Saturday, September 18, 2010
NEW REPORT from Center for Public Policy Priorities (Texas):
UNDOCUMENTED AND ABUSED - A Texas Case Study of Children in the Child Protective Services System (Sept 2010 – 32 pages)
How to best regulate immigration and treat immigrants--both those lawfully and unlawfully here--are hotly debated questions. To promote responsible action, the center recently proposed a common-sense set of principles to secure our borders and reform our immigration system. Now we turn our attention to a much smaller issue, perhaps one on which consensus may be more readily reached: How should the United States deal with undocumented children who are here through no fault of their own and have suffered abuse or neglect? Using Texas as a case study, this special report looks at who these children are and discusses why a blanket policy to send them home will not work. It also discusses how to improve the process through which these children can obtain legal residency. Finally, this paper explains how federal immigration and child welfare law should be aligned to ensure our country acts responsibly and that the federal government provides the necessary financial support to the states to care for this vulnerable population. Click here for the report.
As we all know, Glenn Beck is a national trend-setter. He had a march and now we see the copycats come out of the woodwork. Sign up for the March to Keep Fear Alive. For Stephen Cobert's explanation, click here. Jon Stewart will hold a competing march on the National Mall -- the March to Restore Sanity. Both are set for October 30, a short week away from the elections.
Immigration T-Shirts sold at several stores in Miami, which previously had been pulled off teh shelves in California and Maine, have sparked public. Watch a news story about the controversy and read this story (as always, the on-line comments are most revealing).
Plyler v. Doe: Still Guaranteeing Unauthorized Immigrant Children's Right to Attend US Public Schools
Professor Michael A. Olivas has written a background paper for Migration Information Source on the leading Supreme Court decision of Plyler v. Doe (1982), in which the U.,S. Supreme Court invalidated a Texas law that effectively barred many undocumented immigrant childfren from a public K-12 education: "The original Plyler case has proven quite resilient, fending off litigation and federal and state legislative efforts to overturn it, and nurturing efforts to extend its reach to college students. No matter the political view one takes, Plyler has helped ensure the integration of children born outside the United States at a time when the country's immigrant population has increased from about 20 million in 1990 to nearly 38 million in 2008. This article examines the original case and the direct and indirect challenges to it, then looks at Plyler's role in the college-tuition debate, how Plyler could be challenged in the near term, and its long-term outlook."
Friday, September 17, 2010
From the Arizona Republic:
A top aide to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has requested an investigation of the sheriff's second-in-command, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, and two of his allies, signaling growing concern among the sheriff's top hierarchy about the agency's management.
The 63-page memorandum obtained by The Arizona Republic is the first clear inside account of a law-enforcement agency that is under investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office for suspected abuses of power and has had considerable publicity about its failed corruption investigations into county officials and judges. Click here for the rest of the story.
Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!
Julianne Hing writes about the President's support of the DREAM Act for Colorlines:
The countdown is on for the DREAM Act. Ever since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this week that he plans to introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill, activists have been working round the clock to make sure the bill passes the Senate this time once and for all. Now, the pieces appear to be falling into place.
On Wednesday night, President Obama addressed a Congressional Hispanic Caucus gala and threw his support behind the DREAM Act. “I will do whatever it takes to support the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ efforts to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law on behalf of students seeking a college education and those who wish to serve in our country’s uniform,” Obama said to cheers and applause. “It’s the right thing to do. We should get it done.” Click here for the rest of the piece.
DREAM Act students and supporters are engaged in intensive actions to get the DREAM Act passed next week. Here the announcement of one press conference from the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco:
Press Conference In Support of Passage of the Dream Act
When: Tuesday September 21st 11:00AM
Where: Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco office, One Post St.
Hosted by: Asian Law Caucus, Bay Area DREAM Act Coalition, E4FC, CARECEN, San Francisco Organizing Project, Chinese Affirmative Action, La Voz, National Lawyers Guild, PODER, Immigrant and Legal Resource Center, and San Francisco Bay Area Coalition for Immigration Reform
Why: Urge CA Senators to take a leadership role and make a speech on the Senate floor in support of the DREAM Act
Feel free to call me with any questions or concerns. Please e-mail or call Lisa at the Asian Law Caucus:
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is in a dogfight to keep his Senate seat. Politifact reports that "We’ve rated one claim in an ad by Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle as False. That was a claim that Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid voted `go give special tax breaks to illegal aliens.'"
Call for Papers (papers can be submitted in both French and English) Fences, Walls and Borders: State of Insecurity?
International conference organized by the Raoul Dandurand Chair at the University of Quebec at Montreal in association with the Association for Borderlands Studies May 19-20, 2011 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the question still remains “Do good fences still make good neighbours”? Since the Great Wall of China, construction of which began under the Qin dynasty, the Antonine Wall, built in Scotland to support Hadrian's Wall, the Roman "Limes" or the Danevirk fence, the "wall" has been a constant in the protection of defined entities claiming sovereignty, East and West. But is the wall more than an historical relict for the management of borders? In recent years the wall has been given renewed vigour in North America, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Israel, where the old Green line has been transformed into a wall separating Arab from Israeli. But the success of these new walls in the development of friendly and orderly relations between nations (or indeed, within nations) remains unclear. What role does the wall play in the development of security and insecurity? Do walls contribute to a sense of insecurity as much as they assuage fears and create a sense of security for those ‘behind the line’? Exactly what kind of security is associated with border walls?
Organizers Charles-Philippe David, Raoul-Dandurand Chair and Full Professor of Political Science, UQAM Élisabeth Vallet, Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Research director of Geopolitics at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair UQAM Heather Nicol, Professor of Geography, Trent University, President (2011-2012), Association for Borderlands Studies
In the 1990s, when the talk was of globalization and peace dividends, walls, as such, seemed to be becoming redundant. Analysts observed the declining importance of the border and its growing irrelevance; indeed, some foresaw its disappearance and the advent of a borderless world. The globalization literature posited a growing challenge to the state-centred world order which would wipe away the perimeters of the state. Borders were believed to be artefacts of an old, and rapidly disappearing world order, and would surely be seen as such by states and state governments. Nevertheless, some 26,000 kilometres of new political borders have been established since 1991 and states have declared their intention to dig in behind fences, barriers and built structures. Increasingly, these built structures include the means for forestalling and even refusing entry to migrants and goods. The post-Cold War and post-9/11 periods have seen the rise of border walls, symbols of separation which seemed to be on the way out in the wake of decolonization, and were believed to be entirely finished and done with after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a symbol for the end of the Cold War. While some saw in this “the end of history” or even “the end of geography”, the truth is that no such borderless world materialized. The fall of the Berlin Wall did not mean the end of security arrangements, and security infrastructures like fortified borders, even in a highly globalized world. Instead it signalled the beginning of a new era of security arrangements focusing on borders and borderlines. Indeed, some twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, this conference proposes to raise the issue and to analyze the factors that have led to the resurgence of the fences and walls in a borderless world, if not in fact at least in discourse. Its goal is to conduct a broad analysis of the role, functions of border fences and walls in the 21st century, and the relationship between new security agendas and new forms of border management and practice. It will focus on both inter-state and inter-national walls. Clearly, infra-national walls are also becoming more common, but they cannot be classified in the same category, for they differ in purpose, applicable law, and political function. The conference also intends to explore the issue of how the return of the border fences and walls as a political tool may be symptomatic of a new era in international relations. Hence, we favour a multidisciplinary approach to problems that could include the recurrence and/or decline of the wall in International Relations; wall discourses, legal approaches to the wall; the “ wall industry”, bypath strategies and “No man's lands”; and the sociology of border walls and borderlands, as well as their symbolism, their role, objectives and efficiency.
In context of developing these themes, the aim of the conference is also to examine case studies that shed light on both the systemic factors explaining the building of border fences and walls and the necessity to consider specific factors pertaining to each walls. Graduate students are especially invited to submit paper proposal.
Theme 1. Border fences and border walls in International Relations: Return or decline? Globalizing discourse and the return of borders Global hypothesis on the return of the wall in International Relations Case studies on the return of the wall in International Relations
Theme 2. Border fences, walls and identities Construction of national and local identities Theoretical limology, walls and epistemology Anthropological approaches to border walls and fences Sociology of the walls/fences and their borderlands
Theme 3. Legal aspects of the walls Separation and legitimation Border walls: failure or success? International, national and local Legal aspects: Human rights and the wall, norms and the wall
Theme 4. Impacts of the walls Economical impacts Bypass strategies Social and environmental impacts Security industry and building border fences & walls
Deadline for abstract submission: October 15th, 2010 Proposal: please include the following information (300 words) • Name of authors/contributors • Institutional affiliations, titles • Contact: telephone, fax, email, mailing address • Title of the paper • Abstract: Subject, empirical frame, analytical approach, theme Languages: Proposals can be submitted in French and English.
Send your proposals via email in Word format to Élisabeth Vallet at UQAM: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Dates and Deadlines: October 15th 2010 : deadline for submitting abstracts and proposals December 2010 : proposals selection and notification sent to presenters March, 15th 2011 : submission of papers to discussants May 19-20th 2011: Conference to be held in Montreal.
"Today the European Commission, E.U. member countries and the Roma themselves all agree that Spain has become the model for integrating Gypsies, with some citing it as a case of good practices. Now the governments of Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and even Romania — where many Roma come from — are looking to Spain for ideas to apply themselves. Of the 10-12 million Roma living in Europe, Spain has the second biggest community, estimated at 970,000, or about 2% of the total population. And the country spends almost €36 million annually bringing them into the fold. In Spain, only 5% of gypsies live in makeshift camps, and about half of Roma are homeowners. Just about all Gypsies in Spain have access to health care, and while no recent figures exist, at least 75% are believed to have some sort of steady income. . . . . Spain is also investing in an area that many experts believe is the key to keeping Roma out of poverty: education." (emphasis added).
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Here is the press release issued by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus yesterday:
CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS (CHC) ANNOUNCES FALL STRATEGY FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Plan Includes Swift Passage of ‘DREAM Act,’ Comprehensive Reform Bill in Senate
(Washington, DC) - Today, Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) joined together announcing an aggressive fall strategy to move Comprehensive Immigration Reform toward enactment. The unveiled plan involves four key steps this fall:
1) An immediate up or down Senate vote on the DREAM Act with no amendments. Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated Tuesday this would occur in coming weeks;
2) Lawmakers called on the Senate to support the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) will introduce. House Members previously introduced such legislation (H.R. 4321, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act) and have already collected support of more than 100 co-sponsors;
3) The White House must address the massive toll that deporting 1,100 men, women, and children per day takes on immigrant families. Lawmakers called on the President to cease the deportation of non-criminals and those who pose no threat to the U.S.; and
4) Rolling back a Bush-era interpretation of immigration law that gives state and local police "inherent authority" to enforce civil immigration law. Many state and local police are using this flawed legal analysis to ensnare and deport non-criminals and those who pose no threat to America.
“We enthusiastically endorse Majority Leader Reid’s plan for bringing the DREAM Act to the floor as soon as possible,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “We have been supporting his attempts to move immigration reform forward all year. As a key champion in Congress for sensible immigration reform, the CHC trusts Leader Reid’s judgment and his strategy for passing the DREAM Act, while simultaneously pushing for comprehensive reform.”
“If we can assist part of our community by enacting the DREAM Act, we will redouble our efforts to ensure working people, families, children, and farm workers are protected within the framework of a comprehensive fix to our immigration laws,” said Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Chair of the CHC’s Immigration Task Force. “We will not give up until we have an immigration system that works for the American people, for immigrants, for employers, for families and for the rule of law.”
Members of the CHC emphasized that reform is all the more critical as the current, flawed policy of deportation is straining law enforcement resources and making communities less safe.
“With our courts and detention centers overwhelmed, each deportation becomes a choice between a hardened, violent criminal whose removal makes our communities safer and a family member, worker or talented student whose presence makes our future brighter,” Velázquez added.
Never one to miss a news opportunity (and here and here and here and here). Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to organize a posse of private citizens to enforce the U.S. immigration laws in rural areas, reports the Phoenix News.
WASHINGTON — The Asian American Justice Center welcomes Wednesday’s announcement from Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey that he will introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation so that Congress can take up the issue this year.
“We thank Senator Menendez for moving ahead on this critical legislation,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). Asian Americans are disproportionately affected by the broken immigration system. Ten percent of our community is undocumented and husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters are forced to wait years before they can be reunited here. We look forward to Senator Menendez’s bill creating a comprehensive reform that leads to a more sensible and humane system.”
Sen. Menendez made his announcement at a rally in Washington organized by immigration reform advocates. During the rally, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he would bring to the floor as early as next week as part of a Defense Department spending bill.
“AAJC strongly supports the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in seeking to break the logjam in Congress on immigration reform,” Narasaki said. “I want to thank the Caucus, its chairwoman, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Senators Reid and Menendez for pushing to pass the DREAM Act as the first step towards comprehensive reform.”
The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth who were brought to this country at a very young age the opportunity to become citizens and pursue the American Dream. There are an estimated 65,000 students who graduate from high school every year without legal immigration status, including many Asian Americans. The DREAM Act would allow these high-achieving students to pursue higher education or a career in the military.
“AAJC urges Congress to act swiftly in passing the DREAM Act and use that momentum to address the larger issue at hand —that our immigration system is broken—and enact comprehensive immigration reform,” Narasaki concluded.
From Mary Ann Zehr at Education Week:
A full-day conference this week hosted by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights didn't have any speakers on panels who were Latinos. And it wasn't just Latinos who weren't visible at the conference, as the story I wrote about the conference published by edweek.org conveys. No prominent civil rights groups had representatives on the panels. It's not clear if that was a result of their not being actively recruited or if, assuming they were actively recruited, didn't participate because they don't like the direction the commission has taken on civil rights issues.
Martin Castro, who stepped up to the microphone during a Q & A and is the chairman of the Illinois advisory committee to the commission, criticized the conference for having "an amazing lack of Latinos on the panels."
In an interview, Gerald A. Reynolds, the chairman of the commission and one of four Republicans on the eight-member commission, said Castro's criticism was "legitimate." But he added that instead of trying to have "every facet of civil rights" represented on the panels, conference planners opted for a "more-focused" approach. Click here for the rest of the piece.
From the Center for American Progress:
The Center for American Progress is committed to reaching diverse audiences and engaging a broader community in our work.
This week, we're launching a new website with policy papers, news analysis, and multimedia in Spanish as an effort to increase our reach and advance our goal to make the progressive movement more inclusive.
If you're interested in being notified when we release new policy content or multi-media in Spanish, click here to let us know.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Austin, Texas attorney Teresa Villaseñor Harris is the recipient of the Ohtli medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican government outside Mexico. Harris was recognized Harris for her work providing free legal services and assistance to Mexican immigrants and their children. The Ohtli honors individuals who work to improve the lives of people of Mexican heritage living abroad.
From the Immigration Policy Center:
The Unwanted: Immigration and Nativism in America
Washington, D.C. - As another 9/11 anniversary passes, marked by heated controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic Cultural Center in New York City and a Florida preacher's threats to burn a copy of the Quran, writer Peter Schrag draws parallels between present-day fear-mongering by the restrictionist and nativist movements in America and similar movements throughout U.S. history.
In a new Perspectives piece, entitled "The Unwanted: Immigration and Nativism in America," Schrag writes: "In another few years the nation may look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century, and especially the years after 9/11, as another of those xenophobic eras, like the Red Scare of the twenties or the McCarthy years of the fifties, when the nation became unhinged, politicians panicked, and scattershot federal, state, and local assaults led to unfocused, albeit often cruel, harassment of non-Anglo foreigners."
Envisioning a way forward, Schrag points out: "America...is famously a nation of immigrants. What's Anglo-European about it are the institutions and ideals of equal rights, constitutionally guaranteed due process, and democratic government. But now all of us are also immigrants to the new cosmopolitan multi-ethnic, perhaps post-ethnic, society that's grown around us, whether we're Mayflower descendants, Sons of the Golden West, or the most recent arrival from Kenya or El Salvador. The diverse nation that those immigrants and their children and grandchildren made, contra all the warnings from the Know Nothings, the eugenicists, the Klan, the Pioneer Fund, and our latter-day radio and TV talkers, refutes not only their dire predictions but the very premises on which they were based. The society whose immigration policy now begs to be reformed, and the history that made it, are not the society and history that most of us, much less our parents, imagined a generation or two ago. The more the nation and its policymakers excavate that history out of the myths of their imagination, the more rational, humane, and productive the debate will be, and the better the uniquely American future that grows from it."
To read this Perspectives piece it its entirety, see:
The Unwanted: Immigration and Nativism in America , September 13, 2010)
Judge for yourself. Perhaps the general First Amendment ban on prior testraints makes some sense. The film, which was the number 4 movie last weekend, has provoked some controversy but not much violence from what I can tell.
Suzanne Gamboa reports that "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he wants to attach an amendment to an upcoming defense policy bill that would help young people in the country illegally become legal U.S. residents. The Nevada Democrat said at a Capitol news conference that the legislation known as the DREAM Act is long overdue. But he wouldn't say whether he has the votes for the amendment. The act allows young people who attend college or join the military to become legal U.S. residents." It should be an exciting few weeks!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Isolated in Detention: New NIJC Report Details Widespread Lack of Legal Counsel for Detained Immigrants
A survey of U.S. immigration detention facilities by Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) shows that as the Obama administration detains more immigrants than ever before, many lack access to affordable legal services because they are held in remote locations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are unable to meet the staggering demand for legal assistance. The report, Isolated in Detention: Limited Access to Counsel in Immigration Detention Facilities Jeopardizes a Fair Day in Court, also finds that policies which restrict detainees from contacting lawyers by phone further isolate many of the estimated 32,000 women and men detained every night by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Among the survey's key findings:
• While the U.S. government spent $5.9 billion to detain immigrants in fiscal year 2009, it spent less than 0.07% of that amount to provide detainees with legal rights information. Ensuring due process for the 400,000 detained immigrants was largely the job of 102 under-resourced NGOs.
• None of the NGOs had the resources required to meet the demand for legal services, particularly at detention facilities located far from major cities. Specifically, more than a quarter of the detention population included in the survey was in facilities with 500 or more detainees per NGO attorney. Eighty percent of detainees were in facilities with more than 100 people for every NGO attorney. A full 10 percent of detainees were held in facilities that had no access to legal counsel at all.
• More than half of detention facilities, holding about a quarter of the detained immigrant population, did not offer detainees any informational presentations about their rights in the immigration system.
• Barriers to legal services for geographically isolated detainees are compounded by policies blocking detainees' ability to call attorneys. Seventy-eight percent of the detention population included in the phone survey were housed in facilities prohibiting lawyers from having private calls with clients.
For a news report on teh new report, click here.