Saturday, July 23, 2011

Support the American Community Survey (ACS)

From the National Institute for Latino Policy:
The federal government is looking for comments from the public on the need to continue collecting data through the American Community Survey ACS). It is important for community organizations and individuals to weigh in on this important matter. The deadline for submitting comments is July 25, 2011.
As you know, the ACS replaced the so-called "long form" of the decennial Census last year. While this "long form" provided detailed Census information on the population once every ten years, the ACS provides this critical information now every year. There has been some issue with the size of the sample, but this year the Congress authorized increasing the size of the sample to address these concerns.
There are also elements out there that want to either eliminate the ACS or greatly limit its value by turning it into a volunteer survey. The statistics generated annually by the ACS are critical to documenting community needs and to promoting issues of equality, opening opportunities and tracking the progress of social integration. 
Last week, the Census Bureau announced its submission of a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to continue to collect the ACS for the next three years. There is a Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request notice posted in the Federal Register with the details (see below). To view the supporting materials submitted by the Census Bureau on the OMB website, click here.
For more information on the ACS, click here. On this Census website you will find a copy of the ACS questionnaire, and supporting documents, including information about methodology. Public comments are due to OMB by July 25th. It is important that you submit comments about the importance of the ACS ---your letters become part of the on-line public record.
Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent to:
Brian Harris-Kojetin
OMB Desk Officer
By fax (202-395-7245) or  e-mail


July 23, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Local Immigration Prosecution: A Study of Arizona Before SB 1070 by Ingrid Eagly

"Local Immigration Prosecution: A Study of Arizona Before SB 1070" UCLA Law Review, Vol. 58, 2011 UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 11-21 INGRID V. EAGLY, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law.

ABSTRACT: Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 has focused attention on whether federal law preempts the prosecution of state immigration crime in local criminal courts. Absent from the current discussion, however, is an appreciation of how Arizona’s existing body of criminal immigration law, passed well before SB 1070 and currently in force in Arizona, functions on the ground to regulate migration. Drawing on statistical data, prosecution policies, trial-level court records, and interviews with stakeholders, this article is the first to investigate the practice of local immigration prosecution. It does so in the hotbed of immigration enforcement, Maricopa County, Arizona, through a detailed case study of the implementation of a 2005 Arizona alien smuggling law. Specifically, this article reveals four key aspects of the national immigration system that have shifted in the face of state criminalization: the functional definition of immigration crime, the breadth of state immigration enforcement authority, the allocation of federal resources for criminal prosecution, and the exercise of executive control over immigration policy. Through this analysis, this article shows how, despite the formal prohibition on state and local immigration regulation, Arizona has redefined and restructured the federal system for punishing immigration crime. In so doing, this article fosters a richer and more accurate understanding of the role of the local prosecutor in immigration federalism.


July 23, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cert Petitions of the Day

Marissa Miller on SCOTUSblog
writres about two petitions for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court that raise questions about the ways in which the status of a noncitizen's parents may count toward the statutory requirements for cancellation of removal.  Both cases come from the Ninth Circuit.


July 22, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration and Health Blog

Note: Check out this new blog

Welcome to AccessDenied: A Conversation on Unauthorized Im/migration and Health! The aim of this blog is to challenge readers and contributors to re-think the political common sense that denies migrants and immigrants access to health care and impedes their capacity to enjoy the social determinants of good health.  We also consider how the increased movement of people across national borders affects the health of receiving communities.


July 22, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

S-Comm is Bad for our Health

From Karen Hacker of Harvard Medical School, Jennifer Kasper of the Institute for Community Health, and Juliana Morris of Massachusetts General Hospital (for Access Denied)

After much deliberation, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick decided this month not to sign the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program, following the lead of New York, Illinois, and other states. While this is a significant step in protecting immigrants’ rights, health care providers need to be vigilant. It is important to understand the potential negative health implications of this program, which could affect all communities in Massachusetts and across the United States.

Under S-Comm, a program of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), fingerprints of arrestees in local police precincts are automatically cross-checked against a central ICE database. If there is a “hit,” indicating that the individual is in the US without authorization, ICE is automatically notified and may detain him or her and/or initiate deportation proceedings. This can occur even if the individual is only arrested and never convicted of any criminal act. States are refusing to sign on because they say it does not meet its stated goal of deporting hardened criminals. ICE’s own statistics reveal that more than half of people detained by the program are non-criminals. There is also concern that signing onto S-Comm will negatively affect the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement since immigrants will be less likely to work with local and state police to fight crime.

The S-Comm implementation carries serious health and public health implications for some of the most vulnerable communities.  In particular, we are concerned about three negative health-related outcomes: the effects of stress and anxiety on the physical and mental health of immigrants; immigrants’ increased vulnerability to crime; and decreased health care utilization by immigrants. Read more....


July 22, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Reason Over Hysteria: Keynote Essay by Bill Ong Hing

Reason Over Hysteria: Keynote Essay by Bill Ong Hing

Abstract: We are a nation of immigrants, but we also are a nation that loves to debate immigration policy, and that debate reflects the battle over how we define who is an American. The anti-immigrant movement in the United States is as strong as ever. Immigrant bashing is popular among politicians, talk radio hosts, private militiamen, and xenophobic grassroots organizations. They take full advantage of the high-tech era in which we live, as they complain about the "illegal alien invasion." Their common thread is the rhetoric of fear. This hysteria leads to tragic policies that challenge us as a moral society. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, enormous funding for border enforcement, anti-immigrant ordinances and state laws, and record levels of detention are manifestations of the venom, while immigrants and citizen relatives are forced to suffer. Arizona’s SB 1070 is an example of the hysteria-driven results. The controversial law would make it a state crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, bar state and local officials from enacting sanctuary laws, and crack down on those sheltering, hiring, and transporting undocumented aliens. The intent of the legislation is to make life miserable for the undocumented in Arizona in hopes of achieving "attrition through enforcement." Critics charge that the law invites racial profiling and exceeds state authority. In this keynote essay, delivered at Loyola University New Orleans on November 5, 2010, Professor Hing provides an overview of the background on local and state laws that attempt to regulate immigration, how much of the racist attitudes toward immigrants have become institutionalized within the current immigration system, and current enforcement strategies that prey heavily on immigrant workers who are victims of trade policies and globalization. I argue that given an understanding of how our nation’s immigration laws have evolved in the context of globalization we should calm down and stop the anti-immigrant rhetoric. We should gather ourselves and use our collective wisdom to address immigration policy and the need for reform in a thoughtful, reasoned manner.


July 22, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sonoma County, ACLU Settle Immigration Case: Sonoma County sheriff to limit involvement in immigration cases

California Watch reports that an agreement (Download Sonoma County Settlememt) announced yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union limits the involvement of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office in enforcing federal immigration laws. In a lawsuit filed in 2008, the ACLU argued the sheriff's office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement went beyond their authority to detain Latino immigrants, many of whom had not been arrested on criminal charges.


July 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mass Governor Stands Up for DREAMers


The Boston Globe reports that Massachustetts Governor Deval Patrick, just weeks after announcing that Massachusetts would opt out of the U.S. government's Secure Communities program, unexpectedly appeared at a Massachusetts State House hearing yesterday to urge lawmakers to support a bill allowing undocumented immigrants pay resident fees at state colleges and universities.  The Globe opined that "The surprise visit appeared to signal an aggressive new stance by the Patrick administration on illegal immigration and a sharp departure from the governor’s first term, when he shied from incendiary issues such as tuition and driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants."


July 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bankers, Drug Wars, and Mexican Genocide

From Professor James Petras:

In May 2011, Mexican investigators uncovered another mass clandestine grave with dozens of mutilated corpses; bringing the total number of victims to 40,000 killed since 2006 when the Calderon regime announced its “war on drug traffickers”.

Backed by advisers, agents and arms, the White House has been the principal promotor of a ‘war’ that has totally decimated Mexico’s society and economy.
If Washington has been the driving force for the regime’s war, Wall Street banks have been the main instruments ensuring the profits of the drug cartels. Every major US bank has been deeply involved in laundering hundreds of billions of dollars in drug profits, for the better part of the past decade.
Mexico’s descent into this inferno has been engineered by the leading US financial and political institutions, each supporting ‘one side or the other’ in the bloody “total war” which spares no one, no place and no moment in time. While the Pentagon arms the Mexican government and the US Drug Enforcement Agency enforces the “military solution”, the biggest US banks receive, launder and transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to the drug lords’ accounts, who then buy modern arms, pay private armies of assassins and corrupt untold numbers of political and law enforcement officials on both sides of the border.

Everyday scores, if not hundreds, of corpses – appear in streets and or are found in unmarked graves; dozens are murdered in their homes, cars, public transport, offices and even hospitals; known and unknown victims in the hundreds are kidnapped and disappear; school children, parents, teachers, doctors and businesspeople are seized in broad daylight and held for ransom or murdered in retaliation. Thousands of migrant workers are kidnapped, robbed, ransomed, murdered and evidence is emerging that some are sold into the illegal ‘organ trade’. The police are barricaded in their commissaries; the military, if and when it arrives, takes out its frustration on entire cities, shooting more civilians than cartel soldiers. Everyday life revolves around surviving the daily death toll; threats are everywhere, the armed gangs and military patrols fire and kill with virtual impunity. People live in fear and anger. Read more....


July 21, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Staff Attorney Job Opening: ILRC

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is seeking a full-time staff attorney to further our technical support and capacity building work on behalf of immigrants and the practitioners who defend their rights.  The ILRC is a national nonprofit legal support center located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1979, we specialize in immigration law, policy, and immigrants' rights.  The ILRC’s work concentrates on three main program areas: (1) building the capacity of attorneys, paralegals, organizers, service providers, immigrants, and others by providing legal technical assistance, trainings, and publications; (2) assisting immigrants with civic engagement projects to help expand immigrants’ rights and political power; and (3) conducting policy and advocacy work related to immigration law and immigrant rights.
The ILRC is a team-based organization that makes most of its decisions in a collaborative fashion that allows for significant staff input. 
Job Responsibilities: The staff attorney will be responsible for contributing to several concurrent programs including:
·        Responding to legal technical requests from public defenders, private practice attorneys, nonprofit agency staff, and pro bono attorneys who work with low-income immigrants on issues relating to family-based immigration, removal and deportation defense, VAWA, asylum, and other immigration law issues;
·        Writing manuals, practitioner advisories, and outreach and educational materials for attorneys, paralegals, community organizers, members of the immigrant community, and others;
·        Working with networks of other immigrant rights organizations and/or organizing with and presenting to groups on immigration law, policy and immigrant rights issues;
·        Engaging in policy and advocacy work on immigration law issues;
·        Writing grant proposals and reports to foundations and corporations, and representing the ILRC in meetings with funders and supporters; and
·        Traveling for trainings, funder visits, and other events in California and throughout the United States.
·        Helping immigrants lead and participate in civic engagement projects.
Qualifications: The successful applicant is required to have:
·        A minimum of five – seven years of experience representing clients in the practice of general immigration law before the BIA and the federal courts, especially in regards to more complicated family-based and removal cases;
·        Broad knowledge of family-based immigration law and removal cases including the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability; the intersection of criminal and immigration law and the rules governing BIA and judicial review;
·        Excellent writing, editing, legal analysis, and oral presentation skills; 
·        Exceptional time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines;
·        A strong work ethic, including the following qualities: organized, flexible, reliable, and dependable, with the ability to be an independent worker, and able to handle several projects simultaneously while thriving in a team-based collaborative decision-making environment;
·        A willingness to travel throughout California and the United States; and
·        A current Bar membership in good standing for any state in the United States or the District of Columbia.
It is a plus if the applicant has additional experience including:
·        More than seven years of experience representing low-income clients in the practice of general immigration law, especially family-based and removal cases, including experience representing clients before the BIA and the federal courts;
·        Writing and securing grants from foundations and corporations;
·        Technical writing whether for immigration or other purposes;
·        Training, teaching, or other public speaking experience;
·        Working in, leading, or forming coalitions;
·        Collaborating with immigrant communities;
·        Coordinating civic engagement projects or working as a community organizer:
·        Second language proficiency, preferably Spanish, Mandarin or Cantonese, within the range of conversational to fluent; and/or  
·        Business marketing and/or public relations experience utilizing both traditional and social media communication, such as preparation of media materials and website content, outreach to and interaction with media outlets, writing/sending press releases, prepping interview talking points, writing blog posts, articles or letters to the editor.
Salary/Benefits: Pay is commensurate with experience. The ILRC provides competitive salaries, excellent benefits including professional membership dues, health/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The ILRC sponsors a retirement plan option upon fulfillment of eligibility. 
Applications: This position will remain open until it is filled.  We will consider applications on an ongoing basis beginning immediately.  To ensure consideration of your application, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position and salary requirement, a resume, two writing samples – one sample that demonstrates immigration law knowledge and a second sample that shows business writing acumen -- and the names of three references as soon as possible to:
Staff Attorney Hiring Committee
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco, CA  94103
Fax: (415)255-9792 (no calls, please)


July 21, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Two Hundred Groups Denounce S-Comm Advisory Committee

From NILC:

Civil Rights and Policy Groups Denounce “Secure” Communities Advisory Committee

LOS ANGELES, CA – The National Immigration Law Center joined more than 200 civil rights organizations to denounce the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recently-formed advisory committee on Secure Communities (S-Comm). In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, the groups expressed deep disappointment in the advisory committee, which will be virtually unable to make significant recommendations to fix this fundamentally-flawed program.  

“By funneling hundreds of thousands of parents, children, students, and others into the deportation pipeline, S-Comm has effectively severed an already-tenuous tie between communities of color and local law enforcement,” said Nora Preciado, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “Instead of listening to the community and putting a moratorium on this program, DHS has simply applied window dressing in the form of  an advisory committee without any real authority. This is not the ‘reform’ we were hoping for.”

Members of the newly-created advisory committee, which include law enforcement officials, ICE agents, and immigrants’ rights advocates, were appointed without public input. The committee’s scope is limited to suggestions about treatment of individuals identified as a result of minor traffic offenses. The committee has no authority to stem the deportations of hundreds of thousands of community members caught in the S-Comm dragnet.

The controversial program has sparked outcry among immigrant and law enforcement communities across the country, prompting governors from Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts to request that their states be allowed to opt-out of S-Comm. The California legislature is also considering the TRUST Act, legislation that would put the power back in local hands to determine if participation in S-Comm comports with community policing concerns. 

In May, Angelenos were shocked to learn that S-Comm triggered deportation proceedings for Isaura Gomez, a mother who called 911 to protect herself from her abusive boyfriend.

ICE’s practices and policies have been shrouded in secrecy since the program’s inception. Civil rights organizations, including the National Day Labor Organizing Network, filed a lawsuit demanding that the government shed light on its practices. The documents procured as a result of the suit, which were made public earlier this year, showed that ICE used misleading definitions of “voluntary” and “opt out” to allow room for the agency to expand implementation of the program. 

“For too long, ICE has rebuffed public and private pleas for accountability and transparency on a program that has wreaked havoc on our communities,” said Melissa Keaney, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “We hope this letter will serve a wake-up call to ICE: we will not be placated by toothless advisory committees and cosmetic changes. We demand that ICE put the brakes on the fatally flawed ‘S-Comm.’”

For a copy of the letter to ICE Director John Morton, click here.


July 21, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Beware of Immigration Lottery Scam

From USCIS (San Francisco)

Have you or someone you know recently received an e-mail claiming you’ve won the Green Card lottery and asking you to send or wire money? Don’t fall for it – the sender is trying to steal your money!

Learn more and spread the word:

Don’t forget to check out our new web pages on how to avoid immigration scams:

If you work with the Spanish speaking population please encourage everyone to participate in the free July 28th Enlace event (5:30 pm to 7:30pm) which will provide information on how to avoid immigration scams in Spanish.  They can participate in three ways: in person at the Sacramento District Office (650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento); by telephone 1-800-857-4862 (password is “servicio”) and on the internet where the Sacramento event will be streamed live. (


July 21, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Andrew Thomas (Australia)


Andrew Thomas is an Australian-born American aerospace engineer and a NASA astronaut. He became a U.S. citizen in December 1986. He is married to fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker.


July 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Lessons from the Past: How the Antebellum Fugitive Slave Debate Informs State Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law" by JAMES ADAM KRAEHENBUEHL

"Lessons from the Past: How the Antebellum Fugitive Slave Debate Informs State Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law" University of Chicago Law Review, by JAMES ADAM KRAEHENBUEHL

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on similarities today’s immigration debate has with the fugitive slave debate in the antebellum United States. It argues that these similarities provide valuable lessons for today’s debate over the constitutionality and potential consequences that differing levels of enforcement on the local level have created, focusing particularly on jurisdictions of overenforcement, such as Arizona’s SB 1070.


July 21, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Undocumented Immigrants in California

Leslie Berestein Rojas
reports on a new report in which taxpayer records were used to estimate California’s undocumented immigrant population by county and finds them interesting on a couple of counts.

First, the report from the Public Policy Institute of California estimates that Los Angeles County is home to a little under one million undocumented immigrants, 9.3 percent of its population.  No real surprises there.  But recall that this means that roughly 10+-plus (if one counts lawful permanent residents) cannot vote and this cannot fully participate in the political process.   Over time, we no doubt will see stresses and strains as local government almost inevitably will be less responsive than it should be to the undocumented population.  Do not forget the Revolutionary War slogan "No taxation without representation."

Second, the Public Policy of California report provides a sense of how many undocumented immigrants file income tax returns.  Many people fail to acknowledge that millions of undocumented immigrants file tax returns, pay taxes, and contribite to the social security system to the tune of billions of dollars.  Undocumented immigrants at the same time are ineligible for many tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, many public benefts funded with tax dollars, and Social Security benefits (at least if they are working on a false SSN).

Undocumented immigrants make up about 28 percent of all foreign-born U.S. residents and slightly less than 4 percent of the nation’s total population. The vast majority of immigrants in California are legal residents.  But California is the state with the most undocumented immigrants.

Los Angeles leads California counties in terms of sheer numbers. However, undocumented immigrants form a higher percentage of the population in rural areas like Imperial, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara counties. The report also features maps with undocumented population estimates by ZIP code of the entire state and of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.


July 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
has launched two public service announcements as part of the “Don’t Be Fooled” campaign—a public awareness campaign designed to educate citizens and encourage public vigilance to combat human trafficking within local communities, and invite others to join the fight against this form of modern-day slavery.  The two public service announcements, titled “Masquerade” and “Bird Cage,” will begin airing July 25 in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and the Washington, D.C., metro area.   Click the link above for links to the announcements.

Consider the facts of one case of human trafficking and forced labor:

In 2001 and 2002, Varsha's mother, known as "Mrs. Joti," arranged for Samirah, a 53-year old woman from Indonesia, to obtain an Indonesian passport and United States visa in order to travel to the United States to work in the Sabhnanis' home. Samirah, a rice vender who spoke no English, did not know what a visa was. . . . She traveled to the United States in February 2002 in the company of Mrs. Joti, who carried Samirah's passport . . . . Varsha Sabhnani took Samirah's passport and other related documents and kept them until approximately April 2007, about one year after Samirah's passport had expired. Mrs. Joti returned to her home in Indonesia shortly after delivering Samirah.

Samirah worked as a domestic servant for Varsha and Mahender Sabhnani from February 2002 through May 2007, even though the visa that Mrs. Joti obtained for her authorized Samirah to enter the United States solely as Mrs. Joti's employee and to work for her in this country only until May 2002. During her time with the Sabhnanis, Samirah was responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other chores at the couple's large three-story residence, which included about seven bedrooms, seven baths, and separate offices from which Mahender Sabhnani operated PVM International and Eternal Love Parfums . . . . Varsha told Samirah that her $200 per month salary was being paid to her daughter Lita in Indonesia. Lita was in fact paid only $100 per month. Samirah received no money herself.

The circumstances of Samirah's employment were more than severe. While at the Sabhnanis' home, Samirah . . . was required to sleep first on the carpet outside the bedroom of one of the children and then on a mat on the floor of one of the residence's kitchens. Samirah was not given adequate food to eat -- to the point that she was often forced by hunger to eat from the garbage. She worked for extremely long hours per day and was often deprived of sleep. . . . Various witnesses testified that Samirah wore “torn or tattered,” “messy" clothing, rags "used for cleaning the floor" and clothing that left her “private part . . . visible.” Tr. 1786, 3834.

Samirah was subjected to extremely harsh physical and psychological treatment in the Sabhnanis’ home. On one occasion sometime before 2005, for example, Samirah drank milk directly from a container, without using a glass; the incident was reported to Varsha Sabhnani by one of her daughters. Varsha responded by beating Samirah and pouring scalding hot water on her arm. At her mother's instruction, one of Varsha's daughters took a photograph of Samirah with the milk container. Varsha Sabhnani told Samirah that the photo would be sent to Samirah's family in Indonesia to prove that Samirah was a thief. The photo, which Varsha thereafter kept in a locked cabinet in a closet adjoining the Sabhnanis’ bedroom, was introduced into evidence at the trial. It depicts the discoloration on Samirah’s arm from the scalding.

The milk incident was not an isolated one. Samirah was beaten by Varsha Sabhnani with various household objects, such as a broom, an umbrella, and a rolling pin. She was punished for sleeping late, for not receiving permission to throw out the garbage, for stealing food from the trash, and for failing to clean the garage. Varsha threw boiling water on Samirah on at least three separate occasions. She also mutilated Samirah, pulling on Samirah’s ears until they bled, causing scabs and scars, and cutting Samirah with a knife, leaving scars on her face and various parts of her body. Wearing plastic supermarket bags on her hands, Varsha Sabhnani on more than one occasion pulled on Samirah’s ears and dug her fingernails into the flesh behind them, causing blood to trickle down Samirah’s neck. She punished Samirah for various alleged misdeeds by forcing her to eat large quantities of hot chili peppers until Samirah vomited or moved her bowels uncontrollably. Varsha forced Samirah to walk up and down flights of stairs many times in succession. Samirah was required to bathe several times in a row, sometimes with her clothes on, and was not infrequently made to work while wearing wet clothing. Varsha Sabhnani also cut Samirah's hair with scissors and shaved her pubic hair, threatening Samirah that if she resisted her children in Indonesia would be murdered by Mahender Sabhnani and by the couple's teenage son. Samirah “never fought back,” according to her own testimony, “because [Varsha Sabhnani] always said, mind you, if you fight me off, then you [will] be killed by the mister,” referring to Mahender Sabhnani. Tr. 1774. The abuse suffered by Samirah caused her to become so fearful that she would sometimes urinate on herself.


Subject to this recurrent abuse, Samirah often asked to return to Indonesia or to be “give[n] . . . away” to another person. Tr. 1881. When she did so, Varsha Sabhnani told her that she would have to pay money to make up for the expenses the Sabhnanis had incurred in bringing her to the United States. Varsha told Samirah that Samirah’s children would be killed if she escaped. Varsha also threatened Samirah that if she ran away, Varsha would falsely report to the police that Samirah had stolen food and jewelry and . . . have Samirah sent to prison.

United States v. Sabhnani, 599 F.3d 215, 225-27 (2d Cir. 2010) (footnote omitted) (affirming criminal conviction of forced labor, peonage, and involuntary servitude).




July 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Join Immigrants' List

From Immigrants' List:

We know you already know a lot about the immigration debate. You may be involved in your local community, offer pro bono services, or mentor students who are passionate about the issue. But what about the national landscape? Are you interested in changing the face of the immigration debate across the country?

On immigration, there are a number of national advocacy organizations, but there are few that play roles in elections. Immigrants’ List is a bipartisan political action committee that works to elect pro-reform leaders and defeat anti-immigration politicians who spread misinformation and fear.

Stay involved in the elections that make a difference in the immigration fight: sign up now to receive emails.

At Immigrants’ List, we work directly in elections. Our support doesn’t stay in an echo chamber, it goes out into the field. It makes an actual difference on Election Day.

Immigrants' List has elected pro-reform members of Congress. We've defeated anti-immigrant politicians. And we have our work cut out for us in 2012.

Sign up now, and help carry the immigration reform movement forward.

Immigrants’ List


July 20, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Samantha Powers (Ireland)

Samantha Powers
is currently a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights as Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council. She began her career by covering the Yugoslav Wars as a journalist, and was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book A Problem from Hell, a study of the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide.

Power is considered to be perhaps the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.

Power was born in Dublin, Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1979. She graduated from Yale and later Harvard Law School.


July 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Earned Citizenship: Property Lessons for Immigration Reform" by AYELET SHACHAR

"Earned Citizenship: Property Lessons for Immigration Reform" Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Vol. 23, 2011 by AYELET SHACHAR, University of Toronto - Faculty of Law.

ABSTRACT:  This Article identifies a fundamental tension between the competing visions of “a nation of laws” and that of “a nation of immigrants.” It then proposes a way out of this stalemate by setting out a new framework that emphasizes the importance of rootedness as a basis for legal title. The idea of “taking root” as a basis for earning entitlement has been familiar to the common-law tradition for centuries. It was brilliantly captured in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ resounding words: “a thing which you have enjoyed and used as your own for a long time, whether property or opinion, takes root in your being.., however you came by it.” Placing rootedness at center stage also fits with the growing recognition in law (from modern contract and property theory, to family and private international law) that changes in relationships and expectations over time can often necessitate shifts in legal status. The emphasis on rootedness animates a new legal principle, jus nexi, which is defended here as an auxiliary path for inclusion in the polity that could operate alongside the established principles of citizenship acquisition: by birth on the territory (jus soli) or birth to a citizen parent (jus sanguinis). The jus nexi principle offers a remedy to some of the most glaring inequalities of the current situation, wherein those who are ineligible for a nation’s citizenship according to traditional principles - despite sharing in its society and economy - remain shut outside the recognized circle of political members and are denied the basic security and opportunity associated with full, legal membership. The turn to rootedness is significant for another reason, too: it holds the key to overcoming the nation-of-laws versus nation-of-immigrants standoff that has repeatedly frustrated attempts at comprehensive immigration reform in the United States and other leading destination countries around the world.


July 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Immigration Symposium

John marshall 
Atlanta's John Marshall Law Journal
invites submissions for our Spring 2012 symposium focused on immigration law. Although papers on any immigration-related topic are welcome, we are especially interested in papers that may have particular relevance to immigration issues in Georgia or the Southeast. Accepted papers will be featured at a conference/CLE to be held on February 8, 2012 and will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of the Journal. Please e-mail papers or proposals to by September 26, 2011.


July 20, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)