Saturday, September 4, 2010

No More Deaths Volunteer Not Guilty of Littering

Julianne Hing reports for Colorlines:

A border activist charged with littering for leaving jugs of water in the Arizona desert for migrants was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

Dan Millis, a volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, was convicted in a federal court of littering when he and three other volunteers left water for border crossers in 2008 along a section of the Arizona desert that was a designated wildlife refuge. He faced a $5,000 fine and six months in jail for refusing to pay the $125 ticket.

On Thursday the Ninth Circuit overturned his conviction and ruled 2-1 that the statute was vague enough such that water did not constitute garbage. The dissenting opinion was written by Judge Jay Bybee, a former Bush administration assistant attorney general who co-wrote that administration’s torture memos. Bybee wrote: “Leaving plastic bottles in a wildlife refuge is littering under any ordinary, common meaning of the word.” Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

September 4, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Indictment Accuses Firm of Exploiting Thai Workers

Some things apparently do not change.  Remember in 1995 when Thai workers were freed from forced labor in a Los Angeles suburban sweatshop, where they worked behing razor wire?  Now, Julia Preston of thr N.Y. Times reports that a federal grand jury has indicted six labor contractors from a Los Angeles company on charges that they imposed forced labor on some 400 Thai farm workers, in what justice officials called the biggest human-trafficking case ever brought by federal authorities. The charges filed by Justice Department civil rights lawyers were brought against Global Horizons Manpower, which recruits foreign farm workers for a guest worker program. The indictment accuses Global Horizons executives of working to “obtain cheap, compliant labor” from guest workers who had been forced into debt in Thailand to pay fees to local recruiters. The company, according to the indictment, sought to “to compel the workers’ labor and service through threats to have them arrested, deported or sent back to Thailand, knowing the workers could not pay off their debts if sent home.”

KJ

September 4, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

'Birth tourism' a tiny portion of immigrant babies

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As the Novemnber elections have neared, some Republicans have been pushing for congressional hearings to consider abolishing the14th Amendment's grant of birthright citizenship. Some have been "paint[ing] a picture of pregnant women rushing across the border to give birth."  For analysis of the claim, which has been repeatedly rebuked, see this AP report.

KJ

September 4, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Illegal Immigration Has Declined: Why?

Heather Horn on the Atlantic Wire picked up on ImmigrationProf's analysis of the recent study showing a drop in the undocumented population in the United States.  Given that the U.S. economy has experienced great difficulty in the last few years and jobs are not as plentiful as in the past, the magnet of jobs -- a primary reason for migration to the United States -- is not currently attracting and maintaining as great a population of undocumented as in the recent past.

KJ

September 4, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Stephen Zack (Cuba)

Stephen N. Zack, new (and first Hispanic) President of the American Bar Association, is our Immigrant of thf Day.   The ABA Journal quotes Zack:   "As a 14-year-old in 1961, when I was fleeing Cuba with my family and we were taken off a plane by the G2—the Cuban equivalent of the KGB—and put in a cell, the last thing I could have imagined was a day like today."  The son of a Cuban mother and a father whose family roots were in Russia, Zack was installed as ABA president at the ABA annual meeting in San Francisco in August.

A graduate of the University of Florida undergraduate and law school, Zack is the administrative partner od the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner.

KJ

September 4, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 3, 2010

CONFERENCE: “Beyond National Security: Immigrant Communities and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

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Beyond National Security: Immigrant Communities and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights” October 14-15, 2010 (student organized workshop on October 16) Northeastern University School of Law Dockser Hall 65 Forsythe Street (off Huntington Avenue) Boston, MA Public roundtables on Thursday and Friday. Registration link for roundtables here.

This two-day institute focuses on two significant trends in the treatment of noncitizens in the United States. Beginning in the mid-1990s and gaining momentum after September 11, 2001, the federal government imposed increasingly harsh deportation policies, dramatically expanded the enforcement of immigration laws, and delegated more and more immigration enforcement power to state and local police - all in the name of national security. At the same time, a wave of state and local laws has been taking aim at the rights of noncitizens in areas such as employment, housing, health, family life, and education. On both fronts, immigrant communities and their supporters throughout the US are increasingly turning to human rights approaches in response.

On October 14-15, 2010, Northeastern Law School's Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), with support from the Ford Foundation, will bring together a core group of leading immigration and human rights advocates, scholars, and activists for a two-day interdisciplinary institute to address these developments within a human rights framework. What effects have harsh deportation policies and increased immigration enforcement had on the economic, social, and cultural rights of immigrants? How are encroachments on such rights increasingly being used at the sub-national level as a tool of immigration enforcement? How can human rights strategies best be used to counter those effects?

Institute Co-chairs: Hope Lewis, Professor of Law & Rachel Rosenbloom, Assistant Professor of Law.

KJ

September 3, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Defense Project: REQUEST FOR PUBLIC INTEREST FELLOWSHIP PROPOSALS

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The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) defends the legal, constitutional, and human rights of immigrants facing criminal or deportation charges. It is the nation's first project founded to respond to the sweeping 1996 immigration laws that placed hundreds of thousands of immigrants at risk of mandatory detention and deportation for virtually any interaction with the criminal justice system. Through targeted litigation, training, policy and community-based advocacy, production of practice advisories and reference materials, and hotline assistance for criminal and immigration advocates and immigrants themselves, IDP seeks to improve the quality of justice for noncitizens accused or convicted of criminal offenses. IDP helped to pioneer the development of resources for the criminal defense bar to avoid or mitigate the immigration consequences of conviction and has been a leading voice in the movement to integrate accurate immigration advice into criminal representation of immigrants. This movement achieved a milestone victory when, in March of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Padilla v. Kentucky that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of the right to effective assistance of counsel in defending against criminal charges includes the right of a non-citizen defendant to be advised of the immigration consequences of conviction.

IDP seeks qualified 3L candidates with a sincere commitment to the rights of non-citizens accused of crimes to apply for post-graduate public interest fellowships for 2011, including through EJW and OSI. IDP is particularly interested in proposals relating to crucial follow-up on the landmark Padilla victory. The decision creates an historic opportunity to educate the criminal defense community regarding its obligation to understand and correctly advise clients on criminal-immigration law. In addition, as trial courts begin to be confronted with claims for post-conviction relief arising from the Padilla decision and prosecutors formulate their responses, we anticipate that by 2011 state and federal appellate courts will be faced with a number of issues—including Padilla’s application to plea bargains predating the decision; the standard for demonstrating prejudice flowing from the failure to advise; and whether a judicial advisal of possible deportation defeats a claim of counsel’s ineffective assistance—proper resolution of which will be critical to securing defendants’ full rights under the decision. IDP is also open to proposals addressing other issues at the intersection of criminal and immigration law.

Interested candidates should submit a letter explaining their qualifications and interest (including ideas for fellowship projects) and a resume to Co-Director Michelle Fei, mfei@immigrantdefenseporject.org, as soon as possible and no later than Wednesday, September 8, 2010. IDP is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, LGBT persons, persons with disabilities, and candidates from other minority groups are encouraged to apply.

KJ

September 3, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Historical Comparison of U.S. Border Policies

From the Immigration Policy Center:

This week IPC released the next in its series of perspectives on immigration with Back to the Border: A Historical Comparison of U.S. Border Politics. During the spring and summer of 2010, America's broken immigration system erupted into national news headlines as a result of the passage in Arizona of a sweeping anti-immigrant law (SB 1070), growing concerns over drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and calls in some quarters for a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship. While these events might seem new, the issues involved - unauthorized migration, labor disputes, violence, federalism, and constitutional rights - have played out over and over again, particularly along the border. Back to the Border provides analyses by two historians who situate today's controversies within the context of the broader history of the border region. Understanding history not only allows us to make sense of the complex issues behind the current rhetoric, but also demonstrates why it is necessary to go beyond it and search for lasting solutions.
 
To read the Perspectives piece, see:    
Back to the Border: A Historical Comparison of U.S. Border Politics (IPC Perspectives, September 2, 2010)

bh

September 3, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Artists and Counter-Narratives in the New Era of Anti-Immigration by Christian Faltis

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Artists and Counter-Narratives in the New Era of Anti-Immigration by Christian Faltis
This is a commentary about the role of artists in creating a counter-narrative that extends written text about the treatment of Mexican immigrants in Arizona and other places throughout the U.S.

KJ

September 3, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NEW JERSEY SUED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS IN DENYING IMMIGRANT PARENTS ACCESS TO STATE-FUNDED MEDICAID

New Jersey is being sued over a new state policy that denies Medicaid benefits to certain groups of legal immigrants. Lawyers for Seton Hall University Law School and the firm Gibbons P.C. filed an amendment yesterday to a class action suit filed in June on behalf of the estimated 12,000 lawful permanent residents allegedly eligible for FamilyCare, a public health program for the poor. New rules for the program require immigrants who are parents or guardians to have been LPRs for five years to be eligible. Pregnant women and children are exempt from the new regulations.  For the AP story, click here.  For the Seton Hall press release, click here.

KJ

September 3, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Undocumented Immigrants Make HUGE ContrIbutions to Social Security

Check out How illegal immigrants are helping Social Security By Edward Schumacher-Matos in the Washington Post.   "The contributions by unauthorized immigrants to Social Security -- essentially, to the retirement income of everyday Americans -- are much larger than previously known, raising questions about the efforts in many states and among Republicans in Congress to force these workers out."

KJ

September 2, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Seven Myths That Cloud Immigration Debate

Brookings, in an attempt to correct "myths that cloud [the] immigration debate," states that "The United States is shockingly irrational in the way it handles immigration. Unlike other nations that strategically use immigration to pursue national goals, we lurch from concerns about border security to illegal immigrants to drugs and crime without considering our long-term political and economic priorities. One of the chief sources of irrationality is the myths that have arisen about immigrants and immigration policy."

KJ

September 2, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DOJ sues America's Toughest Sheriff

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AP
reports that "The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics. The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office's defiance "unprecedented," and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminates against people with limited English skills."

KJ

September 2, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mississippi Governor on CIR

A high-profile Republican has condemned conservatives advocating policies that exploit immigrant labor but oppose comprehensive immigration reform. In an interview, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), who comes from a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, explained that the state would be “way, way, way behind where we are now” if it wasn’t for immigrants — “some of there [who] were here illegally” — that helped to rebuild the state. He went on to say that people should search for “common sense” solutions for undocumented immigration, and that “we’re not going to take 10 or 12 or 14 million people and put them in jail or deport them.”

KJ

September 2, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Jill Family Honored!

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Congratulations to Professor Jill Family (Widener) for being named by the National Administrative Law Judiciary Foundation (NAALJ) as the 2010 Fellowship winner.  Professor Family is an expert on immigration law and policy. The NAALJ established the Fellowship to “encourage research and scholarship for improving administrative justice.”  As a winner of the award, Professor Family will have the opportunity to write an article entitled “The Lack of Transparency in Immigration Law and the Immigration Adjudication Crisis” which will examine the lack of transparency in immigration law and how it contributes to some of the problems plaguing the immigration and adjudication system. She will deliver her papers at the 2010 NAALJ Annual Conference in Octoberat Pepperdine University.

KJ

September 2, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: Asylum Denial Rate Drops to Twenty-Five Year Low

Justice Department data show that Immigration Judges are declining substantially fewer requests for asylum. Denial rates have reached the lowest level in the last quarter of a century according to a new analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This was one of many new findings to emerge from TRAC's fifth annual monitoring report focusing on the processing of asylum requests by these specialized courts. In FY 1986, almost 9 out of 10 (89%) of such requests were declined. During the first nine months of FY 2010, only half (50%) were turned down. The analysis of hundreds of thousands of case-by-case records also found that the total number of asylum requests has been falling, that a higher proportion of asylum seekers are now represented by counsel, and that judge-to-judge disparities in denial rates remain a pervasive problem.

KJ

September 2, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Stories on the Naturalization Process

Hello from Sharon McNary in the newsroom of 89.3 FM KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. One way our newsroom finds sources for our stories is by asking questions of the public. This week, I'm circulating a set of questions about the naturalization process. [Here is a] link to our questions: www.scpr.org/network/questions/naturalization Responses are confidential, and seen only by journalists. Nothing is aired or published without permission. Those who respond receive one e-mail per month asking their experiences on issues in the news, and their answers help shape our future news coverage. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide, Sharon McNary Public Insight Journalism at KPCC 626-583-5126

bh

September 2, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Urge Schwarzenegger to Sign California DREAM Act

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Please SIGN the petition urging Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the California DREAM Act SB1460/AB1413 as well as call him at his office asking him to sign it this year.

Sign, Repost, Tweet, and Email the following PETITION to all of your networks:
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/california_dream_act_sb1460_and_the_future_of_ab540_students

Governor's Office Number:
Sacramento: 916-445-2841
Los Angeles: 213-897-0322

Background information:
The California DREAM Act would provide financial assistance to all students including undocumented students who qualify for the AB-540 in-state tuition waiver. Currently, undocumented students who qualify for the AB-540 in-state tuition waiver are ineligible for State and Federal financial assistance because of their status in the U.S.  The California DREAM Act has been vetoed by the Governor for the past five years. The Governor doesn't understand the urgency of the matter or how much of a sound policy solution passage of this integral piece of legislation really is not only for those directly impacted by the issue but for the economic sustainability and competitiveness of California given recent economic trends. Now, more than ever, we need the most diverse and talented college graduates the State can produce in an ever expanding global economy. 

The California DREAM Act SB 1460 was voted out of the State Senate on the last day of session at the State Capitol. It includes: Community College Fee Waivers, California State University and University of California Institutional Aid. A second bill, AB 1413 Fuentes-Coto, would provide the opportunity for graduating High School students to apply for Cal Grants.  More importantly, the CA DREAM Act would expand the definition of AB540 to include students who have graduated from adult schools and technical/vocational schools, granted that he or she has spent at least one year in a California High School.

Support AB-540 students across California. Sign the petition. Repost in Facebook. Tweet it! Email it!

bh

September 2, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hostage Gunman at Discovery Channel Headquarters is Anti-Immigrant

James J. Lee, the man who took several hostages at gunpoint at the Discovery Channel headquarters earlier today, has a long list of demands--mostly about overpopulation and the environment. In a long list of demands, here's number 5:

5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

Click here for more.

bh

September 1, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More Death on the Border: Migrants say Arizona worth risk of crossing

According to the Associated Press, "Deaths of illegal immigrants in Arizona have soared this summer toward their highest levels since 2005 - a fact that has surprised many who thought that the furor over the state's new immigration law and the 100-plus degree heat would draw them elsewhere along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border."

KJ

September 1, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)