Saturday, April 16, 2011

Free Citizenship Workshop in San Francisco

From AILA Northern California:


SAN FRANCISCO – People who are ready to become U.S. citizens but cannot afford to hire an attorney for assistance can benefit from a free citizenship workshop on Saturday, April 30, at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.  This event, coordinated annually by the Northern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA NorCal), is a phenomenal opportunity for immigrants to gain access to knowledgeable, bilingual legal counsel and receive guidance in the often confusing process of naturalization.

Unlike lawful permanent residents (green-card holders), U.S. citizens have the right to vote and are protected against deportation.  Also, U.S. citizens are given priority over permanent residents when they file immigrant visa petitions for their family members, avoiding years of waiting and heartache.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges a fee of either $595 or $675 to file a citizenship application with the government (depending upon the applicant’s age) before the cost of hiring an attorney is even considered.  With such high application fees, many would-be applicants cannot afford the extra expense of hiring a lawyer to assist with the process – choosing either to wait until later or attempt to complete the daunting paperwork on their own.  This event provides the opportunity for quality legal assistance at no cost, from attorneys and other trained volunteers who speak a variety of languages.

This free Citizenship Day clinic is coordinated by AILA NorCal and hosted by UC Hastings College of the Law.  AILA is a national association of attorneys who practice and teach immigration law, and the Northern California chapter has nearly members.  More than 30 AILA chapters across the country will be providing free legal advice on U.S. citizenship during the month of April.  This is the fourth year that AILA NorCal has participated; more than 160 applicants received assistance at last year’s event.  The clinic’s co-sponsors are the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Asian Law Caucus, Centro Legal de la Raza, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Chinese Newcomers, Jewish Children’s and Family Services, International Institute of the Bay Area, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, Dolores Street Community Services, the Afghan Coalition, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the Afghan American Bar Association.

This free walk-in clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 198 McAllister Street, and will bring together volunteer attorneys, law students and other bilingual volunteers who see the extraordinary value in assisting lawful permanent residents in applying for citizenship.  Volunteers will answer questions regarding the citizenship process, screen for eligibility, help complete the application form, and give guidance on how to file the application. The workshop is limited to naturalization/citizenship matters.  For a list of documents people should bring to the workshop, please visit  To apply for citizenship, an individual must be at least 18 years old and must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or for three years if married to a U.S. citizen.  Applicants also must demonstrate that they can read, write and speak in ordinary English (with limited exceptions) and that they have good moral character, and must pass a U.S. history and government test and take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

Media are invited to attend the event. AILA NorCal is proud of its attorneys’ diverse language abilities, and we are happy to put you in touch with volunteers who speak Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and a number of other languages.


AILA Citizenship Day, a free event with no pre-registration required, will be held Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UC Hastings College of the Law, 198 McAllister Street, Mayer Lounge, San Francisco.  The college is located a couple of blocks from the 9th Street/Civic Center BART and MUNI station.

For media inquiries, please contact, or call (510) 299-9600.


April 16, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

March for Hotel Workers

During Passover and Holy Week, religious leaders, hotel workers and community advocates in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego will lead processions through the streets of their cities and in front of the Hyatt hotels, carrying heavy mattresses to signify the heavy load hotel workers carry every day, causing chronic injury and pain. 
In San Francisco we will begin our procession in honor of all low wage workers by delivering milk and honey - a symbol of the "good things" - that will come from the fair contract signed with the Blackstone Inc, owner of the Hilton Union Square, the first in the city to secure the livelihoods of their workers for the future and a model for other hotel contracts.
We will continue to the Hyatt with a silent march to deliver Passover symbols offering them a choice to continue the bitter suffering of Hyatt hotel workers with the highest workplace injuries (of the top 5 hotel chains in the nation) or provide the wine of freedom with job security and a fair process to form a union & the end to long labor disputes.

Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller        Rabbi David J. Cooper
Congregation Sherith Israel     Kehilla Community Synagogue

Susan Lubeck and                Rev. Donna Wood

Bob Kane                               Park Presidio 
Progressive Jewish Alliance     United Methodist Church
Rev. Israel I. Alvaran            Rev. Carol Been
CLUE San Francisco               CLUE California

For more information, email Rev. Carol Been:

April 16, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Motions to Reopen Removal Cases OK Outside the U.S.

Court Protects Immigrants' Right To Reopen Cases From Outside the U.S.

Washington D.C. – A federal appellate court recently reversed a Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) decision (Reyes-Torres v. Holder) that would have prevented noncitizens from presenting new evidence in their removal cases – evidence that potentially could change the outcome – because they are outside the United States. As the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild argued in an amicus brief, Congress enacted laws that allow noncitizens to pursue their cases from outside the U.S.  The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the latest in a series of decisions rejecting the government's position that immigration judges and the BIA lack jurisdiction over such cases.

Federal law gives noncitizens 90 days to file a “motion to reopen,” a procedural mechanism for submitting new evidence after a removal order becomes final. But the BIA has long maintained that it cannot consider a motion to reopen if a foreign national is outside the United States. The court rejected the government’s position, emphasizing that allowing the immigration courts to refuse to hear motions in these cases enables the Department of Homeland Security to unilaterally restrict the opportunity to seek reopening by deporting a person before the deadline for filing a motion to reopen.  As the court concluded, the government’s position “completely eviscerate[s] the statutory right to reopen provided by Congress.”

“Five appellate courts have found that the bar to motions to reopen from outside the U.S. is unlawful.  It is past time for the government to withdraw this outdated regulation rather than proceed with costly litigation,” said Beth Werlin of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center.

"This is a victory for those who care about a fair process to ensure that immigrants are not unlawfully separated from their families,” said Trina Realmuto of the National Immigration Project, who argued this case on behalf of amici curiae.

The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case, applaud the Ninth Circuit's ruling. The Legal Action Center and National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.


April 16, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Beat Goes On: ICE Begins Second Round of Deportations to Haiti During Humanitarian Crisis


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security has resumed deportations of Haitian nationals. On a conference call this morning, U.S. officials confirmed that they have received no assurances that the 19 individuals who were deported will be treated humanely upon their arrival in Haiti. In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights, University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic and Immigration Clinic, FANM/Haitian Women of Miami, Alternative Chance, and Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center issued the following statement:

This morning, the United States deported a second group of Haitian men to face jail and death in post-earthquake Haiti. In January, a 34-year-old man, Wildrick Guerrier, died only 9 days after being deported to Haiti. Guerrier and 26 other men were jailed without being provided with clean water or food and were held in a cell covered with human feces and vomit. Guerrier and other men fell ill, exhibiting cholera-like symptoms, and were refused medical care.

As acknowledged by the U.S. State Department, conditions have only worsened since the January 2010 earthquake that caused ICE to suspend deportations. Haiti is reeling under a cholera epidemic, social unrest, and unsafe and deteriorating tent camps housing over 1.2 million displaced people. Haiti also continues its practice of jailing deportees with past criminal records under life-threatening conditions.

Yet ICE unexpectedly announced in December 2010 that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti for individuals with past criminal records and began rounding up Haitian community members.

Before the first plane to Haiti left on January 20, a wide range of immigrants’ rights and human rights organizations warned that deportation could be a death sentence. On January 6, our organizations petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to instruct the United States to halt the deportations. On February 4, the IACHR issued an order urging the United States not to deport the Haitian petitioners to Haiti and expressing serious concern about the deportations separating families and placing people with medical conditions in life-threatening conditions.

The cholera epidemic has resulted in over a quarter of a million known cases in Haiti with 4,717 reported deaths as of March 18, 2011. Even more alarming, a new study by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Harvard Medical School, published March 16, 2011 in the journal Lancet, is predicting that there could be nearly twice the number of previously expected cases of cholera – up to 779,000 – between this March and November 2011 alone. The U.S. government claims it is working with the government of Haiti towards “safe and humane” removals. This is simply not possible given the conditions on the ground, particularly in the jails where deportees are held.

The United States has an obligation not to deport anyone to death. Our country must live up to its human rights commitments and immediately halt any and all deportations to Haiti.

We call on the Obama Administration for an immediate halt to all removals to Haiti and the release of all Haitians being held with final orders of removal.

For more information visit and CCR's legal case page.


April 16, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 15, 2011

UAFA Reintroduced for Same-Sex Couples

From Out4Immigration:

Legislation and Letter from Congress Increases Demand for Protection of Same-Sex Binational Couples, Families from Discriminatory Immigration Law

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) was reintroduced in the House and Senate today by long-time equal rights advocates Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-8) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The legislation is backed by 98 co-sponsors in the House and 18 in the Senate, a record for the bill on reintroduction. It has been introduced in every session of Congress since 2000.

The bill would add three words to existing US immigration law – “or permanent partner” – wherever the word spouse appears, facilitating the need for LGBT Americans to obtain green cards for their partners while they wait for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“Thousands of committed same-sex couples are needlessly suffering because of unequal treatment under our immigration laws, and this is an outrage,” said Nadler. “Our Constitution guarantees that no class of people will be singled out for differential treatment — and LGBT Americans should not and must not be excluded from that guarantee.”

Adding a one-two punch to UAFA’s reintroduction is a letter from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-16), the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice to stop denying LGBT green card applications and stop separating LGBT binational families. The letter was signed by 48 House members and adds weight to a similar letter sent last week by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and 11 of his colleagues requesting the same immediate remedy to what Rep. Nadler has repeatedly called “gratuitous cruelty.”
UAFA comes into the 112th Congress under a much different landscape than previous introductions of the bill. While Democrats no longer control the House and hold a slimmer majority in the Senate, support for same-sex binationals has grown since President Obama’s directive on February 23 that the federal government stop defending Section 3 of DOMA on the basis that the law – which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages – is unconstitutional.

No group is harder hit by DOMA than same-sex binational couples and their families, many who have been forced into exile or literally torn apart by immigration law that adheres to the DOMA decree that marriage is defined as “one man and one woman.” As a result, these couples, regardless of legal marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships are treated as “legal strangers”.

Deportation cases targeting the foreign partner in these relationships have been winning temporary stays of late, as judges are deferring to the Obama directive that DOMA is unconstitutional. This caused a major uproar last month when the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated it would hold all such cases in abeyance until DOMA’s constitutionality was either formally upheld or overturned. Although USCIS reversed this decision within 36 hours, advocates for same-sex binationals, like Out4Immigration, are petitioning USCIS, the DHS and the White House to restore the abeyance policy, urging an administrative fix until judicial and legislative actions can occur.

With advocacy engines now firing on all three branches of government – relief in some form for the heartbreak and injustice an estimated 36,000 same-sex binationals and their families incur has never seemed more possible. Out4Immigration urges more couples to come forward and tell their stories to continue to build and sustain the momentum. The all-volunteer, grassroots group can be contacted at


April 15, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Peach State Copies Arizona's S.B. 1070 -- Will It Suffer the Same Fate in the Courts?


Map courtesy of

Given that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Arizona's furtive defense of its harsh immigration law on Monday, it seems like an odd week for another state to copycat Arizona.  Nevertheless, AP reports that, on a busy last day of the session, Georgia lawmakers passed a tough bill cracking down on undocumented immigration, which now awaits signing by the Governor.  The Senate voted 37 to 19 and the House voted 112-59 to pass the bill that includes parts similar to an immigration law enacted last year in Arizona, the central parts of which have been struck down as unconstitutional by the federal courts. 

Here (and here) is some background on the passage of the Georgia law.  To view an up-to-date map of the states copycating Arizona, click here.


April 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: Pamelia Brown -- Georgia Considers Arizona-Style Immigration Law

Arizona-style immigration law has reached yet another state. Following on the heels of the Texas legislature's proposed bill that makes it unlawful to refuse to identify yourself to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested or detained you, the Georgia state legislature is now considering a similar bill, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

The bill, HB 87, is finally being considered by the legislature, mere days before the end of the state's session. The bill allows law enforcement personnel to legally question a person's immigration status if law enforcement personnel is reasonably suspicious that the person in question is illegally within the United States.

Some may find it odd that Georgia now joins this battle; however, Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies is not surprised. He told The Christian Science Monitor, "It makes perfect sense that Arizona was at the lead of these measures, because it's ground zero for illegal immigration, but it also makes sense that Georgia would be active, because Georgia is now one of the top illegal immigration destinations."

In fact, fifty-two such bills have been filed in thirty states since Arizona led the immigration-legislation charge: Fourteen have failed and thirty-six are still pending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What, then, explains this sudden uptick in immigration law reform? It's certainly not a question of jobs, as research already suggests that illegal immigrants hardly competed with Americans for jobs. See the recently implemented Utah Guest-Worker Program as evidence.

Kikorian cites a new reason: fear. "The cartel issue is what drives fears," he said. "And they're not irrational or groundless."

Indeed. Recently we have seen an increasingly alarming rate of violence in areas closer to our borders. The violence is no longer confined to Mexico's interior, and Americans are worried.

So the question, now, is how can we implement fair and balanced immigration reform that protects U.S. citizens from basic human rights abuses while also keeping America's borders safe from the kind of terrifying crime we see south of us?

Whatever the solution, it's clear that we still have a long way to go in order to figure it out.

By-line: This guest contribution was submitted by Pamelia Brown, who specializes in writing about associates degree. Questions and comments can be sent to:

April 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Court 101: What Every Attorney Should Know Before Appearing In Immigration Court

Iranian American Lawyers Association co-sponsored by and APAWLA Immigration Court 101: What Every Attorney Should Know Before Appearing In Immigration Court (2 Hours of MCLE)

This program focuses on teaching new and experienced immigration practitioners what to expect when they appear before the Executive Office for Immigration Review at a master calendar and individual hearing. The program will address the immigration practice manual, the submission of evidence, preparation of witnesses, and tips for formulating a direct and cross-examination. Participants will also be introduced to motion practice. Faculty will provide a practical, hands-on approach to trying a case. There will be a question and answer session. Register here.

Speakers: Honorable Immigration Judge Gita Vahid (In Her Personal Capacity)

Honorable Immigration Judge Bruce Einhorn (Ret.)

Honorable Immigration Judge Gilbert T. Gembacz (Ret.)

Moderator: Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson, Jacobson & Han LLP, Immigration Attorneys

Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Time: 6:00 p.m.

Beverly Hills Country Club, 3084 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, CA

April 15, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Cost of Failure: The Burden of Immigration Enforcement in America’s Cities

The Drum Major Institute’s latest report, “The Cost of Failure: The Burden of Immigration Enforcement in America’s Cities,” finds that our fiscally strapped cities are bearing too much of the cost. From Nashville and Raleigh to San Francisco and Las Vegas, local immigration enforcement advances the federal enforcement agenda at the expense of local goals. Focusing on the federal immigration programs known as 287(g), the Criminal Alien Program and Secure Communities, the report finds that:

• Local immigration enforcement is costly for city budgets and local economies. The federal government reimburses cities for less than a quarter of the costs incurred jailing immigrants who have committed crimes. Immigration enforcement also undercuts the vital contributions immigrants make to urban economies. When enforcement programs push immigrant consumers underground, business suffer and tax revenue is lost.

• Local immigration enforcement is counterproductive to public safety. Enforcing civil immigration laws diverts police time and resources away from criminal investigations. The unchecked growth of Secure Communities destroys successful policies that keep city authorities from inquiring about federal immigration status.

• Local immigration enforcement is misguided as a crime control strategy. ICE’s partnership programs consistently fail to focus on serious criminals, instead identifying thousands of undocumented and legal permanent residents who have committed minor offenses, or none at all. Support for local enforcement programs is based on a misguided understanding of the relationship between immigration and crime—immigrants are not more crime-prone than other groups.

Rather than the burden of immigration enforcement in tight fiscal times, local governments instead should embrace community policing strategies and include immigrants in crime-fighting efforts. Ultimately, immigration enforcement won’t be fully effective without a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policies that begins with the legalization and integration of immigrants and their families. Failing these and other needed immigration reforms, our local enforcement system will continue to burden our cities and sweep up immigrants who are supporting urban economies.


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Fight Human Trafficking

CNN reports
that Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher will be interviewed tonight on "Piers Morgan Tonight" on CNN/US at 9 p.m. ET.  "There's between 100,000 and 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today," Ashton Kutcher tells CNN's Piers Morgan. "If you don't do something to stop that - that's when there's something wrong with you." The husband-and-wife team launched The Demi & Ashton Foundation (DNA) after a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in January. The DNA Foundation stands for the fundamental right to freedom for every person.  Here is what the website says about the foundation:

"Believing that freedom is a basic human right, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher founded The Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) to raise awareness about child sex slavery, change the cultural stereotypes that facilitate this horrific problem, and rehabilitate innocent victims. DNA is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization.

More people are slaves today than ever before and the numbers are soaring. Men, women and children are enslaved for many purposes including sex, pornography, forced labor and indentured servitude. Among slaves, children are the most vulnerable and their rights are the least recognized. The global sex slavery market generates $32 billion in profits annually. Two million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. In just the United States, between 100,000 and 300,000 children are enslaved and sold for sex. The sex slavery industry has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn between $150,000 and $200,000 each year for her pimp.

DNA hopes to help abolish modern day slavery, deter perpetrators and free the many innocent and exploited victims. We are committed to forcing sex slavery out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Freedom is a basic human right and slavery is one of the greatest threats to that freedom. No one has the right to enslave another person. Freedom - It's in our DNA."



April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration on Army Wives

Army Wives, a TV show on the Lifetime Network, which runs on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m., has episodes this week and next that feature a military family member with immigration problems. Law prof Margaret Stock was a technical advisor on the immigration story line.

April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SCOMM Hits the Tar Heel State

North-carolina Courtesy of

"A program designed to remove criminal aliens has actually been used to deport more than 1,200 people from North Carolina who have never been convicted of a crime, a reesenews investigation has revealed."  Read on


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Undocumented Immigrants: Give Them A Parade

Here are my reflections on the Ninth Circuit's upholding of the injunction against Arizona's SB1070.

From Huffington Post:

On Monday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the preliminary injunction issued by the federal trial court in Arizona halting the implementation of the primary features of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law. The court held that Arizona's law interferes with the federal enforcement efforts by directing state and local officers on how to enforce federal immigration laws. That invades the purview of federal immigration officials. The court also was influenced by the fact that foreign governments and the United Nations have complained about the Arizona law, creating a foreign policy problem. Arizona's added attempt to criminalize undocumented status at the state level also was criticized by the court. Congress has a comprehensive scheme for punishing undocumented immigrants, and therefore, Congress has preempted the field of criminalizing aliens.

At some point, states and local governments will get the message that they must leave the regulation of immigrants to the federal government. The anti-immigrant folks should be satisfied with that. After all, the Obama administration continues its record-setting pace for immigration detentions and deportations.

The furor over undocumented immigration is palpable. The anti-immigrant folks argue that things are out of control. We are being overrun. They have broken the law. They take jobs away from native workers. They use our resources. They don't share our values. They don't speak English. Simply put, this is a crisis!

My solution is simple. Calm down. Welcome undocumented workers. We have recruited and relied upon them for generations. They are here controlled by forces of globalization and trade polices. They have contributed to the economic greatness of our country. Welcome their families. Their children have become part of the social fabric of the nation. Like newcomers of the past, they are here to seek a better life through hard work and dedication to their families. To welcome them is to do the right thing. In fact, let's give them a parade. (I confess that the parade idea comes from former executive editor and op-ed columnist of the N.Y. Times, A. M. Rosenthal, who, in 1993, urged us to give a parade for Chinese who paid smugglers to bring them to the United States surreptitiously, and welcome them as heroes after fleeing China for a better life aboard the Golden Venture into New York harbor.) Read more...


April 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Senators Urge Deferred Action for DREAMers

Adam Serwer writes for American Prospect:

Yesterday, Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin sent a letter to the president requesting that the administration set up a process by which undocumented immigrants who might acquire a path to citizenship could apply for "deferred action," which would give them couple of years to remain in the country rather than being deported.

The letter, which is signed by more conservative members of the Democratic caucus like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, takes pains to emphasize that Bush-era DHS officials also recommended pursuing deferred action in order to focus on those undocumented immigrants who pose the biggest threat to public safety. Students who would be eligible for citizenship under the DREAM Act have been left in the lurch since the bill was filibustered during last year's lame duck session.

Conservatives will call this "stealth amnesty" if they haven't already, but that's not entirely accurate. What this would mean is that the government would agree not to deport them since they aren't dangerous, so they shouldn't be a priority. The administration has granted deferred action to students in the past, but what the Senators are asking is for the government to set up a public process by which DREAM-eligible students could apply for deferred action before deportation is imminent. This isn't citizenship though, or even a path to citizenship, so it can't really be described as amnesty as the word is traditionally used in the context of immigration. It's really just the government saying on an individual basis, "you're not the kind of undocumented immigrant we're worried about right now." In other words, the U.S. should focus on deporting murderers, not Georgetown students. Read more....


April 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Senate Passes "Birther" Bill

225px-Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama Jan
Hawaii Native Barack Obama                    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona’s state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that will require presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before they can be included on a state ballot. Prompted by challenges to President Barack Obama’s citizenship, see, e.g., here, and, therefore, eligibility for the job, the bill passed 20-9 in the Senate, and now moves to the state House for a final vote before heading to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk. Read more about the latest controversial bill from Arizona on

It is hard to say what is fueling the persistence of the "birther" movement and teh claim that President  Obama is not eligible for the Presidency. In the only provision of the U.S. Constitution of its kind for any office, the Constitution provides that “[n]o Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 4 (emphasis added). Despite the release of public records establishing that President Obama was born in Hawaii, his eligibility for the Presidency has repeatedly been challenged on the ground that he allegedly was born outside of the United States. See Samuel G. Freedman, In Untruths About Obama, Echoes of a Distant Time, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 1, 2008, at A21; Frank Rich, The Obama Haters’ Silent Enablers, N.Y. TIMES, Jun. 14, 2009, at 8; Dana Milbank, President Alien, and Other Tales From the Fringe, WASH. POST, Dec. 9, 2008, at A3. There is even a website devoted to the so-called “birther” movement, which CNN’s Lou Dobbs gave mainstream credence on his prime time news show before his abrupt departure in late 2009, see Michael Shain & David K. Li, Dobbs Gave Up on $9M, N.Y. POST, Nov. 13, 2009, at 15.

Besides being challenged as a foreigner, President Obama has been accused of being Muslim, even though he emphatically insists that he is Christian. See Angie Drobnic Holan, Fact: Obama Isn’t a Muslim, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Aug. 27, 2010 (“The Pew Research Center last week reported that 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent in March 2009. A Time magazine poll also released last week found even more people—24 percent—said he was a Muslim.”).

The latest Arizona law makes me ask again:  what is going on in Arizona?


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Gay Immigrants Allege Human Rights Abuses at ICE Detention Centers

Here is another troubling story about immigrant detention.  Yesterday, immigrant advocates filed 13 complaints with the Department of Homeland Security alleging civil and human rights abuses of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants being detained pending removal proceedings. The Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center wants the agency's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to investigate the treatment of sexual minorities in DHS custody, craft policies to address any violations and oversee their implementation.  According to the complaint, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender detainees experienced abuses including sexual assault, solitary confinement, denial of medical care, and discrimination. For example, Steve, a gay Peruvian asylum seeker, was held in solitary confinement for almost six weeks “on the sole basis that he is HIV-positive,” the complaint alleges. “Officers frequently prohibited Steve from leaving his cell to get his HIV medication. Steve was traumatized when he sought medical treatment and an officer refused to remove the shackles on his feet, waist, and hands, despite pleas from his doctor.”

A Human Rights Watch report from a couple of years ago entitled "Chronic Indifference" concluded that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security fails to collect basic information to monitor immigrant detainees with HIV/AIDS, has sub-standard policies and procedures for ensuring appropriate HIV/AIDS care and services, and inadequately supervises the care that is provided. The consequence of this willful indifference is poor care, untreated infection, increased risk of resistance to HIV medications, and even death.


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Postcard from Florence, Arizona: Hundreds of Asylum Seekers Detained Without Counsel


Photo with released client and Katie and Argentina

UC Davis Law alum Katherine Dick writes about immigrant detention in Florence, Arizona. The title of the article is "Hundreds of Asylum Seekers Detained Without Counsel."

Kate, who as a law student worked in the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, is a fellow with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (with two other UC Davis Law alums, Tally Kingsnorth and Kate Ruhl).  For a blog on immigrant detention in Arizona, click here.


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles From SSRN

Here are some new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network (

"What Drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes" Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano Development Studies Working Paper No. 294 GIOVANNI FACCHINI, University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) MAX FRIEDRICH STEINHARDT, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Centro Studi Luca D'Agliano (LdA).  ABSTRACT:  Immigration is today one of the most hotly debated policy issues in the United States. Despite marked divergence of opinion even within political parties, several important reforms have been introduced in the post 1965 era. The purpose of this paper is to carry out a systematic analysis of the drivers of the voting behavior of US representatives on immigration policy in the period 1970-2006, and in particular to assess the role of economic factors at the district level. Our findings suggest that representatives from more skilled labor abundant districts are more likely to support an open immigration policy towards the unskilled, whereas the opposite is true for representatives from more unskilled labor abundant districts. This evidence is robust to the introduction of an array of additional economic and non-economic characteristics of the districts, and suggests that a simple factor analysis model can go a long way in explaining the voting behavior on immigration policy.

"Colombian Asylum Seekers: What Practitioners Should Know About the Colombian Crisis" Georgetown Immigration Law Review, Vol. 18, p. 441, 2004 Stetson University College of Law Research Paper LUZ ESTELLA NAGLE, Stetson University - College of Law.  ABSTRACT: The decades-long internal armed conflict in Colombia has created a mass migration of Colombian nationals from levels of Colombian society to flee to the United States in search of gaining political asylum and a chance to start new lives. Many asylum seekers have been subjected to unspeakable abuse and persecution by illegal armed groups and political movements that employ violence as a means to asserting power over citizens. The government has been largely unable to protect many citizens caught up in political turmoil, in part due institutional corruption and the effects of Colombia being a weak state in terms of its government institutions and inability to protect the constitutional and human rights of all Colombian citizens. While many asylum seekers have legitimate claims for asylum in the United States, at the same time, many Colombians seek to misuse asylum protections as a way to gain entry into the United States. The author suggests that a “formula” circulates throughout the Colombian immigrant community for unscrupulous Colombians to follow to make claims for asylum for which they are not entitled. This article examines real claims for asylum and how some Colombians rely on the naiveté of American lawyers and judges to juice the system and gain asylum under false and manufactured pretenses. The article weaves a cautionary tale for what immigration lawyers should know about what is really happening in Colombia and what warning signs they should look for in determining the veracity of Colombian asylum claims.

"Cutting Class: Why Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban Won’t Ban Ethnic Studies" Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 11-15 NICHOLAS B. LUNDHOLM, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law.  ABSTRACT:  In 2006, Mexican American labor activist Dolores Huertas told an assembly of Tucson high school students "Republicans hate Latinos." This remark set in motion a prolonged effort by Arizona’s State School Superintendent to rein in perceived racist and politically charged teaching in Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program. Four years later, the Arizona state legislature enacted H.B. 2281, a bill that proponents claimed would give the Superintendent authority to defund Tucson Unified School District if it refused to stop teaching Mexican American Studies. This Note will demonstrate that the ethnic studies law is in fact much narrower than its proponents have suggested, so much so that it will not even apply to Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program. While the ethnic studies law makes sweeping prohibitions on teaching resentment and ethnic solidarity in the classroom, it simultaneously carves out vast exceptions allowing instruction on history and controversial issues. The end result is a law that will be difficult to enforce: for the Superintendent to determine that any classroom material violates the law, he must first observe how teachers actually present the material in the classroom. Neither may the Superintendent conclude that a course violates the law just because a high percentage of enrolled students are a particular race. Instead, Arizona is left with an ambiguous, difficult to enforce law that will only be successful at stirring up litigation.

"Extracting Compassion from Confusion: Sentencing Noncitizens After United States v. Booker" Fordham Law Review Vol. 79, 2011 FRANCESCA BRODY, affiliation not provided to SSRN.  ABSTRACT:  A noncitizen facing a federal judge for sentencing confronts a demonstrably different future than an otherwise identical citizen. Deportation, immigration detention, harsher prison conditions, and a longer actual sentence may all await the noncitizen federal inmate. The U.S. Courts of Appeals have disagreed as to whether a sentencing judge can take those consequences into consideration in crafting a sentence under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. This Note argues that the circuit split results from circuit courts’ varying appellate scrutiny of sentencing decisions after United States v. Booker. To resolve the split, this Note encourages the Sentencing Commission to adopt an amendment to the Guidelines, thereby promoting uniformity among sentencing courts. In the alternative, this Note argues that it is proper for sentencing courts to consider alienage under 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

"Balancing the Frame of Threat: Uninvited Migrants in the Finnish News" KARINA HORSTI, University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences.  ABSTRACT: This chapter analyzes Finnish news journalism concerning asylum seekers and undocumented migration. It focuses on 'the variety of others', the media not only construct a division between 'us' and 'them', but also create varieties of 'others'. The solution to the problems related to otherness is not, however, to recognize that we are all different, as the currently popular discourse that celebrates 'cultural diversity' often claims. This chapter scrutinizes the frames of 'threat' and 'victim' which are typical of the media’s coverage of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. To identify the narrative, I have analyzed what is defined as problems and what is offered as the causes of and solutions to these. In addition to the development of a narrative, I have analyzed the words and sentences, i.e. the framing device. This level of analysis helps analyze the narrative level.


April 14, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Response to Donald Trump's "Birther" Claims

As ImmigrationProf previously reported, billionaire Donald Trump coincidentally joined the "birther" movement when he began exploring a possible run for the Presidency.  Eric Lach on TPMuckraker takes a look at CNN's rebuttal to Donald Trump's "birther" claims.


April 13, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

GOP on Immigration: Gallegly not the Answer

From America's Voice:

GOP on Immigration: How to Lose Friends and Mobilize People

The Political Consequences of Endorsing Elton Gallegly’s Mass Deportation Policy

Washington – Yesterday, former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman stated at a conference at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, “My view is that the immigration discussion, the rhetoric the Republican Party uses, is not helpful; it's not helpful in a state with the Latino population we have…We as a party are going to have to make some changes, how we think about immigration, and how we talk about immigration.” 

Whitman should know; as a candidate in 2010, her fumbling hypocrisy on the immigration issue marked the turning point in her campaign against eventual winner, Gov. Jerry Brown, whom Latino voters supported by a stunning margin of 86-13%, according to Latino Decisions polling.  Dan Schnur, a major California pundit and Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California said, “the 2010 election is a very accurate foreshadowing of the impact of the Latino vote in statewide elections, unless Republicans figure out a different way to deal with this.” 

Nevertheless, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) today hosted another hearing in the House of Representatives’ Immigration Subcommittee that underscores his policy goal of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.  Evidently, the memos regarding the political stupidity of Republicans’ hard-line immigration stance as well as the new Census data highlighting the demographic importance of appealing to Latino voters has yet to reach his desk. 

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “By entrusting their immigration policy to a man like Elton Gallegly the Republican Party couldn’t come up with a more direct way of losing the Latino vote if they tried.  He seems to want to do to Republican competitiveness on a national stage what former California Gov. Pete Wilson did for the Republican Party in California in the mid-1990s: push for hard-line policies that alienate Latino voters and doom GOP political fortunes in the process.”

The new Census data make clear the demographic and political predicament California Republicans find themselves in: between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population of California grew by 28% to its current level of over 14 million people.  Latino population growth comprised over 90% of the Golden State’s overall population growth and Latinos now constitute approximately 38% of the overall state population.  Additionally, as National Journal pointed out, these trends are certain to increase, as 51 percent of Californians younger than 18 are Latino.  The changing demographics are even occurring right before Elton Gallegly’s eyes, but we’re not so sure he sees it.  According to the Ventura County Star, in Ventura County, Gallegly’s own congressional district, the Latino population is surging, growing over the last decade “from 33 percent of all residents in 2000 to 40 percent in 2010.”

Despite these statistics, Elton Gallegly thinks a policy strategy centered around deporting the undocumented immigrant population that is largely Latino is a political winner. 

What Gallegly fails to grasp, and what Whitman failed to grasp by embracing hard-line policies during the Republican primary, is that Latino voters in California and beyond view immigration through a decidedly personal lens and have little tolerance for candidates and parties who espouse mass-deportation policy prescriptions.  In polling by Latino Decisions in eight states with sizeable Latino voting blocs on election eve 2010, 60% of Latino voters said the issue of immigration was either “the most important” issue or “one of the most important” issues in determining their vote.  The numbers are higher among Spanish-dominant voters.  Earlier polling of Latino voters in twelve states by Bendixen & Amandi in found that 72% of Latino voters would not consider voting for a congressional candidate who was in favor of forcing most undocumented immigrants to leave the country (vs. only 19% of Latino voters who would consider it).

Read America’s Voice’s Background on Elton Gallegly:


April 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)