Saturday, January 1, 2011
Friday, December 31, 2010
Kirk Semple writes for the NY Times:
The Obama administration has been quietly moving to resume deportations of Haitians for the first time since the earthquake last January. But in New York’s Haitian diaspora, the reaction has been far from muted, including frustration and fear among immigrants and anger from their advocates, who say that an influx of deportees will only add to the country’s woes.
Haiti is racked today by a cholera epidemic and political turmoil, as well as the tortuously slow reconstruction.
“I don’t think Haiti can handle more challenges than what it has right now,” said Mathieu Eugene, a Haitian-American member of the New York City Council. “The earthquake, the cholera, the election — everything’s upside down in Haiti.” Read more...
Sandra Tan writes for the Buffalo News:
A refugee from Somalia was accused of trying to sell her 16-year-old daughter into marriage against her will.
Social Services took another Somali couple's six children because the father belt-whipped his 8-year-old son and tied him up for misbehaving in school.
A Yemeni husband beat his wife and threw her down the stairs for talking back to him in front of the family.
"How else can I teach her how to behave?" the bewildered man asked in court.
These and other cases like them are raising the concerns of judges, lawyers and human services providers in Buffalo.
Erie County Family Court judges say they have seen a startling rise in the number of domestic abuse and juvenile delinquency cases involving immigrant, refugee and Muslim families who want help but fear police intervention. Read more...
Call me a homer but I pick the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic as the 2010 Immigration Law Clinic of the Year. The Immigration Law Clinic provides legal representation to indigent noncitizens in removal proceedings before U.S. immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Clinic serves low-income immigrant communities, offering education and legal services to low-income immigrants facing deportation while enabling students to gain practical, real-world experience. Students take on all major aspects of litigation, including interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal briefs, drafting pleadings and motions, and arguing complex legal issues. Clinic students regularly conduct naturalization and other legal workshops in the community, engage in broader advocacy projects related to the detention & deportation of immigrants, and provide know your rights presentations in local ICE detention centers. Responding to the increased collaboration between criminal and immigration enforcement agencies, the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic has also been at the forefront of indigent detention and deportation defense.
Professor Leticia Saucedo, a respected immigration law scholar, is director of Clinical Legal Education and oversees the Immigration Law Clinic.
Professor Amagda Pérez (a UC Davis law graduate), an expert in deportation defense, directs the clinic. Professors Holly Cooper (another UC Davis law graduate) and Raha Jorjani, experts in immigrant detention who will speak on programs at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting in San Francisco next week, also teach in the Clinic.
This year, the Clinic was ably assisted by Sutro Fellow Grisel Ruiz, a graduate of the University of Chicago law school.
Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at UH, is the 2010 Immigration Professor of the Year. Professor Olivas has written extensively on immigration law, including many articles on the DREAM Acts, and is President-elect of the Association of American Law Schools, and will serve as the AALS President in 2011. I believe that he will be the first immigration law scholar to serve as President of the AALS!
Professor Olivas is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation, and served as General Counsel to the American Association of University Professors (1994-98). He twice chaired the AALS Section on on Immigration Law.
Both the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and The Hispanic Bar Association of Houston have given him awards for lifetime achievement. Since 2002, he serves as a director on the MALDEF Board.
Congratulations to Professor Michael Olivas!
Who else could it be? Besides being part of one of the biggest immigrtaion news stories of the year, the DREAMers taught the nation about hope, dignity, tenacity, and organization. Their cause may not have prevailed in the U.S. Congress this year. Still, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice."
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Federal inaction on immigration reform has triggered a national crisis and dramatically increased the likelihood of state-based immigration laws similar to Arizona’s approach. According to a new report prepared by the National Immigration Forum (Download SB1070Report), at least seven states are likely to attempt an Arizona-style law to address the broken immigration system as a direct result of the federal inaction. States may attempt these laws despite overwhelming evidence that laws like SB 1070 are prohibitively expensive, endanger public safety, exacerbate state budget woes, and trigger protracted and costly legal fights.
On April 21, 2010, Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” commonly referred to as SB 1070, a law that went further than any other state-based law. Overnight, Arizona became home to the nation’s harshest and most controversial immigration law and simultaneously created a public policy, legal, and electoral ripple effect that would be felt all over the country. Meanwhile, Republicans won sweeping victories in the 2010 mid-term elections, handing them control of many gubernatorial posts and state legislatures.
Several Republican leaders have indicated a strong desire to pursue harsh anti-immigrant legislation similar to Arizona’s approach despite evidence that such an approach is poisonous for the party’s long term electoral prospects. “Republican leaders in these states now have tough choices to make as they weigh the responsibilities of governing. Who will speak for their party on immigration reform and what path will they choose as their states contemplate Arizona-style policies in response to the broken immigration system,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “How will they answer questions of cost and safety? How will Republicans prove to fast-growing Latino, Asian and other immigrant populations their contributions are valued?”
According to the report, some states may forge full steam ahead with SB 1070-style legislation in January. Others may decide not to pursue a bill at all or opt for a scaled-back version after seriously considering potential legal fees, implementation costs and public safety concerns. What is certain, however, is that the tone of the debate will have an outsized influence on the national debate and how individual states and localities are viewed by the rest of the country and the rest of the world. Preliminary assessments of the likely outcome of proposed copycat measures in state legislatures across the country indicate that at least seven states, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee, are likely to pass a measure similar to Arizona’s. These states have some combination of the following: a re-elected, highly motivated potential bill sponsor, an already introduced measure similar to Arizona or a legislature–approved resolution supporting Arizona’s SB 1070, as well as a conservative Governor and conservative majority in the legislature. While some state legislators may opt for harsh anti-immigrant legislation, they should heed Arizona’s cautionary tale. The new law triggered a national firestorm, cost the state millions in revenue, and caused irreparable damage to the state’s reputation. Arizona’s passage of the law sparked a national outcry whose effects will be felt for years, and it guaranteed the state will spend millions defending their controversial new law in the courts when their budget shortfall is at near record levels. States must ask themselves whether it’s good policy to pursue costly anti-immigrant measures or whether it makes more sense to use their powers to urge the federal government to finally fix the broken immigration system.
Anti-Immigrant advocate Kris Kobach's lucrative business in helping draft and defend anti-immigrant laws in states and localities across the United States may be coming to an end. The Wichita Eagle reports that a Kansas legislative leader has said that he will "push legislation to stop Republican Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach from continuing legal work for city officials and legislators across the country who want to crack down on illegal immigration." Kobach, who drafted Arizona's infamous SB 1070, "has repeatedly said he would work at least 40 hours a week as secretary of state and handle outside legal work in his spare time once he takes office Jan. 10."
The proposed bill would prevent state-wide elected leaders, Cabinet officials and other department heads from having any outside employment "of significance."
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Post-Deportation Project Legal Victory: Haitian Deportee Allowed to Return to the U.S. to Rejoin Wife and Children
After being separated from his U.S. citizen wife and his two young U.S. citizen sons for the past two and a half years, a client of the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project (PDHRP) at Boston College will now be able to rejoin his family in Massachusetts. The Project’s Director, Professor Daniel Kanstroom, describes this as “a great, humanitarian decision that is the fruit of much excellent hard work by our Project’s attorneys. It is an example of the type of compelling case for which the Project was designed. We hope that it can serve as a model for other lawyers and law school clinics.”
Mr. L (not his real name) fled Haiti in 2002, after being the target of threats and harassment, and applied for asylum in the United States. While his asylum application was pending, he met his wife and became the primary caretaker of the couple’s special needs son. His asylum application was ultimately denied, however, and Mr. L was detained and deported to Haiti in May 2008, leaving behind his son and his wife, who at the time was expecting the couple’s second child. Although U.S. citizens can generally petition for their spouses, individuals who have been deported or who have spent periods of time in the U.S. “unlawfully” are barred from re-entering the country. In such instances, special waivers must be granted to allow the individual to obtain an immigrant visa and to return to their families. With the assistance of the PDHRP, Mr. L submitted applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documenting the extreme emotional and financial hardship his wife and children were experiencing as a result of the separation, and requesting that he be granted a waiver. After waiting five months for a decision on the waiver applications, and more than two and a half years after his deportation, Mr. L was recently informed that the waivers were approved, and that he may now be issued his visa to return to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Mr. L may now obtain his visa and make travel arrangements so that he can reunite with his family.
The PDHRP, based at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, aims to conceptualize a new area of law, providing direct representation to individuals who have been deported and promoting the rights of deportees and their family members through research, legal and policy analysis, media advocacy, training programs, and participatory action research. Its ultimate goal is to introduce legal predictability, proportionality, compassion, and respect for family unity into the deportation laws and policies of this country.
Federal Raids Against Immigrants on the Rise By David Bacon puts in a nutshell the current "enforcement now, enforcement forever" immigration enforcement policies of the Obama administration:
"While the criminalization of undocumented people in Arizona continues to draw headlines, the actual punishment of workers because of their immigration status has become an increasingly bitter fact of life across the country. The number of workplace raids carried out by the Obama administration is staggering. Tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of workers have been fired for not having papers. According to public records obtained by Syracuse University, the latest available data from the Justice Department show that criminal immigration enforcement by the two largest investigative agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased to levels comparable to the highest seen during the Bush Administration."
I see that this is the time of year for awards! The Freedom From Fear Award is a new national award that will honor fifteen ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees—individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action. The award seeks to honor unsung heroes who are not professional advocates. Based on nominations from people like ImmigrationProf readers, awardees will receive a $5,000 cash award. Click the link above to see how to nominate someone for teh Freedom From Fear Award.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
We are accepting nominations for Immigrant of the Year. Which immigrant to the United States deserves this recognition? Let me know your thoughts. Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below (the comment section to this post is open specially for this purpose).
The L.A. Times reports on a potentially cutting edge immigration case. A U.S. district court has ruled that two mentally disabled immigrants must be given lawyers in removal proceedings. This is one of the few times that a court has ordered representation for an individual in removal proceedings.
The Immigration & Nationality Act offers a qualified right to counsel at no expense to the government. This means that indigent noncitizens in removal proceedings, unlike indigent criminal defendants in criminal prosecutions, are not guaranteed a right to counsel. Not surprisingly, unrepresented noncitizens are much more likely to be ordered deported than represented ones.
Photo Courtesy of Chinese American Heroes
Angelo Paparelli's The 2010 Nation of Immigrators Awards honored the following as "Best Source for Immigration News": Benders Immigration Daily, a photo-finish winner nudging ahead of Immigration Law Daily, followed for a tie in third place by MicEvHill , which has comprehensive coverage on legislative developments on immihrtaion and refugee matters, and the ImmigrationProfBlog.
Politico interviewed Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the new head of the House Judiciary Committee, who said that his first two hearings will focus on expanding E-Verify, a voluntary electronic system for checking the immigration status of workers and scrutinizing the Obama administration’s record on worksite enforcement. "He won’t say when his committee plans to tackle birthright citizenship, the policy of granting citizenship to every child born in the country. He doesn’t want to talk about whether he will pursue reducing the level of legal immigration, family migration or work visas — all at the top of the wish list for anti-illegal-immigration advocates."
Monday, December 27, 2010
A Nation of Immigrants Susan F. Martin (Cambridge University Press, 2010). ABSTRACT: Immigration makes America what it is and is formative for what it will become. America was settled by three different models of immigration, all of which persist to the present. The Virginia Colony largely equated immigration with the arrival of laborers, who had few rights. Massachusetts welcomed those who shared the religious views of the founders but excluded those whose beliefs challenged the prevailing orthodoxy. Pennsylvania valued pluralism, becoming the most diverse colony in religion, language, and culture. This book traces the evolution of these three competing models of immigration as they explain the historical roots of current policy debates and options. Arguing that the Pennsylvania model has best served the country, the final chapter makes recommendations for future immigration reform. Given the highly controversial nature of immigration in the United States, this book provides thoughtful, well-reasoned analysis, valuable to both academic and policy audiences for the ways it places today’s trends and policy options into historical perspective.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
With the new year rapidly approaching, it is time to review the top U.S. immigration news stories for 2010. Here are my selections.
One of the headlines of a story posted early last January was “Is Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever Winning?” In reviewing the blog stories for 2010, I fear that the answer to this question is “yes.” Still, we had some good immigration news.
1. ARIZONA'S SB 1070: The Arizona legislature, Governor Jan Brewer signs into law, and a district court strikes down (in large part) Arizona’s SB 1070. This fall, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the case and a decision is pending. Arizona's aggressive immigration enforcement law caused a national and international buzz, with Arizona dubbed the "show me your papers state."
2. CONGRESS FAILS TO PASS THE DREAM ACT: After years of talk, and weeks of intense lobbying, Congress in December fails to pass the DREAM Act.
3. CONGRESS FAILS TO PASS CIR: After years of discussion, the U.S. Congress again fails to pass comprehensive (or any) immigration reform.
4. OBAMA DEPORTS MORE THAN ANY U.S. PRESIDENT IN HISTORY: The Obama administration deported a record number (392,862) of noncitizens for the year, more than any President in U.S. history.
7. BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ATTACKED: Politicians attack the 14th Amendment's grant of birthright citizenship and proposals for its abolition are plentiful.
8. ENFORCEMENT NOW, ENFORCEMENT FOREVER POLICIES OF OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONTINUE: Besides deporting more noncitizens than any President in U.S. history, the Obama administration aggressively pursued an array of immigration enforcement measures. Indeed, from the deployment of the National Guard to the border to the ramping up of Secure Communities, a federal/state program facilitating removals, the Obama administration emphasized immigration enforcement over all other immigration priorities.
9. NICKY DIAZ DERAILS MEG WHITMAN CAMPAIGN FOR CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: In a campaign filled with delicious ironies, the "discovery" of Nicky Diaz, an undocumented domestic service worker employed for years by billionaire Meg Whitman, during the California gubernatorial campaign led to a Jerry Brown victory.
10. HAZLETON ORDINANCE HELD PREEMPTED BY THE THIRD CIRCUIT: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit holds that Hazleton, PA's anti-immigration ordinance is preempted by federal law.
13. PRESIDENT'S AUNT GRANTED ASYLUM: An immigration court granted President Obama’s aunt asylum. This must be a first in U.S. history!
14. OBAMA IMMIGRATION SPEECH: On July 1, President Obama delivered a speech on immigration reform at American University. Was anybody in Congress listening?
15. IMMIGRANTS WIN BIG IN U.S. SUPREME COURT: Immigrants again won big in the U.S. Supreme Court, including an important victory in Padilla v. Kentucky, which held that an ineffective assistance of counsel claim could be based on a failure to advise an immigrant of the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.
16. ORAL ARGUMENT IN THE "OTHER" ARIZONA IMMIGRATION CASE: The Supreme Court heard oral argument in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, which involves an Arizona business licensing law that revokes the licenses of the employers of undocumented immigrants. The Court's decision in this case will likely affect the constitutionality of other state and local immigration laws.
17. CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT COMES THROUGH FOR UNDOCUMENTED COLLEGE STUDENTS: The California Supreme Court upheld the provisions of the California state statute allowing undocumented students and others to pay in-state the same fees as residents to attend the University of California, California Sate University, and community college systems.
18. FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION GROWS: Census data shows that the U.S. foreign-born population nears 37 million, and that more than one in five people in the U.S. are first or second generation.
19. IMMIGRATIONPROF REACHES ONE MILLIONS HITS! Thank you loyal readers!