined the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “We are actively working with members of Congress from both parties to comprehensively reform our immigration system at the federal level because this challenge cannot be solved by a patchwork of inconsistent state laws, of which this is one. While this bipartisan effort to reform our immigration system progresses, the Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce the laws on the books by enhancing border security and removing criminal aliens from this country.”

The Department has requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the law, arguing that the law’s operation will cause irreparable harm.

“Arizona impermissibly seeks to regulate immigration by creating an Arizona-specific immigration policy that is expressly designed to rival or supplant that of the federal government. As such, Arizona’s immigration policy exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines U.S. foreign policy objectives. S.B. 1070 does not simply seek to provide legitimate support to the federal government’s immigration policy, but instead creates an unprecedented independent immigration scheme that exceeds constitutional boundaries,” the Department said in its brief.


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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law to Chill Use of U (Crime Victim) Visas?

For a thoughtful news story by Chlelsea Phua on how the new Arizona immigration law may reduce the usage of U (crime victim) visas by chilling immigrant interactions with police, click here.


July 5, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)