Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pass the POWER Act for Immigrant Workers' Rights

From the National Immigration Law Center:

Strike at Hershey’s Underscores Need for Passage of the POWER Act

The historic strike at Hershey’s last week shed light on abuses faced by J-1 guest workers. Last week, brave student guest workers held a sit-in at the Hershey’s Chocolate Company packing plant in Pennsylvania to protest their treatment by Hershey’s. The students paid $3,000-6,000 each to come to America this summer for what they thought would be a cultural exchange program. Instead, they found themselves packing chocolates at the Hershey’s plant in deeply exploitative conditions.

With the support of the National Guestworker Alliance, these student guest workers are fighting back to ensure their labor rights are respected. Their struggle—like that of countless others—shows how necessary it is to pass the POWER Act. This bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) would help level the playing field between unscrupulous employers and vulnerable workers. If passed, the POWER Act would protect immigrant workers who report workplace violations, ultimately helping ensure that our country’s workplaces are safer and more just.

bh

August 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Pride Month Commemorated by Los LA Dodgers

Los_Angeles_Dodgers_Logo_svg 
A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles City Council declared August as Immigrant Pride Month, distinguishing itself from states like Arizona and Georgia, as well as cities like Hazleton, PA and Farmer's Branch, Texas.  As part of the celebration, thousands of Latino and immigrant rights activists  will commemorate immigrant pride month at Dodger Stadium at the Los Angeles Dodgers-Colorado Rockies game on Sunday, August 28th.

The LA City Council proclaimed August as Immigrant Pride Month for the 2nd year in a row in a unanimous resolution on August 3, 2011.  The resolution calls for corporations, schools, and other LA entities to show their support for the immigrant contribution to Los Angeles with activities during August.   Resolution author Councilman Ed Reyes will throw out the first pitch at the Dodgers-Rockies game on Sunday.

KJ

August 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Hispanic College Enrollment Spikes, Narrowing Gaps With Other Groups

Driven by a single-year surge of 24% in Hispanic enrollment, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college in the United States hit an all-time high of 12.2 million in October 2010, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of newly available Census Bureau data. From 2009 to 2010, the number of Hispanic young adults enrolled in college grew by 349,000, compared with an increase of 88,000 young blacks and 43,000 young Asian Americans and a decrease of 320,000 young non-Hispanic whites.

KJ

August 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America

Islamophobia_onpage 
The Center for American Progress has rel;eased a report entitled "Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America."  The report exposes how 7 funders have given $43 million over 10 years to a small, inter-connected group of individuals and organizations responsible for mainstreaming fear, bigotry and hate against Muslims and Islam in America.  It shows how several fictitious, anti-Muslim talking points have become mainstream "news" such as: -"President Obama is a Muslim" -"Sharia is a threat to America" -"Mosques are Trojan Horses" -"Radical Islam has infiltrated America, the government and mainstream Muslim organizations" - "There is no such thing as moderate Islam. Traditional Islam is radical Islam" - "Practicing Muslims cannot be loyal Americans" and so forth.

KJ

August 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Taking Plea Bargaining Seriously: Reforming Pre-Sentence Reports after Padilla v. Kentucky" by Jack Chin

Chin_jack 
"Taking Plea Bargaining Seriously: Reforming Pre-Sentence Reports after Padilla v. Kentucky" St. Louis University Public Law Review, Forthcoming GABRIEL JACKSON CHIN, University of California, Davis, School of Law.

ABSTRACT:  This essay proposes two reforms to the pre-sentence report (PSR) in light of increasing recognition that plea bargaining, not trial, is the major decision point in criminal prosecutions. PSRs are important to plea bargaining and sentencing because they contain the critical information that will be used in imposing a sentence. The sentence will sometimes be mandated by the criminal record and other information in the PSR; for example, a record may mean that there is a mandatory minumum sentence, or that probation is unavailable. In most other cases, the sentence will be highly influenced by the contents of the PSR. Given the importance of the PSR, in a rationally designed system, the PSR would be available before critical decisions about the case are made. Yet, under current practice, the PSR is generally not prepared or available until after entry of a guilty plea. This means that all parties are pleading in the dark – they can be surprised by a mandatory or presumptive sentence based on ignorance or misunderstanding of the defendant's criminal record or other important, pre-existing facts. While deferring preparation of the PSR until after disposition might have made sense in an era when many cases went to trial, it is unacceptable when virtually all cases are pleaded. Accordingly, PSRs should be prepared in advance of pleas, so that all parties can make a deal knowing the facts that reveal what the bargain actually means. This essay also suggests that, in accordance with existing law, PSRs should identify collateral consequences and other legal restrictions which are not nominally part of the criminal sentence, in order to provide a guide for a defendant's conduct (18 U.S.C. 3563(d)), and to establish the defendant's post-release financial condition for purposes of calculating restitution and fines. (Fed. R. Crim. P. 32(D)(2)(A)(ii).).

KJ

August 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Civil Rights Conference at Georgia Law, Immigration at the Forefront in the Peach State

Yesterday, the Georgia Law Review produced a first rate conference on “Civil Rights and Civil Wants?” at the Dean Rusk Center at the University of Georgia Law School in Athens, Georgia. The symposium commemorated the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the University of Georgia.

The Senior Symposium Editor Jennifer Lee Case, with the help and support of a group of law review editors, including Editor in Chief Frederick Vaughan, organized a first rate group of scholars to present papers on a full range of current and future civil rights concerns, including Immigration, International Human Rights, Education, and Privacy.

Since this is an immigration blog, I will focus on the panel on immigration, which included Professor Linda Hill Kelly (Indiana-Indianapolis), who presented a paper on asylum claims by youths who fled persecution by gangs in their native country. I presented my paper entitled "Immigration and Civil Rights: State and Local efforts to Regulate Immigration." 46 Ga. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2012). See Download Georgia. Charles Kuck, who teaches immigration law at Georgia and was one of the counsel on the case of Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal, 20-11 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69600 (June 27, 2011), which invalidated several key provisions of Georgia’s immigration law (House Bill 87), served as the moderator.

The conference gave me the opportunity to catch up with a new addition to the Georgia law faculty (and my former colleague), Diane Marie Amann , who moderated the international human rights panel and already seems beloved at her new school. I also was able to meet Georgia Dean Rebecca White, Associate Dean Paul Kurtz, Georgia Law Professors Bertis Downs (who, cooly enough, has represented R.E.M. for years) and Christian Turner, and Ambassador Don Johnson, Director of the Dean Rusk Center. I also enjoyed meeting panelists Dean Maurice Daniels (School of Social Work, Georgia ) and Professors Derek Black (Howard) and Bradley Areheart (Stetson).

Abrams
Stacey Y. Abrams
, the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and graduate of the Yale Law School, offered an inspiring keynote address about the civil rights challenges of the 21st century.

All of the papers for the symposium were submitted in advance of the conference and will be published in volume 46 of the Georgia Law Review in the spring 2012.

Georgia has seen a fair amount of action in the realm of immigration in the last few years. In part, this is a response to the fact that the state has seen a considerable increase in the Mexican immigrant population over the last 20 years. The reaction has not always been hospitable. House Bill 87, which is the subject of a court injunction, mirrors Arizona's S.B. 1070 (for example, requiring state and local police to investigate the immigration status of any person they have probable cause to belive committed a crime and have a "reasonable suspicion" is undocumented) and represents the state's efforts to aggressively enforce the U.S. immigration laws. Growers have claimed that HB 87 has scared immigrants away and that they now find it difficult to find workers. Reminiscent of the old chain gangs, the state of Georgia put probationers to work in the fields.

Moreover, the Georgia Board of Regents passed a resolution barring undocumented students from the state's most selective public universities. In response, a newspaper on the day of the conference reported that some University of Georgia professors would teach a class at a "Freedom University" for undocumented college students.

I returned to California thinking that there is lots going on with respect to immigration in the Peach State!

KJ

August 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alabama's Law Recalls Bull Connor and MLK

Wade Henderson's op-ed in the Washington Examiner:

Henderson 
When Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the nation's harshest anti-immigrant law in June, I was correctly quoted in the media as saying that the law is "so oppressive that even Bull Connor would be impressed."
The Washington Examiner's Gregory Kane has since made a minor cottage industry out of disparaging me and this statement. Over the course of four columns, three of which appeared in the Examiner, he's called this statement "a pathetic spectacle," "demagogic drivel," "a cheap shot," and less than eloquently told me to "shut the hell up."

Without delving into too much of a history lesson, I felt it important to illuminate this statement for Kane and Examiner readers who have been harangued by his steady drumbeat on this issue.

For those who came of age after the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, Eugene "Bull" Connor ran the police and fire departments in Birmingham, Ala., from 1957 through 1963.

He used high-pressure water jets and police dogs on peaceful demonstrators and young children during the protests against segregation and the denial of voting rights. His brutality attracted national attention, encouraging Congress to enact civil rights and voting rights laws.

Half a century later, Alabama again is making headlines in a human rights struggle. Of all the copycat state legislation enacted after Arizona's anti-immigrant law, Alabama's goes the furthest. Read more...

bh

August 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Susie Jimenez's Immigrant Roots

KYTE_Susie-Jimenez-Camera-Portrait_s3x4_lg 
The Huffington Post tells a bit about the immigrant influences on Susie Jimenez, who has had a successful culinary career and a second place finish on The Next Food Network Star. Jimenez, who once helped her Mexican immirant parents in the fields, lost on the show's finale this past Sunday

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Obama Policy Having Impacts? Removals Cancelled?

Julia Preston of the New York Times and Ted Robbins of NPR report that the new Obama administration policy on removal prioriies is already being implemented -- and that removals are being cancelled.

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Judge Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Tough Alabama Immigration Law

Reports on the hearing before U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn on Wednesday on the legal challenges by the U.S. government and others to Alabama's tough immigration law, suggest that the court was skeptical about parts of the law.  As in Arizona, Georgia, and other states, the sticking point seems to be the requirement that state and local police investigate the immigration status of any person about whom they have a "reasonable suspicion" are undocumented.

The judge did not issue a ruling but is expected to before the law goes into effect next week.  Stay tuned and ImmigrationProf will report when the court rules.

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Census 2010: Hispanic Population Grows, Accounts for More than Half of U.S. Population Increase

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census brief on the nation's Hispanic population shows the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate

The Hispanic Population: 2010 (Download The Hispanic Population 2010) brief looks at an important part of our nation's changing ethnic diversity with a particular focus on Hispanic origin groups, such as Mexican, Dominican and Cuban.

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latino Immigrants Spark Economic Revival in Alabama Town

While the constitutionality of Alabama's tough immigrtaion law is being fought in the courts, author Gabriel Thompson in an article in ColorLines tells how Latino immigrants sparked an economic revival in a small Alabama town.

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Citizens -- Not the Undocumented immigrants (Falsely) Charged by Senator McCain -- Charged with Arizona Wildfire

Mccain 

Once a Republican champion of comprehensive immigration reform, Senator John McCain provoked controversy earler this summer when, as reported on ImmigrationProf, he blamed the devastating wildfire (known as the Wallow Fire) in Arizona on undocumented immigrants. Upon visiting Tucson for the Arizona State Bar Convention in June, an otherwise pleasant and reasonable cab driver out of the blue told me unequivocally the very same thing. However, several Arizonans who I asked said there was no evidence of the claim that undocumented immigrants were responsible for the fire.

Well the truth has come out but may not get as much press as Senator McCain’s scapegoating of undocumented immigrants did. By coincidence, on a layover in Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix while en route to a civil rights conference at the University of Georgia law school (where I will talk about the civil right implications of state immigration laws like Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and Georgia House Bill 87, see Download Immig - Johnson[1]), I picked up an Arizona Republic and read that the U.S. government had charged two experienced Arizona campers – by all appearances U.S. citizens at birth -- on minor charges for leaving a fire unattended in a national park. The campfire started a blaze that caused incredible devastation. The Republic, however, did not mention that Senator McCain had blamed “illegals” for the tragic events – and that he was dead wrong to do so.

Senator John McCain should have known better. He is a national leader – and, although it now seems like a distant memory with his Vice Presidential running mate SarahGoing RoguePalin now getting incredible amounts of media attention, was the GOP nominee for President in 2008. At least at one time, many people listened to John McCain and respected him. A courageous Vietnam vet and POW survivor, I once thought that he was honorable.

While I might give a pass to the Arizona cab driver, I will not give one to Senator McCain. First of all, what good did it do to blame undocumented immigrants for the fire -- even if they had been responsible, which they were not? Blaming the “illegals” allowed Senator McCain to make some political hay. His statement undoubtedly fired up the anti-immigrant base. But Arizona sure didn’t need any more stirring of the anti-immigrant pot. It has has seen an overheated debate over S.B. 1070 and immigration generally for many years. Long a subject of ImmigrationProf bloggings, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe (“America’s Toughest Sheriff”) Arpaio vows to make law enforcement war on undocumented immigrants and their supporters (politicians included) whenever he gets a chance and, as characterized by some, “terrorizes” Latinos and immigrants. And, given the tragic shootings of a member of U.S. Comngress and many others by a deranged young man in Tuscon, why do we need any more hatred in the air?

By blaming undocumented immigrants for the wildfire with no basis in fact, Senator McCain played off hatred of undocumented immigrants among certain segments of the Arizona public and sought to build political support for a pro-enforcement immigration agenda (and against the dreaded “amnesty” and “comprehensive immigration reform”), an agenda that he learned to embrace in successfully seeking relection. His words bred more hatred for a discrete and insular minority that, as President Bush said, lives – and works -- in the “shadows” of American life.

Thank you Senator McCain for helping us to have a more civil and respectful dialogue on immigration. NOT!

I think that we all have had enough from Senator John McCain and the “Straight Talk Express.” Nowadays, Senator McCain shoots from the hip for political advantage, tearing up whatever is in front of him. His approach on immigration is not all that different from Lucas McCain from the vintage television show “The Rifleman.” I liked the show but will pass on the McCain remake.

 

KJ

August 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DHS Reports on Nonimmigrant Admissions: Most from Mexico

During 2010, there were 160 million nonimmigrant admissions to the United States according to DHS work-load estimates. These admissions included tourists and business travelers from Canada, Mexican nationals with Border Crossing Cards, and I-94 admissions. I-94 admis-sions accounted for 29 percent (46.5 million) of the total admissions (see Figure 1). The majority (87 percent) of I-94 admissions were temporary visitors for business and pleasure, while 6.1 percent were temporary workers and families and 3.4 percent were students. The leading countries of citizenship for I-94 admissions were Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Read more...

bh

August 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Republican Presidential Candidate Supports Legalization

Karger 
Yes, Fred Karger, a Republican presidential candidate is openly supportive of legalization for undocumented immigrants. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: "Karger, a moderate Republican, supports withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, lowering the voting age to 16, and marriage equality for same-sex couples." Karger also is openly gay and apparently is being shunned by his own party. Read more...

bh

August 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Three Queens blocks house immigrants from 51 countries

In a three block neighborhood in Jackson Heights in Queens live immigrants from 51 different countries and speak 21 different languages. Census tract 281 is the most diverse neighborhood in the Big Apple. Census tract 281 - Roosevelt Ave. to Northern Blvd., from 83rd to 85th Sts. and a part of 86th St. - may be the most diverse, based on language and country of origin.

The tract is about 31% white, 2% black, 11% Asian and 54% Hispanic, and 59% foreign-born, according to 2000 Census data. 2009 American Community Survey data reveals that, in Tract 281, more than 70% speak languages other than English, with large populations speaking Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, Chinese and Tagalog.

For more details on Tract 281, click here.

KJ

August 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NM Gov Seeks to Limit Driver's License Eligibility

New Mexico is one of two states (Washington is the other) that allows undocumented immigrants to be eligible for a driver's license. Repbublican Governor Susana Martinez aims to change that. For details, read Marc Lacey's story in the N.Y. Times.

The Governor campaigned on the driver's license issue and has taken a number of steps to tighten various requirements for foreign nationals to secure a license, one of which is the subject of a suit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF).

KJ

August 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Attitudes Toward Immigration and Immigrants: The Impact of Economic and Cultural Cues in the US and Canada

"Attitudes Toward Immigration and Immigrants: The Impact of Economic and Cultural Cues in the US and Canada" APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper ALLISON HARELL, Université du Québec à Montréal Email: harell.allison@uqam.ca STUART N. SOROKA, McGill University. SHANTO IYENGAR, Stanford University - Department of Communication.

ABSTRACT: Past research suggests that citizens’ attitudes toward immigration are driven, in part, by attitudes toward racial diversity. In this study, we draw on a unique online survey experiment conducted with representative samples of both Americans and Canadians to directly test this assertion. The analysis is based on a 2X2 experimental design embedded in a series of immigrant vignettes that vary the racial background and social status of an individual applying for immigration to the US/Canada. We examine the extent to which both racial and economic-status cues affect support for immigration. Results offer new and unique information on the structure of attitudes on diversity and immigration in the US and Canada.

KJ

August 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farmworkers Marching to Sacramento

Today farm workers started a 13 day, 200 mile march to Sacramento. Their goal?  To press for enactment of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act and the right to be paid overtime after 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week just like any other worker. The two bills are expected to be introduced in the legislature shortly. The "Fair Treatment For Farm Workers Now" will end on Sept. 4th, Labor Day weekend, at the State Capitol. If you're in California, please consider joining workers for one of the days of the march. Read more....

bh

August 24, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IMMIGRATION LESSONS FROM THE STRAUSS-KAHN CASE

A lttle more than a month ago, ImmigrationProf called for all of us to reserve judgment in the public indictment of the alleged immigrant rape victim in the criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  Cyrus Mehta offers insights about the dismissal of the rape charges against Strauss-Kahn.  He writes that:  "The main concern for this writer, as stated in prior blogs on the Strauss-Kahn case, is that in the future immigrants will be more reluctant to come forward and press charges if they have been victims of sex crimes."

Slate has offered a rebuttal of the inconsistencies of Ms. Nafissatou Diallo that have been alleged by the Manhattan DA’s office.

KJ

August 24, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)