Tuesday, March 13, 2012
From USCIS in Texas:
The messages below, along with the attached, may be of interest to you and your organization. Please, feel free to share.
Jack Jaggers - Community Engagement Officer
USCIS Texas Service Center
USCIS has the following information to share:
1) Quarterly National Stakeholder Engagement
The USCIS Office of Public Engagement invites any interested parties to participate in a quarterly national stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:00pm (EDT). The purpose of this engagement is for individual participants to raise issues regarding agency operations and to aid the agency in identifying systemic issues. USCIS is seeking agenda items and questions from individual stakeholders on specific operational concerns, policies, and/or procedures. Relevant subject matter experts from agency Program Offices and Directorates will attend the meeting based on suggested agenda items and stakeholder questions. Please see the attached invitation for more information.
2) Executive Office for Immigration Review Meetings
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is reviewing and considering amendments to the regulations governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of representatives who appear before EOIR. EOIR seeks public comment on issues affecting these regulations and will host two open public meetings to discuss these regulations. The first meeting will be limited to a discussion of the recognition of organizations and the second will address accreditation of representatives.
The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1 p.m.
The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 1 p.m.
The meetings will be held at 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1800, Falls Church, VA 22041.
To RSVP for the meeting, contact Lauren Alder Reid, Counsel for Legislative and Public Affairs at 703-305-0289 or PAO.EOIR@usdoj.gov. For each meeting, attendance will be limited to the first forty (40) individuals to RSVP. EOIR will also offer a conference call option for those who cannot physically attend the meeting. To attend the meeting via conference call, please RSVP with the name(s) of the attendee(s), the attendee's organization, and an email address where instructions may be sent for accessing the conference call.
The Federal Register notice announcing these meetings may be found at: Federal Register, Volume 77 Issue 33 (Friday, February 17, 2012)
3) DHS Bulletin
The DHS Bulletin provides up to date information on Department of Homeland Security initiatives on which the news media is focused. The Bulletin draws from press releases, statements, op-eds, testimony, blog posts and other public documents to provide an overview of the most newsworthy topics. Please find the Bulletin attached.
Office of Public Engagement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
From the American Immigration Council:
Advocates File Suit Against DHS for Refusal to Disclose Records on Massive Immigration Enforcement Program
Washington D.C. - Last week, an alliance of national immigration advocacy organizations filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeking to compel the release of documents concerning the agency’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP).
Seeking greater transparency, the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the Connecticut chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) brought the suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which requires federal agencies to produce responsive, non-exempt records upon request. For years, the public has been unable to scrutinize CAP because DHS has shrouded the program in secrecy. AIC and AILA Connecticut requested a variety of documents related to CAP last year, but DHS has not produced a single one.
CAP is the workhorse of the federal immigration enforcement system. Under CAP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are stationed in prisons and jails, visit other detention facilities, and initiate deportation proceedings against people convicted of criminal offenses. However, CAP also sweeps up individuals who have been arrested but never convicted of any crime. And while DHS is still rolling out Secure Communities, CAP — a more far-reaching program — has been operational for years. Over the past five years alone, CAP has led to the arrest of more than a million people, and the program was implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings in FY 2009.
“Although CAP supposedly targets the worst criminal offenders, the limited information we have shows that this is not always the case,” according to Melissa Crow, Director of AIC’s Legal Action Center. “Like Secure Communities, this insidious program seems to target individuals with little or no criminal history for deportation and to incentivize pretextual stops and racial profiling.”
“CAP is the elephant in the room when it comes to immigration enforcement,” said Caitlin Bellis, a law student intern at the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of Yale Law School, which represents AIC and AILA, together with co-counsel at AIC. “The American people have a right to know how ICE is operating in their communities.”
"Like any other federal agency, ICE is subject to FOIA and should not be permitted to avoid its legal obligation to disclose relevant records" said Rita Provatas, Chair, AILA Connecticut Chapter. "We hope this information will enable us to determine how CAP is affecting immigrants in Connecticut and elsewhere."
From the Asian American Justice Center:
AAJC and NAPABA Support National Call-in Days to Urge Senate to Vote on Judicial Nominees
Join Us March 13-15 to Make Your Voice Heard!
Call your senators toll-free at 1-866-338-5720, and urge them to vote without delay on President Obama's judicial nominees.
AAJC and NAPABA are supporting a national call-in campaign to urge the Senate to vote on President Obama's judicial nominees. A diverse group of extremely qualified federal judicial nominees has been awaiting votes by the full Senate for an average of more than 100 days. Many of these individuals were approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Importantly for Asian Pacific Americans, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen (nominee for the Ninth Circuit), Miranda Du (nominee for the District Court of Nevada), and John Lee (nominee for the Northern District of Illinois) are all awaiting final confirmation votes by the full Senate.
The unprecedented delay in the Senate means that our system of justice has slowed down in some places to a near standstill. In addition, many of these federal court vacancies have led to judicial emergencies. This results in average Americans waiting months - and even years - for their day in court because there aren't enough judges to hear their cases.
Make your voice heard. We need your help now!
Call your senators at 1-866-338-5720.
This week, beginning as early as March 14, the Senate could consider a number of President Obama's nominees. These votes are expected to include Miranda Du and John Lee. For far too long, these important votes have been delayed for no legitimate reasons. Senators must be told to end the obstruction and vote on these judicial nominees.
Your calls make a difference!
Senators on both sides of the aisle have to hear that these votes are important to their constituents. Please call now - make your voice heard and join thousands of others.
Take Action Now: Participate in the National Call-in Days March 13-15.
Call your senators toll-free at 1-866-338-5720!
Urge them to end the obstruction and vote on judicial nominees.
Tell senators that for too many Americans, justice delayed is justice denied.
Just in time for the Mississippi and Alabama Republican primaries, Vanessa Cárdenas and Angela Maria Kelley of the Center for American Progress today released the "Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alabama’s Demographic Changes and Immigration Politics." The Alabama legislature passed the toughest state immigration enforcement measure of them all.
Here are facts about how Alabama’s emerging communities of color are changing Alabama’s economy and electorate on the day of the Alabama primary.
1. Communities of color are driving Alabama’s population growth. Alabama had strong population growth of 7.5 percent from 2000 to 2010. The Hispanic population increased by 145 percent from 2000 to 2010, which accounted for 27.7 percent of the state’s total growth from 2000 to 2009.
2. Children of color now make up more than 40 percent of Alabama’s children. In 2008 children of color were 38.6 percent of all children in the state. By 2010 children of color made up 40.7 percent of Alabama’s children. In 2010, 30.7 percent of the child population was African American and 1.1 percent was Asian. 5.9 percent of Alabama’s children were Hispanic, and 2.8 percent of the child population was of mixed race.
3. Communities of color are younger and represent the future of the state. In 2010 the median age of non-Hispanic whites was 41.2. In comparison, Hispanics’ median age was 24.8, while the median age of African Americans was 32.2, and 32.1 for Asians.
4. In 2008 African Americans voted heavily for then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) over Arizona Sen. John McCain (R). In November 2008, 547,000 African Americans voted in Alabama, making up more than a quarter of the state’s total votes. Although Sen. Obama lost the state to Sen. McCain by more than 21 percent, African American voters in Alabama heavily supported Sen. Obama at the polls. Exit polls suggested that 98 percent of African American voters cast their ballots for Sen. Obama, while only 2 percent voted for Sen. McCain.
5. The increase in Alabama’s communities of color will soon translate into political power. In the 2010 election 403,000 African Americans, 14,000 Hispanics, and 4,000 Asians voted in Alabama. Between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population in Alabama grew by 109,772 and the Asian population increased by 22,249. Only 22.1 percent of Hispanic citizens in Alabama voted in 2010, just more than half of the voting rate of non-Hispanic white citizens. The pressure to turn numbers into political power will rise along with the number of eligible voters of color in the state.
6. Alabama passed H.B. 56, the harshest anti-immigrant law in the land, in June 2011. The legislation threw the state into chaos as Latinos fled for more welcoming communities, students were too scared to go to school, and farmers worried about having enough people to pick their crops. According to one estimate from the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, H.B. 56 could cost the state $10.8 billion and up to 140,000 jobs. All to drive out an undocumented population that is estimated to comprise only 2.5 percent of the state.
7. The courts continue to strike down provisions of the clearly unconstitutional H.B. 56. On March 8 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two additional sections of the law—one which barred unauthorized immigrants from entering into a contract with the state (even for something as basic as having water turned on in your home) and another that made it illegal to enter into a contract with an undocumented immigrant. The courts previously blocked other provisions including those that forced school officials to report on the immigration status of their students and made it a crime to give an unauthorized immigrant a ride.
8. Individuals in communities of color face significant economic hurdles. The median household income for African Americans in the state in 2010 was less than 60 percent of the household income for non-Hispanic whites. The median household income for Hispanic residents in Alabama that year was 70.1 percent of non-Hispanic white income.
9. Unemployment hits these communities harder than non-Hispanic whites.In 2010, 18.9 percent of the African American civilian labor force over the age of 16 in Alabama was unemployed. This more than doubled the 9.3 percent unemployment rate of the comparable white population. Hispanic unemployment in 2010 was also high, at 11.6 percent in the same year.
10. Nevertheless, communities of color contribute significantly to the state’s economy. In 2010 unauthorized immigrants paid $130 million in state and local taxes. The almost 4,500 Latino-owned businesses made more than $1 billion in sales in 2007, the last year for which data are available. The almost 7,000 Asian-owned businesses generated more than $2.6 billion in sales that same year.
Monday, March 12, 2012
City Square of the Fordham Urban Law Journal features a give-and-take between Professors Victor Romero (Penn State) and Won Kidane (Seattle) about Professor Romero's article Decriminalizing Border Crossings, 38 Fordham Urb. L.J. 273, 275 (2010).
"Midday" with Dan Rodricks on WYPR's daily public affairs program today featured Professor Michael Olivas, author of No Undocumented Child Left Behind (2011). In November, voters will decide the fate of Maryland's version of the DREAM Act, which would grant in-state college tuition discounts to the children of undocumented immigrants who have graduated from the state's high schools. On this show, Professor Olivas discusses Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Supreme Court case that made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in public schools and the highly-charged political and legal battles that have ensued, including access to higher education.
Check this story out! On a spring morning in 2010, Leticia dropped two of her children at school before continuing to run errands with her 4-year-old daughter. Then, at 9:30 am, she was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Because she did not have a driver’s license, Leticia was suspected of being an undocumented immigrant and ICE officials were notified. Within hours, she was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, leaving behind her four children and the city of Escondido, CA — her home of ten years.
In a new investigation, Investigative Fund reporter John Carlos Frey finds that Leticia’s case is far from unique. For the past 8 years, the police in Escondido — which is 49 percent Latino — have been using state-funded DUI checkpoints as thinly veiled immigration checkpoints. Frey also finds that the city is illegally profiting from the checkpoints. Tow companies now pay the city $450,000 per year in contract fees.
Reap What You Sow originally aired on This American Like on 1.27.2012. Alabama's new immigration law aims to make life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they will "self-deport." And in a way it's working. Immigrants are fleeing Alabama...but not just the undocumented ones. This and other stories of people living with the unintended consequences of their decisions.
The GOP candidates are campaigning in Alabama and Mississippi today. My views from Huffington Post:
As the Republican presidential contenders moved into Alabama and Mississippi, one local issue that they all appear to agree upon is the anti-immigration laws that have been bandied about in these states. Yes, Newt Gingrich might consider withholding deportation of 80-year-old grandmothers or DREAM Act students who join the military. Otherwise, he, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul do not favor any type of legalization program and either are for mass roundups or self-deportation of the estimated 10 to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country. The message of these candidates is hardly one of embracing change and fails to recognize that we should be addressing immigration reform with a less hostile tone.
As the constitutionality of Arizona's SB 1070 is being heard at the Supreme Court, Alabama's HB 56 has reached the federal court of appeals, which temporarily has blocked some provisions, including one requiring Alabama officials to check the immigration status of children in public schools and others that make state crimes out of failing to carry documents proving legal residency status or harboring an undocumented immigrant. Just last week, the court also blocked two more provisions: one prohibiting courts from enforcing contracts with undocumented immigrants and another making it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to do business with the state. In spite of the contentiousness of these laws, Mississippi legislators are poised to copy the Alabama and Arizona examples.
While the legality of most of the local anti-immigration laws is questionable, the court ruling on the Alabama law left intact a controversial piece of HB56 that directs police officers to check the legal status of a person they stop or arrest if they have "reasonable suspicion" that person is in the country illegally. Although determining whether someone is undocumented by just looking at a person is virtually impossible, the message of the court is clear. When it comes to determining policing priorities, the state has a lot of autonomy. What to enforce, as opposed to what laws can be enacted, is a much stronger state's rights claim.
Lost in the hysterical atmosphere that pervades political conversations over the undocumented immigration challenge today is the fact that many jurisdictions are taking a different tact when it comes to law enforcement. Community policing policies (sometimes referred to as "sanctuary" policies) that instruct officers to refrain from asking crime victims or witnesses about their immigration status are in place in more than seventy cities and states, such as San Francisco and New York, as well as many law enforcement agencies, such as the New Haven and Los Angeles police departments. Thousands of other police agencies are reluctant to be viewed as partners in federal immigration enforcement. The motivation behind these laws and policies is simple: to encourage the entire community -- including immigrant members -- to trust and cooperate with the police to promote public safety for everyone. If this message is delivered successfully, its tone is an important, positive step in encouraging the civic integration of immigrant communities that stands in sharp contrast to the xenophobic undercurrent of measures such as Arizona's SB 1070, Alabama's HB 56, and the billions of dollars spent annually in border and interior enforcement of federal immigration laws.
The evolution of some relatively recent sanctuary policies makes clear that public safety is their main goal. In New Haven, Conn., in 2005, the police chief, government officials, and community leaders adopted two initiatives designed to make New Haven more welcoming and safer for immigrants, and to help police officers during interactions with immigrants. The police issued a general order outlining procedures for police to follow during encounters with immigrants, and the city began issuing identification cards to all city residents regardless of immigration status. Under the police department's general order, no distinction is made between documented and undocumented immigrants because they are all part of our community. In other words, the department would rather solve a homicide than worry about the immigration status of a witness or victim. As a result of the policy and follow-up initiatives, cooperation with police has increased dramatically and important strides have been made in getting the community to overcome its fear of the police.
The philosophy in Mesa, Ariz., is similar. The mayor and police officers were openly critical of Sheriff Arpaio's operations in their city because his actions undermined the police department's relationship with the immigrant community and set back the police department's efforts to build trust. While trust and community confidence is the goal behind the police department's policy of not inquiring about immigration status when it comes to crime victims and witnesses, the battle is difficult because the distinction between federal (ICE), county (Arpaio), and local (police department) law enforcement is confusing for the immigrant community. As one officer put it, "You're not sure if you ever gain the trust. Maybe you just lessen the mistrust." In spite of the tense atmosphere over immigration in Arizona, the Mesa police chief was determined not to adopt a policy that would damage the trust of a significant part of the community who were often victims or witnesses to crime. He held community meetings to encourage residents to discuss priorities and communication and consulted ICE. A new policy finally was adopted after seventeen revisions, followed by several months of officer training. Although the city takes pains not to be labeled a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants perhaps for political reasons, the focus of the policy is on criminals, not crime victims or witnesses, and the department engages in continuous outreach to the immigration community.
The adoption of community policing policies at a time when segments of our nation are in a frenzy over immigration is an important, bold statement of support for a nation of immigrants. Choosing sanctuary policies over policies of fear, like those embodied in HB 56, tells immigrants and the rest of us what type of community our leaders and law enforcement officials are choosing. The non-sanctuary choice is closed-minded, resistant to continuing changes that will only breed tension and threaten public safety. The choice of community policing, confidentiality, or "don't ask" is one of smart policing -- one that embraces change and encourages integration in the hopes of building a stronger, safer community. That choice also represents an important step toward avoiding the pitfalls of division, hate, and insular living that anti-immigrant state laws exemplify.
For a larger piece on this topic go here and click on one-click download.
Immigrant champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced on Huffington Post that he is flying to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend a hearing in the deportation case against Gabino Sanchez, a husband and father of two U.S. citizens who is facing deportation after more than a dozen years living and working peacefully in the United States. He will go with his attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, Executive Director of the NC Immigrant Rights Project, and will be joined by clergy and supporters trying to stop the deportation of Gabino Sanchez and others like him.
UPDATE (MARCH 14): Speaking to a rally outside Charlotte’s Immigration Court building, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez called on federal authorities to drop the deportation case of a South Carolina father of two – both of them U.S. citizens – who has multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving without a license.
Bloomberg News reports that more than half of the nation's 3,143 counties contain a plurality of people who describe themselves as German-American, according to a Bloomberg compilation of data from the Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey. The number of German- Americans rose by 6 million during the last decade to 49.8 million, almost as much as the nation's 50.5 million Hispanics.
In Immigration Decreases, but Tensions Remain High, Julia Preston discusses the fact that, despite dramatic decreases in apprehensions of immigrants along the U.S./Mexico border in recent years as movement for jobs has decreased with the recession, federal and state law enforcement officials continue to dispute the state of the border -- and federal immigration enofrcement efforts.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) has announced that it is scheduled to open its first-ever designed-and-built civil detention facility on Tuesday, March 13. The event will be hosted by ICE ERO Executive Associate Director Gary Mead. After the news conference, a tour of the facility will be available for media representatives to include recording devices. This 608-bed detention center is the first facility designed and constructed with ICE's new civil detention reforms in mind. It will allow ICE detainees greater unescorted movement, enhanced recreational opportunities and contact visitation, while also maintaining a safe and secure atmosphere for detainees and staff.
The Karnes County Civil Detention Center isabout 60 miles southeast of San Antonio in Karnes City, Texas.
UPDATE (MARCH 14): For a N.Y. Times story on teh new facility, click here.
Angelo Paparelli's Nation of Immigrators highlights some interesting facts about the U.S. government's information collection efforts on immigrants and nonimmigrants in the United States. A March 6 subcommittee hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. Convened by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security delved into efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of State to deter, detect and apprehend visa overstayers.
"Health Care and the Illegal Immigrant" Forthcoming Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-008 Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-024 PATRICK JAMES GLEN, Georgetown University Law Center.
ABSTRACT: The question of whether illegal immigrants should be entitled to some form of health coverage in the United States sits at the uneasy intersection of two contentious debates: health reform and immigration reform. Befitting this place, the rhetoric surrounding the issue has been exponentially heightened by the multiplying effects of combining two vitriolic debates. On one side, it is argued that the United States has a moral obligation to provide health care to all those within its borders needing such assistance. On the other, it is argued with equal force that those illegally present in this country should not be entitled to take advantage of public benefits. Rather than meaningfully engaging each other, these sides simply square off across a chasm of absolutes. The purpose of this article is to chart a middle course between these extremes that focuses on the practical aspects of the issue while relegating hyperbole and high-minded moral claims to the side. It seeks to answer two questions: First, whether extending health coverage to illegal immigrants is mandated by Constitutional law? Second, whether there are compelling policy reasons for extending such coverage, even if extending coverage is not legally mandated? The conclusion of this article is that while health coverage for illegal immigrants is not required under prevailing constitutional norms, extending coverage as a matter of policy would serve the broader interests of the United States. Extending coverage would be beneficial both as a matter of economics and public health, meaning the spillover benefits to extending coverage would reach all U.S. citizens and all those already entrenched in the U.S. health care and health insurance systems. Although it seems unlikely that the recommendations of this article will, in reality, bridge the gaps between the warring sides, its benefits lay in its pragmatic and practical sketch of how a solution may be reached. Thus, at the least, it presents a blue-print on how best to approach this contentious issue.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
MEDIA ADVISORY: ICE to open its first designed-and-built civil detention center
KARNES CITY, Texas — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is scheduled to open its first-ever designed-and-built civil detention facility on Tuesday, March 13. The event will be hosted by ICE ERO Executive Associate Director Gary Mead. After the news conference, a tour of the facility will be available for media representatives to include recording devices.
This 608-bed detention center is the first facility designed and constructed with ICE's new civil detention reforms in mind. It will allow ICE detainees greater unescorted movement, enhanced recreational opportunities and contact visitation, while also maintaining a safe and secure atmosphere for detainees and staff.
WHO: Gary Mead, Executive Associate Director (EAD) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)
WHAT: News conference to announce the opening of the Karnes County Civil Detention Center, the first-ever designed-and-built civil detention facility in the country.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 12 p.m. (CDT)
Karnes County Civil Detention Center (about 60 miles southeast of San Antonio)
409 FM 1144
Karnes City, Texas
Background: On Aug. 6, 2009, ICE first announced our detention reform plan, which included establishing civil detention facilities for low-risk detainees, such as Karnes.
Important note for visiting media representatives: The news conference will begin at 12 p.m. Please allow extra time for security screening.
AP reports that the New York Police Department kept secret files on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans specifically because they were Muslims, according to newly obtained documents that spell out in the clearest terms yet that police were monitoring people based on religion. The AP has posted the documents here and here.