Saturday, May 14, 2011

Deportation Proceedings Require Good Representation

From the American Immigration Council:

Findings released last week by the New York Immigration Representation Study reveal what immigration advocates long have said: whether a person has legal representation is a critical factor in obtaining a favorable result in immigration court. The findings—which are based on a study of individuals apprehended in New York from October 2005 through December 2010—show that among noncitizens who are not in detention, 74 percent of those with lawyers obtained favorable outcomes, versus only 13 percent of those without lawyers. Amongst noncitizens in detention, 18 percent of those represented by attorneys obtained favorable outcomes in immigration court, versus only 3 percent of those who lacked representation. Read more...


May 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Politicis of Naturalization

From UC San Diego:

The Politics of Naturalization in Europe, Asia, and North America

Friday, May 20 at the University of California, San Diego
How do liberal states make immigrants into nationals? For some observers, a postnational future beckons in which universal rights of personhood strip national identity of its relevance for claiming the rights of citizenship. According to others, transnational migrants can pick and choose their affiliations to multiple polities. For still others, differences between liberal states are becoming obsolete either because official multiculturalism renders the idea of national core cultures illegitimate or the universalistic qualities of liberalism strips states of their national distinction. Even among scholars of nationality and citizenship, the issue of making national difference is often elided by a focus on those features of nationality law that are converging across liberal states.

To what extent is there a convergence in naturalization policies among liberal states that receive large numbers of immigrants? What explains the variation or convergence?

The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego, will host a conference to assess these questions at the Weaver Conference Center on Friday, May 20, 2011.

Funding is provided by a UCSD International, Comparative, and Area Studies (IIACAS) and Worldwide Universities.

To RSVP for the event, please register with this form.

For more information, visit the website

May 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Asian Law Caucus Brick Campaign

The Asian Law Caucus has been a leading civil rights organization in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades.

From the Asian Law Caucus:

Brick Campaign - One Last Chance!

As many of you know, we have been raising funds through our Brick Campaign in the past two years to complete the Lawrence and Eva Choy Lowe Community Room and the Korematsu Institute.  Due to construction delays and increased costs, we have continued to fundraise to close the gap and have nearly reached this new goal.

While many of you have already made a donation, we want to reach out to those alumni and friends who have not yet participated to offer one last chance to donate to this campaign.  Your name will become part of our legacy through a brick inscription, which will be a constant reminder to us and the community of those who have supported the Caucus and helped us to grow.

If you are interested in making a donation, please click here and complete our Brick Campaign form.  Please return the completed form by May 20 to:

415-896-1702 (fax)

While payment can be made by check or credit card anytime between now and the end of the calendar year, you can also make your donation immediately by visiting our website: Under "Gift Designation," please click on:  Building Fund.

We plan to have an unveiling of our Brick and Donor Walls in the late summer, and will invite all our Campaign donors.  It will be an opportunity to see our completed rooms and to meet old and new friends.

We are grateful to each of you for your continuing support in so many ways!


May 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Georgia Governor Signs Arizona Copycat Law

Georgia Governor Deal Signs Arizona Copycat into Law, Groups Announce Human Rights Summer

May 13, 2011. Atlanta, GA. - In response to the Governor’s announcement that he will sign HB 87 at noon eastern time today, Georgians are amassing at the capitol during the day and preparing for a general assembly this evening at Trinity United Methodist Church at 6:30pm.

Communities will hold a Women’s March in Defense of the Immigrant Family on May 22 and are declaring July 1st, the date when segments of hb 87 are to be activated, as a day of Non-Compliance as part of a broader campaign of community education and organizing they’re calling the "Georgia Human Rights Summer."

Below are comments in reaction to the signing:

Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

“Governor Deal's signing of HB 87 flies in the face of those concerned with either Georgia's economy or its residents’ civil rights. Those who have passed this law with the hope of intimidating or displacing our community have accomplished the opposite. As a result, people are standing up in the long tradition of organizing for justice. We know and will show that Georgia is better than HB 87.

We will accompany the humble communities targeted by this bill in defending their rights and making real a vision of the beloved community. Arizona has become the capitol of prejudice and we will do everything we can to keep Georgia from heading in the same direction. Our way forward as a country must be through policies that bring us together instead of divide us. We are certain that Georgia will see that as well.”

Georgina Perez, student member of Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance

“We have a right to remain in this state where we have lived, worked, and studied, for some of us, nearly all of our lives. We will not obey a law that is unjust, that is meant to drive out our families and criminalize our community. Just as African Americans resisted unjust Jim Crow and segregation laws in the 1960’s, so will we resist until justice prevails and HB 87, and all anti-immigrant laws, are repealed.”

Xochitl Bervera, Somos Georgia/We are Georgia.

“We are calling on all businesses, conventions, and conferences to cancel your trips to the State of Georgia and pledge to not spend one dollar here until this law is repealed.”

Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

“This action is not only an insult to the Latino community and other immigrants, but is also an exercise in cheap political pandering that will cost our state dearly. This is not the end, only the beginning of a new stage. This law can and must be fought; and it can and will be defeated.”


May 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joins Judy Woodruff on the PBS NEWSHOUR

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joins Judy Woodruff on the PBS NEWSHOUR for an interview on Friday, May 13, 2011.  In the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden and the trove of intelligence captured by Navy Seals from his Abbottabad compound, we’ll get the latest on what we have learned about al Qaida’s threat to the United States and what steps are being taken by the government in response to the intelligence gathered. And, as the president’s point person on immigration and border security, we’ll hear how the Obama administration plans to turn the goals the president put forth this week into legislative action.

Here is a transcript.  Download Transcript  Some of Secretary Napolitano's comments reveal her near-myopic focus on enforcement when it comes to immigration:  "immigration remains a problem for our country. It's a law enforcement issue. We have to do enforcement in a smart and effective way."  Such comments and deeds are one reason why we have dubbed the Obama administration as "enforcement now, enforcement forever" when it comes to immigration.


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

Napolitano Interview on PBS Newshour Today

From the Newshour:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joins Judy Woodruff on the PBS NEWSHOUR for a newsmaker interview, Friday, May 13, 2011.  In the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden and the trove of intelligence captured by Navy Seals from his Abbottabad compound, we’ll get the latest on what we have learned about al Qaida’s threat to the United States and what steps are being taken by the government in response to the intelligence gathered.
And, as the president’s point person on immigration and border security, we’ll hear how the Obama administration plans to turn the goals the president put forth this week into legislative action.
To request a transcript, contact Anne Bell at


May 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Immigration Myths and Facts

A new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

Employment is not a “zero-sum” game. The U.S. economy does not contain some fixed number of jobs for which immigrants and native-born workers compete. For instance, if the approximately 8 million unauthorized immigrants currently working in the United States were removed from the country, there would not be 8 million job openings for unemployed Americans. Why? Because native-born workers and immigrant workers possess different skills and can not simply be swapped for one another like batteries. And because removing 8 million undocumented workers from the economy also means removing 8 million consumers—and the jobs they support through their spending. If the undocumented population were to vanish, the U.S. economy would contract and the total number of jobs would decrease. Read more...


May 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ending Birthright Citizenship Would Create an Underclass

From the Center for American Progress:

Less than Citizens
Abolishing Birthright Citizenship Would Create a Permanent Underclass in Our Nation
By Sam Fulwood III , Marshall Fitz

In a move contrary to the most cherished of American values, a band of ultraconservative activists are targeting the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants—and others—to score political points.

This issue brief examines the kind of society and democracy we would become if the 14th Amendment were amended to once again create a permanent underclass in our nation, delineating the costs and challenges of such policies if they were to prove successful. A retreat on birthright citizenship would set in motion a cascading effect of unforeseen, unintended, and unwanted consequences, among them:

“Big Brother” in every hospital delivery room—a profoundly costly and intrusive process of checking and verifying documents for every baby born in the United States
A new underclass of less-than-citizens—marginalized from society and weighing on our future economic competitiveness
Women burdened with childbearing decisions depending on citizenship parentage— endangering the newly born and their mothers in our country
An America that is suddenly and deeply anti-immigrant—contrary to our historical heritage and core national values

Read more and download this issue brief here.


May 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act on Crime" by SCOTT BAKER

"Effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act on Crime" Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 412 SCOTT BAKER, Stanford University - Department of Economics.  ABSTRACT: In the late 1970's, rates of illegal immigration into the United States increased dramatically. This increase led to pressure on the federal government to find some way of dealing with the immigrants, culminating in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). This paper seeks to examine the effects that the 1986 IRCA, which legalized over 2.5 million illegal aliens, had on the commission of crime in the United States. I find evidence that IRCA applicants are associated with higher crime rates prior to legalization and that, subsequent to legalization, this association disappears. I find drops in crime of approximately 1%-4% associated with one percent of the population being legalized, primarily due to a drop in property crimes. This fall in crime is equivalent to 80,000-320,000 fewer crimes committed each year due to legalization. Finally, I calibrate a labor market model of crime using empirical wage and employment data and find that much of the drop in crime can be attributed to greater job market opportunities among those legalized by the IRCA.


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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mr. President: Do We Have to Disrespect Undocumented Immigrants?

My thoughts on President Obama's El Paso immigration speech delivered earlier this week.

From Huffington Post:

Must we dump on undocumented immigrants whenever we talk about comprehensive immigration reform? President Obama's El Paso speech on the need for comprehensive reform on Tuesday was an important call to action and a challenge to policy makers -- Republicans and Democrats alike. However, in the process of acknowledging the important contributions of undocumented immigrants, he fell into the trap of chastising the community, perpetuating a pejorative image of migrants as lawbreakers and revealing little understanding of the forces that have driven them across our borders. The president (like so many people and media outlets) also continued to demean our fellow human beings by referring to them as "illegal":

"Regardless of how [undocumented immigrants] came, the overwhelming majority of these folks are just trying to earn a living and provide for their families.

But we have to acknowledge they've broken the rules. They've cut in front of the line. And what is also true is that the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are trying to immigrate legally."

Once we understand why undocumented immigrants cannot find work back home, I think we would be a little bit more forgiving about their "cutting" in line, and I think we also would be a little more respectful when we discuss them. Read more...


May 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Secratary of Labor Hilda Solis on “Immigrants and America's Future"

Check out Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis's article “Immigrants and America's Future” in the spring issue of Americas Quarterly.


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

BIA Finds That DHS Can Prove Firm Resettlement Through Indirect Evidence

Matter of A-G-G-, 25 I&N Dec. 486 (BIA 2011) Interim Decision #3713: In the case, a man from Mauritania fled to Senegal fearing persecution in his homeland. He lived eight years in Senegal and married a Senegalese woman prior to coming to the United States. The IJ granted asylum, finding that DHS had not proven firm resettlement. The government appealed. The BIA remanded the case back to the IJ to re-evaluate the firm resettlement issue. The BIA ruled that when direct evidence of firm resettlement is unavailable, indirect evidence may be used if it has a sufficient level of clarity and force to establish that the alien is able to permanently reside in the country. The decision is quite long, extensive, and will likely impact future firm resettlement cases. To get a copy click here  EQ

May 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Importance of Student and Faculty Diversity at Law Schools: One Dean’s Perspective

The Importance of Student and Faculty Diversity at Law Schools: One Dean’s Perspective by Kevin R. Johnson University of California, Davis - School of Law Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming

My contribution to this symposium on “The Future of Legal Education” sketches one dean’s thoughts on the case for the importance of diversity at law schools. Let me begin with two questions. In these times, can a truly excellent law school have a homogenous student body and faculty? Can we truly – and do we want to – imagine a top twenty-five law school comprised of predominantly white men? Law school deans at virtually each and every turn receive direction and guidance on how to achieve a more diverse student body and faculty. To be selected for the job, most law deans, as well as most other campus leaders, experienced a career in which they were conditioned to express their deep and enduring commitment to diversity. Despite this oft-stated commitment, the racial diversity of law school student bodies and faculties leveled off in the early twenty-first century. Before becoming a dean, I firmly believed – and continue to believe – that racial, socioeconomic, and other diversity among students and faculty is critically important to ensure excellence at any law school. In my estimation, for reasons outlined in this Essay, diversity and excellence both are inextricably interrelated, mutually reinforcing, and well worth striving for by any law school worth its salt. In an increasingly diverse nation and integrating global political economy, who would want to be a dean assigned the unenviable task of defending homogeneity within a law school to the public, faculty, and students. To the contrary, I have advocated that both student and faculty diversity should be factored into the multi-variable formula employed by the much-watched U.S. News & World Report rankings of law schools. Those rankings, for better or worse, have a profound influence on the decisions made by law schools as well as the existing incentives for law school administrators. This Essay builds on the premise that diversity is highly relevant to evaluating the quality of a law school and the education of its student body. It sketches the arguments for the importance of a multitude of diversities – racial, socioeconomic, gender, and more – for U.S. law schools in their student bodies and faculties to best achieve their educational mission. Borrowing liberally from the Supreme Court’s rejection of a constitutional challenge to the University of Michigan Law School’s race-conscious admissions program in Grutter v. Bollinger, Part I of this Essay considers the educational benefits offered by a diverse law student body. Part II outlines the similar, yet somewhat different, teaching and scholarship benefits that a diverse law faculty bring to a high quality legal education. Part III outlines the educational importance of diversity among law students and faculty based on a wide array of experiences, characteristics, and knowledge other than race. Part IV of this Essay summarizes some of the legal restrictions, as well as limited incentives, for deans and law schools engaged in the active pursuit of diversity among students and faculty.


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

The Role of Immigration in Fostering Competitiveness in the United States

In this latest Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report, The Role of Immigration in Fostering Competitiveness in the United States, MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou and Policy Analyst Madeleine Sumption discuss the flaws of the current system, including poorly thought-out numerical limits that do not shift with economic demand, complicated administrative procedures, and temporary visa policies that do little to rank applications on the basis of skill. The authors detail effective strategies to ensure that immigration policies facilitate — rather than disregard or even impede — economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness in the United States, including more flexible numerical limits and a faster, streamlined process for workers on temporary visas to gain permanent residence without requiring employers to sponsor the same worker twice.  See Download Competitiveness-US[1]


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

Jorge Gutierrez, Cal Bears Immigrant Success Story

Here is a Sports Illustrated story
about Cal basketball star (and this year's team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year) Jorge Gutierrez, previously profiled on ImmigrationProf, and his journey from Mexco to play basketball in the United States.  His hardscrabble high school days in Denver reveal much about why Gutierrez is the tough, scrappy player that he is today.


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

Brewer: Let's Go Straight to the Supreme Court on SB 1070

Foregoing a request for rehearing en banc at the Ninth Circuit, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer wants to appeal straight to the Supreme Court.

Asraa Mustufa writes for Colorlines:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced Monday that her state will appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking them to overturn a ruling that put key elements of the state’s controversial immigration enforcement law SB 1070 on hold.

The move comes after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the same bid by Arizona officials last month. Instead of asking a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges to rehear the appeal, Brewer feels that pushing the process to the Supreme Court will be “a much quicker fix.”

“Everyone knows that the 9th circuit has a reputation of being very, very liberal,” Brewer told Fox News. “After deliberating and thinking about it, I said, let’s just go to the Supreme Court. You know these things are so expensive and they take so long. And in the meantime, Arizona is just bearing the brunt of all the [undocumented] immigration in the country!” Read more...


May 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Testimony on Secure Visas Act

Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations testified yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on immigration policy and enforcement. He testified that the United States now has the capability to process visa applications more quickly while in no way increasing the security risk, and that the economic payoff from this would be enormous. The current visa delays are simply costs with no benefits. The testimony is here.

The Secure Visas Act, among other things, would eliminate judicial review of visa revocations, a controversial proposal.


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

USF to Confer Honorary Doctorate on Dreamer Isabel Castillo

The University of San Francisco (USF) will confer an honorary doctorate on Isabel Castillo, an activist whose high-profile fight for federal immigration legislation could have her deported at any time. USF president Stephen A. Privett, S.J., will bestow the degree during graduation ceremonies for undergraduate students in art, architecture, performing arts and social sciences on Friday, May 20 at noon on the USF campus in the heart of San Francisco.

Castillo is a passionate advocate of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would give legal standing to undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the country illegally when they were children. She has received national attention after leading rallies, organizing a march on Washington and staging a non-violent sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office, which led to her arrest, but not deportation.

An undocumented immigrant herself, Castillo says, "I'm not ashamed or scared. I'm not a criminal. I'm no longer going to hide in the shadows." A documentary film about her struggle is in progress.

Isabel was just six years old when her family came to the U.S. from Mexico. Despite her exceptional academic record in public schools, she had difficulties gaining admission to college because she had no social security number, and she could not apply for state and federal financial aid. She eventually earned a bachelor's degree with high academic honors in social work from Eastern Mennonite University. But, without a social security number, it is impossible for her to land a job in that field.

"We honor Isabel Castillo for her selfless courage in advancing the cause of undocumented college students and to underscore the fundamental unfairness of our denying a path to citizenship to some of the most motivated college students in the country," said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. "Isabel challenges our graduates to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired here to fashion a more just world for all." 

In honoring Ms. Castillo with the degree of Doctor of Humane letters, the University of San Francisco recognizes her daring work, drawing attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. Last August, USF joined the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the country, along with the nation's Catholic Bishops, to formally petition the federal government for a more humane and just immigration system.

The University of San Francisco was established in 1855, making it San Francisco's oldest university. It is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country. USF is committed to being a premier Jesuit Catholic, urban university with a global perspective that educates leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world. With nearly 9,600 students, the university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others.

To request interviews with Ms. Castillo or USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., please contact Anne-Marie Devine, director of Media Relations at USF, at 415.422.2699 or


May 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Visa as Property, Visa as Collateral" by ELEANOR MARIE BROWN

"Visa as Property, Visa as Collateral" Vanderbilt Law Review, Forthcoming GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 556 GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 556 ELEANOR MARIE BROWN, George Washington University - Law School.  ABSTRACT: Although the "tragic choice" framework has not been applied in the context of U.S. immigration law, current immigration policy is rife with tragic choices, defined as a commitment by policy elites to maintaining certain illusions which shield from public view tough policy choices that offend deeply held values. Take, for example, the issue of commodification of visas. Policy makers remain committed to maintaining the historical illusion that U.S. visas are open to well-deserving migrants, and are not being "sold" Yet U.S. immigration practice has long made concessions to commodification at the margins. Indeed, some migrants “pay” very high prices to obtain the right to enter the U.S. For example, certain elite visa applicants must invest significant sums in the U.S. economy as a condition of both obtaining and maintaining their visas. While in other countries, the poor migrant, like the rich migrant, may pledge something of value as a condition of receiving her visa, in the U.S., the poor migrant has no such option. Rather, the poor migrant faces another kind of "tragic choice." She may pay a coyote an astronomical fee to transport her across the border illegally, or she simply cannot come. Why this tragic choice? A primary challenge of immigration law is that it is notoriously difficult to screen poor visa applicants. In a quintessential problem of informational asymmetry, the typical applicant knows much more about her likely behavior in the U.S. than the government; the government typically has no way of evaluating the sincerity of her promise to be law-abiding. Reflecting the long-time recognition in the common law that a contracting party is more likely to abide by her commitment if she pledges something of value, this Article recommends that the applicant should have to post a bond as a condition of receiving her visa. In the event that the applicant later fails to keep her promises, including an assurance not to overstay her visa, she would forfeit this bond. However, there are problems with bonding regimes in the U.S. context. Bonding regimes appear to offend deeply held public values. For example, bonding systems may reinforce perceptions that market-based mechanisms are being utilized to determine who receives visas, thus potentially excluding the poor. Yet, ironically, bonding systems may actually improve the opportunity sets of the poor. For example, a bonding system should raise the costs of non-compliance with visas and in so doing, make it more likely that a poor applicant will receive a visa. Thus, bonding systems may also improve access for the poor migrant to the U.S., where she typically significantly improves her earnings. Herein lies the crux of the matter. The real issue is not the bonding requirement. After all, immigration law already routinely uses market-based mechanisms to screen rich migrants. The question becomes why poor migrants should not have similar opportunities. The real issue is the absence of opportunities in developing countries for poor people to access transparent credit facilities from formal financial institutions to finance bonds, leaving poor migrants at the mercy of black-market money lenders. This Article seeks to make labor mobility bankable by advocating a re-conceptualization of guest worker visas as a type of property, namely, licenses for temporary admission to the U.S. If appropriately designed, these visa-licenses could be collateral-like devices, which allow poor migrants to access transparent law-bound credit markets.


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

4th Annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference

4th Annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference

The Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference 2011 will be held on May 30, 2011 at UCLA – Ackerman Grand Ballroom. Free of Charge to all who register!

RSVP at by May 16, 2011 RSVP

The AB540 Project component of IDEAS at UCLA educates undocumented students in surrounding communities about the possibility of reaching higher education. The AB540 Project hosts the annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference to instill resilience in undocumented youth. Our message is one of hope for undocumented youth in education: the CA Dream Act presents the opportunity to alleviate our financial struggles in light of rising tuition costs. The California Dream Act would allow undocumented students that meet in-state tuition requirements to receive institutional or state financial aid. The conference is a way of maintaining momentum to empower students to pursue their dreams while advocating for change. The Project does this through our mentoring and workshop components, as well as this conference. This work is especially important since 65,000 undocumented high school students graduate every year. Unfortunately, only 5-10% of these students continue on to higher education although the passage of Assembly Bill 540 allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public institutions. To address these circumstances, The AB540 Project hosts this daylong event with three workshop sessions: Education, Financial Resources and Activism. Each session will be composed of different workshops accordingly. The wide array of workshops are given by qualified, experienced students, alumni, and allies.


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