Friday, January 13, 2012

Boyle Heights Youth Head for Harvard

Julianne Hing writes for Colorlines:

For Los Angeles teen Perla Gutierrez, a trip with her classmates to visit Harvard was not just her first time visiting the East Coast. It was her first time in an airplane.

She and three classmates from Boyle Heights’ Roosevelt High School head there, in a video series put together by Politik Media, to explore the campus and consider a path most of her peers don’t take after high school: pursuing a college degree at an Ivy League university. As their teacher says in the videos, many high school graduates from the neighborhood don’t go on to college, and even Roosevelt students with strong academics tend to head straight to a community college or a state university nearby to stay close to home.

But on their trip to Harvard they meet a fellow Boyle Heights kid who made it to Harvard, and they get to step outside their close-knit communities for a second. It’s a lovely look at a moment in these young people’s lives when the future is an exciting, mysterious expanse before them.

But be sure to start at the beginning of the series (at the top of the page) when Gutierrez and her classmates introduce their neighborhood of Boyle Heights, an immigrant community on the east side of Los Angeles, where all of their stories begin. They talk about their beloved community and their courageous families who immigrated to the country to give them better opportunities. Read more and view the video here.


January 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Migration: A Product of Free Market Reforms

Migration: A Product of Free Market Reforms By David Bacon Americas Program website.

This is the first installment of a three-part series on migrant rights by journalist and immigration activist David Bacon. This article is taken from the report "Displaced, Unequal and Criminalized - Fighting for the Rights of Migrants in the United States" that examines the origins of the current migratory labor phenomenon, the mechanisms that maintain it, and proposals for a more equitable system. For more articles and images by David Bacon, click here.


January 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

University of California International Migration Conference

Third Annual University of California Conference on International Migration: Politics and Governance

Friday, February 10 at 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Weaver Conference Center - Institute of the Americas
University of California, San Diego
CCIS will host a University of California-wide conference on international migration.  This year's theme is "Politics and Governance". 

If you are interested in attending the conference, contact Ana Minvielle (please note if you would like lunch).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy, UC Irvine; UCLA Program on International Migration; and Gifford Center for Population Studies, UC Davis

David FitzGerald, UC San Diego

John Skrentny, UC San Diego

8:30-10:00am PANEL 1. Local Policy Responses

Karthick Ramakrishnan, UCR

Jennifer Chacon, UCI

Angela Garcia, UCSD

Discussant: Zoli Hajnal, UCSD

10:00- 10:30am BREAK

10:30am-12:30pm PANEL 2. Unauthorized Migration

Wayne Cornelius, UCSD

Frank Bean, UCI

Ruben Hernandez-Leon, UCLA

Discussant: Esther Castillo, UCI

12:30pm-1:30pm LUNCH

Speaker: Robert Suro, USC

1:30pm-3:00pm PANEL 3. Latino Politics

Cristina Mora, UCB

Rodney Hero, UCB

David Sears, UCLA

Susan Bibler Coutin, UCI

Discussant: Susan Brown, UCI

3:00-3:30pm BREAK

3:30-5:00pm PANEL 4. Refugees and Security

Phil Wolgin, Center for American Progress (formerly UCB)

Claire Adida, UCSD

Kate Jastram, UCB

Robbie Totten, UCLA/CCIS

Discussant: David Pedersen, UCSD

6:00pm DINNER & KEYNOTE ADDRESS (invited panelists and discussants)

Edward Alden, Council on Foreign Relations

January 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Day of Action February 28

From the NY Immigration Coalition

Save the Date for our 15th Annual Immigrant's Day of Action in Albany, NY on February 28, 2012


Advocacy Institute & Member Briefing on February 13, 2012

There is too much at stake for us not to stand united!

*Protecting immigrant-services funding
*Improving access to health care for all
*Ensuring better education for our children
*New York State DREAM - Equal Access to Financial Aid
*Stopping unjust deportations
*Strengthening language access

We invite your organization to become co-chair of the Immigrants' Day of Action in Albany by sponsoring a bus. If you would like to sponsor a bus please contact Silvia Gonzales at


January 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What does it mean to be an American?

Although I missed this Running Times piece (I was a Runner's World reader) by Tamara Rice Lave (Miami, who competed internationally as a marathoner herself) when it came out, here is  thoughtful analysis of when does someone "deserve" to be an American for the purposes of international athletic competition.  Foreign-born athletes frequently compete for Team USA in the Olympics, which should not be surprising in an era of globalization and global migration.


January 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Preview: Holder v. Gutierrez and Holder v. Sawyers


SCOTUSblog has a preview by Jill Family of two of the three immigration cases that will be argued on January 18. Holder v. Gutierrez and Holder v. Sawyers call into question the Board of Immigration Appeal’s decision to forbid the imputation of a parent’s immigration status and residency in the United States to a minor child for the purpose of calculating eligibility for relief from removal.

I have posted a preview of another immigration case to be argued on January 18, Vartelas v. Holder.

In addition to these three cases, the Court in December decided Judulang v. Holder and granted certiorari in Arizona v. United States (the case involving the constitutionality of S.B. 1070) and heard oral arguments in November in Kawashima v. Holder.

With six possible decisions, this promises to be a big Term for immigration in the Supreme Court!


January 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Gingrich separates himself from Romney on Immigration

From the Miami Herald:

Republican Newt Gingrich stopped in Miami on Thursday night to raise money, bash opponent Mitt Romney as a “Massachusetts moderate” and to position himself as the harshest critic of Cuba’s Castro regime.
Trailing in the presidential polls, Gingrich also swiped at Mitt Romney for “pandering to hardliners” over immigration and for touting potentially bogus job-creation figures.

. . . Unlike some of his fellow Republicans, Gingrich has adopted a more moderate position on immigration. He said the border needs to be secured and the visa process “modernized.”
But he believes some longtime, generally law-abiding immigrants who aren’t here legally and have families should be given a path to permanent residency, but not citizenship.

Read more here:


January 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Does Your State’s Immigrant, Latino and Asian Population Look Like? Immigration Policy Center Updates 50 State Fact Sheets and Infographics

Today, the Immigration Policy Center has re-released its 50 state fact sheets updated with the most current government and academic data available. It also has added 50 state infographics which highlight the top data points of each state in a graphic format.

The fact sheets and infographics are a synthesis of current government and academic data which highlight the growing economic and political power of immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in each of the 50 states.


January 12, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Missouri Proposal to Check Students' Immigration Status

From the Kansas City Star:

Missouri could be the next battleground in a nationwide fight over tougher immigration laws.

State Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would mandate that all public schools verify the immigration status of enrollees. It also would require law enforcement officers to check immigration status on all stops when they have reasonable cause, and create a state misdemeanor for not carrying proper citizenship documentation.

The U.S. Department of Justice last year sued to block similar laws after they were passed in Alabama and Arizona. Federal judges have blocked implementation of parts of the laws in both states, with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on Arizona’s law sometime this year.

Vanessa Crawford, executive director of Missouri Immigration and Refugee Advocates, said Kraus’ bill unfairly focuses on immigrants and their families and opens the state up to future litigation.

“This bill is a really bad idea,” Crawford said. “This would force police and school officials to act as immigration agents, and would result in innocent people facing harassment. And passing a law that will undoubtedly end up in court is irresponsible.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld its 1982 ruling that children have a right to attend public schools regardless of their immigration status.

But Kraus said his bill does nothing to challenge that notion. “This is simply an attempt to track noncitizens in public schools in order to get an accurate set of data,” he said. Read more...


January 12, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Kobach Backs Romney, Romney Welcomes Support of Anti-Immigrant Hero

Fox News Latino reports that:

"Kris Kobach, the chief architect of the country’s most controversial state immigration laws, announced his endorsement Wednesday for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, who promptly noted it on his website and said “I’m so proud to earn Kris’s support.” Kobach, who is Kansas’ Secretary of State, helped author the nation’s toughest state-level immigration laws, including those of Alabama and Arizona."

In the Republican primary campaigns, Romney has taken some fierce positions on immigration, positions that may hurt him -- especially with Latinos -- in the general election. The backing of Kobach, dubbed by Newsweek as "Deporter in Chief", for his anti-immigrant advocacy, will likely further alienate non-extremists on the issue of immigration.

For what it is worth, Rick Perry did not seem to gain much from stumping with Sheriff ("America''s Toughest Sheriff") Arpaio in Iowa.


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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Immigration Law Clinic Teaching Fellow Position

Michigan State University College of Law invites applications for a two-year teaching fellowship in its Immigration Law Clinic to start on or about July 1, 2012.

In coordination with Immigration Law Clinic faculty, the Fellow will supervise students in representing clients and in advocacy projects, teach clinic seminar classes, evaluate students and participate in the general development and functioning of the clinic. In anticipation that the Fellow will pursue opportunities to enter a career in law teaching, the law school will support the Fellow’s efforts at scholarly development including research and conference travel support. The Fellow will receive an annual salary of $50,000.00, together with benefits including retirement annuity and health and dental insurance.

Applicants must have a JD degree from an ABA-accredited law school and membership in a state bar. Preference will be given to applicants with practice experience representing noncitizens, strong academic records and writing ability, a demonstrated commitment to public interest law, and potential for success as a teacher.

To apply, please submit a law school transcript, curriculum vitae and cover letter explaining your interest in the position to:

Professor Veronica Thronson Director, Immigration Law Clinic Michigan State University College of Law 610 Abbot Road East Lansing, MI 48823

Applications are now being accepted and will be considered on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply before February 3, 2012. For more information about the Immigration Law Clinic, prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Clinic’s website  or contact David Thronson at or Veronica Thronson at


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

Immigration Youth Achievement Award Nominations

Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Nomination Deadline February 1, 2012.

In a media fueled environment where the label “immigrant” has taken on such negative and hateful qualities, the American Immigration Council works to combat these stereotypes by holding up exemplary youth in our communities as examples of the positive contributions young immigrants are making in our country everyday.  The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award recognizes a young immigrant in the United States whose accomplishments are the embodiment of the immigrant spirit and show a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them.

The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented at the American Immigration Council’s annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards each Spring.  Past honorees have emigrated from countries such as Ireland, India, Cambodia, China, and Cuba and have made contributions in literature, journalism, music and politics.

In determining the selection of a nominee to receive the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, the selection committee will use the following criteria:

The honoree must be between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age;
The honoree must be an immigrant to the United States, including those who have become naturalized citizens;
The accomplishments of the honoree must reflect more than personal success and should have evidence of a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them;
The honoree must be willing and available to travel (at the American Immigration Council’s expense) to Washington, DC for the awards ceremony the evening of Thursday, March 29, 2012. The American Immigration Council will cover the costs of travel and accommodations for the honoree, and for a parent or guardian if the honoree is a minor.

Application Procedure:
Please forward your nominee’s name, address, age, immigration history, and how long they have been living in the United States to Megan Hess at Please include a thorough synopsis of their contributions and achievements. Additional documentation (newspaper articles, etc) is encouraged.

All nominations must be received by 5:00pm EST on February 1, 2012.

Please note it is required that the honoree attend the Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards the evening of  Thursday, March 29, 2012.

The nominees will be reviewed by the American Immigration Council. An invitation will be extended by February 10, 2012.


January 11, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

EB-5 Seminar in Los Angeles

The Immigration Section's Executive Committee for the Los Angeles County Bar Association is hosting an all day seminar on EB-5 visas on February 11 in downtown Los Angeles.  According to the organizers:    

"The EB-5 employment creation green card is the hot ticket in immigration law today. Wealthy investors from around the world see the EB-5 visa as a convenient opportunity to invest in the United States and get an immigrant visa in the bargain. Handling EB-5s offers rich rewards for an attorney, and many potential pitfalls, too. This rarely-offered program, presented by the LACBA Immigration Law Section, features some of the nation's leading subject matter experts. They will provide the basics of the EB-5 visa, as well as information on the differences between the private $1million and $500,000 investments, Regional Center investments, and many tips from the trenches."


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

Is Mitt Romney Mexican-American Redux?


Mitt Romney, with a win in the New Hampshire Republican Presidential primary yesterday, certainly has been in the news. In recent days, there also has been considerable publicity about Romney's roots in Mexico, with a cousin who still lives in Mexico surfacing for an interview. I hate to remind everyone that, in 2007, ImmigrationProf blogged about Mitt Romney's Mexican heritage with his famous father George Romney having been born there.

UPDATE (1/13): Ruben Navarette Jr., as usual, has an interesting take on Mitt Romney's Mexican roots and reminds him that us that Romney has taken positions that have alienated Latino voters.  I must say that the "revelation" that George was born in Mexico appears to have captured the American imagination.  See, e.g., here and here.


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

President Names Cecelia Muñoz to Top Domestic Policy Post

President Obama has named Cecilia Muñoz, a longtime supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, as his Domestic Policy Advisor and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Muñoz, the current White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs, is the first Latina to direct domestic policy issues for any American president.

Muñoz, a native of Detroit, is the child of Bolivian immigrants. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, she became a senior immigration policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza and ultimately became senior vice president of research, advocacy, and legislation. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she advised Obama on immigration.

Muñoz has been criticized by Latinos for defending Obama administration programs, including Secure Communities, which have resulted in record-setting numbers of deportations (including the deportation of many immigrants guilty of petty criminal offenses).


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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Immigration Professor's Return to Vietnam

Here is a nice story about the return of immigration Professor Huyen Pham (Texas Wesleyan) to Vietnam. A Fulbright scholar this year, Professor Pham fled the country as a refugee at age 5.


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

Film: Lessons for a Bi-Partisan Immigration Compromise

The Center for Global Development presents

Film Excerpts and Conversations with the Filmmakers of How Democracy Works Now

Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini
Filmmakers of How Democracy Works Now: 12 Stories

Remarks and introductions by
Michael Clemens
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

With discussant
Esther Olavarria
Former Immigration Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy

Monday 23 January 2012
5:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.
Reception to follow

Center for Global Development
Lobby Level Room 1026
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
**Please bring photo identification**
Click to RSVP
In August 2001, when the Bush administration and key leaders in Congress were readying the plans for a sweeping overhaul of America’s troubled immigration system, filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini were there to record history in the making—negotiating exclusive access to document the lives and strategies of the principal players. The resulting “Grand Bargain” promised to change the lives of tens of millions of immigrants and affect every citizen and every state in the union. Its eventual failure offers lessons for what a future, successful bargain might look like.

Robertson and Camerini join Esther Olavarria, a key player in the film series, and CGD senior fellow Michael Clemens, for an exclusive look at never-before-released scenes and a discussion on lessons-learned from the “Grand Bargain” era, pointing to what is possible for future, bi-partisan immigration policy.

Read more about CGD’s research on migration and economic development at 

About the Film Series
How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories is a 12-part documentary film series that reveals the fight for immigration reform on Capitol Hill and across the country with unprecedented access and intimacy. The story spans the critical years 2001 to 2007. How Democracy Works Now premiered on HBO with the broadcast debut of The Senators' Bargain on 24 March 2010. A directors' cut ofThe Senators' Bargain was featured in the 2010 Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Lincoln Center, with the theatrical title Last Best Chance, along with Story 2: Mountains and Clouds. The series is detailed at


January 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SCOTUS to hear immigration/reentry argument, Jan. 18
- Penn Law’s Bibas to argue for petitioner in Vartelas v. Holder, assisted by students in Penn’s Supreme Court Legal Clinic –
Philadelphia, PA – January 10, 2012 – On Wednesday, January 18 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Vartelas v. Holder, to decide whether the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which strips lawful permanent residents of the United States of the right to travel abroad briefly and be guaranteed reentry, can be applied retroactively to a green-card holder who pleaded guilty to an offense before 1996 and traveled abroad thereafter.
Stephanos Bibas, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the director of Penn Law’s Supreme Court Legal Clinic, will argue the case for Panagis Vartelas, a green-card holder and native of Greece currently fighting deportation, who was detained at New York’s Kennedy Airport in 2003 upon returning from a family visit overseas. Mr. Vartelas, a Queens businessman, pleaded guilty in 1994 to a minor role in a counterfeiting scheme - a crime that prior to the 1996 Act wasn’t cause for deportation if he left the country and attempted reentry - but the Immigration Act made even convictions for minor offenses a cause for deportation, to be applied even before the law came into force.
Of note, Professor Bibas has been assisted in the case by students in Penn Law’s Supreme Court Clinic, who have helped conduct research, draft the brief of the petitioner, and prepare strategy.Vartelas is Bibas and the Supreme Court Clinic’s third case to go to oral argument this past year. In 2011 Bibas argued Turner v. Rogers and Tapia v. United States before the Supreme Court.
For more information on Vartelas and links to opinions and briefs filed in the case, see SCOTUSblog. For more information on Penn Law’s Supreme Court Clinic, see the Law School’s website.
Steven Barnes

Phone: 215.573.5181

January 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Electronic Frontier Foundation Opposes S-Comm

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

EFF joined the Rights Working Group and 65 advocacy organizations in sending letters opposing the Secure Communities Program in preparation for the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement hearing on the issue back in November.

Under Secure Communities, local law enforcement agencies have lost control over the data they collect for purely local purposes. They are required to submit fingerprints and detailed information on all individuals they arrest to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which then sends a copy of the data to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  ICE then checks the immigration status of the individuals, and moves to deport those who do not have appropriate residency standing.  Notably, individuals can be arrested, fingerprinted, and deported even if they are not convicted of a crime. For example, individuals engaged in civil disobedience at a protest rally but whose charges are later dismissed or individuals who are wrongfully arrested due to racial discrimination or false evidence could find their fingerprint data collected and face potential deportation. In fact, ICE reports that 21% of the program’s deportees were never convicted of a crime, contrary to the due process principles that are fundamental to the American legal system.

In its letter to the Subcommittee, EFF raised concerns that the Secure Communities Program fails to meet the standards of the Fair Information Practice Principles: Framework for Privacy Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (FIPPS). These principles create a foundation to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security will uphold the privacy rights of individuals even when conducting investigations of importance to national security.  DHS is responsible for overseeing the Secure Communities Program, and thus the entire program should adhere to the FIPPs.  More broadly, the FIPPs provide a framework for the collection and usage of personal information generally, and can be seen as guiding principles for government and nongovernmental agencies dealing with sensitive personal information in a wide range of circumstances.


January 9, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Coalition Applauds the Proposed Administrative fix to our Nations Immigration Procedures, But Cautions Americans that this is Not a Substitute for Immigration Reform

The Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition stands for family values and family unity. CfCIR believes that the recently announced Obama administration's proposal to amend the waiver process for certain immigrant family members will solve one of our outdated immigration issues, and will go a long way toward solving a small but serious part of our Nation's immigration problems.

However, we must note that the granting of the waiver in question, the I-601 waiver, is by no means automatic. In fact, it is a high and difficult bar to climb for the applicant. The difficulty of having such a waiver approved by USCIS is one of the reasons why this move by the administration is so important, as it allows for the immigrant to remain with his family here in their adopted home country, while they await the outcome of their waiver’s approval. The applicant must demonstrate that their qualifying relative would endure an “extreme hardship” should the applicant be deported.

The term “extreme hardship” has a special meaning as used in the U.S. immigration laws. A showing of extreme hardship requires more than demonstrating the ordinary, typical hardship that a family member would experience if their relative cannot immigrate. Financial hardship alone is not enough. The hardship, which must be experienced by the U.S. citizen/permanent resident relative (not the non-citizen applicant), must go beyond that normally expected in cases of family separation. Successful applicants will usually have demonstrated unique and/or unusual hardships to the U.S. citizen/permanent resident relative, such as: serious health conditions (physical and/or mental); lack of the U.S. citizen/permanent resident’s family ties to the applicant’s country of origin; ability to speak the applicant’s native language; financial considerations; loss of opportunity in applicant’s country of origin, etc.

Dr. Mathew D. Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Member, put this proposed rule change into perspective: “The modification in the waiver rule is a common sense one that will remove bureaucratic barriers to legal immigration, provide certainty to those required to leave the country to obtain a visa before returning, and will strengthen family unity. The immigration system is broken and must be fixed. Politics should be put aside and the welfare of people and the values upon which America is founded ought to become our first priority.”

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization and CfCIR member, stated, "We applaud and commend the administration for taking the appropriate steps in protecting immigrant families. The decision makes economic and practical sense. Family unification stands as a firewall against many social ills. As a community committed to faith and family, this decision serves as an extension of our Judeo Christian values."

"While this is not comprehensive reform, or even the DREAM Act, it is still an important step forward in the right direction and will help to keep many families united," said, Dr. Juan Hernandez, Co-Founder of CfCIR. "Perhaps this proposal will spur some of the additional reforms that our immigration system needs so desperately."

Robert Gittelson, Co-Founder of CfCIR, stated, "This 'tweak' to our immigration system will help thousands of immigrant families to remain united during their legalization process, and we applaud this common sense approach. Our laws are antiquated, and in serious need of a comprehensive updating. CIR is fundamentally a series of such tweaks that will improve border security, workplace security, and alleviate many of the causes of illegal immigration. However, ultimately we need Congress to get together in a bi-partisan method to bring our immigration system into the 21st century."

"CfCIR is motivated and committed to helping to solve the nation's immigration problems," Gittelson concluded. "This narrow regulatory adjustment will preserve family unity, and streamline a clogged immigration process. Therefore, we applaud this action, but urge our leaders to please put politics aside, and come together to address a long-needed, complete, and meaningful reform of America's immigration policies."


January 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)