Saturday, May 7, 2011
From the Center for Families, Children and the Courts:
You are invited to attend a multi-disciplinary training entitled: The Nuts and Bolts of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SJIS) which will be held on June 13, 2011 at the Department of Social Services in San Luis Obispo City, CA. We offer Continuing Education Units credit for all Attorneys, Social Workers, Judicial Officer and Court Staff of San Luis Obispo County.
This training is sponsored by Administrative Office of the Courts and funded through the Federal Court Improvement Grant. Registration is free.
If you are interested, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to see you on this event. Please feel free to share the information to your colleagues.
Center for Families, Children and the Courts
Judicial Council of California - Administrative Office of the Courts
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102-3677
415-865-4564, Fax No. 415-865-7217, email@example.com
FROM: Ali Noorani
Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum
RE: The President’s Speech and the United States Border
On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, President Barack Obama will travel to El Paso, Texas to deliver a speech on immigration reform and the United States border. Next week’s appearance at the border region comes after a series of high profile and important developments around immigration reform. This is the 4th week in a row the President has publicly engaged the issue of immigration reform; all signs point to a sustained campaign with cabinet members, senior staff, business, labor, and Hispanic groups to make the case for reform.
There will be several components of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and an attempt to achieve true “border security” will undoubtedly be included. However, it is important to dissect what “border security” truly means. For years, Congress has spent enormous – and steadily increasing - sums of money at the U.S. Border. What is needed from any attempt to achieve comprehensive border security are focused, smart policies that use our tax dollars wisely, enhance the border region’s ability to act as an engine of trade and commerce, and addresses the nature of security threats.
Unprecedented manpower, infrastructure, and technology for border security efforts have been deployed in the last decade—the vast majority of which have been directed at surveillance and manpower between ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, apprehensions along the Southwest border have dropped from 1.6 million in 2000 to 448,000 in 2010. According to a published report, Border Patrol agents are literally falling asleep on the job from boredom. Many agents spend hours on end sitting in patrol vehicles and waiting for illegal crossings that just aren’t happening – at least not nearly as frequently as a decade ago. In fact, illegal crossings are at a low not seen since the 1970s.
In just the last four years, spending on border security has ballooned to more than $50 billion—an unprecedented amount billed to the American taxpayers that is neither justified nor properly accounted for. Annual spending by Customs and Border Protection has more than doubled since 2005, from $5.4 billion to more than $11 billion this year. The Border Patrol’s budget alone is now more than $3.5 billion—nearly ten times what it was in the mid-1990s—even though illegal crossings have dipped below 1972 levels due, in large part, to a faltering economy.
Incredible progress has been made on the border. But, to travel the homestretch to real security and prosperity, the President and Congress must come together to fix our broken immigration system.
What Border Security Means
Achieving border security will require the President and policy makers to take a hard look at existing programs and determine whether they work. Border Security means focusing our fiscal resources on the most effective investments and the greatest threats, such as fighting transnational crime, improving infrastructure and stopping the flow of illicit money, drugs and contraband at our ports of entry. Targeted use of assets and manpower that focuses on ports of entry will save taxpayers billions of dollars and provide growth opportunities for border businesses and our nation’s economy.
Effective border security policies efficiently use taxpayer resources. Immediately, Congress and the President should shift spending to our long neglected ports of entry to intercept illegal activity and to support the trade and tourism of the border region. With more than $1 billion in trade and commerce coming across our southern borders every day, and $1.5 billion at our northern borders, we need border security policies that focus not just on immigration enforcement, but on restoring parity to Customs and Border Protection’s other mission: trade and commerce. Staffing at ports of entry must be commensurate with the reality of the ports’ role in preventing smuggling, both in and out of the U.S., and promoting travel and trade. The GAO estimates that 6000 new personnel are needed at ports of entry, not between them.
What Border Security Doesn’t Mean
Border security DOES NOT mean throwing more money at the problem. Border policies should reflect the diversity of America’s borders and tailor funding allocations to state and local needs, and they should be aligned with the nature of the threats we face. Congress should conduct more formal consultations with diverse border stakeholders, especially law enforcement, to identify what programs and resources are truly needed from the federal government and ignore the false and sensationalist rhetoric coming from some members of Congress about the security of the U.S. border. Their heated rhetoric inevitably comes with a price: more wasteful, untargeted governments spending that fail to achieve increased levels of security.
The President’s Reinvigorated Attempt to Achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform Is Good News, But…
The President should not wait for Congressional leaders. He should introduce his own vision for reform and lay out a legislative strategy to get it done. We would like the President to use the full power and resources of his office, and the bully pulpit, to push comprehensive immigration legislation forward. The White House has indicated that it intends to deploy the cabinet, and that the President will personally engage. That is a good start. However, except for a brief period during last fall’s attempt to achieve the DREAM Act, the President hasn’t shown strong leadership on immigration reform, something he promised to do in 2008. The President should go further, convene key leaders of bother parties, and present his vision for reform.
While Comprehensive Reform Moves in Congress, The President Can Act Immediately to Fix Some Aspects of the Broken Immigration System.
The President can make changes now to help to alleviate the crisis. He should:
· Allow extreme hardship waivers of three- and ten-year bars filed by spouses and parents of U.S. citizens to be decided in the United States to preserve family unity.
· Wisely deploy enforcement resources including prioritizing enforcement resources so that DREAM eligible students are not deported and so that hard working families aren’t ensnared in the detention and deportation disaster fostered by our broken immigration system.
· Halt the expansion of the Secure Communities program until the Administration has created the internal safeguards and accountability needed to ensure that it focuses on the worst criminals and protects everyone’s civil rights.
- Immediately end the wasteful, fatally flawed “287(g)” program.
For more information, please visit: http://immigrationforum.org/research/border-enforcement
· Securing the Border without Breaking the Bank: Border Security Spending Principles for the 112th Congress: http://bit.ly/gTysob
· Operational Control at the Border: More than Words: http://bit.ly/OperationalControl
· Immigration Enforcement Fiscal Review: http://bit.ly/FiscalReview
· Backgrounder on Southwest Border Security Operations http://bit.ly/BorderSecurityOperations
· Why Invest in Ports of Entry? http://bit.ly/portsofentry
· Recording of Background Briefing on Border Policy ahead of the President’s visit to the border http://bit.ly/jfwg3U
Friday, May 6, 2011
Rights Groups: U.S. Government Targeting Muslims via Immigration System
CHRGJ and AALDEF Call for Immigration Reform, Transparency, Rights Protections
The U.S. government’s aggressive use of the immigration system in its counterterrorism efforts discriminates against Muslims and violates international human rights law, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law and the Asian American Legal and Education Defense Fund (AALDEF) as they released a Briefing Paper on the issue today. The Briefing Paper, Under the Radar: Muslims Deported, Detained, and Denied on Unsubstantiated Terrorism Allegations, exposes the many ways in which U.S. officials take advantage of the lax standards and lack of transparency that mark the immigration system as particularly ripe for abuse.
“The U.S. government is deporting, detaining, and denying benefits to Muslim immigrants on the basis of innuendo, religious and cultural affiliations, or political beliefs,” said CHRGJ Faculty Director, Smita Narula. “These practices violate fundamental human rights and American values and have had profoundly devastating impacts on Muslim families and communities in the United States.”
The Briefing Paper includes a number of case studies that suggest extremely problematic patterns of the U.S. government’s targeting of Muslims through the immigration system. The Briefing Paper details how the U.S. government is:
• Making unsubstantiated terrorism-related allegations against Muslim immigrants without bringing official charges in cases involving ordinary immigration violations.
• Subjecting Muslim immigrants to detention in cases involving minor violations that, ordinarily, do not entail detention.
• Imposing flimsy immigration charges—such as false statement charges for failure to disclose tenuous ties to Muslim charitable organizations—in a manner that targets Muslim immigrants for religious and political activities and affiliations.
• Applying overbroad statutory language of the terrorism bar provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to remove, bar, and detain Muslims.
• Relying on vulnerable immigration status to coerce Muslim immigrants to become informants for federal law enforcement officials.
“President Obama recently reiterated that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. However, we have a long way to go before Muslim immigrants are treated with the fairness and dignity that is owed to all immigrant communities in the United States,” said Sameer Ahmed, AALDEF Attorney/Skadden Fellow. “It is time for our government to live up to its rhetoric and make needed reforms to the immigration system in order to prevent these widespread abuses.”
For more, see CHRGJ and AALDEF's websites at:
From the L.A. Times: "The Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday asked President Obama to freeze the controversial immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities -- one day after the state of Illinois attempted to terminate its participation agreement and pull out altogether."
Here are some of the comments, which reveal much about the sophistication (or lack therof) of too much of the debate over immigration:
"Im sick of democrats...I have been one almost forever. But if the democrats want the illegals vote, they then lost my american vote as I will change to Republican. I'm done with it.
Illegals are deportable for being in the US without permission. Where's the controversy? Throw their butts out.
Why must we support illegals when we can't even support ourselves? Notice the Spanish names in this article? They want a shot at the presidency. They want their turn to run this once great country into the ground."
The U.S Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s newly updated brochure, Federal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination, is available in 17 languages at http://www.justice.gov/crt/publications/. The brochures describe statutory protections against discrimination that are enforced by the Civil Rights Division, and provide contact information where any person may call to inquire confidentially about these issues.
The Civil Rights Division enforces statutes that provide protections against national origin discrimination in the following areas:
· Public Accommodations
· Law Enforcement/Police Misconduct
· Voting, and
· Federally-Assisted Programs
The Civil Rights Division also has qualified interpreters as well as bilingual personnel available to assist callers.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Stop the Deportation of Henry Velandia and All Spouses of LGBT Americans, Friday, May 6, Newark, NJ
Out4Immigration urges everyone in the Newark, NJ area to come out to protest the deportation of Henry Velandia Friday, May 6 at 11am:
Department of Homeland Security/Newark Immigration Court – Peter Rodino Federal Building
970 Broad Street
Newark, New Jersey
Henry legally married Josh Vandiver (left), a US citizen in Connecticut last year. But because of DOMA our federal government does not recognize this marriage and is ready to deport Henry. This couple will literally be torn apart, Josh's husband taken from him and returned to his native Venezuela, banning them from being together again on U.S. soil for 10 years!
Sadly, Josh and Henry are not the only same-sex binational couple in this situation. We need to make our voices heard that separating loving and committed couples is unacceptable. President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano can stop these deportations while we continue to work to pass legislation like the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), inclusive Comprehensive Immigration Reform and repeal DOMA. More details on Friday's action are on Facebook.
VISIT THE O4I BLOG TO READ ABOUT OUR WORK AND ACTIONS TO END DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SAME-SEX BINATIONAL COUPLES.
The book, Train to Nowhere, will be released in summer 2011. Written by Colleen Bradford Krantz and published by Ice Cube Books, it is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Here is a description: Eleven undocumented immigrants are locked inside a baking railcar by smugglers and left to die a horrific death when no one comes to release them as promised. The railcar rolls on to the farming community of Denison, Iowa, where newspaper and television reporters descend after the bodies are discovered, all seeking the story behind the deaths. Train to Nowhere - part crime story and part immigration perspective - is an intimate portrait of those connected to the 2002 railcar deaths of eleven Central Americans and Mexicans.
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen filed a class action lawsuit on Tuesday charging that Utah’s recently passed law, HB 497, like Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer, and interferes with federal law. Here is Julia Preston's report on the lawsuit. See the Complaint here. Download UCLR-v-Herbert-complaint-2011-05-03
From The Bookshelves: Mexican Americans Across Generations Immigrant Families, Racial Realities by Jessica M. Vasquez
Mexican Americans Across Generations Immigrant Families, Racial Realities by Jessica M. Vasquez 314 pages April, 2011 ISBN: 9780814788295
Abstract: While newly arrived immigrants are often the focus of public concern and debate, many Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have resided in the United States for generations. Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and their racial identities change with each generation. While the attainment of education and middle class occupations signals a decline in cultural attachment for some, socioeconomic mobility is not a cultural death-knell, as others are highly ethnically identified. There are a variety of ways that middle class Mexican Americans relate to their ethnic heritage, and racialization despite assimilation among a segment of the second and third generations reveals the continuing role of race even among the U.S.-born. Mexican Americans Across Generations investigates racial identity and assimilation in three-generation Mexican American families living in California. Through rich interviews with three generations of middle class Mexican American families, Vasquez focuses on the family as a key site for racial and gender identity formation, knowledge transmission, and incorporation processes, exploring how the racial identities of Mexican Americans both change and persist generationally in families. She illustrates how gender, physical appearance, parental teaching, historical era and discrimination influence Mexican Americans’ racial identity and incorporation patterns, ultimately arguing that neither racial identity nor assimilation are straightforward progressions but, instead, develop unevenly and are influenced by family, society, and historical social movements.
Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Director of the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic Comments on Matter of M-A-M
Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Director of the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic, comments on Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 474 (BIA 2011):
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for the first time in this published decision has articulated procedures which must be followed by all immigration judges in determining competency issues. This decision will have a nation-wide and immediate effect. There have been no mandatory procedures in place before now. As the Board mentions in its decision, there exist guidelines for how to handle such cases discussed in the EOIR's Benchbook. However, those guidelines were not mandatory but were merely hortatory or aspirational. Now, the immigration judges are obligated to following binding Board precedent which sets forth the test for determining competency as follows: whether he or she has a rational and factual understanding of the nature and object of the proceedings, can consult with the attorney or representative if there is one, and has a reasonable opportunity to examine and present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The decision further spells out that if there any "indicia of incompetency," the Immigration Judge is further obligated to make "further inquiry" to determine whether the alien is competent for purposes of immigration proceedings. In the event the respondent lacks "sufficient competency" to proceed, the Immigration Judge is further obligated evaluate "appropriate safeguards." Finally, the immigration judges must articulate the rationale for their decisions regarding competency issues. As practitioners will tell you, this has almost never been the practice among immigration judges in the past and people with competency issues were often just deported without any safeguards in place whatsoever.
I want specifically to thank and congratulate my colleague Prof. Janet Beck at the UH Immigration Clinic, who supervised our excellent student, Andrea Penedo (2L), who worked on our brief and pursued this case before the Board.
Geoffrey A. Hoffman
Director-UH Immigration Clinic
University of Houston Law Center
AG orders BIA to determine if same-sex spouse constitutes a qualified relative for Cancellation relief
Matter of Paul Wilson DORMAN,25 I&N Dec. 485 (A.G. 2011)
Matter of Paul Wilson DORMAN,25 I&N Dec. 485 (A.G. 2011)
The Attorney General vacated the decision by the Board and asked the BIA "to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a "spouse" under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a "spouse" under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondent’s civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a "qualifying relative," the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal." EQ
To see the AG Decision click DORMAN
Jeremy Redmon writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A human rights organization has canceled plans to hold its biannual conference in Atlanta this year amid calls to boycott Georgia because of a tough immigration enforcement bill that the state Legislature approved last month.
The U.S. Human Rights Network, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, had not booked a location yet for its three-day event but was expecting more than 600 people from across the country to attend the meeting in December, said a spokeswoman for the organization.
The meeting will be relocated to another state because of Georgia’s House Bill 87, the spokeswoman said. A new location has not yet been selected. The network, meanwhile, did not have an estimate for the economic impact its conference would have had for the Atlanta area.
Critics of HB 87 are hoping the network’s decision will be the first of many boycotts to be announced as they seek to pressure Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the bill. A spokeswoman for Deal recently confirmed the Republican governor plans to sign HB 87 before the end of next week.
“HB 87 is another sad apartheid initiative spreading throughout the country to create fear and exploit people in compromised positions,” said Ajamu Baraka, the U.S. Human Rights Network’s executive director. “Reactionary forces in this country are attempting to turn the clock backward to the 18th century by creating these laws.” Read more....
In a demonstration of bold leadership, Illinois will withdraw from the Secure Communities Program. This sends a terrific message of inclusion to our nation of immigrants and an important public safety move to gain the trust of all communities.
Tanya Pérez-Brennan writes for Fox News Latino
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced his intention to drop out of the federal Secure Communities program – a decision that may serve as a precedent for other states where opposition is also mounting.
Secure Communities, which calls for automatic checks of the immigration status of those arrested by local and state police, is "flawed," Quinn said in a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The governor, who made his announcement on Wednesday, made clear that Illinois State Police will no longer participate.
The withdrawal is a serious blow to the controversial immigration enforcement initiative – which has polarized communities in other states, like California and Massachusetts – despite federal pressure to implement the program nationwide by 2013.
In Massachusetts, activists say that protests by communities across the country are necessary to prevent the federal government from imposing the program on local jurisdictions.
“It’s not inevitable,” said Sarang Sekhavat, federal policy director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy, or MIRA, Coalition. “There is a lot of pressure on the Obama administration to not let this happen...we could stop it.”
Under Secure Communities, once a person is arrested, local police can take their fingerprints and send them to an immigration database maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Standard procedure now only includes running fingerprints through an FBI database. Read more...
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Rights Groups: U.S. Government Targeting Muslims via Immigration System , Call for Immigration Reform, Transparency, Rights Protections
The U.S. government’s aggressive use of the immigration system in its counterterrorism efforts discriminates against Muslims and violates international human rights law, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law and the Asian American Legal and Education Defense Fund (AALDEF) as they released a Briefing Paper on the issue today. The Briefing Paper, Under the Radar: Muslims Deported, Detained, and Denied on Unsubstantiated Terrorism Allegations, exposes the many ways in which U.S. officials take advantage of the lax standards and lack of transparency that mark the immigration system as particularly ripe for abuse. Download Undertheradar
From the University of California, San Diego:
Labor's Approach to Immigration: How Does Law Matter?
Ruben J. Garcia, Professor, California Western School of Law
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
While many U.S. and Canadian unions historically marginalized immigrant workers, by the early 1990s, key unions achieved success organizing immigrant workers and adopted more progressive immigration policies. North America’s major labor federations also made significant changes. The Canadian Labour Congress created a National Anti-Racism Task Force in 1994 to address, among other issues, the links between racism and Canadian immigration policies. In 2000, the AFL-CIO reversed its previous support for legislation that contributed to the discrimination and intimidation of immigrants. Then in 2003, a coalition of major U.S. unions, NGOs and community groups organized the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride to call attention to the rights of immigrants.
This paper argues that shifts in union immigration policies emerge not only out of demographic changes that generate the need to organize immigrant workers, but also reflect larger changes wrought by processes of economic integration. It also suggests that unions’ adoption of less draconian immigration policies provide new political arenas for transnational labor collaboration. A 1997 campaign conducted by the Teamsters, UFW, and Mexican labor activists to defend the rights of migrant farmworkers who had left their community in Mexico to work in the Washington apple industry provides one example. Another example is advocacy in favor of labor rights for undocumented workers by the AFL-CIO and affiliated unions in court cases. We believe these and other examples will show that transnational links and amicus advocacy led official federation policy on immigration reform. These examples show how social change occurs in large, diffuse organizations.
Mike Hennessey is the Sheriff of San Francisco and writes in the San Francisco Chronicle:
As the sheriff of San Francisco for more than 30 years, I know that maintaining public safety requires earning community trust. We rely heavily on the trust and cooperation of all community members - including immigrants - to come forward and report crimes, either as victims or as witnesses. Otherwise, crimes go unreported - and this affects everyone, citizens and noncitizens alike. It also leads to "street justice," in which residents who are too afraid to go to the police decide to take justice into their own hands, often with deadly result.
San Francisco has always been a city of immigrants. We are proud of our diversity. We value the contributions of immigrants to our community. Law enforcement and other civic leaders work hard to serve all of our residents in an effort to promote the health and safety of our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's controversial Secure Communities program violates this hard-earned trust with immigrant residents. Under this program, the fingerprints of everyone booked into a county jail are conveyed electronically to ICE, which checks them against its own database to see if deportation should be considered. This applies to even a minor matter, such as having no driver's license in one's possession in a traffic stop.
This is not an exaggeration or a hypothetical: It happened here in San Francisco just a few months ago to a man with no criminal record whatsoever who was placed in federal detention and since has been deported.
The use of fingerprints to initiate immigration scrutiny is of particular concern to victims of domestic violence. In a recent case in San Francisco, a woman called 911 to report domestic violence, but the police arrested both her and her partner. Although no charges were ever filed against the woman, she is now fighting deportation. There should be no penalty for a victim of a crime to call the police. Read more..
AP offers some good immigration news. Mexican college student Mariano Cardoso learned of a victory last week from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CONN). The Department of Homeland Security officials has suspended Cardoso's deportation, allowing him to graduate from college next month. Cardoso, 23, is a community college student who has lived in the United States since his family brought him here as a toddler.
Law prof Michael Olivas (Houston) is quoted in the story.
In a meeting in the State Dining Room today, the President and Senior Administration officials once again met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets our nation’s 21st century economic and security needs. Caucus members prssed for administrative action on the immigration front while the President emphasized the need for Congressional action. For the White House version of the meeting, click here.