Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alabama Law's Intent: Keep Immigrant Children Out of School

Wendy Sefsaf writes for Immigration Impact:

This week, the head of the legal arm of one of the most notorious restrictionist groups in the nation boldly admitted his work on Alabama’s new anti-immigrant law aims to end public education for the children of immigrants. Michael Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), an offshoot of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), made no bones about being the author of the education provision in HB 56—which on its face requires public schools to determine the immigration status of enrolling students and their parents, but in reality chips away at children’s ability to get an education.

In fact, FAIR’s long-term vision to erode any and all rights afforded to the children of immigrants becomes increasingly clear with each new FAIR initiative—from attempts to repeal access to birth certificates at the state level through their state legislative arm (State Legislators for Legal Immigration) to IRLI’s litigation strategies in the courts that attempt to turn U.S. policy against immigrant children.

In defense of the education provision, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange assured a judge that the provision would require nothing more than data collection and that “no child will be denied an education based on unlawful status.” However Hethmon of IRLI admitted that HB 56’s education provision is just a first step. Read more...


October 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latinos (Including Legal Immigrants and U.S. Citizens) Hurt by Bolstered Immigration Enforcement

In a story in the Christian Science Monitor, Paul Jonsson reminds us of the disparate impacts on Latina/os of the Obama administration's immigration enforcement ("Enforcfement now, enforcement forever") policies.


October 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 28, 2011

GOP Anti-Immigration Stance Alienates Conservative Latinos

From Huff Post Latino Voices:

The harsh stand on immigration by some GOP candidates surprises Lionel Sosa, a Republican ad man who calls the rising anti-immigrant rhetoric "grossly insensitive and irresponsible."

Sosa, who has crafted Latino-targeted campaigns for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and now Newt Gingrich, said the party's position on the highly contentious issue has taken a dramatic shift.

"The message has gone from immigration is something we should take care of under Ronald Reagan, to immigration is something we should fear," Sosa said..

He isn't the only one frustrated by new GOP perspective. Lauro Garza, head of the largest organization of Latino conservatives in Texas, abruptly quit the Republican Party last week, calling the party's anti-Latino position unbearable. And DeeDee Garcia Blase, the founder of the same organization, Somos Republicans, said she thinks the party has strayed from what she called "Reagan's unique compassion for immigrants." Read more....


October 28, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Is Slavery Making a Comeback in America?

A woman was recently sentenced to 140 years in prison after using two Nigerian immigrants as personal unpaid servants in her luxury home in Atlanta, Georgia. (See also the slavery conviction reported on ImmigrationProf earlier this week.). A few days later, two Ukrainian brothers were convicted of smuggling desperate villagers into the United States to work long hours, cleaning retail stores and office buildings at little or no pay. The prosecuting U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, Daniel Velez, said it was “modern-day slavery. It’s hiding in plain sight.” However, according to a woman who lived through the racial prejudice, segregation and slavery in post World War II Europe, the slavery crisis in the modern world is far greater than that.

“Anyone who thinks slavery died when America abolished it in the 1800s has a shock coming to them,” said Lucia Mann, whose mother was a sex slave and a WWII concentration camp survivor. Mann, a former journalist and author of Rented Silence a novel about slavery and racial prejudice based on her life experiences and those of other persecuted souls she witnessed says, “According to the United Nations, there are more than 27 million slaves worldwide, which are more than twice the number of those who were enslaved over the 400 years that transatlantic slavers trafficked humans to work in the Americas. Many are forced into prostitution while others are used as unpaid laborers used to manufacture goods many of us buy in the U.S. In fact, it’s almost impossible to buy clothes or goods anymore without inadvertently supporting the slave trade.” Mann said that the crisis extends far greater than in the African and Asian nations typically associated with slavery or indentured servitude.

“After the hurricane in Haiti, the economy was so devastated, with as many as 3,000 people sold into slavery right there in their own country,” she added. “It affects all racial groups and slaves come from every single continent on the planet. The irony is that there are more slaves now that slavery is illegal than there were when it was a legal part of international commerce. Moreover, because of its illegal nature, it’s practically impossible to track and contain. It’s not a matter of how to stop it. It’s a matter of how we even begin to address it.” One of the reasons Mann wrote her book was to establish an awareness of the problem, so that people could have a frame of reference for action. “The wrongs of the past as well as the present must continue to be exposed so that they can be righted in the present and future,” Mann added. “This means educating society about evil and injustice and motivating them to take steps to ease others’ pain and anguish. The key is to get people aware of it, and then let them know what they can do to end the practice. In America, the first thing we need to do is address our own consumer habits. To help, the United Nations has created an online and mobile phone application to help people track if what they buy is supporting slavers.” Mann said the awareness and concern of the American people are the first steps to ending slavery around the world. “If there is no money to be made from enslaving people, it will end,” she said. “Many innocent people become the victims of viciousness or the prey of prejudice. While fear and anger are filling the cells and souls of innocents, the rest of us can bolster their spirits and lighten their load by having the guts to fight their fight and the heart to bring hope to humanity. Courage and commitment are powerful weapons and we should not hesitate to use them against the dishonorable people of the world.”


October 28, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Down Home Alabama? North Shelby Library Says Proof of Immigration Status Needed for Library Card

Things are getting dicier for immigrants in Alabama. One library is requiring proof of legal immigration status for a library card. North Shelby Library in Birmingham sounds like a tough library and sends past due overdue book fines to a law firm for collections. Guess that undocumented immigrants were reading too many books.


October 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Late Night: Stephen Colbert sticks up for illegal immigrants

Watch Stephen Colbert's incisive commentary on Alabama's immigration law and a farmworker shortage.  Read more here.


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

October 28 Immigration Day


The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), a not-for-profit agency founded in 1984 by Lee Iacocca and others which promotes immigration rights, supports diversity and religious tolerance, along with assisting partners in life-saving initiatives such as disaster relief and bringing healthcare to children in need, as well as maintaining the Ellis Island monument.

NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

This Friday will mark the 24th anniversary of ‘Immigration Day’, today a little remembered proclamation signing by President Reagan in the 1980s. NECO is using this day to speak out on the positive impact immigrants have had on our country since its founding as well as sending a message to Wall Street that immigrant entrepreneurs can be a major force in our country’s economic reinvention.


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

Death on the Border Chapter 1001


ImmigrationProf on many ocassions (here, here, here, here) has reminded our readers on the growing death toll of migrants along the U.S./Mexico border, victims of U.S. border enforcement policy.

Here is another reminder.  Correspondent Christof Putzel travels to the U.S./Mexico border to investigate one of the most contentious issues in America today: immigration. Meeting with "coyotes," the hired smugglers who offer to take immigrants across the border for a fee, Putzel learns the methods used to evade border patrol and the dangers they face on the journey. Arrest and deportation are inherent risks, but the lack of water and scorching temperatures of the desert crossing are far more deadly. Those who do make it safely across the border face tightening immigration laws and an increasingly hostile public. Putzel ultimately crosses the border with a migrant and coyote. "Vanguard" is Current TV's no-limits documentary series whose award-winning correspondents put themselves in extraordinary situations to immerse viewers in global issues that have a large social significance. Unlike sound-bite driven reporting, the show's correspondents, Adam Yamaguchi, Christof Putzel and Mariana van Zeller, serve as trusted guides who take viewers on in-depth real life adventures in pursuit of some of the world's most important stories.


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

USCIS Chastised for Lack of Timeliness on FOIA Requests

An important Case relating to the Freedom of Information Act:

A federal district court in San Jose, CA has determined that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) engaged in a longstanding pattern and practice of violating FOIA’s time-limit provisions and prejudiced immigration attorneys’ abilities to fairly represent their clients before the government.  In a ruling on October 13, the Court granted plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief requiring USCIS to provide a copy of a requestor’s file within the twenty day time limit mandated by FOIA and give written notice if a ten day  extension of time is needed due to “unusual circumstances”.  The Court also determined that the government had a history of violating FOIA dating back to a previous FOIA lawsuit filed in 1985.  That lawsuit ended in 1992 with a Settlement Agreement  which provided for the establishment of a national policy on priority processing for FOIA requests.  It included a provision for expedited processing of FOIA requests where the failure to process a request immediately would impair “substantial due process rights of the requestor”.  The Court found that the two Plaintiffs could seek to enforce the Settlement Agreement. The case is now online at Hajro v. USCIS, 2011 WL 4854021.


October 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Asian American Population Growth

From the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:
Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce the release today of a ground-breaking new demographic report, A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States, 2011, co-authored by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian American Justice Center, members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. This is the first in a series of demographic reports to be released on the state of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the next few years.

With the 2012 elections upon us, Community of Contrasts comes at a most opportune time.  The Asian American community has grown faster than any other racial group over the past decade: More than 46 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the report’s analysis of Census data.  That means more Asian Americans then ever before are poised to influence next year’s presidential election, and we are ready to speak up and voice the issues that matter most to us.  At the same time, our community needs citizenship assistance, voter registration and Get Out the Vote programs to ensure we reach our full potential.
Our population is also dispersing throughout the U.S.  Texas now has more Asian Americans than Hawaii and a third of the states now have Asian populations greater than 225,000.
The report also found significant social and economic diversity among Asian American ethnic groups, with some enjoying prosperity and others experiencing hardship. For example, while Asian Americans have made considerable contributions to the U.S. economy over the past decade (e.g., Asian American businesses issued more than $80 billion in payroll), other data shows that certain ethnic groups like Hmong, Bangladeshi and Cambodian Americans are among the country’s poorest (e.g., nearly one in four Hmong Americans live below the poverty line).  Limited fluency in English remains a significant barrier for many.

Copies of the report are available online at


October 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Representing Immigrant Juveniles

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

Representing Juvenile Immigrants Webinar
November 3, 2011, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT (2.0 CA MCLE)

Click here to register
Using a hypothetical child's case, this webinar will cover immigration relief specific to children, as well as how to pursue more general forms of immigration relief in a child-centered way. It will address working with children detained by the federal government and the intersection of juvenile delinquency and immigration. This program is appropriate both for beginners and for people with substantial immigration experience who do not have significant training on working with children.
● Angie Junck, ILRC Staff Attorney and co-author of ILRC’s SIJS manual
● Kristen Jackson, Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights Project at Public Counsel and co-author of ILRC’s SIJS manual
● Hayley Upshaw, Staff Attorney, Legal Services of Children


October 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Alex Kozinski to Deliver First Amendment Lecture

A previous ImmigrationProf Immigrant of the Day, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Alex Kozinski will deliver the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment on "The First Amendment in the Age of Information Overload" at UC Davis School of Law later today.

Judge Kozinski was appointed United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit on November 7, 1985, and became Chief Judge on November 30, 2007. He graduated from UCLA, receiving an A.B. degree in 1972, and from UCLA Law School, receiving a J.D. degree in 1975. Prior to his appointment to the appellate bench, Judge Kozinski served as Chief Judge of the United States Claims Court, 1982-85; Special Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board, 1981-1982; Assistant Counsel, Office of Counsel to the President, 1981; Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of President-Elect Reagan, 1980-81; Attorney, Covington & Burling, 1979-81; Attorney, Forry Golbert Singer & Gelles, 1977-79; Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, 1976-77; and Law Clerk to Circuit Judge Anthony M. Kennedy, 1975-76.

The Central Valley Foundation and UC Davis School of Law have established the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture to promote discussion and understanding of First Amendment issues. The Central Valley Foundation (CVF) was established by the late James B. McClatchy, publisher of The McClatchy Company newspapers from 1987 to 2005.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: "Transporting Padilla to Deportation Proceedings: A Due Process Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel" by Stephen H. Legomsky

"Transporting Padilla to Deportation Proceedings: A Due Process Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel" St. Louis University Public Law Review, 2012 STEPHEN H. LEGOMSKY, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law.

ABSTRACT: The Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky interpreted the Sixth Amendment as requiring criminal defense counsel to advise a non-citizen defendant concerning the deportation consequences of a guilty plea. To reach its decision, the Court in Padilla had to revisit the longstanding judicial dogma that deportation is purely a ‘collateral’ consequence, distinguishable from the ‘direct’ consequence of a criminal sentence. The Court saw deportation as a kind of hybrid, a different animal that challenged the traditional dichotomy. Its reasoning had nothing to do with the inherent severity of a criminal conviction, and everything to do with the nature and severity of deportation. At the same time that Padilla continues to inspire rapid-fire changes in the duties of criminal defense counsel, similar drama has been unfolding in the other immigration arena in which the effectiveness of counsel is commonly contested - counsel’s performance in the deportation proceedings themselves. Attorney General Mukasey’s 2009 decision in Matter of Compean and Attorney General Holder’s vacating of that decision later the same year have left uncertainty as to whether there is a constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel in deportation proceedings. This article links these two lines of cases. It argues that the logic of Padilla, quite apart from its sweeping implications for the constitutional duties of criminal defense counsel, also reinforces the case for a constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel in the deportation proceedings themselves.


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

Why the GOP Demonizes 'Illegals'

Peter Beinart writes for the Daily Beast that "The use of 'illegals' as a noun by Romney and other Republicans is just the latest example of politicians using euphemisms to signal antipathy to an ethnic group—in this case, Latinos."


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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More from 'Bama: Latinos Students Report More Bullying in Wake of Alabama Immigration Law

Lots of troubling news from Alabama, which is the "new" Alabama when it comes to civil rights.  AP reports that "Spanish-speaking parents say their children are facing more bullying and taunts at school since Alabama's tough crackdown on illegal immigration took effect last month. Many blame the name-calling on fallout from the law, which has been widely covered in the news, discussed in some classrooms and debated around dinner tables. Justice Department officials are monitoring for bullying incidents linked to the law."


Bull Connor Video from Youtube


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

Lamar Smith and Raul Labrador Up To No Good

This article was in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. After the article is a reaction from Fred Hirsch:

Momentum is building in Congress toward offering expedited green cards to people with advanced scientific degrees, addressing complaints from companies that say the U.S. is training highly skilled workers only to lose them to other countries.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chairman of the House immigration subcommittee, said he plans to introduce legislation providing up to 10,000 visas a year to foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with doctorates in engineering, information technology and the natural sciences.

Many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, support increasing the number of visas for workers with advanced training in those fields. But efforts to address the issue have stalled amid a larger dispute between the two parties over whether to provide a path to citizenship for people already in the country illegally, which Democrats favor.

Those issues could still stall Mr. Smith's legislation, but lawmakers in both parties seem willing to talk about finding a way forward. Mr. Smith plans to meet with his Senate counterpart, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), to discuss his legislation in early November, a Schumer aide said.

In May, the White House said the U.S. should be "stapling a green card" to the diploma of every science, technology, engineering and math Ph.D. graduate and to select masters' graduates, so that they can "contribute to the American economy and become Americans over time." But that was in the context of a broader White House immigration plan that included citizenship opportunities for some illegal immigrants, an effort that collapsed amid strong Republican opposition.

In its wake, the high-tech community began pushing for stand-alone legislation.

The U.S. currently offers about 120,000 employment visas to professionals in various fields, including science, engineering and information technology. Many highly trained workers, particularly those from China and India, face long waits for green cards and sometimes choose to work elsewhere.

Mr. Smith's legislation, which he said he would introduce in a few weeks, would not increase the overall level of legal immigration. Instead, congressional aides said, he plans to divert visas from programs such as the "diversity lottery," which lets people from under-represented countries compete for visas.

The diversity lottery offers 55,000 immigrant visas per year. A House committee has voted to kill the program.

In an interview, Mr. Smith said students who would get visas under his bill "really are going to contribute a great deal to our country and to the economy, as well."

He said he would limit eligibility to those with doctorates from U.S. research universities, though others think the visas should be available to those with masters' degrees, too. To qualify, students would need to have job offers, and Mr. Smith said they should commit to staying in the country for at least five years.

"I want us to get the most bang we can for the visa," Mr. Smith said.

In another signal of momentum, another Republican, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, introduced a similar bill this month. His bill took sections from legislation offered in June by the top Democrat on the immigration subcommittee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who represents Silicon Valley.

Ms. Lofgren added provisions to win support from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including one that would allow students who were in the country illegally during high school to qualify for foreign student visas if they are pursuing science or technology degrees.

Mr. Smith considers that to be akin to "amnesty" and says he will not support it. But Ms. Lofgren says any bill will have to be "balanced" to make it through Congress. Read more..


Here's Fred Hirsch's reaction:

The legislation planned by Lamar Smith is designed for the direct benefit of Corporate America.  Why would the author of Mandatory E-Verify take action to help people caught in the cage of the current system of immigration?  Why would an adamant opponent of the Dream Act do anything to help immigrants who are not people of privilege?  And why would we support a bill that makes it possible to let only skilled and educated people, with corporate consent, slide through to a green card. How can it be justified that specially privileged people with advanced science degrees be given preferential rights while our nation is downgrading our educational system so the "Dream" kids and all the rest of our young people are barred from the universities by impossible costs and terminal debt?  Why does this "interesting article on possible legislation" come to us just days after NPR'S airing of LOST IN DETENTION publicizing the national shame of locking up and deporting hundreds of thousands of workers who are struggling with their families to survive?

The Zoe Lofgren contribution to "comprehensive" immigration reform, taken up by Raul Labrador, would ease the way for science and technology students.  This will benefit the Robber Barons of Silicon Valley who have shipped tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs abroad.  It will discriminate against all those students who pursue the goals of liberal education, writing, history, art, education, etc.  Do we want to divide our values and our students to satisfy the corporations?  This fellow, Raul Labrador, who might carry Zoe's suggestions into his bill is a man who made his money in immigration law.  He demands an impermeable southern border and stronger enforcement of the law that has seen almost a million people deported under Barack Obama.  He would substitute the present broken immigration system with one replete with enlarged "guest worker" programs, replicas of the cruel Bracero System that was killed in 1964 by the actions of such people as Ernesto Galarza, Humberto Corona, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez.  The current "guest" worker programs, temporary visa programs, have been termed "close to slavery" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  We must be wary of the value of any piece of legislation that is proposed by Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador.  I wouldn't elevate these suggestions or their sponsors as "interesting," rather as bait to divide the movement for immigrant rights.


October 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NYPD shadows Muslims who change names

A troubling story has come out of teh Big Apple.  AP reports that "Muslims who change their names to sound more traditionally American, as immigrants have done for generations, or who adopt Arabic names as a sign of their faith are often investigated and catalogued in secret New York Police Department intelligence files, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press."

I thought that immigrants were suppposed to assimilate and that Americanizing names was a time-honored American tradition?


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

SCOTUSblog Community Discussion of United States v. Arizona

Today, SCOTUSblog is hosting a community discussion of Arizona v. United States, in which Arizona is asking the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision barring it from enforcing several provisions of its controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, on the ground that they are preempted by federal immigration law. 

In a SCOTUSblog on-line symposium this summer, I expresssed my views (here and here) about what might happen in the case.


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

Celebrate Pro Bono Week!

The ABA is celebrating National Pro Bono Week from Oct.23-29.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: "Immigration and Equality" by ADAM B. COX and ADAM HOSEIN

"Immigration and Equality" NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-67 ADAM B. COX, New York University (NYU) - School of Law aand ADAM HOSEIN.

ABSTRACT: Philosophical writing about immigration is typically organized around two broad moral principles. The first is the principle of self-governance, according to which a political community has a right to determine its own membership and character - control generally thought to encompass the power to exclude outsiders from the territory. The second is the principle of simple territorial equality, according to which a sovereign must treat equally all people who are present within the territory over which it governs. Immigration scholarship generally assumes that these two principles are correct and is given over to thinking of ways to jointly satisfy these principles. We argue that this approach is mistaken. Under current and foreseeable conditions, it is impossible to jointly satisfy these principles. The best response to this dilemma is to abandon the implausibly strong principle of simple territorial equality and replace it with a more flexible view that draws on our best understandings of political and social equality from outside the immigration context. Doing so demonstrates that policies that give somewhat limited rights to certain immigrants, such as guestworker policies, should not be categorically rejected.


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