Saturday, April 30, 2011
From Europe Online:
Mexico`s Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the creation of a law that ensures the protection of undocumented migrants traveling through the country to the United States, El Universal newspaper reported. The new reform, which still needs the approval of President Felipe Calderón before going into effect, would combat trafficking, exploitation of migrants, and the use of criminal networks. Read more...
Excerpt of Remarks by President Obama at Miami Date College Commencement yesterday:
I strongly believe we should fix our broken immigration system. (Applause.) Fix it so that it meets our 21st-century economic and security needs. And I want to work with Democrats and Republicans, yes, to protect our borders, and enforce our laws, and address the status of millions of undocumented workers. (Applause.) And I will keep fighting alongside many of you to make the DREAM Act the law of the land. (Applause.)
Like all of this country’s movements towards justice, it will be difficult and it will take time. I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. (Applause.) But that’s not how democracy works. See, democracy is hard. But it’s right.
Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one. And I am convinced we can change the laws, because we should all be able to agree that it makes no sense to expel talented young people from our country. They grew up as Americans. They pledge allegiance to our flag. And if they are trying to serve in our military or earn a degree, they are contributing to our future -- and we welcome those contributions. (Applause.)
Friday, April 29, 2011
President Obama has suggested that he does not have the administrative authority to grant broad deferred action to DREAM Act students. In a memorandum today, legal experts think he does:
To: Interested Parties
From: Jeanne Butterfield, Esq.
Former Executive Director, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Bo Cooper, Esq.
Former INS General Counsel
Marshall Fitz, Esq.
Director of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress
Benjamin Johnson, Esq.
Executive Director, American Immigration Council
Paul Virtue, Esq.
Former INS General Counsel
Crystal Williams, Esq.
Executive Director, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Re: Executive Branch Authority Regarding Implementation of Immigration Laws and Policies
The role of executive branch authority with respect to the implementation of immigration laws and policies has been well documented. This memorandum offers a short overview of the scope of executive branch authority and provides examples of its use in the immigration context.
Exercising Executive Authority
The authority of law enforcement agencies to exercise discretion in deciding what cases to investigate and prosecute under existing civil and criminal law, including immigration law, is fundamental to the American legal system. Every prosecutor and police officer in the nation makes daily decisions about how to allocate enforcement resources, based on judgments about which cases are the most egregious, which cases have the strongest evidence, which cases should be settled and which should be brought forward to trial.
. . .
Deferred action determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, but eligibility for such discretionary relief can be extended to individuals based on their membership in a discrete class. For example, in June 2009, the Secretary of DHS granted deferred action to individuals who fell in to the following class: widows of U.S. citizens who were unable to adjust their status due to a statutory restriction (related to duration of marriage at time of sponsor’s death). Congress subsequently enacted a change in the law to address this particular problem. Read the entire memo here...
Karen Sloan at the National Law Journal reports that the efforts of Yale law students to help Iraqi refugees has evolved into a nonprofit organization with student chapters at nine law schools and three more on the way. "Additional chapters have formed at Columbia Law School; New York University School of Law; the University of Pennsylvania Law School; the University of California, Berkeley School of Law; the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Stanford Law School; Duke Law School; and the University of Jordan. Next fall, fledgling chapters at Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and Northeastern University School of Law are expected to start taking Iraqi refugee cases."
From the Tennessean:
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Nashville mother who triggered a national outcry after she was shackled during labor and after giving birth while in custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
U.S District Court Judge William Haynes Jr. will set a hearing for damages against Metro government and the sheriff’s office in the Juana Villegas case, which grew out of a July 3, 2008, traffic stop in Berry Hill.
Nine months pregnant, Villegas was arrested and charged with careless driving and driving without vehicle insurance. She didn’t have a driver’s license.
A check of Villegas’ immigration status found she had a previous deportation order to her native Mexico. Her water broke on July 5 and she delivered the baby at 1 a.m. on July 6.
In his decision Wednesday, Haynes wrote that Villegas was “neither a risk of flight nor a danger to anyone,” citing medical testimony. The judge concluded that shackling Villegas during the final stages of her labor and her post-partum recovery violated her civil rights. Read more....
Yesterday, Kevin Johnson reported that President Obama would be meeting with a group of Latinos that included Eva Longoria to discuss immigration reform. Here is a report of the meeting from the Christian Post:
Though President Barack Obama reached out to a number of Hispanic celebrities to discuss the broken immigration system on Thursday, one prominent Latino pastor is not happy with the actions, or lack thereof, that he’s been seeing over the last two years.
President Obama stated at the beginning of his presidential campaign that the immigration issue would be resolved with laws that would be just for all, Dr. Alberto Delgado, senior pastor of Alpha & Omega Church in Miami, Fla., pointed out to The Christian Post.
“But up to this point, he has not passed or pushed any laws through,” he lamented.
In an attempt to reassure Hispanic voters, Obama invited to the White House a dozen influential Hispanics, including actresses Eva Longoria, Rosario Dawson and America Ferrera, Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, and Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, among others.
According to a White House statement, during the meeting, Obama reiterated his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform both strengthens security at our borders while restoring accountability to the broken immigration system. He also expressed his “deep disappointment” that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled and that the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate in December.
The DREAM Act would allow undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the country before they were 16 and have been living in the U.S. continuously for five years to be eligible for conditional non-immigrant status.
Obama made clear during the meeting that legislative action in Congress is the only way to fix the immigration system.
Diaz-Balart said Thursday's meeting was encouraging because the Hispanic community had not heard from Obama since he pledged to push for immigration reform during his presidential run.
Earlier this month, Obama met with leaders from the law enforcement, faith and business sectors to rally more support in the immigration debate.
Pastor Delgado emphasized that there is urgency for the immigration issue to be resolved. He highlighted that the division of families taking place across the country is “painful and immoral,” and said it is happening “especially with Hispanics.”
“The ones that are being persecuted are the Hispanics,” Delgado asserted, “although they say the laws are against undocumented immigrants.” Read more...
The BLT: Blog of Legal Times reports that "Immigration advocates bemoaned the Obama administration's failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation and "ferocious" emphasis on enforcement at a panel today at American University's Washington College of Law, warning that it could cost the president reelection in 2012."
Immigration Article of the Day: Thinking Broadly About Immigration Reform by Addressing Root Causes by Bill Hing
"Thinking Broadly About Immigration Reform by Addressing Root Causes" LEGAL BRIEFS ON IMMIGRATION REFORM FROM 25 OF THE TOP LEGAL MINDS IN THE COUNTRY, Mona Parsa, Deborah Robinson, eds., 2011 BILL ONG HING. ABSTRACT: The United States is caught up in hysteria, media-induced fear, and misinformation over undocumented immigration. We have militarized the border through "Operation Gatekeeper" pushing border crossers into treacherous terrain, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths since the 1990s. We have engaged in Gestapo-type raids of businesses, homes, and neighborhoods, sometimes separating children from their parents. We have arrested and deported lawful permanent resident immigrants who have resided in the United States most of their lives. We have rounded up workers in restaurant sweeps. We have prosecuted human rights volunteers in the Arizona desert who provided food, water, and emergency medical care to the undocumented. We have encouraged private vigilantes to enforce a twisted sense of national security that results in armed ranchers pointing loaded assault weapons at teenage girls and the murder of a nine-year-old and her father in their living room. Anti-immigrant ordinances and laws fomented by resentment over undocumented workers have been proposed and enacted in states and towns across the country, causing great division in those communities. In the process, we have harmed countless innocent families, wasted billions of dollars, and lost valuable time that would be better spent working to integrate newcomers into our society. In this book chapter, Professor Hing argues that the time has come to think beyond enforcement-only approaches - to think creatively. We need to re-think employer sanctions and the harsh consequences of ICE raids that are conducted under the auspices of such laws. We need to think about expanding visa categories that reflect the needs of the regional and global economies in which we are engaged. We must recognize that solving the so-called undocumented immigration challenge only will come with an open-minded approach that recognizes the need to begin helping build the economy and infrastructure of our neighbors to the south.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Immigration courts are ill-equipped to handle cases involving immigrants with mental disabilities.
From Huffington Post:
Our detention and deportation system failed Anya (her name has been changed for confidentiality purposes). She was born in Russia with heart defects and deformed hands. She was rejected by her parents for many years, spending her infancy in hospitals and institutions. Later she was abused by her parents, then abandoned by them. She immigrated to the United States as a young teen, adopted by U.S. citizens. After more than a decade, she had a child of her own, whom she abused. Anya was diagnosed with mental illness. Although she was convicted of child abuse, the state court recommended medication, counseling, and a chance to regain custody of her child. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") took over, and Anya was deported. Without a chance to comply with the state family court's order, Anya's ties with her child were permanently severed. She should not have lost her child. She should not have been removed.
The law required ICE to detain Anya. Mandatory ICE detention is required when the immigrant has been convicted of a moral turpitude crime where the maximum sentence is more than one year, even if the person was not sentenced to more than one year. Anya's child abuse conviction fell into that category, even though she was actually only sentenced to a few months in jail. Detention radically affected the complexion of the proceedings. Her attorneys could not meet and prepare with her in noncustodial settings, she could not assist in the gathering of and assembling of helpful evidence, and, perhaps most importantly, she could not abide by the family reunification order of the state court.
Outcomes are often a matter of chance or circumstance. The results of Anya’s case could have been quite different without changes in the law if the personalities were different. For example, a different immigration judge might have seen things differently. A different government attorney may have been more sympathetic and taken a more humanistic approach to the facts in the case. A stronger attorney for Anya may have yielded a different result. However, when the stakes are so high, do we really want to leave things to such speculative chance? Matters involving such high stakes should not be left to simple chance or circumstance; because the stakes are so important in removal proceedings, processes must be institutionalized in order to better assure high standards of fairness and consistency. Faced with immigrants suffering from mental disorders, immigration judges should have options available that at least include referrals to mental health professionals outside of detention. At least then, immigrants like Anya would have a meaningful chance. Read more...
A new feature discussing the illusion of race generally, and specifically as it pertains the US government’s Latino-Hispanic ethnic category, has just been published on www.migrationinformation.org, and I thought it would be of value to you and your readers. In Pigments of Our Imagination: The Racialization of the Hispanic-Latino Category, Rubén Rumbaut considers the following questions:
• When and for what purpose was the Latino-Hispanic category first created?
• How do people classified as Latinos or Hispanics fit into US society’s racial frame today?
• Are Hispanics a "race" or, more precisely, a racialized category?
• Is there a Latino or Hispanic ethnic group, cohesive and self-conscious, sharing a sense of peoplehood?
Among other findings, Rumbaut’s analysis of recent census and survey data reveals that the concept of “race” has malleable meanings, and that there are vast differences in the way in which Hispanics see themselves racially and ethnically. Divisions are evident between regions and groups, within groups, and even within families.
From Derechos Humanos:
The Eighth Annual Migrant Trail Walk is only a month away! Online registration is going on now- the deadline to register is Friday, May 13th. See below for details, and the link to the online registration.
Please consider joining us on the first day, or walking with us on the last day. We stand in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers!
The Migrant Trail:
We Walk for Life May 30- June 5, 2011
Join us for the seventh annual 75-mile journey from Sásabe, Sonora to Tucson, Arizona in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers who have walked this trail and lost their lives. We bear witness to the lives that are lost, the families who mourn, and the communities that suffer the divisions that borders wreak on all of us.
Monday, May 30th, 2:00pm:
Join us for the sending forth ceremony and the 5 mile walk to our first campsite on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
Sunday, June 5th, 11:30am:
Join us for the welcoming celebration as participants complete the 75-mile journey, bearing witness to the gauntlet of death that has claimed more than 5,000 men, women and children on the U.S.-México border.
Online Registration has begun!
Registration is not complete until you have completed the online registration process, and mailed your Waiver, Participant Agreement, Medical Information Form, and your payment has been received. Forms cannot be e-mailed, as we need your original signature.
Click HERE to register for the Migrant Trail 2011
All registration information must be received by Friday, May 13, 2011.
The suggested donation for participating in the Migrant Trail is $7 per day.
Please send checks to:
Arizona Border Rights Foundation
(put "Migrant Trail" in the memo field)
P.O. Box 1286
Tucson, AZ 85702
In an effort to respect the group experience of Migrant Trail, we are only accepting participants who can commit to walking the entire week. If you are unable to commit to the entire week, we welcome you to the sending forth ceremony on the first day, and the receiving ceremony on the last.
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 520.770.1373
(Washington, DC)- South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), along with the Arab American Institute (AAI), the National Immigration Forum (NIF) and the Rights Working Group (RWG), welcome the decision by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to modify the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS). According to DHS through a notice published in the Federal Register, effective tomorrow, nationals and citizens of countries currently subject to NSEERS are no longer required to register. Read the notice here.
The NSEERS program was a counter-productive response in the wake of September 11, 2001, and required certain non-immigrants to register at ports of entry and local immigration offices; this process entailed fingerprints, photographs and lengthy questioning. One controversial aspect of the NSEERS program was a "domestic call-in" component that solicited registrations from more than 80,000 males who were inside the United States on temporary visas from predominantly Arab, South Asian, or Muslim-majority countries. The specific parameters of NSEERS revealed it to be a system that was a clear example of profiling: discriminatory, arbitrary, and, as DHS itself has stated, an ineffective national security measure.
DHS has notified key stakeholders about the delisting of countries from the NSEERS regulations, and suggested that individuals residing in the U.S. and facing removal or a denial of immigration benefits because of NSEERS will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The groups look forward to working with DHS to ensure that favorable discretion is exercised toward individuals facing immigration consequences because of an NSEERS-related issue. It is critical that DHS view this rule as a starting point for granting relief retroactively for those affected by NSEERS. Ultimately, these groups believe that NSEERS must be repealed in its entirety.
SAALT and our community partners are available to provide additional information about NSEERS as well as what its termination means for the South Asian community.
"SAALT has been advocating for an end to NSEERS since the program was instituted in late 2002. We believe that the program targeted individuals for differential treatment under the immigration system simply because of their country of origin and religion. While this is an important step forward, we hope that other government agencies and Congress will move forward to eliminate all forms of profiling through internal guidance as well as laws such as the End Racial Profiling Act." - Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT.
For additionalinformation, please contact:
Priya Murthy, South Asian Americans Leading Together | 301 270 1855 | email@example.com
Abed A. Ayoub, Anti-Discrimination Committee | 202 244 2990 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Omar Tewfik, Arab American Institute | 202 429 9210 | email@example.com
Martine Apodaca, National Immigration Forum |202-347-0040 |
Shahid Buttar, Bill of Rights Defense Committee | 202 316 9229 | media@Bordc.org
Fahd Ahmed, Desis Rising Up & Moving | 940 391 2660 | firstname.lastname@example.org
High-skilled immigrant entrepreneurs from India and China are leaving the United States by the tens of thousands each year, drawn away by better economic and professional opportunities in their home countries, according to a study released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
"Importing the Flawless Girl" Nevada Law Review," by KIT JOHNSON, University of North Dakota School of Law. ABSTRACT: Fashion model visas have never been the subject scholarly treatment, much less a focused analysis. In fact, they have been the subject of considerable confusion in Congress and have become a polarizing issue in public debate. Clarity is important, because the granting of visas to fashion models has an undeniably positive economic impact on a major U.S. industry. Moreover, fashion model visas have the unique potential to serve as levers to affect important aspects of social policy and to address public health concerns. This paper begins by examining what it takes to be a fashion model and why the U.S. fashion industry wants and needs foreign models. I then discuss the business of modeling including, in particular, what models do and how they are paid. Next, I take an in-depth look at the visa system for fashion models, examining the congressional history behind current law. I also look at congressional efforts to change that law, efforts that have been pilloried despite the substantial economic benefit at stake. Taking this into account, I examine ways in which fashion model visas could be changed. I propose creating a new visa to capture the economic benefits of allowing one category of fashion models easy entry into the United States. I also propose modifying the regulations governing visas for another category of fashion models in order to address social ills and health problems stemming from anorexia and abuse. Doing so would help reform aspects of the modeling industry that have been the consistent subject of attack. Such restrictions would not only benefit the foreign models themselves, but could effect positive change for U.S. models and the wider public.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Over Deportation Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County
Today, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and the Center for America Progress (CAP) release "Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Over Deportation Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County," by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda and Marshall Fitz. This report looks at the likely economic impact on California and Los Angeles County of deportation-only policies that would drive unauthorized immigrants from the state. The report compares that scenario to the economic gains which would result from a program that would allow unauthorized immigrants to attain legal status. The analysis finds that the economic and fiscal consequences of widespread deportation for California and Los Angeles County would be devastating given the number of jobs which are supported through the labor, consumption, and tax payments of unauthorized immigrants.
The IPC and CAP recently released a similar report which focused on Arizona. The analysis in today's report finds that the economic and fiscal consequences of widespread deportation for California and Los Angeles County would be even more devastating than in Arizona. Our analysis demonstrates unequivocally that unauthorized immigrants don’t simply “fill” jobs—they create jobs. Through the work they perform, the money they spend, and the taxes they pay, unauthorized immigrants sustain the jobs of many other workers in the U.S. economy, immigrants and native-born alike.