Saturday, March 5, 2011

Puerto Rico Is Losing Its Young and Affluent to the Mainland

Puerto Rico lost more residents to the United States than it took in during the last decade those who left during the recession were likely to be younger, better educated, and more affluent. From 2005 to 2009, Puerto Rico saw more than 300,000 residents leave for the mainland, according to Perfil del Migrante, or Migrant Profile, 2000-2009.  Only 160,000 U.S. residents moved to Puerto Rico, a difference of 144,000 people and roughly 4 percent of the population.  For more on this report and its implicationss, click here.


March 5, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mexican Nationals Returning to Mexico

CNN reports that the number of Mexican migrants returning to their country -- mainly from the United States -- has increased dramatically in the last five years.  Mexican census bureau data shows that the increase was 31.9% in the period from 2005 to 2010, compared with 2000 to 2005 numbers.  This data is consistent with the idea that migration and settlement of Mexican nationals in the United States is largely a labor migration.  The economic downturn has led to a decrease in the undocumented population in the United States. a decline that appears to have levelled off with the increased stability of the U.S. economy, over the past few years and a return of Mexican nationals to Mexico.


March 5, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Support the California DREAM Act

From the Mexican American Political Association:

California Dream Act Reintroduced
AB 130 & AB 131

Assembly member Cedillo reintroduced the California Dream Act on January 11th. It is comprised of two bills: AB 130 would allow students that meet the in-state tuition requirements to apply for and receive specified financial aid programs administered by California's public colleges and universities.
The types of aid these students would be eligible for include:

1. Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, and

2. Institutional Student Aid: Student aid program administered by the attending college or university (i.e. State University Grant, UC Grant)

AB 131 would allow students that meet the in-state tuition requirements to apply for and receive Cal Grants by California's public colleges and universities. These students would not be eligible to apply or receive any Competitive Cal Grant unless funding remains available after all California resident students have received Competitive awards that they are eligible for.

The bills would not become operative until July 1, 2012.

Eligible students are those who may qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in California (California Education Code §68130.5) and meet ALL of the following requirements:

1. Secondary school attendance in California for three or more years; at least one year of which shall have been at a California high school.

2. Graduation from a California secondary school or attainment of the equivalent thereof.

3. If undocumented, the filing of an affidavit with the college or university stating that they have applied for a lawful immigration status or will apply as soon as they are eligible to do so.

If you would like to participate in the Los Angeles Dream Team please contact Assembly member Cedillo's district office at 323-225-4545. 360 W. Ave. 26 RM 120 & 121 Los Angeles, CA 90031 Action to take:

1. March 15th: Assembly committee hearing in Sacramento

2. Visit office of Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, Chair of Appropriation committee to demand support for AB130 & 131

3. March 26th: organizing conference Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College (details forth coming)

4. Visit your local state assembly members and state senators to secure their commitment to support this legislation AB130 & AB131

Join us in this prolonged campaign for driver's licenses and visas for our families. The first step in making change is to join an organization that pursues the change we desire. We welcome you to our ranks.

Other organizations leading this movement include: Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), MAPA Youth Leadership, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Liberty and Justice for Immigrants Movement, National Alliance for Immigrant's Rights, and immigrant's rights coalitions throughout the U.S..

Nativo V. Lopez, National President of MAPA (323) 269-1575


March 5, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Westminster Police Discriminate Against Latino Officers

Plaintiffs Seek Fair Treatment and Implementation of Impartial Promotion Policies and Practices

On March 2nd, MALDEF held a press conference announcing a lawsuit filed against the City of Westminster, as well as two former Police Chiefs of the Westminster Police Department, for discrimination against Latino police officers on the basis of their national origin. Plaintiffs have been denied promotions and Special Assignments, which can lead to promotions, in violation of the law.

Plaintiffs charge that the Westminster Police Department has unlawfully discriminated against Latino police officers and has engaged in a pattern and practice of such discrimination in violation Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and both state and federal employment laws, including California’s Fair Housing and Employment Act and 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated "More than one in five Westminster residents is Latino. In order to serve well and ably the full community, the Westminster Police Department must cease its discriminatory practices and provide equal opportunity to all, as the law plainly requires."

The plaintiffs include an active duty Major in the U.S. Marine Corps who has been promoted six times by the Marines; a long-serving police officer recognized with numerous awards including the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Award and the Centurion Award; and an officer who has been granted in excess of 10 commendations by the Westminster Police Department, has been twice awarded the Bronze medal of merit for saving someone’s life, and was recognized as Rookie of the Year in his first year with the Department.
Victor Viramontes, MALDEF National Senior Counsel, stated "As an institution of public trust, it is unacceptable for a police department to deny Latino officers the promotions they deserve. Westminster must eliminate its discriminatory practices."
With this lawsuit, MALDEF will seek to compel the Police Department, a public institution that must protect and serve well the entire diverse community, to set the right example by implementing fair promotion policies and practices. This lawsuit addresses the right to fair treatment of Latino police officers who have been denied promotions and access to opportunities for promotion in violation of the law.
A copy of the complaint can be found here:
For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.


March 5, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gathering on California Immigrant Rights Bills

Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano and Gilbert Cedillo in partnership with immigrant rights advocates and their allies invite you to participate in a statewide strategy gathering on how we can work together on passing major pieces of legislation that are currently being considered in the California State Assembly, specifically the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, S-Comm opt-out, Driver’s License and Dream Act legislation. All of these proposals impact our communities directly and we will be a powerful force working together as a coalition!

When: Thursday, March 10th, from 10-5 pm
Where: California State Office Building,
Location: Milton Marks Auditorium located at
Address: 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

Please RSVP to Renee Saucedo at


Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Canal Alliance, Marin County
Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo
Concord Day Laborer Center
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-CA)
Graton Day Laborer Center
Hayward Day Laborer Center
Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (ICIR)Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
Just Cause / Causa Justa
Latino and Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley
Latino Caucus, SEIU Local 1021
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, San Francisco
La Raza Centro Legal / San Francisco Day Labor Program / Women's Collective
Street Level Health Project, Oakland
May Day Committee for Immigration Reform (Fresno)
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
National Network on Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission


March 4, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Former USCIS Official Blasts Obama Administration's Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever Approach to Immigration

In a stinging rebuke of the White House, a former Obama administration official has slammed the U.S. government for its inaction on immigration reform and tougher-than-ever enforcement. Roxana Bacon, a former top counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, says that the administration has failed to act on immigration because of indifference and timidity. She published her comments in the March issue of Arizona Attorney, the state bar's law journal.

Bacon accuses the White House and Congress of neglecting immigration, blasts the administration's strategy of pushing hard-line enforcement ahead of reform legislation, and scolds the Department of Homeland Security for the renewed deportation of Haitians fleeing the earthquake-devastated country.  Read on.


March 4, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier's new book: Listen to the Children: Conversations with Immigrant Families/ Escuchemos a los ninos: Conversaciones con familias inmigrantes


Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier is "touring" on blogs about her new book:

Immigration reform is a difficult topic for many Americans. They would like to see immigration as a black and white issue with clear right and wrong answers, but as is so often the case with matters of great human significance, the reality is much more complicated. I have worked with immigrants in the Hispanic community for over thirty years, and I find it tremendously significant that one of every five children in the United States lives in an immigrant family, that the majority of these children will become life-time residents of the U.S., and that their presence will affect the basic institutions of our society.

In my bilingual book Listen to the Children: Conversations with Immigrant Families/ Escuchemos a los ninos: Conversaciones con familias inmigrantes, I address issues of status, identity, and justice. These issues become even more urgent for policy advocates, community organizers, clergy, and members of the legal profession when we acknowledge the ways in which our legal and enforcement systems’ approach to undocumented parents results in catastrophically damaging consequences for their children – that is, these same children who as adults will continue to impact our society for the long term.

Children often suffer incredible physical and emotional trauma when they accompany their undocumented parents in the perilous crossing to this country. They, and those born in the US to undocumented parents, continue to suffer in the uncertainty of their status, the inhumane labor conditions their parents work in, the discrimination and torment they face at schools, and in the constant fear of being deported or separated from their families. Unfortunately, our legal system and the systems of enforcement only exacerbate these problems.

Worksite raids have already torn thousands of families apart in violent ways, and other enforcement policies, such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, continue to do the same. The lengths of time that parents can spend in detention centers, apart from their children and unable to contact family or legal representation, is inhumane and immoral in a society that outspokenly supports civil and human rights in other settings. Laws like Arizona’s SB1070 that result in racial profiling and inflame nativist sentiments will only increase the fear and stress these children live with every day. These children are a significant part of the future of our country and we must intervene to advocate against unjust enforcement practices whenever and wherever possible.

The impact these conditions have on the long-term development of children is enormous. It has been demonstrated that because of the stressful conditions of their lives, children with undocumented parents often have higher rates of absenteeism and lower test scores in school. They are more likely to drop out of school to help support their families financially. If their parents are deported, many children who themselves are US citizens, end up returning with their parents to live in conditions of extreme poverty and without the basic nutrition, education, and other opportunities they should be receiving as rightful citizens of our country.

It is my hope that by listening to their stories up close and personal, and by seeing the persons behind the numbers and the news headlines, we will be challenged to advocate against unjust practices in our legal and enforcement systems with renewed commitment.

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier is dean of Esperanza College at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Her new book, Listen to the Children: Conversations with Immigrant Families/ Escuchemos a los ninos: Conversaciones con familias inmigrantes, invites the reader to eavesdrop on fictionalized conversations between immigrant parents, their children, and their caregivers, offering insight into their emotions, perceptions, and realities.


March 4, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S., Mexico Presidents Meet

Obama_portrait 225px-Felipe_Calderon_banda

Yesterday, President Obama met with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and, among other things, discussed the extradition of the suspected killer of a ICE agent serving as an advisor to the Mexican government.


March 4, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Are US Immigration Policies Causing a Reverse Brain Drain? by Tara Miller

Noted academic and tech entrepreneur, Dr. Vivek Wadhwa, has argued throughout much of his career that American innovation depends on an immigration system that encourages foreign scholars and experts to stay once they've finished school. Wadhwa has argued that we are shooting ourselves in our national interests' foot by implementing immigration policies that are making it more difficult for US-educated immigrant talent to stay in the country, effectively causing a "reverse brain drain." Wadhwa recent speech at an international education conference reifies the importance of stopping this phenomenon, especially in a globalized economy in which competition in innovative industries abroad has become stiffer.

Wadhwa has frequently cited statics that demonstrate the value that expert immigrants bring to the American economy. He claims that 25 percent of U.S. patents are filed by immigrants, and that 25 percent of all start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder. What's more, in high-tech start-ups in Sillicon Valley, the percentage of immigrant founders exceeds 50 percent. Many of these innovative immigrants hail from countries like India and China that are increasingly becoming America's economic rivals.

The biggest bone of contention that Wadhwa and other supporters of the reverse brain drain theory is the current cap on HB-1 visas, which has a yearly quota of 65,000. While universities are exempt from these quotas, once students graduate, obtaining such a visa, which enables immigrant experts in various specialty fields to be granted legal employment status, is becoming an increasingly impossible process. Coupled with the fact that many immigrants are finding it more attractive to return home, the number of immigrants who received advanced education in the US and subsequently employ that education in the country is dwindling.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Wadhwa's recent speech at the Association of International Educators and Administrators' annual meeting. The theme of the conference, Competition and Collaboration in the Global Transformation of Higher Education, proved to be an especially salient sounding board in addressing Wadhwa's concerns. Wadhwa was quoted as saying that "We're getting more xenophobic, anti-immigrant, just when we need them."

Although the reverse brain drain phenomenon has been an issue in the past, Wadhwa argued at the conference that the problem is becoming graver. He notes that a few years ago, when he had polled immigrant students at Duke University where he teaches, asking them if they wanted to stay in the US after graduation, most said they did. Now, he says, he's noticed a sharp decrease in students wanting to stay in America to work. He attributes this drop to improved opportunities in home countries as well as the anti-immigrant climate here at home.

Dr. David Skorton, president of Cornell University and child of Belorussian immigrants, echoed Wadhwa's views in a recent op-ed published in the Huffington Post. Skorton noted:

"We should be working toward the adoption of comprehensive immigration reform tailored to the economic, political, social, cultural and scientific realities of a world in which ideas and jobs more and more easily transcend borders. What is needed is a set of immigration policies that gives us the best of both worlds -- policies flexible enough to offer green cards to talented individuals who want to stay, while encouraging others to return home with some of the best education we have to offer and the potential to make a lasting difference in the world."

By-line: This guest contribution was submitted by Tara Miller who particularly enjoys writing about psychology degree. She he loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to:

March 4, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ICE Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens


John Morton, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has issued a memorandum outlining the civil immigration enforcement priorities of ICE as they relate to the apprehension, detention, and removal of noncitizens. These priorities shall inform enforcement activity, detention decisions, budget requests and execution, and strategic planning.


March 3, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Vet Faces Deportation

Photo Courtesy of New American Media

New America Media reports on Ramdeo Chankar Singh, a U.S. veteran married with two U.S. citizen children, who is facing deportation.


March 3, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Clara Moon Named Juceam Pro Bono Advocate

Stone & Grzegorek LLP, an immigration law firm in Los Angeles, has named attorney Clara Moon -- and UC Davis School of Law alum -- as its Juceam Pro Bono Advocate, commending Clara's pro bono work. The firm inaugurated the Juceam Pro Bono Advocate award in order to recognize standout attorneys who are contributing free legal services to the immigrant community.


March 3, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants’ List Third Annual Michael Maggio Award Reception


For more information, e-mail or call us at 202.293.3123.

Immigrants’ List Third Annual Michael Maggio Award Reception

Thursday, April 7, 2011, 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 Hyatt Regency, 1555 Connecticut NW, Washington, DC

Immigrants’ List is pleased to recognize a member of Congress who evidences by words or deeds a firm commitment to advancing the interests of immigrants with the annually conferred Michael Maggio Award. The Michael Maggio Award honors the memory of the nationally recognized immigration lawyer who was one of the founders of Immigrants’ List.




March 3, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FOIA Request on Secret Government Deportation Practices

From the National Immigration Law Center:


NILC Files Freedom of Information Act Request to Learn about Little-Discussed Immigration Strategy to Target Immigrants Who Choose to Leave the U.S.

LOS  ANGELES, Calif.  -- Yesterday, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) demanded that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shed light on its secretive strategy of questioning, fingerprinting, and processing undocumented immigrants voluntarily leaving the United States and returning to Mexico.  NILC filed a Freedom of Information Act request to receive information about this little-known program, which is managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

Among other things, NILC seeks basic information about the program, including why it was initiated, when it began, and what, if any, immigration consequences individuals stopped as they leave the U.S. on their own initiative may face.

 “Although we’ve heard about the existence of such a program through stories that appear occasionally in the media and migrant’s own accounts, we’ve been unable to determine its scope, or size, or other details about it,” said Karen Tumlin, NILC managing attorney and co-author of the FOIA request.  “The federal government can and should be transparent about why it is wasting precious federal dollars targeting people who are already on their way out of the country.”

According to accounts from human rights observers in Mexico, this secretive program may result in the issuance of removal orders to immigrants who are already in the process of leaving the U.S.   Those who receive such orders may face major legal obstacles to reentering the U.S. in the future.

The FOIA request asks that all materials pertaining to this secretive program be released to the National Immigration Law Center, which will review them to determine whether immigrants’ due process and other rights are being respected under the program.

“We have serious concerns that the immigrants caught by CBP’s program may not be aware of the legal options they have available,” said Ghazal Tajmiri, co-author of the FOIA request, former law fellow at the National Immigration Law Center and current associate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.  “Under current immigration law, those who are deported face huge barriers to lawfully returning to the United States.  This makes it of paramount importance that immigrants’ rights are not shortchanged during any form of removal proceedings.”

Advocates on both sides of the border have expressed grave concerns about this new secretive enforcement program.  Mexican advocates also have requested information about the CBP initiative through their own governmental channels.  They have not yet received responses to the vast majority of their requests.

“For the past year, we’ve received reports from men and women who were surprised to have CBP stop them at the border, while they were on their way back to Mexico,” said Blanca Navarrete García of the Center for Migrant Human Rights in Ciudad Juárez.  “Many of these individuals were integral members of their communities here and in the United States.  They may now face major obstacles in returning to their children or loved ones in the place that many of them called home.”

The FOIA request is available at


March 3, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Divide and Deport: On Immigration, Thom Hartmann and Lou Dobbs Have Much in Common By David Bacon


David Bacon takes aim at radio host and author Thom Hartmann and his new book, Rebooting the American Dream. Hartmann has a progressive reputation "[b]ut like many liberals, when it comes to immigration his tune changes. In one chapter, Hartmann says he wants to "Put Lou Dobbs Out to Pasture." But Hartmann, like Dobbs, criticizes corporate power and then turns his fire on workers and immigrants. Instead of taking Lou Dobbs on, Hartmann repeats many of the stereotypes and falsehoods that gave Dobbs a reputation as one of the most anti-immigrant commentators in U.S. media."


March 3, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Former DHS Chief Tells Critics Of Immigration Reform To "Get Over It," Warns Against Being "Arrogant"

about former (and the first) Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge's comments on immigration reform at Georgetown University.


March 2, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Texas Anti-Immigrant Bill Contains Loophole for Maids

Brett Michael Dykes writes for Yanoo news:

Texas has long been a hotbed of controversy on immigration issues. And a proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed. Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law. Read more...


March 2, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Diversity Video Award to Flushing High School

From Andrea Retzky at Breakthrough:

I wanted to be share with you that a team of students and recent graduates from a NYC high school has won the video contest on tolerance and diversity sponsored by human rights organization Breakthrough. You can view the winning video here: and

The story was also featured in the New York Times.


March 2, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Federal Agreements Affect Access for English Language Learners

From Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week:

The U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights is posting agreements online that are forged between the office and school districts resulting from compliance reviews or investigations of complaints.

The Education Department has been aggressive in opening up compliance reviews in a number of districts that explore such issues as whether all students have access to Advanced Placement courses to whether English-language learners have access to the core curriculum. The agreements are important because they give us a sense for how the Obama Administration is interpreting federal civil rights laws. Read more....


March 2, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What The Census Tells Us About America's Future By JOEL KOTKIN

In "What The Census Tells Us About America's Future" in Forbes (February 25, 2011), Joel Kotkin writes that, with the release of results for over 20 states, the 2010 Census has provided some strong indicators as to the real evolution of the country's demography. In short, they reveal that Americans are continuing to disperse, becoming more ethnically diverse and leaning toward to what might be called "opportunity" regions. For Kotkin's summary of the most significant findings to date, followed by an assessment of what this all might mean for the coming decade, click here.


March 2, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)