Saturday, October 9, 2010
Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court yesterday appeared skeptical of a challenge to a state law that allows undocumented residents of a state to pay in-resident fees if they attended California high schools and promise to seek to legalize their status. The justices, in a special session in Fresno, heard arguments in a case (Martinez v. Regents of the University of California) brought by non-resident college students (represented by law professor and Kansas Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach) who were required to pay nonresident fees to attend California state colleges and universities and contend that the California law is preempted by federal immigration law. The Third District Court of Appeal, reversing the Yolo Superior Court, ruled in 2008 that federal law prohibits the state from granting the in-state tuition rate to persons who lack lawful immigration status unless it grants the same rate to all U.S. citizens regardless of California residence.
For another news report on the argument. click here.
Immigration Impact offers a summary of the two immigration cases that the Supreme Court will decide this Term. Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting involves an Arizona business licensing law while Flores-Villar v. United States addresses the constitutionality of gender distinctions in the citizenship laws.
As readers of ImmigrationProf well know, the district court in Arizona in United States v. Arizona enjoined critical immigration provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 in July in the action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. government. Late Friday, Plaintiffs in Friendly House et. al. v. Whiting et al., won an important legal victory in their constitutional challenge to SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law. Among other things, the Court found that the plaintiffs’ claim that “Racial discrimination was a motivating factor for [S.B.] 1070’s enactment” establishes a valid constitutional challenge to the law. This decision was filed in response to the defendants’ motions to dismiss the case and the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
The order is here Download Bolton Order on Mot to Dismiss.
The on-line journal FIELD ACTIONS SCIENCE REPORTS has a special issue on Health and Migration:
Wayne A. Cornelius and Micah Gell-Redman Introduction: New Research on Migration and Health
Helen B. Marrow Access Not Denied? The Role American Localities Can Play
Georgiana Bostean An Examination of the Relationship between Family and U.S. Latinos’ Physical Health
Carolyn Zambrano Health and Young Adulthood: Does Immigrant Generational Status Matter?
Alexandra M. Minnis U.S. Migration and Reproductive Health among Mexican Women: Assessing the Evidence for Health Selectivity
Shira Goldenberg, Steffanie A. Strathdee, Manuel Gallardo and Thomas L. Patterson "People Here Are Alone, Using Drugs, Selling their Body": Deportation and HIV Vulnerability among Clients of Female Sex Workers in Tijuana
Kathryn Kessler, Shira M. Goldenberg and Liliana Quezada Contraceptive Use, Unmet Need for Contraception, and Unintended Pregnancy in a Context of Mexico-U.S. Migration
Chelsea Eastman, Diane C. Mitchell, Deborah H. Bennett, Daniel J. Tancredi, Frank M. Mitloehner and Marc B. Schenker Respiratory Symptoms of California’s Dairy Workers
Jennifer Miller-Thayer Health Migration: Crossing Borders for Affordable Health Care
Rosa Maria Sternberg The Plight of Transnational Latina Mothers: Mothering from a Distance
Friday, October 8, 2010
Seth Feed Wessler writes for Colorlines:
On the night that Shahed Hossain left his family’s house in a Haltom City, Texas, to drive to Laredo, his mother, Habiba Hossain, cooked dinner—chicken and rice and okra picked from the garden. She piled her son’s plate high and watched him eat. Then, she took his Bangladeshi passport from a drawer and handed it to him, leaving his green card safely stored away. The 21-year-old had a penchant for losing things and a green card is not a thing to lose. She hurried him out the door and into the white utility van in the driveway where his boss waited.
“I’ll see him in a week,” she thought. Like every other time he’d set off for work trips all over Texas, she figured, her younger son would return to that house where he grew up with his brother and his parents and the dog.
But that night was the last time Shahed Hossain’s mother would see him free in United States, the last time she’d have a chance to worry he’d lose anything. Six days later, Hossain was locked up in a privately run immigration detention center near the U.S.-Mexico border. He spent more than a year there, a period he’s tried to forget, before he was shackled, loaded onto a plane and flown to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Hossain is Texas through and through. He walks with a swagger and speaks with a hint of drawl. He and his best friend passed middle school evenings scurrying down to the creek to catch turtles, and on high school weekends, when they weren’t working at the ice-cream drive-in, they’d escape the suburban lull to go Gar fishing on the river. He played freshmen year football and he dated a young woman named Erika Fierst, whose mother is an accountant at a major defense contractor. “Everything that I know and everything that I learned, I learned from Texas,” he says. “I love Texas.”
But Texas is far away now. Hossain finds himself living with his grandmother, passing solitary days raising carrier pigeons, growing an orchid garden and searching for work, mostly in vain. “I wanna be back home. This is my, what they say, motherland,” he says, leaning forward and laughing in a wooden chair near his small garden alcove. “Back to the motherland! But this is not my home. My home is over there. My home is in Goodnight Circle.” He looks down at his feet and pauses. “That was my street name.”
Hossain lived in the United States with his family for more than a decade, and had he carried his green card to Mexico that day, he would now be a citizen, like the rest of his family. Instead, a confused run-in with a border guard landed him with a charge that leads directly to deportation—one of a batch of laws Congress has written in recent years that have built a massive and indiscriminate deportation dragnet. Hossain was among 319,000 people deported in fiscal year 2007; last fiscal year, the Obama administration deported a record 393,000 people. The tracks are laid to expel at least that many this year.
When President Obama entered the White House, he promised to push a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill in his first year. Doing so, he apparently calculated, would require a compromise. To garner bi-partisan support for opening new paths to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., the president, congressional Democrats and key Beltway advocates came together around a troubling political strategy: They would endorse a hawkish buildup of deportation and border security in hopes of creating space for broader reforms. In a major speech on immigration this past July, the president outlined his approach, vowing to “improve our enforcement policy without having to wait for a new law.”
Almost two years into the Obama presidency, however, no bi-partisan support for a broader bill has emerged from this hawkishness—in fact, the few Republicans who once backed immigration reform have fled. Worse, the Democrats’ would-be political trading game conceals a larger, more troubling fact: Even if the strategy eventually works, the “comprehensive” schema Obama supports will undermine itself with its massive and indiscriminate deportation dragnet. This week, Sen. Robert Menendez introduced the latest version of a “comprehensive” bill. Nothing in it would have prevented Hossain, or hundreds of thousands like him, from being needlessly deported. Read more.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Prominent San Francisco immigration attorney Marc Van Der Hout is representing Republican Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's former housekeeper and nanny, Nicky Diaz Santillan. According to the Sacramento Bee, Van Der Houdt says that his client, who has been in the United States for nearly 20 years and has a long work history and family ties, may be eligible for permanent residency in the United States.
ARTIST JOSEFINA LOPEZ; MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON, LLP AND KOREATOWN IMMIGRANT WORKERS ALLIANCE HONORED AT 4TH ANNUAL NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER DINNER
Courageous luminaries from the legal, community organizing, and entertainment worlds will be honored this year at the National Immigration Law Center’s fourth annual awards dinner in Los Angeles, California. The October 21 celebration will award Real Women Have Curves screenwriter Josefina López; Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP and the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance for their efforts to defend and advance the fundamental rights of low income immigrants and their families. The event will be emceed by popular radio personality Sonali Kolhatkar, producer and host of KPFK 90.7 FM’s morning drive-time show, Uprising.
Artist advocate honoree Josefina López is best known for her work as screenwriter of the hit movie Real Women Have Curves. A former undocumented immigrant herself, Josefina is one of the leading immigrant screenwriters and playwrights in the entertainment industry. Her latest production, Detained in the Desert, is a satirical drama that explores Arizona’s unconstitutional racial profiling law and what the playwright views as an intensifying anti-immigrant atmosphere and rise in violence against Latinos fueled by extremist media. Josefina has won numerous awards for her work, including a Humanitas Award for Screenwriting in 2002, and a Gabriel García Márquez award from the mayor of Los Angeles in 2003. Community advocate honoree Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance is nationally renowned for its multi-ethnic organizing model, which has led to major victories for Los Angeles workers of all backgrounds.
Founded in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance aims to empower Koreatown’s low-wage immigrant workers, and foster dignity and respect in its neighborhood and workplaces. Some of the organization’s key labor victories include achieving an improved rate of labor law compliance in the Koreatown restaurant industry, resulting in restitution of over $70 million to low-wage Koreatown workers, and securing living-wage agreements with five of the largest Korean-owned supermarkets in Koreatown.
Legal advocate honoree Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP has contributed countless pro bono hours to the most significant legal immigration issues of recent times, including acting as co-counsel in Friendly House et. al v. Whiting et. al., a class action lawsuit against SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law. Founded in 1962 in Los Angeles, the firm is one of the charter signatories to the American Bar Association’s pro bono challenge and consistently devotes attorney time to delivering needed pro bono legal assistance. Munger, Tolles & Olson’s litigators have handled ground-breaking impact litigation in immigration, public benefits, housing, voting rights, campaign finance, disability rights, gay rights, death penalty, and other matters.
The National Immigration Law Center envisions a society in which all people -- regardless of race, gender, immigration or economic status -- are treated fairly and humanely. NILC uses a variety of tools, including policy analysis, litigation, education and advocacy, to achieve this vision. NILC plays a critical role within the movement for racial, economic and social justice for low-income immigrants.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area recently received ICE training materials through a Freedom of Information Act request that may be helpful to immigration practitioners. The documents include manuals and other materials used for training Department of Homeland Security attorneys practicing before the Immigration Courts or Board of Immigration Appeals.
Applications are being accepted for a journalism fellowship program focusing on U.S. immigration issues. Fifteen professional fellowships will be awarded to journalists seeking to report on the complexities of immigration with clarity, depth and context. The 2011 program, “Immigration in the Heartland,” will take place March 5-12 in Oklahoma and Texas. In addition to matters affecting the nation’s Heartland, the program will explore immigration issues being played out across the nation, including state legislation and labor, education and legal topics.
Greg Sargent on the Washington Post's "The Plum Line" writes that
"Sharron Angle's extremism has turned her race against [Senator] Harry Reid [D-NV] from an easy romp for Republicans to a winnable race for Democrats. Her campaign's latest ad, attacking Reid for his support of the DREAM Act . . . is as despicable as it is desperate. In its naked appeal to racial animus against Latinos, it rivals the infamous 1988 "Willie Horton" ad deployed against Michael Dukakis. The ad features a trio of "illegal immigrants" looking for a way to cross a chain link fence, as the word "illegal" flashes across the screen in bright red letters. After making previously debunked claims accusing Reid of pushing for "tax breaks" for "illegals," it goes after Reid's support of the DREAM Act, which would offer a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16 and who go to college or serve in the military. The ad says Reid wants to give "preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens," presumably referring to the fact that it would allow undocumented residents in a given state to qualify for in-state tuition."
In an opinion by Judge Julio Fuentes (joined by Judges Aldisert and Roth), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that an asylum applicant from China who "was ... forced to have an intrauterine device (“IUD”) inserted" and fled the country was, under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42), eligible for asylum as a “person who has been forced to . . . undergo involuntary sterilization, or who has been persecuted for . . . other resistance to a coercive population control program.”
The Immigration Judge had denied her application and the Board of Immigration Appeals had affirmed. "We disagree with both of these conclusions and will therefore grant the petition for review." There is teh opinion in Cheng v. Attorney General (Oct. 6, 2010). Download Iud opinion
Until his abrupt departure from CNN, Lou Dobbs for many years advocated a crackdown on undocumented immigration, including on the employers of undocumented immigrants. Like California Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, Lou appears to be an expert speller of the work H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y. The Huffington Post (for another report, click here) reports that "Lou Dobbs has become notorious for his hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants--and the people who hire them. Yet, as an explosive investigation released Thursday in The Nation uncovered, Dobbs has been relying on undocumented workers for years to maintain the upkeep of his homes and of the horses he bought for his daughter."
From guest blogger, Professor Evelyn Cruz of Arizona State University:
U.S. v. Ramos
Ninth Circuit No 09-50059
September 24, 2010
Immigration Judges (IJ) must make certain that a noncitizen’s plea to a stipulated removal order is voluntary, knowing, and intelligent. (8 CFR §1003.25) The court found that the Service’s procedures failed to adequately protect the due process rights of unrepresented noncitizens. Also, the explanatory language contained in the Service’s “Stipulated Request for Removal Order and Waiver of Hearing form” (stipulated removal form) is not per say sufficient to establish that an unrepresented noncitizen’s acquiescence to a stipulated removal order is in fact voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. Therefore, the IJ cannot solely rely on the form and the Service to determine the validity of the stipulated removal agreement. However, the noncitizen in this case was not able to demonstrate prejudice resulting from the regulatory and due process violations. Therefore, the noncitizen’s motion to dismiss the re-entry charge was denied.
8 USC §1229a(d) permits an Immigration Judge (IJ) to accept a Stipulated Removal from noncitizens choosing not to fight their removal proceedings. The procedure was created to facilitate the management of cases at detention facilities. When first introduced, the IJ could only accept such stipulations from individuals who were represented and “voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently entered into the stipulation. (8 CFR 3.25 (1995)) In 1997, however, the language was amended to allow the IJ to accept stipulations from unrepresented noncitizens but retained the requirement that the IJ determine that the waiver was voluntary, knowing and intelligent. The new regulation also spelled out some of the specific language the stipulation must contain.
The regulation has been used extensively at Arizona’s Eloy Immigration Detention Facility. According to the court record, officers at the Eloy facility review the files of incoming detainees upon their arrival. If the individual is a native of Mexico, entered unlawfully, and has resided in the U.S. less than 10 yrs, he is selected for participation in the stipulated removal program. About 1000 stipulated removal orders are processed at Eloy each month. The officers do not review the person’s potential eligibility for relief. Instead, they rely on a group presentation by an enforcement agent who explains in Spanish that the detainees have two choices: to return to Mexico that very day or to wait two or three weeks to see an IJ. The officer then reads the content of a stipulated removal form to the detainee. The form is written in English with a Spanish translation at the bottom. The form states that the person understands the consequences of the stipulated removal agreement, the waiver of appeal rights, right to an attorney and to seek relief. After the presentation the officer meets with each detainee to see if the person wants to sign the form. There is no discussion of potential relief. Also, there is no translator or attorney present, even where the officer’s Spanish ability is limited, as it was the case with the officer questioning Mr. Ramos.
Factually, Mr. Ramos first entered the United States without inspection twenty years prior to the initiation of removal proceedings. He is married to a legal permanent resident and has two U.S. citizen children, and one U.S. citizen stepchild. Mr. Ramos speaks limited English. He was placed in removal proceedings following a laundry list of convictions for numerous crimes. He was served with the Notice to Appear (NTA) on May 9th, 2006 and transported to the Eloy Detention Center that same day. On May 11, 2006 he was presented with a stipulated removal order form despite the fact that he did not meet the Eloy facility’s criteria since he had resided in the United States for twenty years. The detention officer was deemed by the lower court to have questionable Spanish speaking skills. Mr. Ramos signed the form, and based solely on the form, the IJ entered a removal order that same day. Mr. Ramos was back in Mexico by the end of the day. On November 2007, Mr. Ramos was arrested near the Mexican border and charged with 8 US.C. §1326 re-entry following removal.
The Ninth Circuit concluded that Mr. Ramos’s waiver of his right to appeal and right to counsel were defective and therefore the stipulated order was invalid. In a prior case, Galicia-Gonzalez 997 F.3d 602 (9th Cir. 2004), the Ninth Circuit held valid a stipulated removal order because the respondent in the case had received legal representation. The court found Galicia-Gonzalez not to be controlling in the present case because Mr. Ramos was not represented by counsel. The court reasoned that to preserve the due process rights of unrepresented detainees, the IJ needed to personally advice and inform the person of potential relief and the finality of a removal order, instead of relying on written warnings on a form presented by an immigration officer. The court further noted that Mr. Ramos also did not have proper translation, which is fundamental to a full and fair hearing, further confirming that he did not receive a competent explanation of his rights.
Unfortunately for Mr. Ramos, the court did not find that he had shown prejudice resulting from the statutory and due process violations. Therefore his motion to dismiss the charges under 8 USC 1326 was denied.
The Eloy detention facility believes that this Ninth Circuit decision is ill-advised because it will delay the removal of individuals from the United States and lead to overcrowding. They believe that instead of being able to remove Mexican nationals swiftly, it will now take several weeks, if not months. In response, immigrant advocates argue that if the Service is truly concerned about detaining individuals unnecessarily and overcrowding, it has the ability to grant bond. The release of nonviolent individuals pending their removal hearing would eliminate the detainee’s forced choice between defending his/her due process rights and physical freedom.
It is true that the additional delay will be detrimental to some individuals who truly lack relief and should be spared unnecessary detention. However, many detainees are presented with the form before they have had a chance to compose themselves, and hence often make rushed decisions. These individuals suffer irreparable harm. Some removed noncitizens have later said that they signed the stipulated orders of removal thinking that they are signing voluntary departure orders, or not realizing that they were losing an available means to gain lawful immigration status. The U.S v. Ramos case will help unrepresented noncitizens to better evaluate their options in the removal process and avoid these consequences.
From the Los Angeles Times:
More than 392,000 undocumented immigrants were deported from the United States in fiscal year 2010, the highest number in the country’s history, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday.
“We have deployed unprecedented infrastructure, unprecedented technology, unprecedented manpower,” Napolitano said during a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton attributed the numbers to increased border enforcement, workplace enforcement and an expansion of the department’s Secure Communities program.
Secure Communities, which uses fingerprints to identify illegal immigrants in state prisons and local jails, has gone from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 660, officials said. The department is on track to expand the program to every law-enforcement jurisdiction in the nation by 2013, Napolitano said.
Half of deported immigrants in the last fiscal year were convicted of crimes, Napolitano said. Of those, 33% were convicted of what ICE considered the most serious crimes, which included murder, rape and major drug crimes. The others were convicted of lesser crimes such as burglary, domestic violence, some property crimes and other offenses.
“The numbers reflect our continued focus on those who pose a public-safety threat to our communities,” Napolitano said.
In addition, since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed about $50 million in financial sanctions—more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration, she said. Read more...
From the ILRC:
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed this week that Secure Communities, a program that provides federal immigration officials with fingerprint data from local police, is mandatory for local jurisdictions. “We don’t consider Secure Communities an opt in/opt out program,” Napolitano said, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. Her statement was official confirmation of news The Washington Post broke last week: Despite allowing local communities to believe they could opt out of sharing fingerprints with ICE, DHS actually set up the program to go over their heads to get the information directly from the FBI.
Local law enforcement agencies share fingerprints of those they arrest with the FBI to detect fugitives. Some, though, do not want to share this information with immigration enforcement. Four communities — Washington, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Calif., and Arlington, Va. — have so far attempted to opt out of Secure Communities, arguing the program can damage trust in police and threaten public safety.
This is a marked change from previous statements from ICE and Napolitano herself. ICE laid out a process for opting out of the program in an August document called “Setting the Record Straight,” writing that communities could be removed from the “deployment plan” after meeting with state officials and ICE.
In a Sept. 7 letter to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Napolitano confirmed the steps for communities to opt out of the process, even if she never used the words “opt out”:
A local law enforcement agency that does not wish to participate in the Secure Communities deployment plan must formally notify the Asisstant Director for the Secure Communities Program, David Venturella…. The agency must also notify the appropriate station identification bureau by mail, facsimile, or e-mail. If a local law enforcement agency chooses not to be activated in the Secure Communities deployment plan, it will be the responsibility of that agency to notify its local ICE field office of suspected criminal aliens.
It sounds like it’s optional there, but an ICE official confirmed to TWI today that communities can only opt out of receiving information back about the illegal immigrants they detain — not actually opting out of sharing the biometric information itself. As The Washington Post reported last week, Secure Communities is actually an information-sharing program between the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Communities cannot opt out of giving their data to the FBI, so they also cannot opt out of the data going to ICE.
That also directly contradicts previous statements from the government. Ronald Weich, assistant attorney general, restated Lofgren’s definition of “opting out” in another letter to the congresswoman, implying localities could, in fact, opt out (emphasis mine):
In your letter, you specifically asked for “a clear explanation of how local law enforcement agencies may opt out of Secure Communities by having the fingerprints they collect and submit to the SIBs checked against criminal, but not immigration, databases.” A local law enforcement agency that does not wish to participate in the Secure Communities deployment plan must formally notify the Assistant Director for the Secure Communities program at ICE and the appropriate state identification bureau (SIB).
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Detention Watch Network calls for Dignity, Not Detention on One-year Anniversary of Obama Administration's Detention Reform Announcement
Groups demand the Obama Administration put an end to human rights violations in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system
Washington, D.C. - Human rights groups around the country participated in a National Day of Action organized by Detention Watch Network to mark the one-year anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration Customs and Enforcement's (ICE) 2009 detention reform announcement. The National Day of Action is part of the, "Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and Restoring Justice," campaign led by the Detention Watch Network, which calls for an end to the human rights abuses in detention centers, the restoration of due process in the enforcement of immigration laws, and the implementation of cost saving alternatives.
As part of the Day of Action, Detention Watch Network released a joint report, Year One Report Card: Human Rights & the Obama Administration's Immigration Detention Reforms, it co-authored with National Immigrant Justice Center and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights. The report reveals that many of those detained still suffer egregious human rights violations while in custody. Immigrants continue to be jailed for months or even years under substandard conditions. Mistreatment by guards, grossly deficient medical care, use of solitary of confinement, and limited access to family and counsel remain persistent problems.
Last year, ICE promised to move away from the sprawling network of jails and prisons it uses to detain immigrants toward a less punitive model and take concrete steps to improve conditions of confinement for the nearly 400,000 people detained each year. But according to the report, the agency's reform agenda has been compromised by a growing detention population, internal opposition to reform by local ICE officials, and the expansion of ICE enforcement programs like 287(g), Secure Communities, and the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) that rely on local law enforcement agencies to channel more and more immigrants into the detention system.
"What the Year One Report Card shows is that the steps the Obama Administration has taken this year are not enough to bring about meaningful changes in the lives of immigrants," said Emily Tucker, Policy and Advocacy Director at Detention Watch Network. "Until ICE limits detention to only those rare cases where it has been shown necessary to ensure public safety, the human rights crisis in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system will persist."
Participants in the National Day of Action are calling for the restoration of human rights within the detention system, and an end to programs that indiscriminately channel immigrants into the detention and deportation system. Coordinated actions occurred across the country in cities including Austin, TX, Freehold, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, Seattle, WA and Trenton, NJ. For more information visit www.dignitynotdetention.org.
The report is available at http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/
The Detention Watch Network is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for reform so that all who come to our shores receive fair and humane treatment. For more information visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org.
Robert Barnes of the Washington Post reports that new Supreme Court Justuce Elena Kagan has recused herself from 25 of the 51 cases the court has accepted so far this term, all as a result of her tenure as Solicitor General for the Obama administrtaion. For further analysis of the recusals, see SCOTUSBLOG. "Kagan is recusing herself from cases in which she had a role in drafting a brief for the Supreme Court, or when she was actively involved in a case in the lower courts."
Kagan's absence may affect the review of review of Arizona's attempt a few years ago to deny business licenses to the employers of undocumented immigrants. Decision in that case (Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting) in turn may affect the judicial fate of the state's subsequent SB 1070 as well as other state and local attempts at immigration regulation.