Saturday, April 14, 2012

Favorable Prosecutorial Discretion Exercised for Church Members in North Carolina

From the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

Rebecca Fontaine of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice reports that 18 members of the Buen Pastor Church in North Carolina have been given prosecutorial discretion. One member was denied, and three have cases with merits being argued in court. Two years ago the families were stopped in Louisiana as they returned home to Raleigh from an annual jubilee in Texas, called the “Santa Cena” or “Holy Week.” The vans were not cited with any traffic violations; rather, the stop and the arrests were motivated by CBP’s suspicion -- based on Latino appearance -- that the church members may be undocumented. Online petitions, calls and faxes pressed for their release and safety from deportation.


April 14, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Derivation and Acquisition of Citizenship

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

The Citizenship for Children webinar will cover the complex issues involving citizenship for children. We will review acquisition and derivation of citizenship, as well as INA Section 322 citizenship for children. We will concentrate on how to use the ILRC's easy to read charts, which spell out eligibility for acquisition and derivation and will walk through examples of each kind of citizenship for children. After attending this webinar, practitioners will be significantly more comfortable assisting their clients through the acquisition and derivation processes.

Date:                   April 25 
Time:                  12:00 - 1:30 pm PDT
Location:            Online
MCLE:                 1.5 CA
Deadline:            Register by April 23

Register now


April 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Resources for Citizenship Teachers


NEW!  Practice Tests- “Understanding Interview Commands,” Self Tests on Vocabulary used in Interviews – audio and visuals!  Find them, try them, and use them!
NEW! Teachers: MORE lesson plans posted on the Citizenship Resource Center for your use.  Go to, click on “Teachers”


April 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Punishment and Profits: Immigration Detention

From the Detention Watch Network:

Fault Lines: "Punishment and Profits: Immigration Detention"

This new documentary  on Al Jazeera's flagship English news program Fault Lines investigates the business of immigrant detention and finds out how a few companies are shaping US immigration laws.
Featuring DWN members and allies, including Americans for Immigrant Justice, Grassroots Leadership, Hope Mustakim and Judy Greene, the documentary highlights the impact of mandatory detention policies and the private prison industry on the growing immigration detention system.
Watch the groundbreaking episode and share it with your networks. Click here for a video.


April 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Almost 700,000 Naturalizations in 2011

Naturalization report from USCIS:

U.S. Naturalizations: 2011

This report presents information on the number and characteristics of foreign nationals who became American citizens during fiscal year 2011.

In 2011, the total number of persons naturalizing was 694,193 (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The leading countries of birth of new citizens were Mexico (94,783), India (45,985), the Philippines (42,520), the People’s Republic of China (32,864), and Colombia (22,693). The largest number of persons naturalizing lived in California (151,183), Florida (87,309), and New York (76,603).

To access the report, please click here.


April 12, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Spotlight on Immigrant Detention


Here is a critical  report on the status of immigrant detention in the United States.

The Nation also has an investigative story on immigrant detention.   Deportations of undocumented immigrants have reached a record high under President Obama, making US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the operator of the the world's largest immigration detention system. That means big business for state jails and private prisons, which compete for ICE's detainees in exchange for federal dollars. Investigative Fund reporters Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville take us to Ocilla, Georgia, a two-stoplight town that relies on the privately managed Irwin County Detention Center for employment and revenue. For the past two years, state officials and the prison company lobbied ICE to send detainees their way, sweetening the deal by charging $45 daily per detainee, half the price of facilities up north. Despite concerns that the Irwin facility was too far away from legal services and ICE oversight, the agency contracted with the struggling facility — at the expense of undocumented detainees, who report a lack of clothing, soiled bedding, and insufficient food. County leaders once saw ICE's business as their "salvation," but detainees didn't come fast enough. The prison is now bankrupt and the county deep in debt. "How One Georgia Town Gambled its Future on Immigration Detention" was reported by Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.


April 12, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Undocumented Speakers and Freedom of Speech; a Relatively Uncontroversial Approach by R. George Wright

"Undocumented Speakers and Freedom of Speech; a Relatively Uncontroversial Approach" R. GEORGE WRIGHT, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. 

ABSTRACT: The question of broad federal constitutional free speech rights for undocumented speakers is generally unexplored in the case law and the law review literature. This Article sketches a case for such rights based on a relatively uncontroversial argument. Briefly, free speech rights generally are inherently relational. They may be enforced either by potentially willing speakers or by potentially willing listeners. As a practical matter, there are a number of current citizen-voters who, for the sake of more fully informing themselves on a broad range of cultural, economic, legal, and political issues, would prefer to hear from the broadest possible range of relevant sources. Such sources would presumably include a broad range of physically present undocumented persons with diverse experiences. As a general matter, punishing or preventing the speech of undocumented persons, where they would otherwise be willing to speak, invokes the clearly established free speech rights of the willing potential listeners among citizen-voters. The willing undocumented speakers in such cases thus wind up with what we might call pragmatic or de facto free speech rights, subject to appropriate regulation. A number of points of clarification and alternative analyses are then addressed.


April 12, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Exploring “Discretion” and “Proportionality” in Immigration

The concepts of discretion and proportionality are deeply ingrained in the American justice system. When creating and enforcing the law, government officials must constantly evaluate when and where to apply the law, and what constitutes a fair punishment. Yet as states increasingly get into the business of immigration enforcement, and as Congress continues to propose more punitive consequences for immigration violations, the concepts of discretion and proportionality have been lost.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases two new papers exploring these two important legal concepts:

Proportionality in Immigration Law: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime in Immigration Court?, by Michael Wishnie, suggests that understanding the use of proportionality in criminal and civil law offers immigration practitioners a new way to challenge the status quo, particularly in cases where the underlying basis for the removal order and the resulting consequences of removal are so disparate. “Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense,” said Michael Wishnie. “The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its vitality is well established in numerous areas of criminal and civil law, in the United States and abroad. The Constitution does not compel mercy, but it does require proportionality. Principles of proportionality should also find expression in immigration policy, whether implemented at the federal, state, or local level.”

Prosecutorial Discretion in Context: How Discretion is Exercised Throughout Our Immigration System, by Hiroshi Motomura, traces the role of discretion throughout the immigration enforcement process. Understanding this role is important not only in individual cases, but also in how policymakers write regulations and draft laws. Knowing how the enforcement system anticipates and incorporates discretion is key to understanding how our immigration laws work., “Discretion is exercised at many stages of the enforcement process. The discretion that has the most practical significance is the discretion to arrest or stop people, even for non–immigration matters, and then to put them into contact with federal immigration enforcement,” said Hiroshi Motomura. “I’m concerned that state and local police are making more and more of these crucial decisions and that the federal government is allowing this to happen.”


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nightmare Ahead: What a Romney-Rubio Presidency Would Mean for Immigration

With Rick Santorum out of the GOP presidential race, Mitt Romney emerging as the likely 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and rumors swirling about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as Romney's potential running mate, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released the issue brief, “Nightmare Ahead: What a Romney-Rubio Presidency Would Mean for Immigration.”  While legislative accomplishments are hard to come by or to predict, it is likely that both a mandatory E-Verify program and a DREAM-less DREAM Act would be on a Romney-Rubio administration’s legislative agenda.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Report: The Development and Fiscal Effects of Emigration on Mexico

A new report, The Development and Fiscal Effects of Emigration on Mexico, examines the ways in which migration influences development in Mexico, focusing on the fiscal consequences of migration for Mexico’s public sector. The report, authored by Raymundo Campos-Vazquez and Horacio Sobarzo of El Colegio de México’s Center for Economic Studies, find that when the labor market effects and household income benefits of remittances are compiled into a model of the Mexican economy, Mexico’s fiscal balance appears to benefit from emigration. The authors estimate Mexico’s GDP increased by 8.8 percent and its tax collection by 7.4 percent as a result.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Institute for Immigration Research Launched at George Mason University

A new institute to conduct research about immigrants and their contributions in the United States was launched this month as a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Mass. The Institute for Immigration Research will conduct unbiased research to educate policymakers, media, teachers, students and the business community about the contributions of immigrants as entrepreneurs, workers and consumers. Early research projects will include mapping immigrants’ economic activity as well as examining the impact of immigrants in higher education on the economy.

The institute will be located within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University and will work closely with the Center for Social Science Research at Mason, a multidisciplinary research center that examines some of the most pressing social, behavioral and political problems facing contemporary society.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Why Americans Don't Join the Party: Book Panel Discussion

From UC San Diego:

Book Panel Discussion with Zoltan Hajnal, Paul Frymer and Michael Rivera

Friday, April 20th at 12:00 pm
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor

“Why Americans Don’t Join the Party” explores why so many Americans--in particular, Latinos and Asians--fail to develop ties to either major party, why African Americans feel locked into a particular party, and why some white Americans are shut out by ideologically polarized party competition. Through extensive analysis, the authors demonstrate that when the Democratic and Republican parties fail to raise political awareness, to engage deeply held political convictions, or to affirm primary group attachments, nonpartisanship becomes a rationally adaptive response. By developing a model of partisanship that explicitly considers America's new racial diversity and evolving nonpartisanship, this book provides the Democratic and Republican parties and other political stakeholders with the means and motivation to more fully engage the diverse range of Americans who remain outside the partisan fray.


April 11, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Good Faith Marriage Webinar

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

Our Good Faith Marriage webinar will examine topics such as evidence to establish a good faith relationship, how to prepare clients for a spousal interview, and issues related to the two year conditional residence period. We'll also discuss the place of non-traditional marriages in the context of immigration law.
Date: April 17 
Time: 12:00 - 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Online
MCLE: 1.5 CA
Deadline: Register by April 13

Register here.


April 11, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Rights – Scope, Limits, and Implications

Tom Barry, Senior Analyst, Center for International Policy, has an interesting piece on the meaning of "immigrant rights" and the call for comprehensive immigration reform.  I am not sure how much I agree with but it is food for thought.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking


The deadline for submitting a short paper proposal for the Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska is April 15, 2012. The conference will take place October 11-13, 2012 at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska. This will be the fourth year for this great opportunity to present your work and to form working relationships and friendships with others working as academic researchers, victim service providers, law enforcement officials, government officers, and foundations that support anti-trafficking work.

All types of submissions are encouraged: academic papers, descriptions of the work of your organization (particularly an analytical or integrative view), analyses, theoretical contributions, identification of problems and need for knowledge, and so forth. The keynote speaker will be Kristiina Kangaspunta, Deputy Director of United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). Before UNICRI, Kristiina worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria, as the Chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit. She initiated the first United Nations Global Patterns Report on Trafficking in Persons and she led the technical cooperation work to support the implementation of the Palermo Protocol.

The deadline for 300-word abstracts is April 15, 2012! 


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The First Amendment’s Borders: The Place of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project in First Amendment Doctrine by David Cole

"The First Amendment’s Borders: The Place of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project in First Amendment Doctrine" Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 6, pp. 148-177, 2012 Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-047 DAVID COLE, Georgetown University Law Center.

ABSTRACT:  In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court’s first decision pitting First Amendment rights against national security interests since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Court appears to have radically departed from some of the First Amendment’s most basic principles, including the maxims that speech may not be penalized because of its viewpoint, that even speech advocating crime deserves protection until it constitutes incitement, and that political association is constitutionally protected absent specific intent to further a group’s illegal ends. These principles lie at the core of our political and democratic freedoms, yet Humanitarian Law Project seems to contravene all three.

This article assesses the place of Humanitarian Law Project in First Amendment jurisprudence. It argues that the decision departs so dramatically from precedent that it was wrongly decided. But it also maintains that if the decision is to do least damage to First Amendment freedoms going forward, and if it is to be construed as far as possible in harmony with its precedents, three limiting features of the decision are essential to understanding its rationale. At issue in Humanitarian Law Project was whether the government could make it a crime to engage in speech advocating only lawful, peaceful activity, when done in coordination with or for a foreign organization labeled “terrorist.”

In Humanitarian Law Project, the Court properly ruled that the government may prohibit speech advocating lawful, peaceful activity based on its content only where it can satisfy the demanding standard that governs when laws prohibit speech on the basis of its content. But the Court’s application of that scrutiny bore no resemblance to any other speech case in the modern era and employed reasoning and reached results that are sharply inconsistent with substantial precedent. Where it had previously protected even direct advocacy of crime, it now denied protection to advocacy of peace and human rights. Where it had previously held that strict scrutiny placed a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate with concrete evidence that its specific speech prohibitions were necessary to further a compelling end, here it sua sponte advanced arguments that the government never made; said no evidence was necessary to support its speculations; and deferred to a legislative finding and an executive affidavit that did not even address the necessity of prohibiting speech, and were not based on any actual evidence. Where it had previously ruled that a desire to suppress particular viewpoints was enough to render a law presumptively invalid, here it took the government’s viewpoint-based motive in suppressing messages of legitimacy as a reason to uphold, not to strike down, the law. And where it had previously protected the right to associate with groups having both lawful and unlawful ends, and recognized that the right included the freedom to act in concert with one’s associates, in Humanitarian Law Project it reduced the right to an empty formalism. Such dramatic departures from precedent suggest that the decision was wrongly decided. But until it is overturned, we must live with it. And that puts a premium on considering whether its rationale can be limited. The Court itself offered three possible avenues of limitation, but offered no explanation for why those avenues were doctrinally significant. None of the three distinguishing features the Court identified is sufficient to reconcile the result with First Amendment precedent.

But if the case is to be harmonized as much as possible with precedent, its application should be limited to situations in which all three of the factors identified by the Court are present - namely, when the government is prohibiting only speech coordinated with or directed to foreign organizations that have been subjected to diplomatic sanctions for compelling national security reasons. Short of outright reversal, such a reading provides the most persuasive ground for restricting the damage Humanitarian Law Project does to First Amendment doctrine.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ripped from the Arizona Headlines: Gunmen Ambush Migrants, Kill Two

Border wars

The Arizona Republic reports:

"`Police are looking for several gunmen who opened fire Sunday night near Eloy on a pickup truck loaded with immigrants who officials suspect are in the country illegally. Two of the migrants were killed. Police don't know why the gunmen opened fire on the pickup, but the shooting happened in an area commonly used by human smugglers, said Dawn M. Barkman, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department."


April 10, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

April 25 Supreme Court Roadtrip

From the NY Immigration Coalition

On April 25th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a landmark case challenging Arizona SB 1070

If the Court upholds SB 1070, it will not only jeopardize the rights of immigrants in Arizona, it will encourage and legitimize other states' attempts to pass anti-immigrant bills.



For more information: or at 212-627-2227, ext. 229


April 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Expedite Haitian Family Reunification

Please Sign Petition to Expedite Haitian Family Reunification Before May 1 Deadline!

From the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Dear Friends,

We've gotten 4,000 signatures on this petition but want 10,000 to send a strong message to the White House that this is something to do now. Sign directly at here after reviewing the petition at (at left below video, with links to the signing page).

The issue:   112,000 beneficiaries of DHS-approved family-based visa petitions are on a wait list of nearly three to eleven years in Haiti. Thousands of Cubans have been paroled since 2007 under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program; we're urging the White House to have DHS create a similar Haitian program or at least begin paroling some of the most vulnerable, e.g. starting with the 15,800 minor children and spouses of legal permanent residents whose wait time in Haiti is nearly three years.

Support includes nearly 100 Congresspersons, the city councils of New York and Philadelphia, ten editorial boards, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and many others. See links at under "Haitian Family Reunification Program". (Please sign online, but more info and paper versions of the petition are available from IJDH Immigration Policy Coordinator Steve Forester at .)

Thanks for considering, signing and circulating this broadly to help expedite Haitian family reunification!

Steven Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator, 786 877 6999

Create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to help Haiti recover.

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti


April 10, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Naturalization Practice Tests

The Office of Citizenship recently introduced three new practice tests to help permanent residents prepare for the naturalization interview.

The first activity helps you with some general commands you may hear from an Immigration Services Officer during the naturalization interview. You can download self-study flash cards and review a practice exercise before taking the practice test called "Understanding Commands for the Naturalization Interview."

There are two other activities that focus on vocabulary words that you may hear in your interview or read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400.

You can find all three activities on the Study Materials for the English Test section of the Citizenship Resource Center.

For Educators: Classroom Materials for Teachers Accompany Practice Tests for Naturalization Preparation

To help students learn and practice commands that an applicant may hear during the naturalization interview, the Office of Citizenship has developed 8 ½" x 11" visuals and flash cards for teachers to accompany the practice test called "Understanding Commands for the Naturalization Interview." These materials include suggestions for using the visuals and flash cards for games and small-group activities in the classroom. A downloadable practice exercise is also available for students to read, listen, and review the sentences before taking the interactive practice test. The other two practice tests for students focus on vocabulary words that applicants may hear in their interview or read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. These materials can be found on the Educational Products section of the Citizenship Resource Center.


April 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)