Saturday, January 21, 2012

Labor Shortage Worries Farmers in Alabama and Georgia

From the Associated Press:

It's unclear whether farmers in Georgia and Alabama will face a shortage of workers due to tough new laws targeting undocumented immigration, but some producers said they have begun changing their plans for planting and harvesting this year's crops.

Some farmers said they might reduce the number of acres they plant or shift to less labor-intensive crops, while others are bracing for higher labor prices and have turned to new recruiting tools to attract workers.

"We're expecting some shifts, but it's a bit too early to tell," said Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

Georgia and Alabama have approved laws that have tough enforcement provisions that farmers say are scaring migrant workers away from the states.

Since the laws were approved last year, farmers in both states have reported labor shortages because migrant workers aren't showing up and they say they can't find other workers to fill the jobs. Farmers and state officials have said that some produce was left to rot in the field last year because there weren't enough workers to help with the harvest. Read more...


January 21, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Summary of Oral Arguments in the Supreme Court in Holder v. Sawyers, Holder v. Gutierrez, Vartelas v. Holder

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases -- it indeed as immigration day at the Supreme Court! For summary of the arguments in Holder v. Sawyers and Holder v. Gutierrez by Jill Family (Widener), which deals with a time period issue for cancellation of removal, click here.

Here is my summary and analysis of the oral arguments in the third immigration case, Vartelas v. Holder, argued that day.

As previously discussed on ImmigrationProf, the Supreme Court has six immigration cases this Term, including the possible blockbuster Arizona v. United States.


January 21, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 20, 2012

White House: We Can’t Wait? President Obama Takes Actions to Increase Travel and Tourism in the United States

Yesterday, President Obama will sign an Executive Order with the title "We Can’t Wait: President Obama Takes Actions to Increase Travel and Tourism in the United States." It announces new initiatives to significantly increase foreign travel and tourism to the United States. According to President Obama, "This is the most recent of a series of executive actions the President has announced to put Americans back to work and strengthen the U.S. economy."

Sadly, I can think of many more appropriate things to claim that "We Can't Wait" for with respect to immigration.

We can't wait for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

We can't wait for Congress to pass the DREAM Act.

We can't wait for the end of the deportation of thousands of petty criminal offenders with family, friends, and community in the United States through programs like Secure Communities.

We can't wait for an end to the discriminatory state immigration laws like those in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, etc.

I can go on but you get the idea.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Access to Counsel in USCIS Proceedings

From the American Immigration Council:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Takes Steps to Improve Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

Washington D.C. – During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process.

Many noncitizens are forced to navigate the immigration process without representation because they cannot afford an attorney. But even persons who can afford one, or are represented by a pro bono attorney, have at times faced severe restrictions on their representation. This is particularly troublesome given the significant power USCIS officers wield. For example, they decide whether a noncitizen is entitled to stay in the U.S. or not. The assistance of an attorney well versed in the complexities of immigration law can help safeguard the rights of these noncitizens and ensure just outcomes.

By revising its guidance, USCIS has responded to some of the most serious access concerns. For example, the new guidance provides that an attorney generally may sit next to his or her client during an interview, may be permitted to submit relevant documents to the USCIS officer, and may raise objections to inappropriate lines of questioning.

The American Immigration Council looks forward to commenting on the new guidance and working with the agency to make sure it is followed. The other immigration agencies – Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – should take note of USCIS’s commitment to improving access to counsel and take similar steps to recognize the meaningful role that attorneys play in protecting noncitizens’ rights.

To view the guidance see:

The Role of Private Attorneys and Other Representatives; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapters 12 and 15; AFM Update AD11-42


January 20, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Beyond FAIR: The Decline of the Established Anti-Immigrant Organizations and the Rise of Tea Party Nativism


In this special report the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) delineates the intersection of two trends. One is a measureable drop in the number of local and national anti-immigrant organizations that were established prior to the presidency of Barack Obama. The second trend is a rise in anti-immigrant activism by the Tea Parties.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Forced Federalism: States as Laboratories of Immigration Reform by Keith Cunningham-Parmeter

Forced Federalism: States as Laboratories of Immigration Reform
Keith Cunningham-Parmeter Willamette University - College of Law Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 62, 2011

Abstract: This Article questions the experimental value of state immigration laws. Analyzing the Supreme Court’s major decisions in this area, including Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the Article explains why state immigration laws fail to satisfy two necessary conditions of effective experimentation: internalization and replication. When states internalize costs, other jurisdictions can effectively evaluate outcomes. Replication occurs when states take diverse approaches to common problems. Unfortunately, state immigration laws do not meet these criteria because states operate in a system of “forced federalism”: a division of power between the two levels of government in which subnational jurisdictions attempt to force the federal government to accept state-defined immigration enforcement schemes. But as states thrust their chosen levels of immigration control on the federal government, their potential to innovate on immigration matters is quite restricted. Essentially, forced federalism limits states to a narrow set of enforcement decisions based on federally defined norms — far from the type of diverse testing associated with true innovation. Today’s state immigration laws also fail to internalize costs — another condition of successful subnational tests. Restrictionist states that encourage unauthorized immigrants to resettle in other jurisdictions export the economic damage they claim illegal immigration causes. In addition to economic spillovers, laboratory states export social costs to the nation by fundamentally altering the concept of a shared national identity. For example, when immigrants flee restrictionist states in order to avoid racial profiling or harassment, the national commitment to values such as egalitarianism and nondiscrimination is weakened. These harms are not confined to restrictionist states but are felt by the nation as a whole. Not all subjects are ripe for local experimentation and not all tests produce valid results. Despite the appealing image of states as laboratories, today’s immigration experiments will not advance the nation’s ongoing search for sounder immigration policies.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Early Results Are In: 1 in 6 Removal Cases May Be Shelved

Julia Preston in the New York Times ("In Deportation Policy Test, 1 in 6 Offered Reprieve") reports that a review of removal cases before the immigration court in Denver has identified about 16 percent that involve noncitizens who pose no security risk and will be allowed to remain in the United States. The undocumented immigrants will lack any legal status, however.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to extend the review to all pending (about 300,000) deportation cases. The court review is part of an effort by the Obama administration to ease the harsh impacts of enforcement on immigrant communities while also reducing huge backlogs in the immigration courts.

The review of removal cases was announced in August 2011 by the Department of Homeland Security, which issued new guidelines that allow some noncitizens facing deportation to have their cases stayed. DHS and the Department of Justice promised to review individually the approximately 300,000 open removal cases pending in the immigration courts. The idea was that immigrants facing deportation who are not a high priority for removal, such as those with no criminal record or who immigrated to the U.S. as young children, would have their cases stayed. The administration directive built on DHS policy on prosecutorial discretion released in 2011.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)



The ten years since the attacks of 9/11 and range of government responses have featured two important and competing trends in the arena of civil rights damages litigation. On the one hand, federal civil rights remedies have been increasingly deployed to address alleged government overreach across a broad range of substantive arenas – expanding beyond, for example, traditional domestic policing to address immigration and national security policy. At the same time, the Supreme Court has increased and added to the range of remedial barriers to successfully litigating such actions – including expansion of immunities doctrines, constriction of the Bivens remedy, and a variety of informational barriers flowing from putative secrecy concerns.

This conference will bring together leading civil rights litigators, advocates, and scholars in criminal justice, racial justice, immigration, and national security to explore the confluence of these trends across substantive areas, discussing both concrete litigation strategies as well as the broader practical and theoretical context in which these remedial barriers operate. The day will consist of three panels addressing immunities, Bivens doctrine, and privileges and secrecy, as well as a lunchtime keynote address.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union, chaired professor of law at Brooklyn Law School

PANELISTS INCLUDE Sharon Bradford Franklin, Senior Counsel, Constitution Project • Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director, ACLU National Immigrant Rights Project • Lisa Graybill, Legal Director, ACLU of Texas • Jim Harrington, Director, Texas Civil Rights Project • Seth Kreimer, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School • Jennifer Laurin, Assistant Professor, University of Texas School of Law (conference organizer) • Javier Maldonado, Law Office of Javier N. Maldonado, PC • Rachel Meeropol, Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights • Ranjana Natarajan, Clinical Professor, University of Texas School of Law • John Preis, Associate Professor of Law, Richmond Law School • Alexander Reinert, Associate Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School • Stephen Vladeck, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law

For the conference schedule, speaker biographies, and updates, please consult the conference website.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Symposium of the Day: Cato Journal, Is Immigration Good for America?

The Cato Journal is, a self-described "leading free-market public policy journal," has published a symposium issue on "Is Immigration Good for America?" The issue includes some influential authors from a variety of disciplines analyzing the economic impacts of immigration.


January 20, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Children's March for Domestic Workers Bill

From the Interfaith Coalition:

AB 889 

January 24th, Tuesday
10AM March
11AM Press Conference & Other Activities
Sacramento Capitol Building, West Side Steps    
(10th St. between N St. & L St.)  

Domestic workers are mothers and grandmothers who do the work that makes all other work possible!

Join a march of hundreds of women, children and families across California fighting for the dignity and equal rights of domestic workers, housekeepers and caregivers! 
Join workers, employers and allies - saying this work has value - and should be treated with the dignity of overtime and meal and rest breaks, just as any other job in California.  

The interfaith community will be giving the opening blessing for the children and their hard-working mothers! Let us know if you can help lead the blessing.
 Bring along your friends and family.
Bay Area car-pooling available, please RSVP below.

Hope to see you there!

RSVP HERE & Arrange Carpooling

January 19, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


THE IMMIGRATION BATTLE IN AMERICAN COURTS by Anna O. Law. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 280pp. Cloth $90.00. ISBN: 9780521767088. Here is a review by Karen A. Woodrow-Lafield, Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland College Park.

The Immigration Battle in American Courts is an examination of the role of the two highest federal courts in treating aliens’ permission to enter or to remain in the United States given the traditions as a nation of immigrants and as having a commitment to equal treatment under the law. The core empirical inquiry is whether the Supreme Court of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals are contrasting in opposing and welcoming aliens’ claims for status. The central arguments are that each court’s unique institutional context serves to shape judges’ perception of roles, that each court’s role has been dynamic, and that evolving institutional settings have multiple consequences. Overall, the federal judiciary serves the roles and missions as conceived by the founders.

The conclusion:

"Law's book is highly informative and gives valuable insights on the institution of the federal judiciary during an historic immigration era for the United States that has been characterized by legislated priorities for U.S. citizens. Setting aside the social policy issues, the control and abatement of unauthorized immigration is big business for many proponents, and it is encouraging that individuals are not lost within the judiciary system for immigration appeals. The chances of comprehensive immigration reform seem slim, but due process protections and a more moderated deportation-driven enforcement system may be the product of the judiciary appeals structure."


January 19, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Five Countries Added to Approved Guestworker List

From USCIS: USCIS Announces 58 Countries Whose Nationals are Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Participation

Five countries added to this year’s list

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, has identified 58 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming year. The notice listing eligible countries will publish in tomorrow’s Federal Register. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from the date of publication.

The H-2A and H-2B programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs and temporary nonagricultural jobs, respectively. USCIS generally may only approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Jan. 18, 2012, nationals of the following 58 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, the following five countries were designated for the first time this year: Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland.


January 18, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Chinese Immigrants in the United States

From rather humble beginnings, the Chinese immigrant population in the United States has grown steadily since the 1960s to reach about 1.8 million in 2010. Compared to the foreign born overall, Chinese immigrants report higher levels of educational attainment, are less likely to live in households with an annual income below the poverty line, and are substantially more likely to have naturalized as US citizens.  For more, click here to read this Migration Information Source report.


January 18, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Asking Hard Questions About Islam and Muslims in America

Fellow american
Many Americans remain confused about Islam and Muslims in America in the wake of anti-mosque protests, anti-Shariah legislation and related controversies. Starting at 7:30 pm EST tonight, My Fellow American will be hosting a town-hall style program where a live audience and online viewers will have an opportunity to ask hard questions to leading authorities on Muslim Americans, religious liberty, and interfaith relations.


January 18, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration and National Security: The Illusion of Safety Through Local Law Enforcement Action by David Harris

"Immigration and National Security: The Illusion of Safety Through Local Law Enforcement Action" Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 28, 2011 DAVID A. HARRIS, University of Pittsburgh - School of Law.

ABSTRACT: Despite efforts to reform immigration law in the 1980s and the 1990s, the new laws passed in those decades by the Congress did not solve the long-term problems raised by undocumented people entering the United States. The issue arose anew after the terrorist attacks of September, 2001. While the advocates for immigration crackdowns in the 1980s and 1990s had cast the issue as one of economics and cultural transformation, immigration opponents after 9/11 painted a different picture: illegal immigration, they said, was a national security issue. If poor farmers from Mexico and Central America could sneak into the U.S. across the southwestern border, so could potential terrorists. This "re-branding" of illegal immigration gained significant traction on the national level, but resulted in no federal legislation. The immigration debate has now moved to the state level, with the focus on state laws such as Arizona's SB 1070. These state laws have brought about something long sought by immigration opponents that they failed to attain in the national debates: local and state law enforcement agencies are now obligated to question people they stop about immigration status. While national security has not been the primary motivation of state lawmakers, the ironic result of these state laws will be a decrease in security against terrorists who might try to penetrate the land borders of the U.S.


January 18, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catholic Bishops Urge Activism on Immigration at State and Federal Levels

From Fox News Latino:

Catholics should be politically active at both the local and national level to promote a humane reform of immigration law is the message coming out of a conference in Salt Lake City sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

"The USCCB doesn't support any state immigration accord, though the dioceses and the state Catholic bishops conferences have done so," Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB, told Efe from the Utah capital.

"At the same time, we believe that those accords are useful tools to defend immigrants' rights and to change the characteristics of the immigration debate," he said.
The 300 or so Catholic prelates and activists meeting this week in Salt Lake City are analyzing harsh anti-immigration measures enacted by states such as Arizona and Alabama.

Also on the agenda is a review of the impact on immigrant communities of programs such as Secure Communities, under which state and local law enforcement agencies are required to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

"Given that Congress has not been able to fix our broken immigration system, the front in the immigration debate has shifted to the states and local communities," Appleby said.
"Recognizing that the solution must come at the federal level, the conference provides participants the knowledge and skills to respond at the local level," he said.

The Salt Lake City gathering includes legal-services providers, leaders of pro-immigrant groups and church administrators from across the United States.

The keynote speaker at Wednesday's opening session was Salt Lake City Bishop John C. Wester, who pointed to the Catholic Church's role in promoting the Utah Compact and a similar agreement in Iowa, both attempts to moderate the tone of the immigration debate. Read more...


January 17, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Romney's Immigration Stance will cost him the White House

Peter Morici's Opinion from Fox News:

Mitt Romney’s rigid position on illegal immigration and embrace of Kris Kobach, former law professor and architect of a law to rid Arizona of illegal aliens, may well cost him the fall election even if helps him win the Republican nomination.

The United States has an unwritten but plain immigration policy.

The U.S. Border Patrol imposes significant risks on people trying to enter the country illegally but once inside, illegal immigrants usually can find work and remain here. They manage to obtain false documents or work off the books, and are significant shares of the workforce in agriculture, construction and many service activities.

States issue drivers licenses—which function as the primary form of identification in the United States—often with few or ineffective efforts to determine immigration status.

Americans of all stripes vote for immigration through their decisions about whom they hire to clean their homes and offices, the restaurants they patronize, and the complicity they tolerate from most state governments. Read the rest...


January 17, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

South Carolina Lawsuit on Hold, Awaits Outcome in Arizona v. United States

A federal district court has stayed the proceedings in the U.S. government's challenge to the South Carolina immigration enforcement law. In December, the court enjoined several key provisions of the law. The case will await the Supreme Court's decision in Arizona v. United States. The court of appeals has denied efforts to delay the resolution of the appeals in the cases challenging the Georgia and Alabama immigration enforcement laws.


January 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congressional Resarch Service -- Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry

A Congressional Resarch Service report -- Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry -- by Marc Rosenblum, considers the impacts of increased U.S. immigration enforcement in recent years. The "Summary" includes some important conclusions:

"On one hand, robust investments at the border have been associated with a sharp drop in the number of aliens apprehended, especially in the sectors first targeted for enhanced enforcement. The number and proportion of people apprehended more than once (recidivists) and those with serious criminal records are also at the lowest levels ever recorded. On the other hand, overall illegal inflows continued to increase in the 20 years after 1986, with the estimated unauthorized population more than tripling, even after almost 3 million aliens were granted amnesty as part of IRCA. The only significant decrease in unauthorized migration appears to have occurred since 2007, and it is unclear how much of the drop-off is due to increased enforcement and how much is a result of the U.S. economic downturn and other systemic factors.

At the same time, enhanced border enforcement may have contributed to a number of secondary costs and benefits. To the extent that border enforcement successfully deters illegal entries—an effect that is also difficult to measure since deterrence ultimately involves decisions made in towns and villages far away from U.S. borders—such enforcement may reduce border-area violence and migrant deaths, protect fragile border ecosystems, and improve the quality of life in border communities. But to the extent that aliens are not deterred, the concentration of enforcement resources on the border may increase border area violence and migrant deaths, encourage unauthorized migrants to find new ways to enter illegally and to remain in the United States for longer periods of time, damage border ecosystems, harm border-area businesses and the quality of life in border communities, and strain U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada." (emphasis added).

Pages 32-33 of the report look at migrant deaths resulting from the enforcement measures, which ramped up in the 1990s. It concludes that the "data offer evidence that border crossings have become more hazardous since the `prevention through deterrence' policy went into effect in the 1990s, though once again the precise impact of enforcement on migrant deaths is unknown."

This latest Congressional Research Service report should make all reasonable minds wonder whether the greatly enhanced -- and expensive -- border enforcement efforts in recent years have been worth the candle. Absent the recession, undocumented migration appears as if it would have continued unabated without the enforcement measures. Food for thought.


January 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: David Thomas, EB-5 Visa to help recession

EB-5 Visa to help recession by David Thomas

EB5 is an employment based immigrant visa in US. The visa category was created by congress for immigrants wishing to enter the US in 1990 for a commercial venture in order to promote the economy. The project should create at least 10 jobs that meet the full-time category.

It is not easy to land an eb-5 visa. Generally, more than a thousand applications are filed under this category and only 13% of these get approved by the USCIS. The statutory requirements needed to qualify for the EB5 visa can be difficult. One of the main requirements for this visa is that it has to be a commercial project with a profit element. However, with some modifications made in 2002, the individual only has to present the ‘investment’ in a commercial venture with no need to prove that the business is established. But non-profit organizations are not considered.

Thanks to the farsightedness and intelligent decision of the US government, EB-5 investment plan has introduced direct foreign investments worth billions of dollars, while creating hundreds of jobs in the country at the same time. This is definitely good news at the time when the county is recovering from a tough recession.

January 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)