June 11, 2011
SOMOS REPUBLICANS! Wants Unjust Veteran Deportations to Stop
Veterans of the United States Armed Forces who served under honorable discharge are facing court proceedings for deportations. Hundreds of Veterans are facing deportation. Manuel and Valente Valenzuela are two vets currently facing deportation.
Somos Republicans, a national GOP organization is asking the President of the United States to stop the deportations of all veterans who served under honorable discharge conditions.
Somos Republicans is a national watchdog group and the largest Hispanic Republican grassroots organization in the nation that is pro immigration reform. The Mission of Somos Republicans is to promote political education and information needed to make more informed political decisions.
Deportees' wives adjust to life in Mexico
Here is a little known side effect of the Obama administration'ss "enforcement now, enforcement forever" immigrtaion policies. KELSEY SHEEHY for UPI writes about "American-born wives of deported immigrants who are using blogs, forums and Facebook to find support and sanity. Their spouses entered the country illegally and, when the immigration system caught up with them, their wives relocated to Mexico to keep the family together." Here is a blog (Monterrey, What the Hell?) of one deportee's wife.
Illegal Reentry Becomes Top Criminal Charge
What is the most prosecuted federal crime? One might incorrectly guess white collar crimes, racketeering, drug, and related crimes. Data released by TRAC Immigration shows that illegal reentry under Title 8, Section 1326 of the United States Code was the most commonly recorded lead charge brought by federal prosecutors during the first half of FY 2011. It alone accounted for nearly half (47 percent) of all criminal immigration prosecutions filed. It accounted for just under a quarter (23 percent) of overall criminal prosecutions, surpassing illegal entry (Title 8, Section 1325) as the most frequently cited federal lead charge. The latest available data from the Justice Department show the government reported 18,552 new prosecutions for illegal reentry during the first six months of this fiscal year. If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 37,104 for this fiscal year. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this estimate is up 3.5 percent over FY 2010, when the number of prosecutions totaled 35,836. Trends over the past twenty years show how, under the Obama Administration, prosecutions for this statute continue to top those under previous administrations.
June 10, 2011
Blogging from Vietnam -- Part 4
I spoke earlier with two partners at two different, prominent, international law firms in Ho Chi Minh City. One is from Singapore and has worked here for twelve years. The other is from Ohio and has been here for three. The first has seen an amazing transformation of Vietnam over the past decade as it came to work more with the U.S. as Vietnam worked toward entering the WTO. The second has seen great change even in three years, as the attitude of businesses and government officials evolves ever so quickly.
As I walk around (being very careful crossing the street!!), I also encounter many Viet Kieu or overseas Vietnamese from the U.S. who were refugees and who are here as tourists or visiting relatives. My conversations with them raise complex reactions from them, but they are happy to be visiting.
Southeast Asian refugees to the U.S. posed a distinctive resettlement challenge when they first start arriving in 1975. They became the largest refugee group ever to so rapidly enter the country, and the challenge they presented came early when they came in entirely unanticipated numbers.
On April 18, 1975, President Gerald Ford created a temporary Interagency Task Force (IATF) to coordinate the activities of twelve federal agencies. The temporary character of the IATF proved problematic. As if to convince itself that a temporary task force could manage the assignment, IATF perceived and treated the refugee problem as though it were temporary. As a result, its policies did not carefully consider the long-term effects on the refugee community. IATF’s rush to supervise led to sloppy sponsorship arrangements, some of which broke down almost immediately, leaving many refugees alone and unaided. Others served employers looking for cheap labor or subservient workers and exploited refugees.
More to the point, the short-sightedness of IATF led to the misguided decision to disperse Vietnamese refugees as widely as possible, rather than to concentrate them in assigned areas. For those who wished to maintain control over the Vietnamese, assigning them to a few central locations seemingly promised to keep them where they could be more easily monitored and manipulated. At the same time, however, it increased opportunities for refugees to communicate with and reinforce each other, perhaps enabling them to form alliances and mobilize.
Immigration Articles of the Day
Rachel Rosenbloom (Northeastern) has a pair of immigration articles of the day:
Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? New England Law Review, Vol. 34, pp. 327-349 (2011).
Abstract: In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court recognized a noncitizen criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to receive accurate advice regarding the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. This Article argues that although Padilla represents a major step forward, its reach will be uneven. Looking at what Padilla will mean for those who have been deported on the basis of constitutionally defective guilty pleas, the author identifies two factors that may limit the decision’s impact. First, restrictions on state and federal postconviction relief, combined with the logistical and evidentiary complexities inherent in litigating a claim from abroad, will present significant obstacles to pursuing Padilla claims. Secondly, a deportee who prevails on a Padilla claim may find that the vacatur of the conviction fails to provide her with any basis for regaining her former immigration status. In response to these potential limitations, this Article proposes a set of reforms to bring Padilla’s promise to fruition. The proposals focus on making mechanisms for postconviction review accessible to deportees and providing ways for deportees to return to the United States temporarily to pursue Padilla claims and permanently if they are successful in such claims.
Abstract: In recent years, thousands of longtime legal residents have been deported based on erroneous interpretations of the 1996 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act. Their return to the United States is precluded by a pair of Department of Justice regulations barring immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from correcting errors in removal proceedings once a deportee has left the United States. Advocates have begun to take aim at these regulations through litigation and administrative advocacy. This article, the first scholarly work to consider the phenomenon of wrongful deportation and the arguments for and against the “departure bar” on administrative reopening, adds a new dimension to this emerging debate. It argues that repeal or judicial invalidation of the departure bar will not, in itself, provide a meaningful remedy for individuals who have been wrongly deported, as evidenced by recent unpublished decisions in which the BIA has continued to deny relief to deportees even in circuits that have struck down the departure bar. To lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive approach, this Article considers departure from the perspectives of both territoriality and finality, as well as addressing the prudential concerns that the BIA has cited in defense of the departure bar. It draws on a wide range of material within and outside immigration law to argue that neither established doctrine nor prudential concerns justify the Board’s view of departure from the United States as inherently transformative.
Addressing Concerns of Immigrant Women Helps Communities Nationwide
Claudia Williams has a thoughtful blog post entitled "Addressing Concerns of Immigrant Women Helps Communities Nationwide." All too often, the various issues surrounding women immigrants are buried in the national debate over immigration.
The Geography of Immigrant Skills: Educational Profiles of Metropolitan Areas
The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program has released a report on the education and skill levels of working-age immigrants in the 100 largest metros that challenges some conventional notions about how immigrants contribute to the American economy. Among the key findings:
· Despite the perception that most immigrants are poorly-educated, high-skilled immigrants now outnumber low-skilled immigrants in America.
· High-skilled immigrants are more likely to be under-employed, while low-skilled immigrants tend to have higher rates of employment and lower individual earnings than their native-born counterparts.
· While immigrants’ skill levels vary in different metros, 44 of the nation’s 100 largest metros are destination points for high-skilled immigrants. These include places like Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, as well as Albany, Buffalo and Cleveland.
National Initiative to Combat Immigration Services Scams: DHS, DOJ and FTC Collaborate with State and Local Partners in Unprecedented Effort
The U.S. government has unveiled a multi-agency, nationwide initiative to combat immigration services scams. The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are leading this historic effort. This initiative targets immigration scams involving the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL), which occurs when legal advice and/or representation regarding immigration matters is provided by an individual who is not an attorney or accredited representative.
This initiative is set upon three pillars—enforcement, education and continued collaboration—designed to stop UPIL scams and prosecute those who are responsible; educate immigrants about these scams and how to avoid them; and inform immigrants about the legal immigration process and where to find legitimate legal advice and representation. “
The Department of Justice, through United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Civil Division’s Office of Consumer Protection Litigation, is investigating and prosecuting dozens of cases against so-called “notarios.” In the last year, DOJ has worked with investigators at the FBI, ICE, and USCIS, and with state and local partners, to secure convictions—with sentences up to eight years in prison and forfeiture and restitution of over $1.8 million. This is in addition to the many actions at the state and local levels that have been filed against individuals and businesses engaged in immigration services scams. ICE has also long been pursuing immigration services fraud cases in part through its 18 Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force offices across the country. In a recent case in West Palm Beach, Fla., ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested an individual on May 26 who had posed as an attorney and processed more than 3,000 fraudulent immigration applications.
Meanwhile, FTC has made it easier for consumers to alert law enforcement about these scams by creating a new Immigration Services code in the Consumer Sentinel Network, its online consumer complaint database.
Shared with more than 2,000 law enforcement entities including ICE, DOJ and now USCIS, it has become the primary repository for complaints involving allegations of immigration services scams. Sentinel will serve as an investigative tool for USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security officers, and will bolster communication between organizations on immigration services scam-related cases. The initiative’s education component will focus on empowering immigrant communities to avoid unscrupulous individuals and businesses engaged in UPIL. USCIS’s efforts will be primarily aimed at providing immigrants with the information they need to make informed choices when seeking legal advice and representation on immigration matters, and reminding them that The Wrong Help Can Hurt. Today, USCIS unveiled a new brochure, a poster, public service announcements for use on radio and in print publications, billboard and transit ads, and a new Web resource center that includes a video.
All printed materials are available in English and Spanish, and materials in 12 additional languages are available online. To bolster this outreach effort, DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and FTC will produce and distribute educational materials for different populations that may be affected by immigration services scams. As part of the initiative’s emphasis on providing qualified legal assistance to this vulnerable population, EOIR’s Recognition and Accreditation program, DOJ, USCIS, and FTC are working together to increase the number of EOIR-recognized organizations and accredited representatives, particularly in underserved areas. Organizations and representatives seeking to provide lawful immigration services must be recognized by EOIR.
EOIR is improving its Recognition and Accreditation Program by increasing communication with the public, providing easier application processing, and giving timely, accurate information to the public regarding which organizations have representatives available to represent individuals in proceedings.
DOJ’s Civil Division and Access to Justice Initiative are involved in an effort to train more attorneys to handle the cases of immigration fraud victims. As a result of these efforts, DOJ announced that nongovernmental organizations, working with local partners, will organize a pro bono legal clinic in Baltimore later this summer to assist victims of an enforcement action announced by the FTC today. Driven by a continuing dialogue with DOJ, the City Bar of New York, the New York State Bar Association, the New York Office of the Attorney General, the Katzmann Study Group, and nongovernmental organizations, a legal training program will be launched this summer in New York City to expand the pool of lawyers who can assist in immigration matters.
For more information about USCIS’s education initiative, visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams. A list of federal, state and local immigration services cases and additional information regarding EOIR’s Recognition and Accreditation Program are available on DOJ’s website. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
Opposition to State Corruption May Give Rise to Asylum Claim?
Here is an interesting new precedent decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Matter of N- M-, 25 I&N Dec. 526 (BIA 2011):
(1) Opposition to state corruption may, in some circumstances, constitute the expression of political opinion or give a persecutor a reason to impute such an opinion to an alien.
(2) For claims arising under the REAL ID Act of 2005, Division B of Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302, a showing of retaliation for opposing governmental corruption is, by itself, insufficient to establish eligibility for relief; instead, an alien must persuade the trier of fact that his or her actual or imputed anticorruption belief (or other protected trait) was one central reason for the harm.
(3) In making the nexus determination, an Immigration Judge should consider: (1) whether and to what extent the alien engaged in activities that could be perceived as expressions of anticorruption beliefs; (2) any direct or circumstantial evidence that the persecutor was motivated by the alien’s actual or perceived anticorruption beliefs; and (3) any evidence regarding the pervasiveness of corruption within the governing regime.
June 9, 2011
Bama Governor Signs Immigration Law
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley an Alabama immigration law that arguably now replaces Arizona's as the toughest state immigration enforcement measure out there. The Alabama bill, among other things, would (1) bar undocumented studemts from public colleges and universities; (2) require law enforcement to check the immigration status of persons about whom they have a "reasonable suspicion" about immigration status; (3) make it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor someone who is in the country unlawfully; (4) impose penalties on businesses that knowingly employ someone without legal status -- with the possible suspension or revocation of the employer's business license; and (5) require employers to use E-Verify. Expect a plethora of lawsuits to be brought before the law goes into effect.signed into law
MPI Report: Emerging Transatlantic Security Dilemmas in Border Management
The sheer volume of global travel puts border management systems under constant pressure. Even as the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide surged from 69 million in 1960 to 687 million four decades later, border management systems have had to contend with additional risks associated with these movements. Mass-casualty terrorist attacks, rising illegal immigration, and human trafficking have exposed weaknesses in states’ ability to manage their borders effectively. As a result, the last decade has seen huge government investments to implement new border management frameworks and collaborate across borders to accomplish several competing aims: the facilitation of legitimate travel and trade, the prevention of terrorism and transnational criminality, and reductions in illegal migration flows.
In Emerging Transatlantic Security Dilemmas in Border Management, Migration Policy Institute European Policy Fellow Elizabeth Collett examines the infrastructure and policy developments – and challenges – that have occurred in recent years on both sides of the Atlantic. While these policy challenges strongly resonate in both Europe and the United States, their nature and prioritization differ. For the United States, the preoccupation with preventing another terrorist attack has led to a seemingly all-consuming pursuit of securing its borders by all means available. For European governments, ensuring the integrity of external EU borders to prevent irregular migration and promote intra-EU mobility adds an additional complexity, and multilateral collaboration has been a major innovative feature of border management.
Immigration Article of the Day: The Search for Fair Agency Process: The Immigration Opinions of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins 1994 to 2010" by LENNI BETH BENSON
"The Search for Fair Agency Process: The Immigration Opinions of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins 1994 to 2010" by LENNI BETH BENSON, New York Law School Email: Lenni.Benson@nyls.edu Judge Michael Daly Hawkins has been a member of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1994; but he has been concerned with the forms and varieties of administrative or bureaucratic process his entire career. When he became a member of the federal judiciary, his role was clearly altered. However, his commitment to fairness and integrity in adjudication remained undiminished. This article will explore some of Judge Hawkins’s many immigration decisions, both majority and dissenting opinions, which reflect his commitment to the preservation of a due process. The reality of immigration adjudication in the Ninth Circuit is that there are a vast number of non-precedential, “unpublished” decisions issued by three judge panels with a heavy role for the staff attorneys drafting all or parts of the opinion. It is in this context that we examine the key immigration cases of Judge Hawkins, knowing that no immigration opinion can be written in the Ninth Circuit without an understanding that perhaps one hundred or more immigration cases may be decided in a month within the Ninth Circuit alone.
June 8, 2011
Blogging from Vietnam - Part 3
In Ho Chi Minh City, it’s pretty apparent that speaking English is a priority for many Vietnamese. Local bookstores have huge sections of English books as well as English language instruction texts. Many folks (and I’m not talking simply about hotel and tourist industry folks) are wanting and willing to engage in English conversation. I don’t want to overstate this—English is by no means ubiquitous here. But clearly, there’s a segment of the population from local college students to folks on the street who are trying to learn English.
I encountered one young boy—Vinh—who was a shopkeeper’s son playing with his yo-yo. Vinh is almost five, and 3 days a week at his pre-school, he gets English instruction.
Yesterday, a visit to the War Remnants Museum was pretty eye-opening. War is ugly, and that side was highlighted in a stark manner.
Following the U.S. military withdrawal from Vietnam in April 1975, refugee admissions increased markedly overnight. For policy makers, invoking numerical restrictions in the midst of a controversial and devastating war would have been unacceptable; too many understood such inflexibility as morally treacherous and politically high-priced. Consequently, the attorney general on several occasions used the parole authority to permit Asians to enter—the first time it was so employed since the 1965 immigration reforms.
Initially, the U.S. merely wanted to evacuate from Vietnam the approximately 17.600 American dependents and government employees. Immediately before the fall of Saigon in April 1975, however, former employees and others whose lives were threatened were included. These evacuees included approximately 4,000 orphans, 75,000 relatives of American citizens or lawful permanent residents, and 50,000 Vietnamese government employees and officials. Mass confusion permitted many who did not fit these categories to be evacuated. Between April and December 1975, the U.S. thus admitted 130,400 Southeast Asian refugees, 125,000 of whom were Vietnamese. And that was only the beginning.
Immigration and Refugee Scholar Named Dean at University of Toledo College of Law
Prior to becoming dean, Steinbock served as Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values at the University of Toledo College of Law. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale.
Steinbock previously served as education coordinator in Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand for the International Rescue Committee and is co-author of Unaccompanied Children: Care and Protection in Wars, Natural Disasters and Refugee Movements (Oxford University Press, 1987). He also has written law review articles and book chapters about refugee children, refugee law, search and seizure, identity documentation, and data mining.
One of my favorite articles by Dean Steinbock is Refuge and Resistance: Casablanca's Lessons for Refugee Law, 7 Georgetown Immigration L.J. 649 (1993), which reviews and analyzes the immigration and refugee themes in the classic Humphrey Bogart film Casablanca. Check it out!
Call for Papers: Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts (Winter 2012) -- "500 Years Later: Reverberations of the Transatlantic Slave Trade"
For the detailed call for papers for this issue, click here.
DEADLINE: Papers must be received by July 6, 2011 to be considered for publication in this issue.
There is little doubt that from its origins in the 16th century through its end in the 19th century the transatlantic slave trade dramatically shaped the trajectories of many millions of lives on at least four continents (Africa, Europe, North America, and South America, and the Caribbean). Whether, in what forms, by what means, and to what effect the slave trade continues to leave social, cultural, institutional, familial and personal impressions in the present day are matters of considerable debate and even tension – in the former slave-trading and slave-hosting nations, in West and Central Africa, but also in countries whose involvement was less obvious.
Guest editor David Anderson Hooker, Director of Research and Training for Coming to the Table: Taking America (USA) Beyond the Legacy of Enslavement, and the editorial staff of Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, invite submissions for the first issue of its fifth volume, entitled “500 Years Later: Reverberations of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” The Transatlantic Slave Trade most immediately touched societies and lives in France, Great Britain, Portugal and Brazil, the Netherlands, North America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Central Africa. We especially welcome analyses, critiques, reflections, and documentation by activists, community-based organizations, and others living and working in these countries and regions or working on issues that implicate developments and dynamics in these places. Of course, the work of scholars, advocates, activists and practitioners in all disciplines working elsewhere are also welcome.
Coalition Seeks Clemency for Mexican Man on Texas Death Row
Thr BLT: The Blog of Legal Times reports on an interesting death penalty case. With the backing of former judges, prosecutors and diplomats from across the country, lawyers are asking Texas Governor Rick Perry to delay the upcoming July 7 execution of Humberto Leal Garcia. "The case echoes the dispute involved in the 2008 Supreme Court decision in Medellin v. Texas, and also implicates pending action in Congress. Leal is a Mexican national arrested in 1994 on suspicion of murder who was never told that he had a right under an international treaty to contact the Mexican consulate for legal assistance. It was not until he was on death row that a fellow inmate gave him the address of the Mexican consulate."
Appleseed Pursues Justice for Immigrants
Appleseed Testimony on Immigration Court Reform
Appleseed, Texas Appleseed and Chicago Appleseed submitted testimony to the May 18, 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Improving Efficiency and Ensuring Justice in the Immigration Court System.” As described in the testimony, EOIR has made some important strides in improving the fairness, efficiency and accuracy of immigration courts. EOIR has also made those courts more accessible and fair to immigrants with mental disabilities. Still, much work needs to be done to fulfill the promise of a fair system of justice. Appleseed looks forward to working with EOIR and the Committee to improve our immigration courts. The testimony was based on three Appleseed reports discussing the functioning of the immigration court system: “Assembly Line Injustice,” chronicling and proposing solutions to problems in the immigration court system; “Immigration’s Hidden Population” (), examining the treatment of immigrants with mental disabilities; and “Children at the Border,” documenting DHS’s failure to properly screen unaccompanied minors at the border.
Appleseed Op-Ed on Unaccompanied Minors
“The U.S. needs to protect children at the border,” a recent op-ed written by Appleseed board member and Akin Gump Pro Bono Partner Steven Schulman, describes the dangers faced by unaccompanied Mexican children at the border and the federal government’s failure to screen unaccompanied minors as required by the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The op-ed, which appeared in the May 18, 2011 edition of The Hill, highlights the findings and recommendations in Appleseed’s “Children at the Border” report, which previously was highligted on ImmigrationProf.
Immigration Article of the Day: When State Courts Meet Padilla: A Concerted Effort is Needed to Bring State Courts Up to Speed on Crime-Based Immigration Law Provisions by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
When State Courts Meet Padilla: A Concerted Effort is Needed to Bring State Courts Up to Speed on Crime-Based Immigration Law Provisions by by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández Capital University Law School Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law, Vol. 12, p. 299, 2011
Abstract: Padilla v. Kentucky’s recognition of deportation consequences as a component of the Sixth Amendment effective assistance of counsel guarantee promised dramatic impact on criminal proceedings involving noncitizen defendants. Realizing this promise depends on courts’ ability to require defense attorneys to provide accurate advice about the deportation consequences of a conviction. Because state courts decide most ineffective assistance of counsel claims, a review of their treatment of Padilla-based claims offers an insightful glimpse into this decision’s impact on criminal representation of noncitizen defendants. This article examines state court decisions from the first six months after Padilla was issued and concludes that state courts’ lack of familiarity with immigration law has manifested itself in a concerning failure to grant Padilla-based relief when attorneys have inaccurately advised defendants about the prospect of deportation.
June 7, 2011
New Judge Hiring Fails to Stem Rising Immigration Case Backlog
Despite the hiring of 44 additional immigration judges during the past twelve months, the number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has continued to grow. By the beginning of May 2011, the backlog reached a new all time high of 275,316 matters, according to an analysis of very timely court data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The case backlog grew 2.8 percent in the four months since the end of December 2010, and is now 48 percent higher than levels at the end of FY 2008. The average length of time cases have been waiting increased to 482 days, compared with 476 days at the end of December 2010. More on this topic, including a list of the courts to which the 44 new judges were appointed, can be found in TRAC's latest report on the immigration courts.
The New, New South: The New Latino South
The Latino population in the South has grown dramatically over the last decade. This is one in a L.A. Times series of occasional stories chronicling the lives of Latinos in a changing region. It looks at the immigration consequences for the immigrant father of an all-American family.