Saturday, July 24, 2010
Be Aware of the Restrictionist Use of "Clean" Environmental Arguments for "Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever" Policies
Bill Hing posted a story about the Center for New Community's new report Apply the Brakes: A Report on Anti-immigrant Co-optation and the Environmental Movement, which explores how anti-immigrant forces have corrupted the dialogue on population and the environment, and examines the anti- immigrant environmentalist network that has influenced the environmental movement. For those of you who have been suspicious of the restrictionist infiltration of the environmental movement, this is the report for you. The Federation for American Immigration Reform frequently makes environmental arguments for new immigration restrictions. Recall the debate in the Sierra Club a few years ago over immigration. Environmentalism is often used by restrictionists to attempt to sanitize and legitimize their restrictionist rhetoric and ends.
From the Center for New Community:
Apply the Brakes: A Report on Anti-immigrant Co-optation and the Environmental Movement
This report is intended to explore how anti-immigrant forces have corrupted the dialogue on population and the environment, and will examine the anti-immigrant environmentalist network that has influenced the environmental movement for the last 14 years. In 2009, an article in the Population Special Issue of the Earth Island Journal mentioned a new organization and website named Apply the Brakes (ATB hereafter). A few months later, the Center for Immigration Studies — an anti-immigrant organization known to trade in racism — cited ATB in a memorandum denouncing Sierra Club leadership for not addressing the issue of immigration. At a time when more people of color, labor and human rights organizations are engaging in environmental concerns such as climate change and “green jobs,” ATB could very well threaten those fragile coalitions.
Allegedly the “result of a meeting of long-time conservationists held in Western Oregon in the spring of 2006,” ATB has kept a very low public presence outside of environmental circles, but its mission is clear: ATB concerns itself with “domestic population growth” and has a pronounced anti-immigration focus. Click here for more on the report and a link to the acutal report.
From the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics:
The Office of Immigration Statistics has recently restructured its website. After reviewing user feedback, OIS implemented a new design that organizes reports and data by subject area, as opposed to product type and that allows users more efficient access to immigration reports and data. We anticipate that the redesign will provide a better overall user experience and will continue to serve as a reliable resource for policymakers, researchers, and the public.
Check out the new website here.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Arizona Gov. Brewer’s Mexican Nightmare in the Future by Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of City & Regional Planning (UC Berkeley) Visiting Scholar, Chicano Studies Research Center (UCLA) Visiting Lecturer, Dept. of Urban Planning (UCLA)
The year is 2030. Not being able to sleep, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer finds herself alone in a strange, white room.
“Where am I?” she asks herself, as she experiences a recurring nightmare about Mexicans, before going back to sleep.
Always looking for a scapegoat for Arizona’s woes, even in her twilight years, Brewer’s dream places the burden of the state’s economic woes on individuals of Mexican decent, instead of the credit crises, housing bubble, banking deregulation policies, Wall Street greed and great recession.
Here’s goes a rough sketch of Brewer’s Mexican nightmare.
It has been over 20 years since she led
Thanks to Brewer, a new term has been added to the American lexicon: Latino flight.
Gone are the Four C’s that have sustained
and mainstream communities alike, such as restaurants, construction companies, bakeries, local markets and clothing stores.
Apart from brown people fleeing this racist state in mass, the numerous lawsuits and national boycotts eventually took a toll on the state’s tourism sector, including retirement communities and long-term care facilities. This includes the loss of out-of-state business and trade with
Consequently, the state government filed for bankruptcy, finding itself at the mercy of the federal government and President Antonio Villaraigosa.
The decline of
Contrary to the official story, where Mexican immigrants labored in the U.S. agricultural industry following WW II to meet labor shortage demands, this program was conceived by rural Mexicans as part of their plan to abandon their families, material possessions and personal dreams for a bigger goal: the browning of American society.
Instead of returning to
Once settled, the rural Mexicans—most of whom lacked formal education—met and organized at parks, churches and baseball games for decades without being detected. They disguised their covert activities during their Quinceñeras, weddings and funerals.
The Mexicans’ master plan against the American way of life consisted of a three-pronged attack: linguistic, demographic and employment.
First, learning from the French in
Also, the Mexican nannies (and house cleaners) all agreed to speak only in Spanish to the American children in their care. Refusing to be paid extra for the Spanish lessons, the domestic workers created a linguistic wedge between the American children and their monolingual parents.
Secondly, the Mexicans unanimously agreed to have a lot of babies. Over time, the Mexican population growth rate in the
Also, the Mexicans, meeting in maternity wards, decided to select the same baby names, such as Jose and Maria, to confuse the Americans. This allowed the Mexicans to easily exchange birth certificates, driver licenses and jobs.
“This is perfect,” one Mexican said at the original meeting. “Not only do we all look alike, we can exchange identities with each other.”
Lastly, the Mexicans initiated a long-term campaign of stealing manual labor jobs from American workers. Not only did the Mexicans take away these dead-end, low status jobs from American citizens, they also insisted on working for low wages without benefits.
“No Mr. Smith,” said Jose at one meeting, “I refuse to work at the federal minimum wage. Please pay me in cash and don’t worry about any of that overtime and health coverage stuff.”
By doing so, the Mexicans created a lazy
Suddenly, Brewer awakes from her nightmare, finding herself in the same strange, white room. This time, however, she finds herself with company.
“Who are you all and where am I?” asks Brewer.
“I’m your doctor,” says the first person. “My name is Dr. Maria Gomez and you’re in a long-term care facility in
“Hello,” says the second person. “My name is Jose Gonzalez and I’m your nurse.”
“Good morning,” says the third person. “My name is Maria Cruz and I will care for all of your hygienic needs.” “I want to go home,” pleads Brewer.
“This is your new home,” says Dr. Gomez. “Your family couldn’t care for you anymore and they brought you here since
“Don’t worry,” Maria say, “In
Without uttering another word, Brewer begins to weep.
Once again, I turned on the computer this morning and can only wonder what the heck is going on in the world of U.S. immigration law and enforcement. The nation continues to pursue the massive deportation of "criminal aliens," many of whom are long term lawful permanent residents convicted of relatively inconsequential crimes. A court criticizes the U.S. government for failing to recognize the compelling evidence that an ethnic Korean woman would likely be tortured if returned to China.
I refuse to turn on the television news for I am likely to see some wacky Arizona legislator criticizing the federal government for challenging SB 1070 on federal preemption grounds and railing on the feds, immigrants, and immigrant-lovers.
I think that I will avoid using any more electricity today and go take a walk!
After the two hearings for preliminary injunction against Arizona's AB1070, the federal district court judge apparently did not disclose which way she is leaning. Here is some of the dialogue that took place yesterday:
Plaintiffs in the morning hearing sought injunctions to prevent each of Arizona's 15 county sheriffs and 15 county attorneys - all of whom were named personally in the suit - from using the new powers provided by 1070 to detain and investigate immigration status.
Nina Perales, an attorney with MALDEF, sued the counties, along with the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center, on behalf of over 20 humanitarian and nonprofit groups.
"SB 1070 effectively criminalizes being here without permission. By failing to carry registration documents your subject to prosecution or jail time," she told the court.
"Many law enforcement agencies are ramping up traffic stops and relying on them for immigration reform," Perales told Judge Susan Bolton when asked to provide evidence the new provisions will result in unreasonable roadside stops. "Somebody can do something to commit a crime inadvertently."
Thomas Liddy, representing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who was not present at the hearing), argued that the claims against the state and county were inappropriate in federal district court.
"The proper forum is for the Department of State and the U.S. Congress," he said.
Bolton later asked ACLU attorney Omar C. Jadwat, "Who am I to tell the state of Arizona that they can't enforce existing powers granted by the federal government?"
Jadwat said SB 1070 poses a threat to civil rights and imminent harm because the language could extend to passengers in vehicles, witnesses to accidents, victims of crime, those seeking asylum, or anyone who came into contact with an officer investigating any claim of any incident.
The training materials provided by AZPOST tells police to not inquire into the status of victims, witnesses and those riding in vehicles, but that distinction is not made in the law itself.
U.S. Deputy Solicitor Edwin S. Keedler made the case against Brewer, who was present for the hearing.
"This is a nation of immigrants. There's a (national) policy of welcoming immigrants, visitors, trade, there are humanitarian concerns for people who come here without permission initially," Keedler told Bolton. "Enforcement itself provides a broad range of possibility of prosecution."
According to Keedler, Congress has never criminalized the mere presence of an undocumented person in the United States and left the ultimate discretion to enforce immigration law to the federal government as a way to balance competing interests.
"The nation's immigration laws reflect a careful and considered balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and humanitarian interests," read the Justice motion for an injunction.
Keedler did not raise any civil rights issues but maintained that Congress specifically allowed for a federal regulation of immigration to make sure that no state can cause disruptions in foreign relations.
He argued instead that Arizona violated the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which specifically reserves immigration enforcement for the federal government.
Keedler said the criminal statutes Arizona cited in SB 1070 to establish its authority were intended to prosecute smugglers, not non-violent persons residing in the state without documentation.
Brewer has been unable to substantiate her public claims that most illegal aliens crossing Arizona's borders are drug smugglers or other criminals.
Keedler argued that federal authorities will not have the resources to respond to Arizona's request to investigate the immigration status of a suspected undocumented person.
"Can you really say that this is pre-emptive because you're going to receive too many calls?" Bolton asked.
She pressed Keedler to provide reasons beyond the supremacy clause and previous rulings as to why she should halt the law.
"The problem comes from the state mandating how officers will assist in carrying out federal law," Keedler responded.
Bouma argued in both hearings that the federal government's failure to curb illegal immigration in Arizona warrants the state's participation in the process.
"Congress isn't doing it, but Congress hasn't told us we can't do it," Bouma told Bolton. "Congress said they want one, national, uniform system and we have one. They haven't done anything to stop the states."
Here is more from Brian Mori of the Tucson Sentinel.
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In addition to having a special focus on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, this manual also provides information on other immigration options for children and youth including: U Nonimmigrant Status, Violence Against Women Act protection, asylum, family-based immigration options, citizenship, and others. It also addresses specialized issues, such as working and representing child clients, immigration consequences of delinquency, and detention. The manual contains many useful items for practitioners, including sample screening intake forms, sample application forms, motions, court orders, and other papers that can be presented to the juvenile court, immigration court, and immigration authorities.
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Nina Bernstein in the N.Y. Times reports that, althougfh the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe (1982) heeld that undocumented children cannot be denied a public K-12 education, many school districts in New York are requiring a child’s immigration papers as a prerequisite to enrollment, or asking parents for information that only lawful immigrants can provide. The New York Civil Liberties Union warned in a letter to the state’s education commissioner that the requirements listed by many registrars “will inevitably discourage families from enrolling in school for fear that they would be reported to federal immigration authorities.” The group has been pushing the State Education Department to stop the practices, which range from what the advocates consider unintentional barriers, like requiring a Social Security number, to those the letter called “blatantly discriminatory,” like one demanding that noncitizen children show a “resident alien card,” with the warning that “if the card is expired, it will not be accepted.” The Education Department has resisted doing anything to address the issue directly, in contrast with Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
NILC and Civil Rights Groups Ask Court to Block Implementation of Arizona's Racial Profiling Law
PHOENIX -- At a federal court hearing today in Phoenix, AZ, the National Immigration Law Center, as a member of a coalition of civil rights groups, argued that Arizona's discriminatory new law, known as SB 1070, should be blocked pending a final court ruling on its constitutionality. The law, scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010, requires police to demand "papers" from people they stop who they suspect are "unlawfully present" in the U.S. According to the coalition, the law would subject massive numbers of people -- both U.S. citizens and noncitizens -- to racial profiling, improper investigations, and detention.
The U.S. Department of Justice, in a separate lawsuit, will also ask the court to block SB 1070, in a hearing later today. In the civil rights coalition's case, the court will also hear arguments on the state of Arizona's motion to dismiss the case.
The civil rights coalition includes the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the ACLU, MALDEF, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) - a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, the ACLU of Arizona, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and the NAACP. The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is acting as co-counsel in the case.
Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, and Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF, argued the case on behalf of the civil rights groups.
In May, the coalition filed a lawsuit challenging Arizona's extreme law, charging that it invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment, and interferes with federal law. Friday's filing seeks to halt implementation of the law while the case is litigated.
The following quotations can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.
Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:
"We are asking the court to block SB 1070 right now because if this discriminatory law went into effect for even one day, it would be one day too many. Any law that requires law enforcement to ask people they stop and suspect of being undocumented for their 'papers' violates the U.S. Constitution and the American values of fairness and equality. This law is a clear invitation for racial profiling, and we're confident that the court will understand the importance of preventing it from ever taking effect."
Linton Joaquin, general counsel of NILC:
"Judge Bolton heard from lawyers representing organizations ranging from small nonprofit service providers to the federal government, asking her to block the implementation of this pernicious law. Inaction on SB 1070 will lead to widespread fear and threatens the constitutional rights and societal values of all Arizonans. Unified voices of civil rights leaders, law enforcement officers and interested citizens are fighting to keep this unconstitutional law from hurting countless Arizonans and undermining our nation's values of fair treatment under the law."
Julie Su, litigation director of APALC:
"We are here today in Arizona to ensure that SB 1070 does not take effect next week, as this fundamentally unconstitutional law opens the door for law enforcement to discriminate against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other people of color who look or sound 'foreign.' We have faith the court understands that immigration enforcement is solely the responsibility of the federal government and that it will block this modern-day version of the Chinese Exclusion Act."
Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona:
"While proponents of SB 1070 would have us believe that they have a monopoly on the rule of law, the federal court remains the arbiter of justice in this case. The courageous plaintiffs who have come forward to challenge this unconstitutional racial profiling law are optimistic that the judge will strike down this discriminatory law, which has already resulted in the harassment of innocent people."
Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., include:
• NILC: Joaquin, Karen Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S. Keaney, Vivek Mittal and Ghazal Tajmiri
• ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project: Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi
• MALDEF: Perales, Thomas A. Saenz, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Victor Viramontes, Gladys Limón, Nicholás Espiritu and Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal
• ACLU Foundation of Arizona: Dan Pochoda and Annie Lai
• APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina Ocampo
• NDLON: Chris Newman
• NAACP: Laura Blackburne
• Munger Tolles & Olson LLP: Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Joseph J. Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd, Yuval Miller, Elisabeth J. Neubauer and Benjamin Maro
• Roush, McCracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.
The motion for a preliminary injunction can be found at
More information about the Arizona law and this lawsuit can be found at
A new ACLU video about how the SB 1070 invites racial profiling can be found at
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 400-7822; firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Archuleta, ACLU, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666; email@example.com
Jon O'Neill, ACLU of Arizona, (602) 773-6007; firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Rodriguez, MALDEF, (310) 956-2425; email@example.com
Karin Wang, APALC, (213) 241-0234 or 999-5640; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marco Loera, NDLON, (602) 373-3859; email@example.com
Leila McDowell, NAACP, (202) 463-2940 ext. 1021; firstname.lastname@example.org
Position Opening: Campaign & Organizing Director
Deadline to Apply: August 15, 2010
Border Action Network (BAN) is looking for an experienced, motivated and fully bilingual (Spanish-English) person to lead a team of talented organizers and leaders in building the capacity and power of immigrant families in Arizona to advance human rights. A dedicated and passionate person will thrive in this great opportunity amidst an enormously challenging political environment. Border Action is a growing organization with local, statewide and national impact. Its work involves unique and complex community organizing within immigrant and US-Mexico border communities in Arizona.
Who we are: Formed in 1999, Border Action Network is an immigrant and border community-led membership organization that works throughout Arizona, including the Arizona-Sonora border. BAN’s organizing focuses on building a strong base of low-income immigrant and border communities with the tools, knowledge and relationships necessary to insert their voices, dreams, and demands into local, state and national issues. As a human rights community organization, we have prioritized issues that urgently impact immigrant families and border communities. However, our long-term vision for human rights includes not only immigration reform, but also health care, housing, education, workers rights and a clean environment.
Organizing Model: Border Action has a unique organizing model that results in a decentralized organizational structure that ensures that those who are impacted the most by human rights violations in Arizona and along the border are at the forefront of leading the movement for justice and dignity. Individual members are invited to participate in a 40+ hour training that results in the title and responsibilities of a “Human Rights Promoter”. Through leading house meetings, presentations, and a series of discussions, the Promoters form “Human Rights Committees” in their neighborhoods, schools, churches or workplaces comprised of immigrant families. Together, the Promoters and Committees comprise the leadership core of the organization, make the key strategic and political decisions, implement the organization’s campaigns and recruit new members.
The Campaign & Organizing Director is responsible for providing overall leadership in campaign and political strategy, alliance building, the development of a vibrant grassroots organizing and leadership development program, and staff development of the organizing team. The Campaign & Organizing Director reports to the Executive Director, and is a member of the Management Team (with the Policy Director, Deputy Director and the Exec. Director). They supervise four regional organizers and their work with a dozen volunteer Human Rights Committees, volunteer Human Rights Promoters, Border Action members, supporters, and ally organizations. The ideal candidate will have proven experience in grassroots organizing; campaign and political strategy; staff management; a passion for social justice and human rights; and experience in aligning statewide and local community organizing strategies for local, state and national impact.
Roles and Responsibilities
1. Grassroots Organizing and Leadership Development. Lead in the development of systems, programs and plans to develop and strengthen campaigns and local and statewide community organizing. Provide leadership, coordination and support to the Organizing Team so that they can to help develop further these plans and move them forward through:
○ Leadership development and political education for grassroots leaders and members that helps strengthen and align our organizing campaigns and goals;
○ Clear and strong goals, strategies and implementation plans that integrate our committees, leaders, members and allies, including extensive travel around the state and coordinating with other organizations;
○ Recruitment programs to expand our membership base and strengthen the overall organizing process;
○ Fundraising activities involving grassroots leaders and members;
○ Success indicators and systems to track and document progress.
2. Campaign, political and alliance building strategy development & implementation
○ Lead local and statewide campaign strategy development and alliance building strategies
○ Maintain a working knowledge of immigration and border issues and the national, state and local political landscape
○ Develop and monitor strategic, big-picture organizing plans that anticipate and respond to challenges and opportunities and propose program and resource shifts to meet those changes
○ Work with Executive Director, Policy Director and Deputy Director to identify and evaluate opportunities and align goals
○ Systematically develop and support organizers and leaders to take increasing responsibilities in all facets of the organization and in the community
3. Organizing staff management and development
○ Create organizing staff development training programs and opportunities for individual staff development plans to improve their strategic, alliance-building and organizing skills
○ Provide staff management, supervision and evaluation for organizers
○ Create success indicators and systems to track and document staff development progress
4. Other Responsibilities
○ Occasional public speaking
○ Promote organizational goals and values in various external activities
○ Participate in membership meetings, staff meetings, and community events
○ Participate in coalitions, networks, and collaborations that forward Border Action’s work as needed
○ Participate in planned individual, staff, and organizational evaluation activities
○ Assist in office management tasks
○ Bilingual and bi-cultural (Spanish-English)
○ Deep commitment to and passion for Border Action’s mission, immigrant rights, human rights and justice in the borderlands.
○ Successful track record of 4 or more years in community or labor organizing experience, preferably with low-income communities and women, and with a demonstrated capacity to effectively carry out the above responsibilities
○ At least 3 or more years experience supervising and training community or labor organizers and leading campaigns
○ Ability to identify and set priorities and move teams in line with Border Action’s goals and strategic direction
○ Self-confidence and the capacity to create and independently move forward a complex agenda
○ Able to work frequent weekends and evenings and travel throughout the state
○ Demonstrated experience with political education and organizing skills training curriculum development and excellent workshop facilitation skills based in principles of popular education
○ Excellent communication skills (verbal and written) with the ability to connect to wide-range of audiences and communities
○ Experience with legislative, electoral and/or statewide organizing strongly preferred
○ Excellent computer literacy in either PC or Mac platforms
○ Reliable transportation and a valid drivers license
Salary & Benefits: A competitive, professional salary is dependent on experience. Range: $37,000-$43,000. Benefits package includes health, dental, generous vacations, sick leave and sabbatical policy. Border Action is a family-friendly and an equal opportunity employer.
To Apply by the August 15, 2010 Deadline:
Send to Michael@borderaction.org all of the following: 1) cover letter explaining why you are interested in this specific position; 2) resume; and 3) three professional and one personal references that include phone numbers and emails. Write “Organizing Director” in the subject line.
The Arizona Anti-Immigration Act is unconstitutional on a number of grounds and should not be adopted by other states, according to a report released by the New York City Bar Association. The report, prepared by the Association’s Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law, examines the principal provisions of the Act and finds that they are pre- empted by federal law and violate the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Here is the press release.
Conservative National Leaders Take Message “On the Road” Urging Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
HOUSTON, TEXAS. On Wednesday, July 21st at 2:00 PM EDT (1:00pm CT, 11:00am PCT), Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CfCIR) took its National Press Conference Call “on the road” to Houston, Texas where Rev. David Fleming, Senior Pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church, hosted the call. Rev. Fleming has been leading a Coalition of over 400 Houston-area pastors to call for secure borders, reform of the immigration system and a just process for legal status for specified illegal immigrants. “We are drawn into this conversation personally more than politically as we have a large and growing immigrant congregation. God is for justice, he established the government and we are to be submissive to it. At the same time, we are to be compassionate Christians, not just concerned citizens. We need a balance in our laws between compassion and justice.”
Mary Giovagnoli, Executive Director of the Immigration Policy Center, discussed the need to mesh the values of the rule of law and compassion together with the positive economic value of immigration reform. Ms. Giovagnoli cited a recent study by the Immigration Policy Center which found that $1.5 trillion would be added to the GDP over 10 years if immigration reform were to pass. “When people have a rational and legal way to enter and leave the country, these people invest more in themselves and their communities, they consume more, they give more back. It’s a win-win for us. But if we continue to put most of our resources into enforcement-based strategies and not try to solve the problem in a broader way, we’d find a cut in our gross domestic product of $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years”
As Mayor of Santa Ana, CA, one of the youngest and most conservative cities in the nation, Mayor Mike Pulido spoke about the contributions that immigrants make to the local economy and the vital social fabric of the community he leads. “Part of what we need to do with immigration reform is to try to embed in our policies a concept of spiritual justice. There’s legal and political justice but what is the morally, ethically and spiritually right thing to do, and what we would benefit the whole community? The city of Santa Ana has excellent relationships with our undocumented residents because of our long-term approach to immigration and how we have worked together with them to build stronger communities. We need to bring compassion into this debate, understanding that with a more elevated, enlightened discussion, we will prevail.”
Luawanna Hallstrom, Western Vice President of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, is an appointee through Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Board of Food and Agriculture. “Farmers today are committing to crops they don’t know whether they’ll be able to harvest. If the labor isn’t there, there won’t be a crop. It’s basically a matter of economic life or death for these farmers,” stated Ms. Hallstrom. “Laborers are the most important resource that we have after land and water—they are the machine that drives the industry. It’s obvious that the chaos of not having access to an assured legal labor force has created a national disaster in the economy and socially. It could threaten our food supply, which is national security at the most fundamental level.”
“Small-business owners are among the most trusted and reliable messengers to their communities and to Members of Congress. Business owners are working to educate the public that immigration reform is not only compassionate, but in their own self-interest,” said Tamar Jacoby, President and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, a leading organization of employers advocating for improved immigration policies, talked about how small business owners support reform. “A lot of the 60% of the people who see something to support in the Arizona law aren’t racist—they just want someone to solve the problem, for goodness’ sake! We need not to inflame the debate but to reach out to those people and say ‘We share your frustration, join our army in the fight for reform.’”
Max Finberg, Director, USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, discussed immigration from the perspective of what would impact all Americans- food. “An estimated half of the food that we eat is touched by immigrant hands--from the fields to processing to slaughtering and poultry, to the hands that serve it to us. If we don’t pass comprehensive immigration reform, we could eat half as much, or we could pay another 5-10% of our disposable income for food costs. Here in the United States, we enjoy the safest, most abundant food source in the world and we pay 10-15% less than the rest of the developed world. If we take immigrants out of the equation, we will no longer be able to spend on other things the money we save now on food. So as a nation of eaters, we need immigration reform.”
Robert Gittelson, co-founder of Conservatives for CIR, concluded by saying that comprehensive immigration reform is a “federal stimulus which does not require deficit spending, and does not cost the American tax-payer anything. It actually will reduce the federal deficit through increased tax revenue, as well as reducing our trade deficit by increasing exports. It promotes job creation, and since CIR is financed by the private sector, it should be passed as soon as possible.”
CfCIR is a coalition of pastors and conservative leaders representing millions of conservatives across the country, highlighting the need for a just assimilation policy that respects Biblical mandates and protects the rule of law and family values.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Nina Bernstein writes for the NY Times:
Vincenzo Donnoli was 9 when his family immigrated legally to Brooklyn. He attended Erasmus Hall High School, married and divorced in Flatbush, ran a landscaping business and had five children. But at 51 he is back — alone and jobless — in Pomarico, the hill town in southern Italy where his father was a shepherd, as a deportee banned for life from returning to the United States.
His offense: two misdemeanor convictions for possessing small amounts of cocaine, in 1988 and 2006, both guilty pleas resolved without jail time. Retroactively, immigration authorities added them up to equal an “aggravated felony” that required Mr. Donnoli’s automatic deportation last year.
That kind of arithmetic, an aggressive government interpretation of 1996 immigration laws that has been increasingly invoked in recent years, was rejected by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in June. [Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder] But the ruling came too late for Mr. Donnoli and thousands of deportees like him, all former lawful residents who have no way to turn that legal vindication into a chance to come home.
“The Supreme Court has said in a series of cases that the government’s theories of deportation have been wrong for years,” said Daniel Kanstroom, a professor at Boston College Law School, citing earlier decisions that rejected the government’s classification of other minor crimes as deportable offenses. “And yet the legal system has not developed a mechanism to right that wrong for the thousands of people who have been wrongly deported.”
Under the ruling last month, which echoed decisions by four federal circuit courts, including the one covering New York, legal residents with minor drug convictions are eligible to have an immigration judge weigh their offenses against other factors in their lives and decide whether to let them stay.
But deportees who were denied such a hearing have no means to get one now. The Board of Immigration Appeals says it has no jurisdiction over any case after deportation. Government regulations prohibit any motion to reopen the case of someone who has left the country; judicial circuits are divided over that interpretation of immigration law, and a request that the Supreme Court consider the matter is pending. Click here for the rest of the story.
Filipino Americans and Chinese Americans are the two largest Asian American communities in California and in the United States in large part due to immigration policies.
David Siders writes for The Sacramento Bee
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will nominate Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appellate court justice with a reputation as a moderate, to be chief justice of the California Supreme Court, The Bee learned Tuesday.
Cantil-Sakauye has been on the 3rd District Court of Appeal since 2005. If approved by a three-member commission and by voters in November, she would start a 12-year term in January.
She would be the state's first Filipina American chief justice.
"Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has a distinguished history of public service and understands that the role of a justice is not to create law, but to independently and fairly interpret and administer the law," Schwarzenegger said in a statement contained in a draft news release obtained by The Bee.
Cantil-Sakauye was quoted in that release as saying, "Being nominated to serve on the highest court in California is a dream come true."
While on the 3rd District Court of Appeal, Cantil-Sakauye wrote the court's opinion this year striking down a California regulation that allowed trained school staffers to give insulin shots to students. Nurses had challenged the regulation, adopted in 2007.
Cantil-Sakauye dissented last year when the court majority ruled that the city of Sacramento was not liable in a case in which a woman claimed two firefighters sexually assaulted her. The majority opinion said the alleged assault was not among the firefighters' official duties.
She is a graduate of U.C. Davis School of Law.
Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program is a documentary by UC Irvine Chicano/Latino Studies professor Gilbert Gonzalez that explores the history of the Bracero Program, the long-running guest worker program that was in place from WWII to the 1960s. Arizona's controversial new immigration law has reignited heated debates on how best to address the country's undocumented immigrant population. In looking to future policies and programs, including proposed "guest worker" programs," it is important to reexamine the past.
In a new documentary, The Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program, Gonzalez and Vivian Price explore the historical accounts of migrant Mexican farm workers brought into the U.S. from 1942-1964 under the temporary worker program known as the Bracero Program. Check out here for more detrails.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In United States v. Arizona, the Obama administration claims that Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, is an unconstitutional intrusion on the federal power to regulate immigration and thus violates the U.S Constitution, which makes federal law the supreme law of the land. The complaint avoids the fears of racial profiling that have outraged opponents of the law. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Justice has been harshly criticized by, among others, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer who has alleged that “As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.” Despite the warlike hyperbole, the Obama administration was unquestionably correct to seek in its attempt to ensure adherence to the rule of law.
A bit of legal history is in order. In the nation’s first century, the states in fact attempted to regulate migration. New York and Massachusetts, for example, charged a tax on each passenger brought by a ship into its jurisdiction, which the Supreme Court invalidated as infringing on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. States also restricted the migration of the poor, criminals, and other undesirables into their jurisdictions. In the late 1800s, Congress decided to exercise the power to regulate immigration. Although the series of comprehensive immigration laws included provisions that have not withstood the test of time – such as those limiting Chinese immigration, the Supreme Court rejected challenges to them, declaring that Congress possessed “plenary power” over immigration.
The Court has offered several constitutional justifications for national regulation of immigration, including Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce and to establish a “uniform rule of naturalization,” as well as the President’s power over foreign relations. The Court has consistently ruled that the U.S. government possesses the exclusive power to regulate immigration. This makes perfect sense. The nation needs a uniform national system for admission and removal of immigrants from the United States. States in certain areas have greatly limited powers. States cannot regulate interstate commerce; states cannot have their own foreign policy; states cannot have their own naturalization rules. Consequently, in the 1976 case of DeCanas v. Bica, the Supreme Court held that “Power to regulate immigration is unquestionably exclusively a federal power.”
Today, the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1952 is a thoroughly intricate, detailed, and comprehensive law dealing with the admission and removal of noncitizens from the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been entrusted with the administration of the immigration laws, with Immigration & Customs Enforcement the primary agency entrusted with their enforcement.
With the failure of Congress to enact reform an immigration system that is characterized by people across the political spectrum as “broken,” a growing number of state and local governments have understandably become frustrated and attempted to take immigration law into their own hands. Cities as different as rural Hazleton, Pennsylvania and suburban Farmer’s Branch, Texas, have passed through ill-advised ordinances that seek to regulate immigration in ways that federal law does not, such as by prohibiting landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants. Some states, including Arizona, have entered the immigration thicket as well.
Supporters of the Arizona law claim that it simply mirrors federal immigration law. But the Arizona legislature in enacting SB 1070 “declare[d] that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” (emphasis added). Immigration enforcement undisputedly is the one and only immigration priority in SB 1070. In contrast, federal immigration law, as it must, balances many competing goals – admissions of family members, workers, and refugees, removals (and relief from removals), public safety and national security, foreign relations, and human rights, to name a few.
Even if justified, the frustration at the state and local levels cannot justify passing laws in conflict with U.S. immigration law. SB 1070 creates several new immigration crimes that are found nowhere in federal law for, among other things, noncitizens failing to carry proper documents, as well as for the employment of undocumented immigrants. By deputizing state and local law enforcement to enforce the immigration laws, SB 1070 seeks to increase enforcement of the immigration laws that the federal government does not want. The Arizona law has greatly increased tensions between the United States and Mexico and dominated the discussions between President Obama and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon during his recent visit. And, as the call for economic boycotts make clear -- with next year’s Major League Baseball’s All Star game in Phoenix in jeopardy of a boycott, the negative interstate commerce impacts of Arizona’s foray into immigration are clear.
Perhaps the Arizona Legislature wanted to send a message to the U.S. government. California has some experience with that goal as it once sought to “send a message” to the U.S. government about immigration. In 1994, the voters by a 2-1 margin passed Proposition 187, which would have, among other things, denied a K-12 public education to undocumented students (contrary to a Supreme Court ruling) and required public officials to report suspected undocumented person to federal authorities. The Clinton administration received the message and increased enforcement efforts. Still, a federal court stuck down the initiative on the grounds that it was intruded on the power of Congress to regulate immigration. In the end, the U.S. government was right to attempt to halt Arizona’s effort to pass its own enforcement-only immigration law. The Department of Justice is doing precisely what the proponents of SB 1070 say should be the priority with respect to immigration law – enforcing the letter of the law.
In the end, the answer to those who support the Arizona immigration law is not to pass state laws that conflict with federal immigration law and its enforcement but, as the Constitution requires, to lobby Congress and to push for comprehensive immigration reform. By bringing United States v. Arizona, the Obama administration thus seeks to redirect the immigration debate to federal law-makers, which is exactly where the issue of immigration should be addressed.
Stay tuned! The district court in Phoenix will hold a hearing on Thursday, July 22.
Lawsuit Filed Against Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Seeks Transparency Promised by Obama Administration
American Immigration Lawyers Association Seeks Disclosure of Records under FOIA
Washington D.C. - Today the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) seeking the public release of records concerning agency policies and procedures for the "H-1B" visa program - a program which allows U.S. businesses to temporarily employ highly-skilled foreign workers.
AILA had pursued disclosure of the documents through two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, both of which were denied in full by the government. In its complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, AILA seeks the court's intervention to compel the government to release the requested records.
The FOIA litigation centers on the government's H-1B visa review and processing procedures. The H-1B program, administered by USCIS, allows U.S. businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers - such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers - in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. Since 2008, USCIS has implemented new, more stringent procedures for review and processing and has dramatically increased the frequency of unannounced worksite inspections - expected to reach 25,000 visits in 2010 alone - in connection with H-1B cases. Yet USCIS has kept secret the rules and guidelines related to the review process. The dearth of publicly available information on the government's heightened scrutiny of H-1B applications makes it particularly difficult for businesses to anticipate and meet agency expectations during the application process.
"The requested documents are the kind that a government agency should release as a matter of course," said Crystal Williams, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "That we had to file a FOIA request, and that the request was denied, is counter to the President's directives for a more open and transparent government. This lawsuit seeks to require the agency to be true to the open government directives of the Obama administration."
"It is in the public and the agency's interest to release the documents sought by AILA," said Mary Kenney, attorney at the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center. "The documents will help employers and foreign workers who seek immigration benefits comply with the law. Further, the agency violated FOIA when it issued wholesale denials of AILA's FOIA requests."
Here is a real immigrant success story. Ingacia Moya, frail, blind and with bad hearing at 106 years old, went through naturalization ceremonies in Chicago on Monday and became a U.S. citizen. Moya had been a legal resident of the United States since moving here almost 40 years ago from Mexico. In 1986, she studied for the citizenship exam but failed as she lost her sight and hearing. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez assisted her with obtaining a medical waiver. Moya's wants the opportunity to vote in November. "When asked how she felt, Moya said `muy bien!'"
There appear to be only two or three other people who were older than Moya when they became U.S. citizens. The oldest was a 117-year-old woman from Turkey.