Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Children of Haiti

One year ago, the people of Haiti’s lives were forever changed when a devastating earthquake claimed the lives of 230,000 and left more than a million homeless. This unprecedented disaster and its aftermath have had, and sadly will continue to have, very real consequences for the 750,000 children reported by UNICEF to be directly impacted.

Kathleen Strottman of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has authored this important report:

Renewed Promise: The Welfare of Children in Haiti – Reflections and Recommendations on the One Year Anniversary


January 15, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Border Patrol Officer's Undocumented Father

Julianne Hing writing for the Atlantic:

I am a storyteller by trade, and a new one still learning my way around. Earlier this week I happened on this report about Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., a 26-year-old California Border Patrol agent who was charged with giving shelter to an undocumented immigrant, and a twice-deported one at that—his 46-year-old father Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr.

Manzano Jr. reportedly lied to federal investigators who came around asking about his father's whereabouts after someone in the neighborhood said they'd seen him in town. When FBI agents raided the Manzanos' San Ysidro home they didn't find the father, but they did find another undocumented immigrant hiding out.

I read that report and felt so sad—I imagined the younger Manzano's impossible choices, his emotional burden sitting on his chest making it hard to breathe as he tried to sleep at night. To abide by the law he was paid by the government to uphold or to turn in his own father for deportation again?

I decided immediately that I wanted to share the Manzanos' story with you, TNC's audience. It would be the perfect entry point to discuss the real human drama behind immigration policies and the way that they've have failed our country. Policing the border has become much more difficult in recent years since the new border walls and increased border enforcement have forced migrants away from traditional urban crossing points to treacherous, remote regions. Increased border security has also led to the professionalization of criminal networks who want to push drugs through the border. Now families coming to the U.S. in search of a better life and the small number of crossing drug smugglers alike—though immigration policy makes little distinction between the two—pass through increasingly dangerous choke points. In 2010 a record 378 people died trying to cross the border, and there was still one month in the year left to tally. This even though migration into the country is actually down. Read more.....


January 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

R.I. Gov. Chafee Has it Right: A Welcoming Immigration Policy Contributes Much to U.S. Competitiveness and Prosperity

NAFSA’s senior adviser for public policy, Vic Johnson, comments on the NAFSA blog today about how Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee overturned an executive order that would have caused troopers to get involved with immigration enforcement.  Gov. Chafee said, “My view is that Rhode Island can grow economically by being a tolerant place to do business. The immigrant-rich areas, I want to see them prosper.” In his post, Vic commends the Governor: “Anti-immigration sentiment is rampant in this country right now, abetted by politicians who find it convenient to cater to it. But the reality is that immigration is essential to future U.S. competitiveness and prosperity. Making immigration work for us requires a great deal more than more troops and higher walls. Genuine political leaders recognize this and have the courage to stand up and say it. Gov. Chafee is among them.”


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

S-Comm and Alameda County

We are a coalition of faith-based, labor, community-based, and grassroots immigrants rights groups in the east bay (Alameda County) coming together to raise awareness on the impacts of immigration policing in immigrant and communities of color.  We invite you to join us for a brown bag lunch

Immigration Policing in Alameda County: “Secure Communities” Undermines Real Community Safety

on Tuesday, January 18th, 12:30-1:30pm to discuss an immigration policing program called "Secure Communities" in Alameda County. “Secure Communities”,  a program executed by Immigration Customs and Enforcement, allows police to share fingerprint information of anyone booked at a local jail (regardless of innocence) with Department of Homeland Security, FBI and State databases.

As a coalition and as community groups, we see real and devastating impacts of increased policing and racial profiling in communities of color, we are deeply concerned about the ‘double jeopardy’ immigrant community members face upon any encounter with police. 

Please join us for an hour of education and movement building!  You can RSVP to Aja at

Where: Asian Resource Center, First floor, Room 101
310 8th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Tuesday, January 18th, 12:30-1:30pm


January 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Death Match 2011: Schuck vs. Stock on Birthright Citizenship


Peter Schuck of Yale Law School and Margaret Stock of the University of Alaska will face off in the 27th annual Fordham Debate at the University of Utah on “Birthright Citizenship: Origins, Constitutional Status, and the Current Debate.”  The debate, to be held on Monday January 31 at 12:15 p.m. at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, is open to the public. It also will be available via webcast on the College of Law dashboard.

This should be fun!  I plan on watching on-line.  Both Professors Schuck and Stock are first-rate intellectuals who no doubt will hold their own and stick to their guns.


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

Call for papers: The Latin Americanist seeks articles on Latin American Immigration

The Latin Americanist is soliciting papers for an upcoming special issue on Latin American immigration.  To obtain more information please click here


January 14, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

287(g) Program faces legal Challenge in Tennessee

Attorneys in Tennessee challenge Nashville's 287(g) program.  To read the story click here.  A copy of complaint can be seen by clicking here.


January 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit remands case to BIA to decide if change in case law constitute changed circumstances for asylum deadline purposes

Muriuki and Mwangi v.Holder No. 06-71754


United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 26423

Applicants for asylum must file within one year of arriving in the United States. However, an exception exists if a change in circumstances materially affects the applicant's ability to apply for asylum.  The regulations include "changes in applicable U.S. law" as an example of changed circumstances. However, they do not specify whether they contemplate changes in case law or only statutory changes.

Mr. Miriuki applied for asylum and his wife Ms. Mwangi as a derivative applicant. While the case was pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Ninth Ciricuit decided Mohammed v. Gonzales 400 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 2005) finding that female genital mutilation is permanent and continuing persecution, and that women who have suffered female genital mutilation are entitled to an irrebutable presumption that they will be subjected to future persecution. Two months later, Ms. Mwangi filed a motion to remand arguing that the Mohammed decision was a change in U.S. law materially affecting her ability to apply for asylum on her own right and that her untimely filing should be excused. The BIA did not respond, misinterpreting her request as a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the BIA to consider whether a change of case law is a change in applicable U.S. law within the meaning of 8 C.F.R. Sec. 208.4(a)(4)(i)


January 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arizona and Ethnic Studies

Julianne Hing writing for the Atlantic:

Yesterday I got stuck on a photo from a new Tumblr I heard about, Fuck Yeah API History. (You can explore the meme  here.) It's a new blog on the block that's just black and white photos of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans doing their thing. One photo in particular from the site, of a Sikh parade in Stockton, California, made me pause. Sikhs have a long history in the region--the first gurdwara in North America was built in Stockton in 1912. But on May 11, 1945, Sikh men in turbans and beards--and plenty without either--and a few women gathered for a dignified photo that was jarring to my eyes in 2011.

When I saw that photo I saw old Asian people, old and proud of their heritage and who they were. Look at those old cars! The beautiful cut of the men's suits! There could be a hundred people in that photo. I stared at it for a long time.

It made me think about Arizona's HB 2281 (you know, Arizona's other new racist law), the one ostensibly meant to protect American students from anti-American curriculum in the state's public schools. The law forbids any public school course that does any of these things: encourages students to "resent or hate other races or classes of people; promote[s] the overthrow of the United States government; promote[s] resentment toward a race or class of people" or "is designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group" or "advocate[s] ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Its champion is Arizona's new attorney general, Tom Horne. As the state superintendent he set aside Tucson's ethnic studies courses for elimination and made it his mission to outlaw the program's Mexican-American studies courses, even though educators argued that students who took the classes graduated at higher rates than students who didn't. The history and English electives put special emphasis on Latino history in the U.S., one which happens to include racism, oppression, exploitation and exclusion. Horne has repeatedly said these classes teach kids "ethnic chauvinism." Read more...


January 13, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Low-Skilled Immigration Brings Economic Benefits for U.S. Consumers, Employers and Skilled Workers; Also Imposes Some Costs

In contrast to the broad consensus that exists regarding the benefits of highly skilled immigration, the economic role of low-skilled immigrants remains one of the most controversial questions in the immigration debate. Economists continue to disagree about the costs and benefits of less-skilled immigrants, as well as the policies that govern their admission to the United States. In a new report for the Migration Policy Institute, Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the United States: Reflections on Future Directions for Reform, Georgetown Public Policy Institute Professor Harry Holzer assesses the research literature and finds that the benefits of low-skilled immigration accrue primarily to employers, who benefit from paying lower wages; and to both higher- and lower-income consumers, who purchase the goods and services less-skilled immigrants produce. The costs are borne by low-skilled native and earlier-arrived immigrant workers who must compete with these immigrants for jobs; though there is little consensus on the exact magnitudes of these costs, they generally appear to be quite modest. There are also both fiscal costs and benefits to federal, state and local governments but these generally turn more positive over the long run and across generations.

Immigrants’ negative impacts on native workers are muted by a range of factors, the report explains, including that low-skilled immigrant workers are themselves consumers of U.S. goods and services (and thus job creators); the fact that they are more likely to compete with earlier cohorts of immigrants than with U.S.-born workers because they are concentrated in jobs requiring limited English skills; and the fact that employers adjust their production techniques to make use of the greater supply of less-skilled labor available. While Holzer argues that the costs and benefits are too complex and varied to determine an optimal level of less-skilled immigration, he proposes some immigration system changes that would be economically beneficial, including:

Providing pathways to legal status and citizenship for low-skilled workers already here, and a legal route for future workers by using provisional visas that make it possible for some temporary workers to become permanent residents

Allowing less-skilled workers on employment-based visas to switch employers more easily and gain a path to citizenship Setting employer visa fees at a level sufficient to offset some of the costs that low-skilled immigration imposes

Ensuring flexibility in the numbers admitted so that flows can respond to employer demand and macroeconomic conditions.

Holzer suggests allowing some flexibility in implementing reforms to permit experimentation with different approaches, noting that it is unclear how employers and workers, both immigrant and native-born, would react to policy change.

The report was commissioned to inform the work of MPI’s Labor Markets Initiative, which has been conducting a comprehensive, policy-focused review of the role of legal and illegal immigration in the labor market. Earlier reports have examined middle-skilled immigrant workers, the effects of illegal immigration on the U.S. economy, how immigrants fare during periods of boom and bust, their impact on the economy throughout the economic cycle and the effects of the global economic crisis on immigrants in the United States and around the world.  For more on the Labor Markets Initiative, visit


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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cert Denied in Wrongful Deportation Case

The Supreme Court has denied cert in a wrongful deportation case filed by the Stanford Supreme Court Clinic.  The Court denied certiorari in Castro v. United States, in which the U.S. government was accused of wrongfully taking the U.S. citizen daughter of U.S. citizen Monica Castro and transporting the baby across the border with her undocumented father.  Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.


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

I-9 Handbook for Employers


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is pleased to release The Handbook for Employers (Rev. 01/05/2011), also known as the M-274. The Handbook for Employers helps employers better understand the Form I-9 process. It was published in cooperation with our Department of Homeland Security partners.

By law, U.S. employers must verify the identity and employment authorization for every worker they hire after November 6, 1986, regardless of the employee’s immigration status. To comply with the law, employers must complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Handbook for Employers is a guide for employers in the Form I-9 process. It has been revised and updated with new information about applicable regulations, including new regulations about electronic storage and retention of Forms I-9; it clarifies how to process an employee with a complicated immigration status; and, it addresses public comments and frequently asked questions. We thank the many stakeholders who have provided comments on the Form I-9 process and the Handbook since the Handbook was last revised (Rev. 7/31/2009).


January 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NAFSA Survey on International Education

A public opinion survey released by NAFSA:  Association of International Educators today shows that, despite concerns about jobs and the state of the economy, Americans consider international education to be essential to the educational experience of today’s students. The highlights include:

• 73% of Americans believe that colleges must do a better job of teaching students about the world if they are to be prepared to compete in the global economy;

• Nearly two-thirds (65%) agree that without foreign-language skills, young people will be at a “competitive disadvantage in their career;

• The majority consider study abroad a “vital component of an education that prepares [students] for success in the global workplace” and believe international education is “very or moderately essential to the educational experience” of American students.

The full report is available at

NAFSA is also running a grassroots campaign on where international education advocates are writing to President Obama and their members of Congress, reminding them that international education is a vital investment, and that the American public considers it a priority.


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

Nominations for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Over the years, Robert Kennedy’s commitment to social justice has inspired millions around the world. We see his legacy in action every time someone puts their life and liberty at risk to defend human rights. Now, the time has come to begin the search for the next recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. The annual presentation of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award honors an individual of great courage who has dedicated his or her life to the cause of human rights.

Each year, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights invite the public to nominate outstanding champions of human rights who are striving for social justice in their countries and leading the efforts to secure dignity for all people.

Do you know someone who has dedicated his or her life to bringing justice and human rights to the people who need them most? If so, please nominate your own human rights champion for the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

This prize is more than just recognition -- it is the beginning of a six-year partnership between the Human Rights Award Laureate and the RFK Center. The Center provides legal, programmatic, and technical assistance, increase public awareness of their work, and generate domestic and international political support.

Nominees do not have to be widely known. The most heroic defenders of human rights are often those working with little outside recognition. But nominees must have a proven record of advancing human rights and live in the country where they are currently working toward social change -- this is not a lifetime achievement award. They should be a part of a human rights movement or organization, and not working within or for the government.

Anyone can nominate a human rights defender for the award. An independent panel of five judges, all experts in the field of human rights, selects the winner based on their dedication and accomplishments towards social justice and the non-violent and effective tactics used to achieve their goals.

Thank you for your help.

Monika Kalra Varma

Director, Center for Human Rights

UC Davis School of Law Alum

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

Q&A Guide to State Immigration Laws: What You Need to Know If Your State is Considering Arizona SB1070-Type Legislation

In 2010, Arizona passed a controversial immigration law known as SB1070. Despite numerous court challenges - resulting in major parts of the bill being enjoined - and criticism from political, religious, civil-rights, and law-enforcement leaders, state legislators around the nation are forging ahead on similar legislation in their states. Today, the Immigration Policy Center released Q&A Guide to State Immigration Laws: What You Need to Know If Your State is Considering Arizona SB1070-Type Legislation.

While the growing frustration with our broken immigration system is understandable, "papers please" laws are not the answer. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the enforcement-only strategy, which SB1070 and other copycat laws adopt, does not solve our immigration problems. Yet it obligates strapped state governments to spend millions of dollars in implementation, legal defense, and other collateral costs.

This guide provides key answers to basic questions about state immigration-related laws - from the substance of the legislation and myths surrounding the debate to the legal and fiscal implications. As other states contemplate legislation similar to SB1070, knowing the answers to these basic questions is critically important in furthering a rational discussion.


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

Palin on Tucson

Sarah Palin's well-scripted video commentary -- really a response to the controversy about her now-famous gunsite map with Congresswoman Gifford's district in the cross-hairs -- about Saturday's tragedy in Tucson.  Although posted just hours ago, Palin's video already -- especially her reference to "blood libel"  -- is generating even more controversy.


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

No International Law in Arizona

More mischief in Arizona. Here's a proposal headed to the state's ballot box next year:


The 2012 general election ballot shall carry the question of whether to amend Article VI, Section 1, of the Arizona Constitution to state that in making judicial decisions, Arizona courts must not look to legal precepts of other nations or cultures and must not consider international law.


January 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Laotian Coup Case Dropped Against Hmong Refugees

Bob Egelko writes for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Federal prosecutors dropped charges Monday against Hmong refugees and a former U.S. Army officer accused of conspiring to overthrow Laos' communist government.

The decision came four days after the death of Vang Pao, leader of Hmong refugees in the United States and former commander of pro-U.S. ethnic tribesmen in Laos and Vietnam. Vang, 81, was charged in the initial indictment in 2007, but prosecutors dismissed him from the case in 2009.

The 11 remaining defendants, all California residents, were accused of conspiring to buy weapons and explosives and finance an army of insurgents to attack the Laotian government.

Prosecutors said the defendants had negotiated with an undercover agent to purchase machine guns, anti-tank rockets and other weapons and had discussed a plan to bomb the capital city, Vientiane.

Defense lawyers said the government agent had instigated the plot. They asked U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell of Sacramento to dismiss the case because of government misconduct. Read more...


January 12, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"I Am This Land" Diversity Contest

From Breakthrough:


In launching the I AM THIS LAND contest, we took stock of 2010 and all the negative headlines.  We called for the public to make videos that uplifted diversity as we wanted a clean slate that focused on a positive for the new year.

With the most recent events, it is time for us to again take pause to reflect on the landscape and the many ethnicities, cultures, political beliefs, religions and more that make up this country.  To ensure a healthy future, they must be celebrated.

Watch current entries and submit your own that does this very thing.  You have until January 21st to think about diversity and submit a video on what it means to you. 


January 11, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit reaffirms Government's Power to Reopen Proceedings

Perez v. Holder No. 06-74403, No. 08-74373

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 26497


Mr. Perez, a native of Panama, appealed an Immigration Judge's grant of the government's motion to reopen Mr. Perez's deportation hearing and subsequent finding that he was not eligible for cancellation of removal. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the BIA did not err in permitting the government to file more than one motion to reopen because 8 CFR Sec. 1003.23 exempts the government from the time and numerical limitations on motions to reopen.  The court further held that neither equitable estoppel nor laches disallowed the government from filing a motion to reopen in this instance.  Mr. Perez did not demonstrate affirmative misconduct on the part of the government. Moreover, The use of a conviction which was available in previous removal proceedings, but not used, is not barred by res judicata when combined with a new conviction in new proceedings. See Poblete Mendoza v. Holder 606 F3d 1137(9th Cir. 2010)

Thus the subsequent finding by the immigration court that Mr. Perez did not qualify for cancellation because he had not accrued ten years of physical presence prior to April 1, 1997, (when IIRIRA went into effect), but after the commission of an act or the assumption of status constituting a ground of deportation (his conviction for a controlled substance offense on May 8, 1987) was upheld.


January 11, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)