Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arizona's E-Verify Law Should Be Struck Down

From the Asian American Justice Center:

AAJC Urges Supreme Court to Reverse 9th Circuit Decision
Arizona Employment Verification Law Thwarts Federal Effort to Minimize Discrimination
WASHINGTON—Today the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), along with nearly a dozen other leading civil rights and labor organizations, filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s challenge to Arizona’s mandatory E-Verify law.
AAJC filed the brief in collaboration with the San Francisco office of the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and was joined by the Asian American Institute, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian Law Caucus—all members of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice being represented by Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford University law professor.
“Arizona’s laws, and others like it, invite disparate treatment of immigrants, particularly immigrants from the Asian American and Hispanic communities,” said Karen K. Narasaki, AAJC’s president and executive director. “We hope the Court holds that Arizona does not have authority in this or other federally preempted areas of law.”
The brief highlights Congress’ concern that use of E-Verify can result in discrimination against authorized employees, especially those perceived as “foreign.” These concerns include abuse of E-Verify procedures to pre-screen job applicants or take action against employees whose work authorization cannot be immediately confirmed.
 “Congress deliberately made E-Verifyvoluntary and temporary in orderto minimize the potential for discrimination,” said Kevin Fong, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and counsel of record on the brief. “Arizona’s law upsets the delicate balance achieved by Congress between preventing discrimination and effectively controlling immigration.”
 E-Verify is a voluntary program run by the Department of Homeland Security that allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees using databases maintained by the department and the Social Security Administration. However, the government’s databases include inaccurate and outdated information.   
In 2008, Arizona enacted the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which requires all employers operating in the state to use the system. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the act. Last year, the Chamber of Commerce, supported by AAJC, successfully asked the Supreme Court to review the appeals court’s decision. Oral argument will be heard by the Supreme Court on December 8. The case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Michael B. Whiting.


September 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Hispanicisation of America

The Economist
reports "The law of large numbers The role of Latinos in American society is growing inexorably, with big political implications for the future."  This is just what Samuel Huntington expressed fear about in his 2004 book Who Are We?  The Challenges to America's National Identity.


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


Immigration Impact always has great stories/updates on immigration news.  Here are a few items from this week:

With Recess Over, Where Does Immigration Fit into the Congressional To Do List? Congress returns on September 13 for one last round of legislating before the November elections. It is a short work period (four weeks) and the prospects for getting things done are, particularly in this gridlocked Congress, not great. Congress watchers predict that the emphasis will be on jobs and the economy, which is not surprising given that this is what's on voters' minds. But where does immigration fit into this framework?

Yet Another City Gives Local Immigration Enforcement Proposals a Thumbs Down This week, city leaders in the Houston suburb of Tomball, Texas, joined a host of other local leaders when they voted not to pursue harsh immigration enforcement measures at a city council meeting. Council members cited costly lawsuits while city residents expressed fear of being branded unwelcoming and "racist." The ordinances under consideration would have banned undocumented immigrants from renting property or owning businesses and would have made English Tomball's official language. The council also voted to continue running a day labor site and tabled a mandate banning companies awarded city contracts from hiring undocumented workers.

New Report Explores Cost-Saving Alternatives to Immigration Detention  In recent years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken a lot of heat over questionable detention practices-everything from routine denial of access to loved ones and legal services to detainee death cover-ups and instances of medical negligence and sexual abuse. Although this administration has attempted to overhaul our immigration detention system, some find that changes to date don't quite go far enough and only hint at the problem. A new report by Detention Watch Network (DWN) argues that the solution is the wide-scale implementation of community-based alternatives to detention that are cost-saving, effective and more humane.


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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Obama Administration's New Enforcement Strategy

From ProPublica:

ProPublica's Marcus Stern reports, "The Obama Administration has changed the nation's immigration enforcement strategy in ways that will reduce the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants and will likely blunt the impact of any state laws designed to deport vast numbers of people.  The changes are the little-discussed byproducts of the Administration's well-publicized decision to focus its deportation efforts on immigrants who have committed serious crimes."

In the story, co-published with USA Today, Stern notes that the new direction put the Administration on a collision course with those who believe immigration laws should be strictly enforced and that all illegal immigrants should be deported.  But the changes have also drawn complaints from immigration advocates who say deportations have reached record highs and that the government can still put them back into proceedings at any time.

In a sidebar interview, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton tells Stern the strategy will lead to smarter enforcement, not softer enforcement.  "Congress provides enough money to deport a little less than 400,000 people and in an era of limited resources, who should those 400,000 be?" said Morton.  "My perspective is those 400,000 people shouldn't be the first 400,000 in the door but rather 400,000 people who reflect some considered government enforcement policy based on a rational set of objectives and priorities."

Stern also examines the immigration-related Congressional and budgetary battles, the successful programs that led to the immigration court backlog and other options the Obama Administration could take.  Read the full report here -  We hope you will share this investigation with your audience.  And please note that Stern is available to discuss this story.  Thanks.


Mike Webb


September 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Controversy Continues over LA Police Killing of Guatemalan Day Laborer

Controversy continues to brew in Los Angeles over the Los Angeles Police Department's shooting and killing of a Guatemalan day laborer, who according to police was wielding a knife (here is the LAPD perspective on the case) but one witness says the man was unarmed.  Protesters and police confronted each other earlier this week in the immigrant neighborhood of Westlake, where the shooting occurred.

The case illustrates a larger political process problem.  Immigrants -- lawful and undocumented -- live in our cities but cannot vote.  They can be made to feel that government is not responsive to their needs and, as in this case, may feel that their rights are violated with impunity.  Immigrants cannot help bring about change by elections, for example, by electing a new mayor.  Nor can they serve on juries, which might be viewed as helping to ensure the fair treatment of immigrants in the justice system.

Disenfranchised, immigrants comprise a large portions of some communities, such as Los Angeles and New York.  The larger the portion of the community feeling punished by government (and there are many examples over the last few years in, for example, Arizona, Hazleton, Farmer's Branch, Valley Park, etc.) then tension and unrest can result.


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

Time to Think Like an Immigrant

Richard Herman and Robert Smith have a post on immigrant entrepeneurs on the Huffington Post.


September 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Third Circuit: Hazelton Immigration Law Preempted

I was on the road so am slow to report what you all probably have heard by now.

In one of the most infamous anti-immigrant ordinances out there, with similarities to the challenges to Arizona's SB 1070, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Third Circuit, in a 188 page opinion by Chief Judge McKee (joined by Judges Nygaard and Siler (a senior judge from the Sixth Circuit)), upheld the district court and unanimously held that the Hazelton, Pennsylvania law regulating immigration is pre-empted by the federal immigration scheme.

Read Ruthann Robson's detailed analysis on the ConstitutionalLawProfBlog.  The ACLU's press release is here.

Here is the opinion.  Download Lozano v. hazleton


The federal preemption argument, which also did in Arizona's SB 1070, will be considered in Chamber of Commerce v. Candalaria, currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.  


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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Donald Ungar: Essential Elements of Immigration Law

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

San Francisco Seminar: Essential Elements of Immigration Law

Six-Session Course:

Wednesdays, September 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, & November 3, 2010, 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm (19.5 CA MCLE)

Presenters: Don Ungar, Of Counsel to Simmons & Ungar and the ILRC

Location: Duane Morris LLP, One Market Plaza, Spear Tower, San Francisco, CA 94105

Deadline to register: 9/23/10

Click here to register

Designed for an attorney who wants to boost his or her knowledge and confidence, this course covers the fundamental concepts and elements of immigration law and procedures. The program will cover all major themes of immigration law, including constitutional issues, grounds of inadmissibility and deportability and related procedures, waivers and relief from removal, the various immigration preference categories, nonimmigrant classes, refugees and asylum, adjustment of status, administrative appeals and judicial review, and the acquisition of American citizenship.

NOTE: This seminar is limited to attorneys and BIA Level 2 Accredited Representatives. Maximum capacity of 20 registrants on a first-come, first-served basis of when we receive your registration with full payment.

See entire calendar & register:


September 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

October 6 Day of Action: Dignity, Not Detention

From the Detention Watch Network:

On October 6th, please join DWN members across the country in calling for Dignity, Not Detention!
October 6th marks the anniversary of the date of release of Dr. Dora Schriro's report, "Immigration Detention Overview and Recommendations" and ICE's second detention reform announcement of 2009. 

Join us as we come together on the anniversary of the ICE reform announcement to raise public awareness about deportations and detentions in record numbers through actions and press events across the country.

What You Can Do on the National Day of Action for Dignity, Not Detention:

-Organize an action or vigil at your local detention center.
-Ask your networks to endorse the Dignity, Not Detention campaign here:
-Issue a press statement (sample materials will be provided).   
-Send an Op-Ed article calling attention to the unprecedented number of detentions and deportations.
-Plan a community event, including a film screening of The Visitor or panel presentation.

For more information about how you can get involved please contact Silky Shah at or call 212-627-2227x245.

September 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers Announcement AALS Education Law Section Immigration and Higher Education Friday, January 7, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 2011 AALS Annual Meeting San Francisco, California

The AALS Education Law Section will hold a program during the AALS 2011 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California on Immigration and Higher Education. The program description is as follows:

Many students attend U.S. colleges and universities who are not U.S. citizens, and many of those students become faculty in the U.S.—especially in the STEM disciplines. The citizenship of these individuals gives rise to numerous legal issues. This panel will address several of these issues both in the U.S. and abroad, including: whether undocumented students in the U.S. should pay in-state or out-of-state tuition as disputed in current litigation in California and Kansas; how universites in the EU operate in terms of out-of-country tuition; and also the licensing of professionals across national borders.

The section invites interested scholars to submit proposals for papers to be included in a symposium to be published in the Michigan State Law Review during spring/summer 2011. One or more papers also may be selected for presentation during the program at the Annual Meeting.

Submissions should be sent via e-mail to Professor Emily Gold Waldman at by October 15, 2010. Members of the Section’s executive committee will review the submissions and applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by November 15, 2010.

Eligibility: Faculty members of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit papers. Foreign, visiting and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, and fellows are not eligible to submit.

Registration Fee and Expenses: Call for Paper participants will be responsible for paying their annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses.


September 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latino Immigrants in the Heartland: Austin, Minnesota

Click here for links to a Minnesota Public Radio focus on Austin, Minnesota "at a Crossroads."  Immigrant workers moved to Austin for the meatpacking jobs and the city is struggling with its identity with as a growing Latino population.


September 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

I was an 'anchor baby'

Read this revealing op/ed by an "anchor baby."


September 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Florence Project Staff Attorney Opening

From the Florence Project:

The Organization

The Florence Project was founded in 1989 to respond to a representation crisis for indigent non-citizens detained at the rural Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Center in Florence, Arizona. Through our programs today, we provide services to over 3,000 men, women, and children detained in Eloy, Florence, and Phoenix, Arizona on any given day.

The Florence Project has become known nationally for its legal service delivery systems, which ensure detained people empowered access to justice. The Florence Project provides high quality legal advice or representation and at the same time supports initiatives for national changes in immigration law and policy.

The Children's Initiative Staff Attorney Position

The Florence Project's Detained Immigrant and Refugee Children's Initiative - created in 2000 - educates, empowers and provides legal assistance to children detained by ICE in Arizona. The staff attorney advocates for unaccompanied immigrant minors in removal proceedings and in the custody of ICE in contract shelters or foster care in Phoenix. The Florence Project's main office is located in Florence but the position is based in our satellite office space in Phoenix. Travel to Florence is limited to 3-4 days per month.

The staff attorney will work on a team of five (two staff attorneys, one pro bono mentor, one legal assistant, and one social services fellow) providing group "know your rights" presentations at shelters, individual intakes, pre-court counseling sessions, and representation in front of the immigration court, Maricopa County Juvenile Court, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Board of Immigration Appeals. The position includes extensive client contact with children from diverse backgrounds, including indigenous children and children who have suffered abuse, abandonment, neglect or other emotional and physical trauma. Click here for more information.


September 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Border Patrol is grappling with misconduct cases in its ranks


Read on.

The persistent reports of civil rights abuses by the Border Patrol has led skeptics to question proposals to increase in officers as a way to address concerns with undocumented immigration.


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

Prioritizing deportation cases makes sense

Read Professor Geoffrey Hoffman's op/ed in the Houston Chronicle, which begins "The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to move to dismiss pending immigration cases against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records and meet other criteria is an idea whose time has come."


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

French Restaurant Under Seige

Having immigrated from France in 1972, Michel Malecot owns a restaurant (The French Gourmet) , bakery and catering company in San Diego.  In the words of Sarah Kershaw of the N.Y. Times, "now it is the knotty issue of immigration that has made him a local cause célèbre, thrust him into one of the nation’s most contentious debates, jeopardized his future and sent a current of fear through the $550-billion-plus restaurant industry." Last April, Malecot was indicted on charges of illegally hiring 12 undocumented immigrants and continuing to employ them after learning that they were in the country illegally. If convicted, he faces the possibility of forfeiture of the restaurant building, along with an adjacent rental property, Froggy's Bar and Grill.


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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Section 245(i) not available for Spouse of 245(i) Eligible Applicant

Matter of LEGASPI, 25 I&N Dec. 328 (BIA 2010)

An alien is not independently "grandfathered" for purposes of adjustment of status under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1255(i) (2006), simply by virtue of marriage to another alien who is "grandfathered" under section 245(i) as the result of having been a derivative beneficiary of a visa petition. Click here for the decision.


September 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The American Immigration Council Announces New Leadership of its Legal Action Center

The American Immigration Council (AIC) is pleased to announce a new leadership team at its Legal Action Center (LAC). Melissa Crow has joined our staff as the new Director and Beth Werlin has been promoted to Deputy Director of the LAC. These two incredibly talented lawyers bring a diverse set of skills and experiences that will strengthen and expand the important work of the Center.


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

Mexico Appleseed Deportation Manual

From Appleseed:

As part of an initiative that highlights the Appleseed Network's collaborative spirit and reach, Mexico Appleseed plans to replicate and adapt the material from "Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation: A Guide for Practitioners," a broadly distributed manual developed by National Appleseed.
As previously reported in ATW, this manual is designed to support those at risk of being deported in securing their assets, handling child custody arrangements, and settling financial matters both before and after being deported.
Representing a country that sends more immigrants to the United States than any other, Mexico Appleseed is acutely aware of this complex problem and understands the benefit this project could bring to the families that remain in Mexico. As such, Mexico Appleseed is now looking to develop a pilot field project in Mexico, with the support a potential project partner.
The project includes translating the manual into Spanish and creating a reduced version or brochure to be distributed to communities with high rates of migration in Mexico. At the same time, Mexico Appleseed intends to develop an online version of the main checklists and information with the goal of including them on websites of diverse Mexican government entities and/or migration related organizations.
Mexico Appleseed's target population for this project is people who have returned to Mexico from the U.S., having left assets or children behind involuntarily; those who plan to migrate to the USA in the near or distant future; families and friends of people who plan to migrate or who already have migrated to the USA; and those living in the USA who are at risk of deportation. This material not only will help people recover their assets and reunify families, but will prepare practitioners to guide individuals and families facing deportation through the necessary steps to prepare themselves for the financial implications of being deported, but could additionally provide information about powers of attorney, the main tool for protection cited in the manual.

For further more about these projects, please contact Mexico Appleseed at


September 7, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Gateway: An Artistic Response to the Immigration Crisis


Gateway: An Artistic Response to the Immigration Crisis Opening Reception September 9th 5:30-9pm September 5th-30th Harlem Gateway II 2082 Lexington Ave. at 126th Street New York City, NY

Art for Change will present “Gateway: An Artistic Response to the Immigration Crisis”, a group exhibition installed over 14,500 square feet, showcasing artworks by international and national artists Patricia Cazorla, Esperanza Cortes, Aissa H. Deebi, Roberto De Jesus, Laura F. Gibellini, Marissa A. Gutiérrez- Vicario, Alejandro Endoke Makuendo Guzman, Gabriel Pacheco, Tara Parsons, Michael Pribich, Elisa Pritzker, Gabriel Reese, Christina Stahr, The Border Project and Nancy Saleme, with a special installation by Michael Sherman. Evolving from Art for Change’s 3rd Annual Hacia Afuera Public Arts Festival held on August 28-29, this exhibit will be on display through the end of September at the Harlem Gateway II Building on Lexington Avenue and 126th Street. Through drawings, sculptures, and site-specific installations, artists explore historical and contemporary narratives within immigration, including: acculturation; gentrification; economic inequality; discrimination and racism; the “culture of exile” and plight of refugees; immigration policies, regulations and reform; and the controversial roles played by politicians, activist groups, and privatized media.


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