Saturday, March 12, 2011

And Justice for All? High School Valedictorian Faces 10-year Ban from U.S. Due to Immigration Status

Vidal Tapia is by all accounts International High School's brightest prospect. A teacher-described "pillar of strength" at the Paterson school, he carries a 4.0 GPA, a National Honor Society membership and a slew of community service hours. He was tapped as his class's valedictorian to give the commencement address in June. Eventually, he wants to work for NASA. But his plans might fall short of even graduation, not because of any academic problems, but rather an immigration snare. By next week, the 19-year-old senior could be sent back to his native Mexico, barred from returning to the United States for a decade.  Read on.


March 12, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Support the Maryland Dream Act

From the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun:

A bill to allow community colleges to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants is a good first step toward recouping Maryland's investment in the human capital they represent, but it doesn't go nearly far enough

By the time its young people graduate from high school, Maryland has invested a lot in them — it costs the state nearly $200,000 to educate a child from grades K-12. You'd think, after that, we'd want as many of them as possible to attend college so they could join the well-educated workforce Maryland will need to be competitive in the 21st century. But some lawmakers apparently have a problem with that. They'd rather score political points by bashing immigrants than build up the human capital on which the state's future depends. Read more...


March 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Myth that Immigrants Steal Jobs

From the American Immigration Council:

House Subcommittee Tries to Propagate Myth that Immigrants Steal Jobs

This week, a House Subcommittee hearing clumsily entitled "New Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not," was clearly intended to sow fear. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-24th/CA) wasted no time in sounding the alarm that unemployed native-born workers are being left to twist in the wind as immigrants gobble up the few new jobs which have become available since the end of the Great Recession. Yet the preponderance of the evidence presented during the hearing failed to support that conclusion. Read more...


March 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Round Table on Deportations and National Security

The Princeton Program in Latin American Studies in collaboration with the Center for Migration and Development, the Program in Latino Studies, and the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund will host a Round Table on Deportations and National Security on Monday, March 28th, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, at the Friend Center Convocation Center.  The event is meant to draw attention to timely and seldom addressed issues of the highest public interest. Julia Preston, Pulitzer Prize winner and National Immigration Correspondent for The New York Times, will preside.

Deportations from the United States have soared with nearly 400,000 individuals removed from American soil in 2010—a record since the Department of Homeland Security was formed eight years ago.  Since 2007, more than 1.3 million people have been deported, including convicted criminals but also many workers with no criminal records.  What are the implications of intensified deportation measures for those implementing them and for those affected by them?  What is the impact of including immigration policy under the country’s national security framework? These are the central questions to be addressed by the Round Table.

The brutal 9/11 attack on New York and Washington brought about the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the incorporation of immigration and naturalization services under its purview.  Is the nation’s security best served by bringing illegal immigrants out of the shadows, or by deporting them?  In a political climate where comprehensive immigration reform has not been accomplished, and anti-immigrant feelings are growing, the present situation poses problems both to those charged to implement deportation policies and to immigrant communities feeling their impact.

The Round Table is envisioned as a gathering of academics, practitioners, public officials, and representatives of service and advocacy organizations to discuss issues of shared concern.  The objective is to foster dialogue and mutual understanding in an atmosphere of civility, not confrontation. Experts participating in the Round Table will be equally interested in addressing the problems and risks faced by personnel in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) as in those being confronted by families experiencing deportations.

In addition to Julia Preston, other principal speakers will include Alejandro Portes, director of the Center for Migration and Development; Douglas Massey, the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School; Ted Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11); Amy Gottlieb, American Friends Service Committee Immigration Committee; Stacy Mann, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University; and invited representatives from the Department of Homeland Security.

This event is open to the public although space is limited.  Please contact Patricia Fernandez-Kelly at or by calling 609-258-2237 to make a reservation.


March 11, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Genocide and Political Groups by David L. Nersessian

Genocide and Political Groups by David L. Nersessian
 (Oxford University Press 2010)

Abstract:  Genocide and Political Groups provides a comprehensive examination of the crime of genocide in connection with political groups. It offers a detailed empirical study of the current status of political groups under customary international law, as well as a comprehensive theoretical analysis of whether political genocide should be recognized as a separate crime by the international community. The book discusses whether a stand-alone crime of political genocide should be recognized under international law. It begins by examining the historical development of genocide and critically assessing the unique requirements of the crime. It then demonstrates that other international offences -notably crimes against humanity and war crimes- are not workable substitutes for a specific offence that protects political groups. This is followed by an analytical study of the protection of human groups under international law. The book proposes a new theory that links the protection of groups to individual rights of a certain character that give rise to the group's existence. It then applies that theory in evaluating whether political groups are legitimate candidates for specific protection from physical and biological destruction 'as such'. The writing includes an exhaustive analysis of state practice and opinio juris on the treatment of political groups. It empirically refutes claims that political groups are protected already from genocide by virtue of post-Convention developments in customary international law. In response to this legal reality, however, the book analyses the theoretical and public policy justifications for international criminal law and demonstrates that the international community would be well served by creating a separate international crime to address political genocide.

For more information about the book, see this posting on the Faculty Lounge.


March 11, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Waj Ali on the Radicalization of Muslims in America

Wajahat Ali, lawyer, political commentator, and playwright is everywhere nowadays.   Waj offers his reflections on yesterday's Congressional hearings on "Muslim American radicalization." Here's a section from the piece:

"As a Muslim American, and a member of America's most diverse religious group, I can testify that we are not a monolithic entity who share a collective consciousness and are automatically alerted to the perverse inclinations of all radicalised loners. Furthermore, Muslim Americans do not have specialised knowledge or heightened awareness of extremist threats – just as Italian Americans do not have innate knowledge of the Mafia's criminal operations. Perhaps King should invite the cast of Jersey Shore and the Sopranos to field that inquiry."

Here is a nice interview with Waj that will soon be up on NPR. It covers the Congressional hearings, the importance of Art and Culture in today's society, the "Muslim Cosby Show," and other tasty stuff.

In an interview on the rise of Islamophobia in America, it's causes, and a potential solution,  Waj talks with John Feffer of Foreign Policy in Focus. He says not to be surprised by a blitzkrieg of fear-mongering that will occur within the next 6 months. "The people who are saying "no sharia"? It's like they're saying, "we want no unicorns." People get upset about the issue. They galvanize their base. They try to amend the law. And if they're successful, they say, "See we protected America from unicorns." Any sane person would say, "Yes, but there are no unicorns in America."

Here's Waj's Studio 360 interview with Kurt Anderson.  


March 11, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Spanish-Language Media Panel Talks Immigration and the Latino Vote

The Center for American Progress (CAP) and America's Voice recently hosted a panel entitled "Spanish-Language Media and the Issues that Move Latino Voters." The event included some of the major players from the Spanish-Language press: María Elena Salinas, Co-Anchor for Noticiero Univisión; Teresa E. Frontado, Online Editor for El Nuevo Herald; Henrik Rehbinder, Editorial editor for La Opinión; and Samuel Orozco, Executive Producer and Host of “Línea Abierta” on Radio Bilingüe.


March 11, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sometimes something cool comes out of hot Arizona--SB1070 Short Play Festival

Check out this upcoming performance of plays written about SB1070.Even out of dispair creativity can flurish.

What: "Performing SB1070 Short-Play Festival," a collection of 12 short works exploring themes surrounding Arizona Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law.; 623-252-2772;

When/Where: Arizona State University West, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, Glendale, AZ, 7-9 p.m., March 30, in La Sala A as part of the 8th Annual Border Justice Event, and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 31, on the lawn of the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ.

Admission: Free; donations accepted.


PHOENIX -- With Arizona’s controversial immigration bill as a catalyst, 12 short works by local and national playwrights and a group of Phoenix high school students will be performed in the groundbreaking "Performing 1070, A Short-Play Festival" March 30 at ASU West in Glendale, Arizona, and March 31 at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona.

 New Carpa Theater Company, founded by award-winning Phoenix playwright James Garcia, will produce the 5- to 10-minute plays. The 12 plays were chosen from 70 submissions by a talented array of playwrights in Arizona and at least 12 states across the country. All are centered on themes related to immigration. See below for the final list of works chosen, along with a synopsis and the author’s name and city of residence.

 "The thing that’s often forgotten about immigration is that it always involves people’s lives," said James E. Garcia, the play festival’s organizer. "What these plays do is focus on the humanity of the issue and how we at times treat these people inhumanely. Every one of these play is based on the writers’ interpretation of how immigrants live their lives in America. "

 Garcia also worked with a group of students from Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix to bring a series of vignettes they wrote to the professional stage. Though all of the playwrights bring impressive resumes, most having awards and/or professionally produced plays under their belts, New Carpa is especially honored to present an excerpt from Detained in the Desert, a new work by Josefina Lopez, author of the acclaimed film Real Women Have Curves, which starred America Ferrera.

  List of plays to be produced at the "Performing 1070 Short-Play Festival"(listed alphabetically)

 God’s Flea by Diane Lefer of Los Angeles, CA. God's Flea moves Carrasquilla's tale to today's US-Mexico border. In this contemporary adaptation, the saintly Peralta persists in aiding the poor and the undocumented in defiance of his greedy sister and the very devil of a sheriff. Because of his goodness, Jesus grants him five wishes. Peralta's choices are strange ones, but the humble old man may not be as foolish as he looks. Directed by Barbara Acker

In Old Arizona by Guillermo Reyes of AZ. A Native American woman pleads for authorities to spare her Spanish soldier boyfriend and allow him to stay in Arizona. Directed by Richard Schultz

Joe Arpaio Meets La Virgen de Guadalupe by Stella Pope Duarte of Phoenix, AZ. Sheriff Joe tries to arrest the Virgin of Guadalupe in the desert. Directed by Alan Penny

Run, Zombie, Run by Randy Gross of Enola, PA. A woman riding on a bus to the Pittsburgh Point Zombie Refuge is accompanied by her zombie boyfriend, much to the chagrin of a bigoted Senator. Directed by Andrew Valenzuela


Should We Stay or Should We Go? by drama students and teacher Trish Galindo Kiser of Carl Hayden High School, Phoenix, AZ. A reporter interviews high-school students who tell in their own words their stores of coming to the U.S. and their dilemma of whether to remain here or return to a country most have never known. Directed by Trish Galindo Kiser

Theresa’s Story by Sandra Fenichel Asher of Lancaster, PA.Theresa is an undocumented worker who spoke to the group through a translator at considerable risk to herself, because, she said, she wanted her story told. It is a harrowing tale of the violence she endured while crossing the border and the discrimination and heartbreak she faces daily in this country, all to eke out a decent living. Directed by Terry Tess Earp

Western Mentality: A Parable by Robert Caisley of Moscow, ID. At the heart of the American psyche is this belief in "staking your claim." That conflict between ""Us" and "Them" was then patterned by our children’s innocent role playing game of cowboys and Indians, modeled in the iconographic imagery of the Hollywood Westerns – and it is the same kind of destructive "Western Mentality" that now separates us ideologically from the Arab-Muslim world. Directed by Richard Schultz

Freedom Trail by Terry Tess Earp of Phoenix, AZ. A man and a woman sit in a bar drinking and waiting for the man’s brother to arrive after crossing the border from Mexico. Directed by Raynell Gonzalez



March 10, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Proposed Texas law to immigrants: Keep out ... or clean my house by Ruben Navarrette Jr.,


Read Ruben Navarette Jr.'s entertaining commentary on a proposal in the Texas legislature that would bar the employment of undocumented immigrants with an exemption for domestic service workers in single family homes.


March 10, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Citizenship of a child and related rights for the undocumented parents by Johann Morri

On March 8, 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the highest Court of the European Union legal system, in charge, among other things, of interpreting European Union law) issued an important opinion on the issue of citizenship, immigrant’s rights and children rights ( C-34/09 Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l'emploi (ONEm), full text available on :

The question submitted to the Court by a Belgian tribunal was whether the fact that a child is a citizen of the European Union (from example because he was born in a country applying jus soli) confers a right of residence and a right to work to his non-citizen parents.

The case involved the two undocumented Columbian parents of a minor child born in Belgium. Under Belgian law, the child was a citizen at birth. In the European Union legal system, citizenship of the Union follows automatically the citizenship of a member state. The plaintiffs claimed that by refusing them the right to reside legally and to work in Belgium, and de facto constraining them to leave the European territory or to be separated from their child, the Belgian authorities were depriving their child of the rights he is entitled to as a citizen of the European Union.

The Court holds that a citizen of the European Union cannot be deprived of the "of the substance of the rights" attached to such a status, and that when this citizen is a child, the “genuine enjoyment of these rights” implicates that his parents are allowed to live and work in the same country.

This judgment has significant practical implications. Although some European countries already recognize a right of residence to the non-citizen parents of a citizen-child (France, for example), the Court decision will probably mean that every state of the EU has to allow such rights.

Of course, the impact of such a holding is much more limited in Europe than it would be in the USA. Only a few European countries grant citizenship by jus soli, and usually upon other conditions (for example, in France, the child born on French soil only becomes a citizen after a certain period of presence, generally at 18 –unless his parents are also born in France, in which case he is automatically French at birth). But the situation where a child born of a non-citizen is granted citizenship at birth is not a rarity either (for example, when the one of the two parents if a citizen, and transmits his/her citizenship by jus sanguinis).

More generally, the European Court could be a landmark case on the significance, content ant theory of citizenship. Its reasoning may inspire other national or international courts faced with the following question: what does citizenship mean? What are the “core” rights and duties stemming from the status of citizen, and without which citizenship is a meaningless concept, deprived of its practical significance? One remembers the famous quotation of Earl Warren according to which citizenship is “the right to have rights.” The related question, of course, is to define which “rights”. By its judgment in the Ruiz Zambrano case, the Court decides that, when it comes to the situation of a minor child, these rights cannot be properly exercised if the parents of the infant are deprived of the possibility of residing legally with their child, and to earn a living.

NB:  In the European Union system, courts of member-states are allowed –and sometimes required- to submit to the Court of Justice of the European Union (former European Court of Justice) difficulties of interpretation of European union law. The Court then issue a “preliminary ruling”, binding for every court of a member state.

Johann Morri is a LL.M. (2010-2011) student at UC Davis School of Law

March 10, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Northwestern Forced Migration Institute: Unsettling Resettlement

The Northwestern University Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS) first annual Summer Institute on Forced Migration Studies will be on "Unsettling Resettlement," July 10th-17th, 2011 in Chicago, IL, USA.   The CFMS Summer Institute is a one-week, non-degree earning certificate program.  The Institute is open to both academics and practitioners seeking to expand their knowledge of contemporary critical elements of forced migration/refugee issues.

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the UNHCR and the 1951 Refugee Convention, this year's focus on resettlement seeks to engage participants in examining local contexts of resettlement in the US and the Global South in order to consider how we can best protect the rights of refugees and use resettlement more strategically to improve outcomes. Participants range from government officials and NGO personnel to university faculty and graduate students.


March 10, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Utah Wants its Own Guestworker Program

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Utah's Immigration Solution Not a National Model
Legislation Fails To Live Up To State's Best Intentions

Washington D.C. - Late Friday night, the Utah Legislature passed three immigration-related bills that await Governor Herbert's signature or veto. Utah's policy discussions were guided by the principles of a much-lauded Utah Compact, which brought together leaders from political parties, business, labor, and faith-based organizations for a thoughtful dialogue about immigration policy. The Compact was a welcome relief from the angry vitriol that has often dominated the debate and was well-regarded as a rational, solution-based conversation about the complexity of effective immigration reform. It recognizes that the current unauthorized immigrant population is made up of workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and that enforcement strategies must be coupled with reform of our legal system of immigration in order to meet legitimate labor force needs. Unfortunately, the Utah state legislature was not able to realize the Compact's aspirations.

The three bills represent one state's attempt to provide solutions that go beyond the enforcement-only approach of Arizona's SB1070 and similar copycats being considered in other states. It is noteworthy that Utah's legislature acknowledged that immigration is a complex issue, and that a realistic solution involves more than asking people for their papers and deporting those who lack legal status. However, what these well-intentioned Utah legislators have created is an aggressive Arizona-style enforcement program with no counter-balance. The provisions intended to create legal work status and visas are clearly at odds with the Constitution and cannot be implemented by state action alone.

The first measure (HB 497) is an SB1070-inspired immigration-enforcement bill that is scheduled to go into effect in early May, but will almost assuredly be challenged in court. The second bill (HB 466) authorizes the Governor of Utah to enter into a pilot program with the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon to facilitate applications for migrant workers to come to Utah through the normal federal process.  The third bill (HB 116) would create Utah's own "guest worker program," to take effect on July 1, 2013, or six months after the federal government grants Utah an unprecedented "waiver" allowing the state to create its own guestworker program. However, the creation and issuance of visas are clearly the sole purview of the federal government, and no "waiver" for states currently exists.

In light of the heavy handed approach to enforcement and the fact that a state-administered guest worker program is clearly outside the authority of the state, what was passed by the Utah legislature is not a model for future state legislation. While states are reasonably frustrated with the lack of federal leadership on immigration, a 50-state patchwork of varying immigration laws is not a solution to the nation's immigration problems. Despite a laudable effort by a conservative state to engage in a more sensible debate, this latest chapter of state-based initiatives once again demonstrates that Congress and the Administration must heed the call for workable, fair immigration reform, or face continued turmoil and misplaced legislation at the state level. 


March 10, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

House Hearings Attempt to Create Anxiety and Resentment Against Immigrants, Americans

Today, House leadership held two hearings on immigrants and new american communities. The House Homeland Security Committee hearing led by Representative Peter King (R-NY) focused on "The Extent of Radicalization in the Muslim American Community" and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy hearing led by Representative Elton Gallegly (D-CA) discussed immigrant workers and national unemployment in a hearing titled " “New Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not”.” The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

These hearings are yet another example of House leadership using fear as a partisan bludgeon to pit one set of Americans against another. Instead of manipulating insecurities, responsible leaders should engage in a constructive debate about efficient national security policies and practical immigration solutions.

Racial profiling does not work for identifying terrorists. The Homeland Security Committee should listen to the many security experts that confirm that policies that put an entire community under suspicion because of their religion or national origin are ineffective counterterrorism measures and are counterproductive to safety and security. And as a recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science concludes, racial profiling has been no more effective than random screening in rooting out terrorists.

We need to use the most effective tools to counter terrorism. Instead of profiling, we should be focusing on targeted investigations based on evidence and an individual's suspicious activity, not on their race or national origin. Moreover, profiling undermines public safety by threatening the efforts of law enforcement to gain the trust and cooperation of immigrant and other minority communities.

Similarly, the House Immigration Enforcement Subcommittee hearing continues the scaremongering approach that faults immigrants for the persistent economic and jobs crises, but the facts aren’t consistent with the predetermined premise of today’s hearing.

This week, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released its annual index of entrepreneurial activity. This report shows that, while businesses have been slow to hire workers as the economy comes out of recession, the level of business creation is the highest it has been in 15 years. It also shows that more than other demographic groups, immigrants were the drivers of business creation. In each month of 2010, immigrants were more than twice as likely to start a business than were the native born. The percentage of immigrants who became entrepreneurs grew dramatically in 2010 over the previous year.

The Subcommittee leadership looks at the jobs immigrants hold as something that is a negative for native-born workers. This view ignores that immigrants create businesses. In fact, the combination of a growing immigrant population and the increasing tendency of immigrants to become entrepreneurs is good news for our economy.

The politics of blame and scapegoating may throw some red meat to the small but vocal anti-immigrant element of the Republican base but it does not serve our national interests. Instead of isolating communities, we should be doing what we can to strengthen them. We are a nation of immigrants, a nation that values diversity and a nation based on the principles of freedom and democracy. We must not sacrifice our core values to score some political points at the expense of immigrants.


March 10, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Stop Deportations to Haiti

From the National Lawyers Guild:

On Monday, March 7, 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requested feedback on its policy to resume deportations/removals to Haiti. The deadline for comments is March 11 to email your comments to ICE.

The National Immigration Project/NLG objects to this decision to deport Haitians, to ICE's focus on so-called "criminal aliens," and to ICE's seeking comments after it has already begun to send people back. ICE's policy has already led to one death and the deportation of 27 Haitians into a humanitarian crisis. We also object to the short and non-transparent comment process that is occurring after ICE has already implemented a policy.

Please take the following steps by this Friday:

1) Review the policy here

2) Email ICE your personal or organizational comments to


March 10, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Obama Should Support Same-Sex Marriages for Immigration

From Huffington Post:

Last month, the State Department sent a cable to personnel worldwide informing U.S. citizen employees that if they get posted to the United States, their foreign same-sex partners can get a special visa to live and work here legally. The program quietly went into effect February 9, providing a temporary visa that commonly goes to visiting scholars or au pairs. Last August, the State Department had broadened the rules for foreign diplomats and international civil servants. This made it possible for partners of foreign diplomats to work legally in the United States by extending legal work privileges beyond the "family" of the diplomat to that person's "household".

Unfortunately, for other same-sex couples -- even those who have married in jurisdictions that recognize such marriages, a U.S. citizen partner cannot petition for a green card for their foreign-born spouse the way heterosexual couples can. Read more...


March 9, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Calls for Violence on Texas Website?

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples launched last week to allow ranchers and farmers living on or close to the border to share stories, pictures and videos that document their daily struggles with drug cartels and undocumented immigrants. Staples said the purpose of the site is to give the producers of the nation's food and livestock a portal to pressure the federal government to pay closer attention to their security. But they're not just sharing their stories. A message board where site visitors can register, log in and post their proposed solutions includes calls to violence.  For the Texas Tribune story, click here.


March 9, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Attacking the Constitution: State Legislators for Legal Immigration & the Anti-Immigrant Movement


The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a report on the radical beliefs of a dozen leading members of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), an organization that specializes in mounting legislative attacks on immigrants in states around the country. SLLI is now workingy to end birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment, which guarantees that all persons born in this country and subject to its jurisdiction are citizens of the United States as well as the state in which they live.


March 9, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Napolitano Proud to be Toughter than Bush

From America's Voice:

A Sad Comparison: Napolitano's DHS, Tougher than Bush

Washington - In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) grilled DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano about her Department’s deportation practices.  Sen. Grassley was particular agitated about the “threat” of Napolitano using prosecutorial discretion and allowing some individuals with compelling cases to delay their deportations.

Instead of calling out Sen. Grassley for his role in blocking immigration reform, Secretary Napolitano tried to appease him.  She touted her Department’s record number of deportations and noted that the Obama Administration granted deferred action in less than 900 cases last year – fewer than the Bush Administration.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “It’s a sad day when the Obama Administration uses deportation statistics from the Bush years as a measure of success.  It’s also a sad day when policymakers in Washington, like Senator Grassley, try to bully government officials into being tough for tough’s sake.  DHS needs to exercise more discretion in its deportation practices, not less.  And Congress must do its job and pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform so that we have a rational, humane, just immigration system.”


March 9, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Utah Following in Arizona's Footsteps

From NILC:

The Governor of Utah is considering signing Arizona copycat legislation, along with other immigration measures. Considered together, these bills would constitute the most aggressive state-based regulation of immigration to date and a direct challenge to the longstanding constitutional principle that the regulation of immigration is an exclusively federal power.

The National Immigration Law Center has done a quick analysis of HB 497 and HB 116, two bills in the immigration package currently awaiting the governor’s signature. You can read our assessment here.


March 9, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


Eight day laborers who sued Mayor Mark Boughton, the City of Danbury, individual Danbury police officers, federal immigration agents, and the United States, alleging that their September 2006 arrests were unlawful and the result of Danbury's anti-immigrant campaign, today announced that they had reached a settlement in their landmark lawsuit. The Danbury defendants have agreed to pay $400,000, and the United States will pay $250,000, in exchange for a release of all claims by the day laborers. The day laborers sued after they were picked up by a local police officer disguised as a contractor, who lured them into a van with promises of work and then transferred them into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The suit alleged that the sting operation was part of a campaign of harassment by Mayor Mark Boughton against the City's latino residents and violated their constitutional rights. "Our clients are thrilled," said Katie Chamblee, a student in Yale Law School's Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic who represented the day laborers. "This is the largest monetary settlement ever paid out to day laborers by any municipality in the country." "Danbury has long denied responsibility or culpability for the arrests of the Danbury 11," said Joel M. Cohen, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, who served as cocounsel in the case. "We are pleased that the plaintiffs' determination to see justice done has been rewarded."

Neither the Yale Law School clinic nor Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will receive attorneys' fees from the settlement. They undertook the representation on a pro bono basis.

Click here for more on this story.


March 9, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)