Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Journalist Wins Award for Immigration "Shattered Families"

Colorlines.com reporter Seth Freed Wessler has been awarded the 2012 Hillman Prize, one of the most prestigious honors a journalist can receive, for his “Shattered Families” investigation of the intersection of deportation and child welfare. The Sidney Hillman Foundation honors journalists who have demonstrated “excellence in reporting in service of the common good.”


April 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Might Congress Pass a DREAM Act Before the November Elections?

Read Leslie Berestein Rojas' analysis of the tantalizing possibilities. Is there a chance (finally) for the DREAMERs? It has been a long trek.


April 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

American Latino Museum Art Contest

From Friends of the American Latino Museum:

We are excited to announce a special opportunity for our supporters to be a part of history!

The Friends of the American Latino Museum is launching our first Campaign Design Contest! We have many exciting activities and events planned for the rest of 2012, and we need a creative design and image to represent our campaign. Because we want this design to represent our community, we are giving you, our loyal and talented supporters, the opportunity to put your skills to work.

The winning design will be the foundation for our informational handouts, campaign posters, buttons, donation cards, and other promotional materials. It will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people nationwide. Further, this design will make a significant contribution to the movement for creating the first ever national museum dedicated to telling the stories of American Latinos- making it a part of a historic campaign.

For more detailed instructions and rules go here: americanlatinomuseum.org/contest/.

The contest will run until April 30th after which the winner will be chosen by public vote.

Best of luck to all participants!


April 3, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

EOIR Statement on Prosecutorial Discretion Initiative

On March 30, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the next phase of its case-by-case review launched in November 2011. Under the initiative, DHS is reviewing the pending immigration removal caseload to determine in which cases it will exercise prosecutorial discretion. DHS conducted a pilot program with a focused review of pending non-detained cases in the Baltimore and Denver immigration courts from December 4, 2011 to January 13, 2012. To assist this effort, EOIR rescheduled cases with hearings in the non-detained dockets in these courts during this period.

Continuing the effort to support DHS’s case-by-case review, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has agreed to temporarily and partially suspend non-detained dockets in seven additional immigration courts over four two-week periods. As with the initial effort piloted in Baltimore and Denver, EOIR intends to reschedule cases on the non-detained dockets of the following courts in the coming months: Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando, and Seattle from April 23 until May 4; New York from May 7 until May 18; San Francisco from June 4 until June 15; and Los Angeles from July 9 until July 20. Those immigration judges whose non-detained dockets are affected will hear cases on detained dockets during the relevant period.

EOIR will issue hearing notices to all respondents whose cases are rescheduled. DHS attorneys will continue to make the decisions regarding prosecutorial discretion, and immigration judges will remain prepared to adjudicate motions to administratively close or terminate cases on a case-by-case basis as they are filed with the court.


April 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Opinion analysis: Court rejects retroactive application of 1996 immigration law amendment

Here is my analysis on SCOTUSBlog of the Supreme Court's decision last week in Vartelas v. Holder.

UPDATE (April 5, 9): The Legal Action Center, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild issued a Practice Advisory, Vartelas v. Holder: Implications for LPRs Who Take Brief Trips Abroad and Other Potential Favorable Impacts, which describes the Court’s decision and offers strategies for affected lawful permanent residents. For another perspective on Vartelas v. Holder than outlined in my analysis, see Fleuti Lives! The Restoration of a Constitutional Decision By Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta.


April 2, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guide to Arizona v. United States

The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a dispute over the legality of the immigration law known as “SB 1070.” More than any matter in recent history, the case involves a range of important questions regarding the role that states may play in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The Court’s decision will likely affect not only the future of SB 1070, but the fate of other state immigration laws being challenged in court and the odds of similar laws being passed around the country.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center released a guide providing brief answers to common questions about the case, including how the litigation began, what the contested provisions do and do not say, and what arguments have been raised by each side. The guide also includes an appendix listing all of the outside individuals, organizations, and governments that filed briefs supporting and opposing SB 1070.

As the Supreme Court considers the case, knowing the facts and legal arguments behind the case will prove critically important in furthering a rational discussion about the implications of the Court’s decision.


April 2, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supremes Grant Cert in Moncrieffe v. Holder: Is a Marijuana Conviction for a Small Amount an "Aggravated Felony"?

This morning, the Suprme Court granted cert in Moncrieffe v. Holder.   Goldstein & Russell, P.C. represents the petitioner in this case. The question presented is whether a conviction under a provision of state law that encompasses but is not limited to the distribution of a small amount of marijuana without remuneration constitutes an aggravated felony, notwithstanding that the record of conviction does not establish that the alien was convicted of conduct that would constitute a federal felony.

The Court has decided two cases this Term -- including one last week -- dealing with the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.  Given the grant in this case, as well as the fact that the administration has escalated removal efforts of noncitizens with criminal convictions, it appears that we will see more such cases in the future.


April 2, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Honor Trayvon Martin: Declare War on Racism

Racial profiling of blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans is not new. Targeting of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians was heightened in the post 9/11 era, but the Trayvon Martin shooting reminds us of the sad state of racism in America. Here are my thoughts from Huffington Post:

The tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin highlights the sad truth that racial profiling of African Americans and the country's racial divide continue. The juxtaposition of this incident and the winding down of our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan provides us with an opportunity to declare another war -- a war on racism in America. With race on the front pages, the opportunity is ripe for President Obama and the GOP presidential hopefuls to declare war on bigotry and hate.

More than 150 years after the Civil War and nearly 50 years since the Civil Rights Act and the end of the national origins immigration system, racism continues in the United States. From hate speech and hate crimes to employment discrimination and forms of social preference, subtle actions and institutionalized racism continue to challenge our nation. A decade ago when Trent Lott was sharply criticized for racist sentiment at Strom Thurmond's retirement party, we saw Democrats and Republicans alike agree that racism is wholly and completely unacceptable. But after Lott stepped aside, addressing racism was pushed to the back burner again, allowed to eat away at our nation's character.

Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama gave a stirring speech on our nation's racial divide. Then three years ago the president sat down to discuss profiling with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his arresting Boston police officer. But after that, nothing further gets discussed nor acted upon publicly. Any talk of improving race relations remains hushed and polite when it occurs at all.

The problem with polite talk on these issues is that it lets the vast majority of the nation off the hook. The nation ends up treating overt incidents as the exception, regarding those instances as rare. In fact, the prime target should be the foundation of institutionalized racism that has created an environment that enables subtle and unconscious racism, emboldens perpetrators of racist speech, and licenses acts of hate.

We need more than polite talk. We need a sense of outrage and indignation. We need massive mobilization over the issue. We need a declaration of war. The declaration of war on the evils of hate and racism must be loud and constant. Just as we have poured millions of dollars into campaigns against drugs and smoking, into efforts to address recycling and other environmental concerns, we need attention-grabbing strategies to begin now, in the midst of current recognition that improving race relations matters. We need a clear vision statement on these issues to serve as the basis for this moral declaration. We must be driven, not politely, because we are beyond politeness on the evils of hate and prejudice that our leaders acknowledge are not American values. Let's put our heads together on this national priority. Be creative and imaginative in approaches. Set an example. Call for new laws, enforcement of existing regulations, smart coalition-building, civility, respect and approaches to addressing private attitudes and actions. Make that call loud and clear and remind us over and over. Make it part of the national psyche, not just part of the national agenda.

The public face of American pluralism -- dominated by politicians, professionals and community leaders -- is mostly positive. The problem is with the private off-camera face of America that fails to teach our children and challenge our neighbors to be respectful of others. We all share to varying degrees the blame for a culture that gives rise to hate speech and ethnic animosity. Every time we engage in even subtle racism or the fostering of stereotypes, we perpetuate that culture. As much as each of us shares the blame, each of us can be part of the solution. Every time we reach out to others whom we have been conditioned to distrust, fear, or subordinate because of culture, race or class, we begin to chip away at the wicked culture that gives rise to irrational hatred, animosity, and violence.

In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush spoke out against hate crimes directed at Americans of South Asian, Pakistani, Arab, and Muslim descent. He urged "Americans not to use this as an opportunity to pick on somebody that doesn't look like you, or doesn't share your religion." But then, he and other leaders did little to demonstrate sophisticated knowledge about the racialized structures of our society that continue to keep down underprivileged blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and many Asian Americans. President Obama has called for an investigation of Trayvon Martin's death. But he has to do more. He should lead the country on the war path against racism. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get serious about racism as a nation and as individuals. Click here.


April 2, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Effect of Ethnic Identity on the Employment of Immigrants by Nick Drydakis

"The Effect of Ethnic Identity on the Employment of Immigrants" IZA Discussion Paper No. 6314 NICK DRYDAKIS, affiliation not provided to SSRN


This study evaluates the effect of ethnic identity on the employment level of immigrants in Greece. Treating ethnic identity as a composite of key cultural elements the estimations suggest that employment is positively associated with assimilation and integration and negatively associated with separation and marginalization. In all cases, assimilation provides the highest employment returns, whilst, marginalization provides the highest employment losses. This study adds to the literature by setting up hypotheses, and directly measuring immigrants' ethnic identity commitments. The current results have potentially important implications for post-immigration policies indicating that assimilation and integration policies may be beneficial in terms of labor market outcomes.


April 2, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ICE Deportations: More Than 46,000 Deportees had U.S. Citizen Child

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the first half of 2011 deported 46,686 parents who had at least one U.S. citizen child, says a report made public by ICE on Monday.


April 2, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seattle Times: Strike Down SB 1070

The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070 on April 25. The Seattle Times editorial today urges the Court to strike down the law:

THE U.S. Supreme Court should strike down four troubling provisions of Arizona's anti-illegal-immigration law. They conflict with federal laws and ought not become models for states grappling with illegal immigration.

The federal government has exclusive authority over immigration enforcement. One can debate the efficacy of federal efforts but Arizona's 2010 immigration law was a wrongheaded attempt to supersede federal law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked key provisions of the law, including requiring law enforcement to question people about their immigration status, ask for documentation and detain those without it. Arguments that this could lead to racial profiling are persuasive. The immigration status of people arrested would also have to be determined before they could be released.

The appeals court blocked other odious provisions, including making it a state crime for illegal immigrants to try to find work and allowing police to make arrests without warrants if they have probable cause to suspect individuals committed crimes that could make them deportable under federal law.

Placing the burden of immigration enforcement on local police is impractical and expensive. Hard-won relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities would be damaged if Arizona's law becomes a model for other states.

The United States Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities filed amicus briefs siding with the federal government. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and attorneys representing 40 other jurisdictions also rightly weighed in on Arizona v. United States.

The Supreme Court should reject Arizona's law.


April 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)