September 10, 2011
Guide for Immigration Advocates
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Recommended Publication for Beginning Immigration Attorneys & Accredited Representatives
A Guide for Immigration Advocates17th Edition
Click here to order now
A Guide for Immigration Advocates is a practical and essential tool for beginning immigration attorneys, immigration law firms employing paralegals, and non-profit community based organizations. This resource is unique among immigration law manuals because it is a comprehensive detailed overview of immigration law that is both practical and easy to use. Instead of merely containing articles on immigration law topics, the Guide is a how-to manual, containing clearly worded explanations of each subject. It also includes sample applications, charts, and practical advice on working with your clients to elicit the information you need, in order to assist them efficiently and accurately. A comprehensive A-to-Z tool that covers the basics of immigration law: family visa petitions, relief from removal, political asylum, bonds and detention, grounds of deportability and inadmissibility, removal proceedings, and constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants. It also addresses the division of labor within the Department of Homeland Security, contains an expanded discussion of U, K, and V visas, includes recent changes to consular processing, and provides an explanation of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act, the Child Citizenship Act, VAWA self-petitioning provisions, and more.
September 9, 2011
A half-dozen ways in which 9/11 changed the immigration landscape
Leslie Berestein Rojas identifies a somewhat unconventional way of looking at "how 9/11 changed eveything," at least in immigration. Me editorial comment follows in CAPITALS:
1) The end of INS, the beginning of DHS BOO!
2) The Patriot Act BOO!
3) The REAL ID Act BOO!
4) Increased immigrant detention and deportations BOO!
5) Cooperation between federal immigration officials and local police BOO!
6) Anti-Muslim discrimination BOO!
Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism Mainstream and Moderate Attitudes
As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, a comprehensive public opinion survey finds no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques, and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years. Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism by much larger margins than most other Muslim publics, and a higher percentage views U.S. efforts to combat terrorism as sincere than did so in 2007. At the same time, majorities of Muslim Americans express concerns about Islamic extremism here and abroad - worries that coexist with the view that life in post-9/11 America is more difficult for U.S Muslims. Based on interviews with 1,033 Muslim Americans conducted this year (April 14-July 22) in English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, the wide-ranging report looks at Muslim Americans' political and social attitudes; religious views and practices; experiences and difficulties faced after 9/11; views of Islamic extremism; views of US efforts at combating terrorism; and views of national conditions. In addition to updating trends from earlier Pew Research surveys, the report includes comparisons of Muslim Americans with the general public and with Muslims in other countries, as well as detailed demographic information. Read the full report.
Issue Guide: Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks
The September 11 terrorist attacks marked a watershed moment for U.S. foreign policy, as the country sought to measure its response to an unprecedented assault from an emerging transnational threat. Ten years later, Washington continues to grapple with some of the fundamental policy questions that define the new security environment, including the war in Afghanistan, counterterrorism, homeland security, civil liberties, and immigration. The following materials from the Council on Foreign Relations provide expert analysis and essential background on some of these central issues facing U.S. policymakers.
• The AfPak War Front
• Civil Liberties
• Homeland Security
Lamar Smith Wants to Kill Jobs in the U.S.
From the National Immigration Law Center:
LAMAR SMITH HOLDS HEARING ON JOB-KILLER LEGISLATION
Texas Republican Touts Legislation That Would Strip Workers of Their Rights, Does Nothing to Bring Economy Back on Track
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the face of mounting opposition to his proposal to make use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system mandatory, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) held a hearing yesterday on his recently introduced “American Specialty Agriculture Act,” a bill that would strip farm workers of their labor rights as well as bring thousands of new guest workers into the U.S. while doing nothing for the undocumented workers currently picking our crops. Below is a statement from Tyler Moran, policy director of the National Immigration Law Center:
“Lamar Smith’s American Specialty Agriculture Act is a misguided attempt to slow opposition to his bill that would make E-Verify mandatory. Smith is right to recognize that his E-Verify bill would have a devastating impact on agriculture, but the agriculture bill does nothing to solve the problem. And while he claims that both bills would create jobs, he has no evidence to support that claim. But we do know that the American Specialty Agriculture Act would bring in 500,000 new guest workers a year, strip agricultural workers of basic labor rights, and do absolutely nothing to help the American worker.
“Smith has proven that he is concerned about the American worker only when it helps advance his mass deportation agenda. President Obama today will lay out a plan to create new jobs in this country. California — the country’s largest agricultural player — has legislation pending that would address the needs of agricultural workers. These are the types of discussions and legislation we need to get our economy back on track and Americans back to work.”
DHS Review of Low Priority Cases for Prosecutorial Discretion
The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new practice advisory: “DHS Review of Low Priority Cases for Prosecutorial Discretion." Following an announcement on August 18, 2011, a joint Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-Department of Justice (DOJ) working group has been established to review all pending removal cases and to administratively close those cases that do not fall within the agency’s highest immigration enforcement priorities, namely, national security, public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system.
This Practice Advisory details information that is known to date about the review and includes suggested steps that attorneys can take to ensure that DHS has the information it needs to determine that a client’s case is “low priority.”
September 8, 2011
Americans flee north to Canada for economic opportunity
Here is the striking lead to the Global Post story:
"Usually, you hear stories of people fleeing to America, not the other way around. But the jittery state of the U.S. economy is driving an increasing number of its citizens to seek better prospects north of the border. Americans are the latest economic refugees, and they’re heading to Canada."
CHECKPOINT NATION? RACIAL PROFILING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT ON THE RISE IN THE US SINCE 9/11: New video by Breakthrough and Rights Working Group documents shocking harassment — and growing solidarity in the struggle for justice and respect
Breakthrough and Rights Working Group (RWG), a coalition focused on ending racial profiling and fighting other human rights violations in the U.S., today released “CHECKPOINT NATION? BUILDING COMMUNITY ACROSS BORDERS,” a documentary video depicting the reality of racial profiling.
Several federal initiatives — such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, which give local and state police authority to enforce federal immigration law — have intensified racial profiling of migrants and people assumed to be migrants. Laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, which would require Arizona residents to carry ID documents to prove their immigration status — and which lead to increased discrimination — are being passed in states around the country.
In CHECKPOINT NATION?, a woman named Maria describes being stopped and harassed by Arizona police for no discernable reason while nine months pregnant — and subsequently trailed by immigration agents into one of the most intimate moments of her life.
Set in the U.S./Mexico border area, which sees more and more migrant deaths every year, the video also demonstrates how diverse groups of allies — including Muslim, Arab-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans; civil rights lawyers and media activists — have found common ground in each other’s histories and united in the shared goals of justice, equality, and respect.
CHECKPOINT NATION? was produced to complement the release of a new report and Week of Action around the 10th anniversary of September 11th spearheaded by RWG, a national coalition of more than 300 civil liberties, national security, immigrant rights and human rights organizations committed to restoring due process and human rights protections that have been eroded in the name of national security. The report, “Reclaiming Our Rights: Reflections on Racial Profiling in a Post-9/11 America,” will be released on September 14th. CHECKPOINT NATION can be viewed here.
NEW REPORT FINDS DUE PROCESS ABUSES IN SECRETIVE DEPORTATION PROGRAM: “Deportation Without Due Process” Shines Light on Government “Stipulated Order of Removal” Program, Finds Evidence of Misuse
Using a little-known government program, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pushed nearly 160,000 immigrants – many with deep ties to the United States – through an expedited deportation process, sometimes without adequately informing them of their right to a day in court, according to a new analysis of thousands of pages of released government documents.
The report (Download Deportation-Without-Due-Process FINAL (2)), written by attorneys and law professors at Stanford Law School, the National Immigration Law Center, and Western State University College of Law, determined that DHS agents administering the program provided legally inaccurate portrayals of the opportunities to remain in the United States in order to boost deportation numbers, even though judges and others involved in the program voiced their concerns about how the program short-circuited individuals’ rights. Authors procured the previously unreleased documents, which included e-mails, memos, and data, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
According to the report, the documents revealed evidence that agents involved with the program routinely provided inaccurate and misleading information to detainees in deportation proceedings to coerce them into signing “stipulated orders of removal,” which waives a non-citizen’s right to a day in court in exchange for speedy deportation. At least one immigration judge involved in the program determined that, “the waiver is not knowing in almost all cases.” “The stipulated removal program has hit some of the most powerless members of our society the hardest: poor immigrants who are in immigration detention, who don’t have lawyers, and who are facing minor, civil immigration charges. Some of these noncitizens might actually have qualified to apply for lawful immigration status,” said
Jennifer Lee Koh, lead author of the report and assistant professor of law at Western State University College of Law. “Unfortunately, the documents reveal a government agency that is willing to cut corners around immigrants’ Constitutional due process rights in the name of boosting deportation numbers.”
Among the most troubling documents obtained through the lawsuit is a Spanish-language script, apparently used by agents administrating the program, to convince immigrants to sign the Stipulated Order of Removal. The script, which is replete with grammatical errors and legal inaccuracies, erroneously informs immigrants that the “only” way to “fix” their papers is through certain family relationships and openly discourages immigrants from taking their cases to court. “This report confirms what attorneys working in detention centers have heard for years: non-citizens, especially those with limited English skills, are pressured into signing documents without being informed of the severe consequences of their actions,” said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center and co-author of the report. “Such activity flies in the face of our constitutionally-protected due process rights. Sadly, the DHS seems to have determined that flagrant disregard for the Constitution is a fair price to pay for the expedient expulsion of thousands of members of our communities.”
The report shows that the program, which began nearly a decade ago and dramatically expanded in 2003, has been encouraged by DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers at various levels of the organization. According to documents reviewed by the authors of the report, field offices were encouraged to use the program to boost deportation numbers and given incentives to increase the number of Stipulated Orders of Removals signed by detainees in their jurisdictions. “The stipulated removal program is a misguided solution to the U.S. government’s practice of over-detaining immigrants,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, professor of law and director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and co-author of the report. “The Obama administration should reconsider its detention practices instead of pressuring detainees to sign their own deportation orders. Due process requires more than a coerced choice between continued detention and giving up one’s day in court.”
The documents released show evidence that the noncitizens ensnared by the program were not given accurate information about their rights or current immigration law, and the documents reviewed suggest there are no policies preventing administrators from offering stipulated orders of removal to juveniles, the mentally ill, or other vulnerable populations. In 96% of all cases under the program analyzed by the authors of the report, immigrants did not have access to a lawyer, who could have provided immigrants with an accurate description of the often permanent ramifications of signing a Stipulated Order of Removal.
Authors propose a variety of policy recommendations to prevent future misuse of the program, including mandating that those who sign Stipulated Orders of Removal hold brief meetings with judges to discuss the consequences of participation in this program, and expanding access to legal information and attorneys.
The FOIA lawsuit was filed by Stanford Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of Southern California, and the National Lawyers Guild-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. The documents procured are available here.
From the Florence Project:
This morning a very significant report on the practice of stipulated removals is being released that I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to read. This report is based on 20,000 pages of FOIA documents that reveals the government's willful use of a practice that was known to have serious due process problems; it also reflects some very troubling attitudes that we all know are prevalent but are nevertheless pretty shocking to see in print. The report can be downloaded at http://www.stanford.edu/group/irc/Deportation_Without_Due_Process_2011.pdf ) . EQ
Did you catch the debates last night?
I did.One of the big gun Latino Media Reporters was invited to ask the candidates about Latino issues. What did he ask about in the few minutes he had? Immigration...only. Yes it is that important for Latinos. He asked about what the candidates plan to do when the border is secured. The Candidates deflected the question by first insisting that the border is not secured. When pressed the candidates gave a list of what "secure the border means." Interestingly, pretty much all of the items on the list are already in place-of course if anyone points it out, they will say that the items have to be full-proof in order to be checked off the list.
But what IF they are ever convinced that the border is secured?
One yearned for the time back in the 50's when we hada working system that included bars for diseases and crimes and did not give public benefits to immigrants. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't mean 1951 when we had quotas and restricted citizenship by race. But if he meant the 1952 act then that's the system today- didn't work then for Latinos and it doesn't work now. I know that we often like to yearn for the "good all days," but as several immigration academics including even me point out, the reality is that our immigration system never matched reality and looking back at the past through rose-colored glasses does no one any favors.
But what worried me the most was that many of them were more interested in restricting access to human rights than reform. The use of basic services such as education were considered as creating a "public burden" on society. Some blured the line between authorized, unauthoried immigrants, and even citizen children of immigrants.-hinting that the fight over Plyer, birthright citizenship, and immigrant pedigree rmain alive and well? Perhapst testing the water on how far they can go with the base?
None of the candidates said they wanted to end all immigration. Some didn't indicate what they would do after securing the border, but for now none said that immigration should end. So clearly for now it is political suicide to state a desire to end migrations. However others are testing the waters for them and planting seeds against all migration, the way they successfully planted seeds against unauthorized migration, and currently the children of unauthorized immigrants.
The commercial about ending all immigration period (welcome to the new era of political advertisement) used the power of fear and self preservation to its fullest. While the reality is otherwise and immigrants create more jobs than they take (can you say google? PEW Hispanic?), the commercial pushed the argument to a new level-from accepting some select immigrants to turning them all away.
Lines are moving. We may be seeing the start of a new phase in US migration politics. Scary to think that one of these days we may hear a viable politician include the termination of immigration on his platform, but may it just be possible? EQ
African Immigrants and Health Disparities
AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO FIGHT HEALTH DISPARITIES
A campaign on Change.org asks top government officials to address major health disparities, launch culturally appropriate prevention strategies during African Heritage Month.
WASHINGTON, DC – A recently launched campaign on Change.org is calling on federal and local government to recognize African Heritage Month by issuing proclamations on official government websites and customizing national preventive health strategies to target African immigrant and Black immigrant communities.
Following the release of a National Prevention Strategy by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services in June, the petition was started by the National African Immigrants and Refugees Health Advocates (AIR Health), a project founded by the Cameroon American Council in Washington, D.C. The coalition points out that, although African immigrants are the most highly educated group of Americans, they remain at an elevated risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. The petition calls for culturally targeted solutions that include changes as simple as adding links to Health Department websites.
"As Africans in the United States, we are both African American and immigrant,” said Sylvie Bello, Founder/CEO of the Cameroon American Council. “We are very proud of both legacies and are excited that our petition for recognition during National African Heritage Month in September has received strong support from Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett."
"Dr. King said during his 'I Have a Dream' speech, “We share a common destiny”. To sustain that shared destiny we must endeavor to fulfill Dr. King's dream by reducing and eventually eliminating health disparities, which are truly the civil rights issue of today."
Just days after launching, the online petition has already received hundreds of signatures and is getting the attention of elected officials across the country. Montgomery County, Maryland, issued a proclamation in honor of National African Heritage Month on September 4th, and Sylvie Bello, who authored the petition, was featured in an article on the impact of her work in immigrant health in the Washington Post.
“The National African Immigrants and Refugees Health Advocates have been extremely enthusiastic and determined about launching this campaign during African Heritage Month,” said Change.org Director of Organizing Jackie Mahendra. “It is remarkable how much support they’ve garnered in just a few days. Change.org is about empowering individuals and nonprofits to launch campaigns about issues they care about, and it is clear that AIR Health advocates care deeply about the issue of correcting striking health disparities amongst African immigrants in the United States.”
DUI Checkpoints and Car Impoundments
From Amparo Cid:
Today, I spoke with one of the key supporters of AB 1389 and they mentioned that there is a huge need for immigrant rights supporters to call their state senator regarding AB 1389. It is 1 vote from passing and they need people to call Senator Rubio, Senator Lieu, Senator Wolk, and Senator Pavley to express their support for the bill. Here's the link with contact information: http://senate.ca.gov/senators. They only have until this Friday to get this bill out of the Senate and in front of the Governor so please spread the word to your contacts and voice your personal support for AB 1389. If you're not familiar with AB 1389, please go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery. Put simply, the bill pertains to DUI checkpoints and the issue that these checkpoints have resulted in more than 24,000 vehicles (2009 alone) being impounded at checkpoints because the driver's are unlicensed.
Republican Presidential Candidates Spar on Immigration Enforcement
Here, courtesy of the NY Times, is a transcript of the 2012 Republican presidential debate on Sept. 7, 2011, at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The candidates participating were:
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.
FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA.
FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR., R-UTAH
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.
Not surprisingly, immigration came up in the debate. For the portions of the debate discussing immigration, see Download Immigration republican debate.
The candidates for the most part focused about the need for increased enforcement, with extending the border fence a consensus among the group. As in past recent discussions of immigration, the candidates generally tried to appear tougher than the others on immigration.
Governor Rick Perry repeatedly emphasized the need for more federal "boots on the ground."
Sounding a good deal more hawkish on immigration than in the Iowa debate, Mitt Romney endorsed a fence and advocated the need to take on the "magnets" for undocumented immigration:
"when employers are willing to hire people who are here illegally, that's a magnet, and it draws them in. And we went in and talked about sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens, employers that, employers that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. Those things also have to be stopped."
It sounds like Mitt now opposes the DREAM Act.
Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann raised the specter of narcoterrorism, drug violence in Mexico, etc. as a justification for more border enforcement.
Representative Bachmann appears to think that talking to a handful of Cuban Americans in Miami gives her special insight into the views of the entire "Hispanic American community":
"One thing that the American people have said to me over and over again -- and I was just last week down in Miami. I was visiting the Bay of Pigs Museum with Cuban-Americans. I was down at the Versailles Cafe. I met with a number of people, and it's very interesting. The Hispanic-American community wants us to stop giving taxpayer- subsidized benefits to illegal aliens and benefits, and they want us to stop giving taxpayer-subsidized benefits to their children as well."
I bet that Rep. Bachmann would hear something very different from Chicanos in East Los Angeles. Just a guess. I would also guess that the "illegal aliens" the Cubans in Miami were talking about were all Chicanos in Los Angeles.
Jon Hunstman was the only candidate to seriously talk about immigration as a "human issue" and the need for reform of legal immigration in order to gain control over undocumented immigration and to improve the economy.
The Ganas Gap: Obama’s Latino Challenge
On Latino Decisions, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto writes about the dwindling support among Latina/o voters for President Obama. "The big worry for the administration regarding Latinos is not that their disapproval will push them into the arms of the GOP but rather that they will not have the same ganas that they did in 2008. The Latino Decisions tracking poll has shown Obama’s approval numbers take a steady and continuous tumble. In the February tracking poll Latino approval of the president was 70%, in June that support slipped to 68% and most recently stands at 63%. From June to August there was a five percentage point drop." (emphasis added).
David Bacon: Borrowed Hands
In "Borrowed hands -- does the H-2A guest worker visa program make it easy to exploit farm workers?," social commentator and photographer looks at a current guest worker program to help us think about future proposed programs.
See also David Bacon, Photographs and Stories.
September 7, 2011
Prosecutorial Discretion Webinar
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Prosecutorial Discretion in Removal Proceedings Webinar
September 20, 2011, 12 pm – 1:30 pm PDT (1.5 CA MCLE)
Click here to register
Can’t make it to this webinar? You can purchase a webinar recording on a disc that can be viewed on your computer.
This webinar will discuss preparing and submitting Requests for Termination of Removal Proceedings Based on Prosecutorial Discretion, as well as requests for Deferred Action. It will focus on how to base requests for prosecutorial discretion and how to utilize the memo of June 17, 2011 by ICE Director John Morton on the same subject. We will cover how to prepare these requests, in addition to strategies for presenting the requests to ICE and in a smaller number of cases to CIS. There will also be a discussion on how such requests should be part of a practitioner’s overall removal defense strategy. This webinar is appropriate for practitioners with all levels of experience.
Preparing for the Naturalization Test: The Citizenship Resource Center
The Beacon: The Official Blog of USCIS includes a video and a ton of information about naturalization. The blog states that "For those applicants taking both the English and civics tests, the overall national pass rate as of June 2011 is 92 percent."
Climate Change and Migration Dynamics
Climate change is a new driver of human migration and is expected by many to dwarf all others in its impact. But even as a growing number of policymakers around the world voice their concerns about the steep challenges and dangers that climate change presents, far less agreement exists about what kinds of effects will be felt where, by whom, and precisely when. Human displacement is a result of a complex mix of factors, and thus some of the more commonly repeated — and often widely varying — predictions of the numbers of people who will be displaced by climate change are not informed by a full understanding of the dynamics of migration. In Climate Change and Migration Dynamics, Kathleen Newland, who directs the Migration Policy Institute’s Migrants, Migration, and Development and Refugee Protection Programs, analyzes the salient mechanisms of displacement: sea level rise, higher temperatures, disruption of water cycles, and increasing severity of storms; as well as the ensuing migration responses. Estimates that more than 200 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050 are largely mechanistic, Newland finds, noting that the projections are typically made by climate-change experts and fail to account for a number of variables. Among them: adaptation to changes, governments (and other powerful actors) influencing the kinds of movements in response to environmental changes, or the fact that most climate-related migration will likely be internal rather than across borders. The report offers recommendations to offset the severity of displacement spurred by climate change and charts a vision of possible productive responses, with both international cooperation and internal government policy essential to that success.
Celebrate Pro Bono 2011
Building on the extraordinary success of the annual National Pro Bono Celebrations in 2009 and 2010 , the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is sponsoring the Celebration again this year October 23 through 29, 2011. The Celebration is a coordinated national effort to meet the ever-growing needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens by encouraging and supporting local efforts to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services, and by showcasing the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.
Join in the National Online Pro Bono Conversation: Help Shape A New Pro Bono Paradigm. The need for legal services for low income Americans has never been greater than it is today. How can we frame a new way of thinking about and delivering pro bono legal services? Please contribute to a stimulating national conversation about the future of pro bono work and the delivery of quality legal services to our most vulnerable citizens. Help shape this approach by sharing your inspired ideas and comments. What has worked for you? What are your best ideas and experiences? What changes are needed and how might they be accomplished? What are the most effective collaborations and partnerships? How can the private and public interest bars work together most effectively to provide access to justice for all?
Twice weekly, on Mondays and Wednesdays, a new question will be posted for your reflection and comments. Please participate often and invite your colleagues to do the same. A national conversation can seed new initiatives and new approaches throughout the country; please join in this dynamic exchange of insights and ideas.