August 4, 2012
Immigrant of the Day: Medical Student Leopoldine Matialeu (Cameroon)
Six years ago, Leopoldine Matialeu didn't speak English that well and was living in a shelter with her younger sister after her mother had lost her job. Today, she is one of 109 UC Davis medical students dedicated to improving health who will begin classes on Aug. 6. Leopoldine Matialeu received her stethoscope as part of UC Davis School of Medicine's Induction Ceremony on July 28.
"My desire to pursue a higher education was a priceless gift that my dad instilled in me," said Matialeu, "Growing up, I was taught to value religion, education and hard work. I came to the U.S. in 2005 when I was 18 to live with my mother to study in California. When we became homeless, I had already started taking pre-med classes at Canada College and was studying to improve my English. The school, shelters and nonprofit organizations were a tremendous resource. These experiences reaffirmed my interest in giving back to the community and becoming a physician who cares for underserved populations. I am honored to be a part of the Class of 2016."
Matialeu immigrated from Bandja, a small village in the West African country of Cameroon. Fluent in French and Fefe, her native language, she studied and became fluent in English. In 2008, she graduated from community college with honors and was valedictorian. She received a UC Regents scholarship to attend UC Davis and graduated with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry in 2010. As an undergraduate student, she helped raise money to send to Sudan for medical supplies through the nonprofit group Doctors Without Borders and volunteered at the Imani Clinic in Sacramento, a community clinic that provides free non-emergency health care to the uninsured African-American community in Sacramento.
Only in America!
European Immigrants in the United States
Joseph Russell and Jeanne Batalova of the Migration Policy Institute put the spotlight on European immigrants in the United States. Once the largest US immigrant group, European-born immigrants have seen their numbers decline in the United States over the past 50 years (notwithstanding a period of growth after the collapse of the Soviet Union). Though the number of these immigrants fell by only several million in numerical terms, the share of all European immigrants in the United States plummeted from nearly 75 percent in 1960 to 12 percent in 2010. At the same time, Eastern European immigrants have represented a larger share of that smaller pie during the past two decades.
Here are some interesting facts about European immigrants:
•In 2010, more than 4.8 million European immigrants resided in the United States, representing 12 percent of all immigrants.
•About 44 percent of European immigrants were from Eastern Europe in 2010.
•The top countries of origin for European immigrants were the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Italy.
•Over half of all European immigrants resided in five states: New York, California, Illinois, Florida, and New Jersey.
•About one-third of all European-born immigrants lived in three metropolitan areas: the greater New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles metro areas.
August 3, 2012
SECURE COMMUNITIES: Criminal Alien Removals Increased, but Technology Planning Improvements Needed
A new U.S. Government Accountability Office report looks at Secure Communities and addresses (1) enforcement trends under Secure Communities; (2) ICE’s adherence to best practices in acquiring Secure Communities–related technology; and (3) ICE safeguards to help protect against potential civil rights abuses under Secure Communities.
GAO analyzed ICE data on removals from October 2008 through March 2012, and arrest charges from October 2010 through March 2012; reviewed program guidance, policies, and reports; and interviewed ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center and agency officials, local law enforcement and community groups in four locations selected for geographic diversity, among other factors. These perspectives are not generalizable, but provided insights into Secure Communities operations.
GAO recommends that ICE develop well-defined requirements and an integrated master schedule that accounts for all activities for its technology contracts, and a plan for workforce changes in preparation for full technology deployment. DHS concurred with the recommendations.
Data from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicate that the percentage of its removals attributable to Secure Communities increased from about 4 percent in fiscal year 2009 to about 20 percent in fiscal year 2011. Of about 183,000 aliens removed under the program from October 2008 through March 2012, about 74 percent had a criminal conviction.
ICE did not have state or local arrest charges for about 56 percent of alien Secure Communities removals from October 2010 (when ICE began collecting arrest charges) through March 2012, so we were unable to determine the most frequent arrest charges under the program. For the 44 percent of aliens removed on whom ICE collected arrest charge data, traffic offenses, including driving under the influence of alcohol, were the most frequent arrest charges. ICE is taking steps to improve the collection of arrest charge data, but it is too early to assess the effectiveness of its efforts.
ICE has not consistently followed best practices in acquiring technology to help determine the immigration status of aliens identified by Secure Communities. ICE awarded contracts to modernize its technology without fully defining requirements or developing an integrated master schedule—two best practices for managing capital programs. As a result, ICE encountered delays, cost increases, and products that did not meet ICE’s needs.
DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and ICE identified four safeguards to help protect aliens’ civil rights under Secure Communities, including providing detainees with a revised detainer form with telephone numbers to call when they feel their civil rights have been violated. Officials are also developing briefing materials on how to protect aliens’ civil rights, statistically analyzing arrest and other information to identify potential civil rights abuses, and using an existing DHS complaint process for addressing Secure Communities concerns.
Immigration Legislation By States Dropped 20% in First Half of 2012
Immigration-related bills and resolutions dropped by 20 percent during the first half of 2012 compared to the first half of 2011, according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The report is being released in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Chicago, Ill. Embargoed copies of the report are available to reporters who agree not to publish before 12:01 a.m. local time on Monday, Aug. 6. Conditions of the embargo are that no stories featuring data and information from the report may appear in print or online until 12:01 a.m. local time on Mon., Aug. 6.
According to the report, lawmakers in 41 states enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions dealing with immigration in the first half of 2012. This marks a decrease of 20 percent from the 257 laws and resolutions enacted in the first half of 2011. Multiple reasons exist for the decline in immigration-related legislation and are explained in the report. The report, from NCSL’s Immigrant Policy Project, is embargoed until 12:01 a.m., local time, Monday, Aug. 6.
To request a copy of the embargoed report, email NCSL's Press Room. firstname.lastname@example.org
A press conference dealing with the report will be held on Monday, Aug. 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET; 2:30 p.m. CT; 1:30 p.m. MT, 12:30 p.m. PT from NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Chicago. State lawmakers and the report's author will answer questions about the report and immigration legislation in the states. Reporters not attending NCSL's Legislative Summit may also participate in the Monday afternoon press conference via conference call.
DHS Outlines Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.
On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process available on August 15, 2012. USCIS will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.
Information shared during today’s call includes the following highlights:
• Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS.
• Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose.
• Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox.
• All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
• Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances.
• The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.
Additional information regarding the Secretary’s June 15 announcement will be made available on www.uscis.gov on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected. Individuals who believe they are eligible should be aware of immigration scams. Unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of you by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS on your behalf. Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for tips on filing forms, reporting scams and finding accredited legal services. Remember, the Wrong Help Can Hurt! An informational brochure and flyer are also available on www.uscis.gov.
UPDATE (August 5): For Julia Preston's take on the announcement in the N.Y. Times, click here.
Immigrant Detention is Lucrative for Private Prison Companies
From the Associated Press:
Locking up undocumented immigrants has grown profoundly lucrative for the private prisons industry, a reliable pot of revenue that helped keep some of the biggest companies in business.
And while nearly half of the 400,000 immigrants held annually are housed in private facilities, the federal government — which spends $2 billion a year on keeping those people in custody — says it isn't necessarily cheaper to outsource the work, a central argument used for privatization in the first place.
The Associated Press, seeking to tally the scope of the private facilities, add up their cost and the amounts the companies spend on lobbying and campaign donations, reviewed more than 10 years' worth of federal and state records. It found a complex, mutually beneficial and evidently legal relationship between those who make corrections and immigration policy and a few prison companies. Some of those companies were struggling to survive before toughened immigrant detention laws took effect.
A decade ago, just 10 percent of the beds in the nation's civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight. Now, about half the beds are part of a sprawling, private system, largely controlled by just three companies: Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp. Read more....
Sheriff Joe's Civil Rights Trial Concludes, Awaiting Further Briefing and Decision
ImmigrationProf has been covering the federal civil rights trial of Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which ended yesterday. Bloomberg News reports that "U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow in Phoenix . . . told lawyers yesterday he needs more data on the operation plans for the sheriff’s so- called saturation patrols in which his deputies are accused of making racially motivated traffic stops." Final briefs in the case, which was tried without a jury, are due on August 16. The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive relief, was brought on behalf of a class of all Latinos who, since January 2007, have been stopped, detained, questioned or searched by sheriff office’s agents in Maricopa County.
August 2, 2012
Organizer Position Opening with BAJI
From Black Alliance for Just Immigration:
Over the years we've been diligent in educating and advocating for racial justice and immigrant rights. And as a partner in our work you know that BAJI's voice is critical for a number of reasons - which makes us excited to announce that we'll be hiring 2 more staff people!
In the coming month we plan to hire a Bay Area Organizer in Oakland, CA and a Regional Organizer who will work and reside in the Southeast.
Being that BAJI was founded in Oakland we have a number of initiatives in the San Francisco Bay area and we're looking for an experienced organizer to deepen our work in these communities. The Bay Area Organizer needs to be someone can demonstrate knowledge about African-American and black immigrant communities in the Bay Area; an ability to mobilize people around a particular event or issue; and the ability to recruit new core members to BAJI organizing committees, as well as maintain relationships with community members and strategic leaders. If this sounds like something you may be interested in please find out more about the BAJI Bay Area Organizer position here: http://www.blackalliance.org/job-announcement-bayarea/
And as you may know, over the past decade, the South has experienced the highest increase in immigrants compared to any other region in the U.S. This increase has been followed by a backlash and the passing of repressive, anti-immigrant laws in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The laws don't only impact immigrants, but African-American communities, too. The South is now a major battleground for immigrant rights and racial justice and so we're looking to hire a BAJI Southeast Regional Organizer who will be responsible for implementing our strategic plan to stop the backlash in consultation with our staff and core partners in the Southeast. If you're interested in this position please read more about the BAJI Southeast Regional Organizer position here.
Please help circulate the information among those with experience in organizing for social change in black communities. We need your help to find dynamic organizers to continue to grow this movement. We appreciate your help!
BAJI Executive Director
What Should Be Done When a U.S. Citizen? by Lucia Mann
This year marks the century-and-a-half anniversary of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln set the date of freedom for the nation’s 3 million slaves.
“As many of us know, slavery did not die when America abolished it in the 1800s,” says Lucia Mann, author of Rented Silence, which explores British Colonial slavery in South Africa, and the victims who survived the institutional brutality.
“The opening statement of the Declaration of Independence is, ‘We believe these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Almost 100 years later, in 1865, the 13th Amendment extended this belief to ‘Negroes.’ To this day, involuntary servitude is outlawed, and yet, it still exists!”
Mann has a personal interest in slavery. Her Sicilian mother was a sex slave and a World War II concentration camp survivor. As a child, Mann was forced to live with her father, who was also her mother’s master, in South Africa.
“According to the United Nations, there are more than 27 million slaves worldwide, which is more than twice the number of those who were enslaved over the 400 years that transatlantic slavers trafficked humans to work in the Americas,” Mann says.
Many slaves today are forced into prostitution while others are used as unpaid laborers to manufacture goods bought in the United States, she says.
“It’s almost impossible to buy clothes or goods anymore without inadvertently supporting the slave trade,” she says.
Mann, a Canadian and British citizen who considers herself an “American at heart,” says Americans should dedicate themselves to opposing modern human trafficking, both worldwide and within U.S. borders, since the nation was largely built on the backs of slaves.
Human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry worldwide, behind drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s a $32 billion industry, and half of those trafficked are children. Half of the billions spent come from industrialized nations, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
So, what should be done when a U.S. citizen suspects a case of human trafficking? Mann says the following organizations are a good start:
• Catholic Sisters congregations, 888-373-7888: Grand events, like this year’s 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, are reportedly hot spots for prostitution rings involving trafficked slaves. The same was true for the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, which is why nuns throughout the Midwest collaborated in an awareness campaign, which ultimately led to training cab drivers and hotel staff to recognize signs of modern slavery and how to report it.
• Victims hotline and on-line tips reporting: The Modern-Day Slavery Reporting Centre, created by Mann, is the first hotline – 1 (800) 610-7035, Ext. 227 -- in the United States and Canada for victims. It also provides volunteer translators (including Mann) for victims who don’t speak English. The website, www.mdsrc.org, includes a section that makes it easy for third parties to report suspicious activity by clicking “File a Report.” This section allows visitors to volunteer information.
• Federal Bureau of Investigation – report human trafficking, 1-888-428-7581: This number can be used 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST to report concerns to the FBI, which also offers plenty of information about human trafficking on its website.
• Various easy-to-find anti-trafficking organizations: Type in “human trafficking” on any online search engine and several sites will appear promoting various methods of combating modern slavery, Mann says. The important part is following through on an interest to help, she says.
“I have a firsthand account of dealing with national prejudice and human slavery, but I think many people are compelled to help victims of human trafficking because freedom is a universal desire,” Mann says. “Any individual can make a difference in someone’s life. That is the motive behind my books; I want victims to know that, like me, their tragedy can become their triumph.”
About Lucia Mann
Lucia Mann was born in British colonial South Africa in the wake of World War II and lives in West Covina, Calif., and British Columbia, Canada. She retired from freelance journalism in 1998 and wrote three books to give voice to those who suffered brutalities and captivity decades ago, and today.
Some DREAMers Hesitant to Pursue Deferred Action
Any day, DHS will be announcing preliminary guidelines on the deferred action policy for DREAMers that is supposed to go into effect on August 15.
Erin Pangilinan writes for Hyphen:
Whether it was progressive policymaking or a shrewd political move, President Barack Obama’s announcement to stop deportations for some undocumented immigrants in June was hailed as victory by immigrant rights activists. Since the 2001 introduction of the federal “DREAM Act” bill, which would grant higher education and a path to citizenship for undocumented youth, many of these youth have organized one of the strongest online and offline movements in American history. They staged sit-ins in June at Obama campaign offices around the country, putting additional pressure on the Administration and later resulted in Obama’s deferred action announcement.
But despite this historic milestone in immigration policy, many undocumented immigrants and their lawyers have now expressed skepticism at whether they should even apply for the government’s protection from deportation.
This month, the Department of Homeland Security will release additional details on how to apply for the deferred action program. What we know so far is that applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis for those who meet specific criteria, such as completing education or military service, meeting a certain number of years of U.S. residency, reaching a certain age, and having a clean criminal record. Those who are granted deferred action get a guarantee that they will not be deported for two years, with an option to extend that period.
Regardless of this promise, many eligible undocumented youth still remain in danger of eventual deportation. For instance, Daniela Pelaez, a high school valedictorian from Florida, found out that she may still be deported as she prepares for her freshman year at Dartmouth College this fall, with immigration authorities promising only to hold off for two years before initiating deportation proceedings again.
The feeling that deferred action is only temporary has caused frustration among immigrant rights advocates and undocumented immigrant communities, who continue to be on alert. Read more....
The Meaning of the Threatened Deportation of the Tamale Lady for Election 2012
Ruben Navarette is publicizing the case of Juana Reyes, the "tamale lady," an undocumented immigrant woman facing deportation from the United States after a trespassing arrest involving the sale of tamales outside a Walmart in Sacramento. “I am fighting and selling tamales to get my family ahead,” Reyes, the mother of two, explained to Nick Miller of the Sacramento News & Review.
Reyes apparently came to the attention of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement through the controversial Secure Communities program, in which local police share information about persons arrested -- even for minor offenses like Reyes' -- with U.S. immigration authorities.
Always the provocateur, Navarette uses the threatened deportation of the tamale lady as a chance to indict the Obama administyration for its immigration enforcement policies:
"When it comes to immigration, Obama is a bully. He's trying to build support with conservatives and organized labor by deporting as many illegal immigrants as possible, nearly 1.5 million since taking office."
"Obama's Latino defenders buy the line that this is a kinder and gentler administration. They'll buy anything to keep from admitting that they made a mistake in 2008 and helped put in office the most anti-immigrant president in a half century."
These are harsh words indeed for the Obama administration. And some of the criticism is no doubt justified. ImmigrationProf has been critical of the Obama administration's "enforcement now, enforcement forever" immigration policies. However, there have been some positive policy developments in the administration, notably the efforts to refine and focus prosecutorial discretion in removal matters and to create a program of deferred action for undocumented immigrants brought to this country as minors.
This is an election year and important decisions will be made for the nation. In thinking about immigration, do ImmigrationProf readers really think that Mitt Romney will be better on immigration than President Obama? I, for one, do not think so.
Immigration Article of the Day: Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime? The Politics of Immigration Enforcement and the Provision of Sanctuary by Kristina M. Campbell
Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime? The Politics of Immigration Enforcement and the Provision of Sanctuary by Kristina M. Campbell (University of the District of Columbia), Syracuse Law Review, Forthcoming
Abstract: This Article argues that the unprecedented increase in the enforcement of immigration law – on both the border and the interior – and the politics surrounding comprehensive immigration reform has given rise to a renewed need for the provision of sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, and surveys the different forms of action that can constitute sanctuary. Part I discusses the legal argument that “humanitarian aid is never a crime.” Part II discusses the current effort by legislatures in states such as Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah to further criminalize and prosecute individuals who provide humanitarian aid for “harboring” or “transporting” undocumented immigrants at the state level, including those who provide food, shelter, and medical treatment. Part III examines previous federal prosecutions of providers of humanitarian aid to migrants, particularly those affiliated with the faith-based Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, while also looking at the various forms of action sanctuary for undocumented immigrants can take. The Article concludes with Part IV, which discusses how the provision of sanctuary to undocumented immigrants has been linked to the unpopular political term “amnesty,” how this negative framing of the issue has hindered reasonable proposals for immigration reform such as the DREAM Act, and offers suggestions for how we can move toward crafting comprehensive immigration reform that puts the sanctity of human life on par with national security.
August 1, 2012
Pitt Law Seeks Applications for Director of Immigration Law Clinic
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for the position of Director of the Law School’s Immigration Law Clinic. This full-time position is not in the tenure stream, and is part of a system of contracts progressing to renewable long-term contracts. The position will begin on July 1, 2013. The Clinic’s primary mission is to serve the educational needs of our students and to provide legal services to individuals involved in asylum cases or in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court. Duties of the Director and Clinical Professor include classroom teaching, supervision of second- and third-year law students as they represent clients and participate in community projects; community outreach and fundraising; and administrative duties relating to the Immigration Law Clinic. The Director may also be expected to assume responsibilities involving the oversight of immigration-related legal services provided by pro bono attorneys and by the legal staff of Jewish Children and Family Services of Pittsburgh. These responsibilities, which will not exceed eight hours per week, may be separately contracted for and compensated by Vibrant Pittsburgh or other funders. Qualifications include admission to practice in Pennsylvania or willingness to seek admission to the Pennsylvania bar; experience in the field of immigration law (specifically, asylum and removal cases), and, preferably, clinical pedagogy; and the ability to work effectively with students, clients and other constituents. Contact: Professor Martha Mannix, Chair, Clinical Appointments Committee, University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Email: email@example.com. The deadline for applications for the clinical position is September 14, 2012.
Civics Test Questions in Seven Languages for the Naturalization Test
To prepare applicants for U.S. citizenship and help support English language learning, USCIS now offers the civics test questions and answers for the naturalization test in English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Click here for more information about teh naturalization test from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
DREAMer Deferred Action Orientation in NYC
From the New York Immigration Coalition:
August 15: Orientation on Deferred Action
On August 15, 2012, many young undocumented immigrants will be allowed to apply for a temporary work permit and deferred action relief.
All across the country, immigrant rights groups are organizing legal workshops for youth who might be interested in applying. In New York, The New York Immigration Coalition and its partners will hold an orientation workshop on:
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Workshop attendees will receive important information on the new policy and can sign up for upcoming legal clinics to get screened for eligibility and receive assistance from lawyers on beginning the process.
Formal invitation & additional details coming soon
To RSVP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
New Study: Conservative Talk Radio Spreads Hate
A study released today by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) found that conservative talk radio shows contribute to "hate speech" against racial, religious groups and the LGBT community on social media networks. The study, entitled "Social Networks for Hate Speech," analyzed the role that five prominent conservative talk radio shows play in spreading hate speech on social websites. It examined the guests, topics and content on
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
This study analyzes how social networks that form around the hosts of commercial talk radio shows can propagate messages targeting vulnerable groups. Working with recorded broadcasts from five shows gathered over a six-week period,ics, researchers determined hosts’ and guests’ ideological alignment on the topics discussed most frequently — including immigration and terrorism — through analysis of on-air statements and website content. The findings reveal that the hosts promoted an insular discourse that focused on, for example, anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and pro-Tea Party positions and that this discourse found repetition and amplification through social media.
July 31, 2012
No Papers, No Fear: Bus Tour to Democratic National Convention in North Carolina
Photo by Jude Joffe-Block Courtesy of KJZZ
Jude Joffe-Block reports on KJZZ (Arizona) that a group of undocumented immigrants is launching a national bus tour from Arizona to promote immigrant rights and protest deportations. The riders are planning stops in Southern states that have passed restrictive immigration laws.
The bus tour's slogan is "No Papers, No Fear" and the ultimate destination is North Carolina and the Democratic National Convention. "They say they are motivated by their frustration with stalled immigration reform, the rising number of deportations under the Obama administration, and state laws like Arizona's SB 1070 that intend to crack down on illegal immigration."
UPDATE (August 1): The N.Y. Times Room for Debate offers contrasting perspectives on the No Papers, No Fear Bus Tour from
Pure and Simple Lawlessness John C. Eastman, Chapman University School of Law: By flouting the law, the UndocuBus riders are pursing the delegitimization of our sovereignty and our right to determine the terms on which others may join our political community.
Adding a Voice to the Chorus Jose Antonio Vargas, founder, Define American: By coming out, we are putting faces, names and stories to immigration, an issue that has been mostly framed in abstract numbers.
The Dangers of Riding the Bus Professor Michael A. Olivas (Houston): I know that self-disclosure is a courageous and longstanding tradition, but until we know the details, stay out of the public glare.
Fifth Circuit Grants En Banc in Farmers Branch Case
In Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in March affirmed the district court's summary judgment enjoining the City of Farmers Branch, Texas from enforcing an ordinance that required adults in rental housing to obtain an occupancy license that required proof of the occupant's citizenship or lawful immigration status. The court concluded that the ordinance's sole purpose was not to regulate housing but to exclude undocumented immigrants, specifically Latinos, from the City and that it was an impermissible regulation of immigration. The Fifth Circuit held that the ordinance was unconstitutional and presented an obstacle to federal authority on immigration.
The City has until August 15 to file an en banc brief, with the plaintiffs' brief due on August 30. Oral argument in the case is scheduled for September 19, 2012. For the Fifth Circuit's en banc order, see Download Farmer's Branch En Banc or click here.
The Fifth Circuit's grant of en banc review is interesting. The Court could have done nothing or allowed the original panel to amend its original opinion to address the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States. The Fifth Circuit instead decided to rehear the case en banc.
It always is hazardous to try to guess why a circuit court took a case en banc, just as it is difficult to explain why the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a particular case. For example, when the Court granted cert in the health reform act case, many observers incorrectly speculated that the Supreme Court was going to strike down the entire law.
Still, it does seem fair to surmise that a majority of active Fifth Circuit judges believed that the issues raised by the Farmers Branch law were important enough to justify en banc review. A majority also probably thought that the issues were likely to arise again, a reasonable likelihood given that these kind of local immigration ordinances are popping up with regularity. Importantly, local immigration enforcement ordinances raise slightly different issues than those raised by state immigration enforcement laws like that at issue in Arizona v. United States.
My instinct is that, besides the issues being important and capable of repitition, the Fifth Circuit wanted to be one of the first courts to address how Arizona v. United States applies to local immigration ordinances like Farmers Branch's.
Indiana Attorney General Says Parts of Immigration Law Are Unconstitutional
In a brief filed in federal court, Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. United States striking down three of four sections of Arizona’s immigration law as unconstitutional means portions of Indiana’s immigration law dealing with warrantless arrests cannot be defended.
Zoeller noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling makes it clear that state laws authorizing local law enforcement officers to make warrantless arrests of people for immigration violations are unconstitutional. Portions of Senate Enrolled Act 590, Indiana’s immigration law that is now under legal challenge, are preempted, or overridden, by federal law, Zoeller said.
For support for the Indiana Attorney General's position from the National Immigration Forum, click here.
Professor Keith Aoki's Last Call
My beloved colleague, Professor Keith Aoki, died last year. Keith's final law review article -- Pastures of Peonage: Tracing the Feedback Loop of Food Through IP, GMOS, Trade, Immigration, and U.S. Agro-Maquilas -- has been published in a symposium issue of the Northeastern University Law Journal. The law review editors dedicated the symposium issue to Keith.
Always proud to collaborate, Keith's last article was co-authored with his friend Professor John Shuford and two of his wonderful research assistants, Esmeralda Soria and Emilio Camacho.
Here is an abstract of the article:
In this, the final article authored by the late Keith Aoki, we look at interactions among global agribusiness, economic globalization, and labor migration in North America, with specific focus on the United States and Mexico. We highlight the following phenomena: (1) the development of genetically engineered (GE) food crops as genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and global intellectual property (IP) protection for these crops and other plant genetic resources (PGR); (2) the increasing horizontal and vertical concentration of the agricultural seed-and-chemical, food processing, and food sale industries; and (3) the lack of fit between U.S. immigration law and policy, international trade regimes (such as NAFTA), and the realities of labor migration as related to U.S. agromaquilas in the food picking, processing, and packing industries.
We also work to identify and to outline how these seemingly disparate and disconnected phenomena work together in a feedback loop of food production-and-consumption related activities. Intellectual property rights in the realm of global agribusiness and international trade agreements support the oligopolies and oligopsonies in the global food supply chain, which in turn drive the preeminent immigration patterns and demographic changes of North America. This feedback loop of global agribusiness, IP law, international treaties and trade agreements, and immigration law and policy shifts the focus of food supply and the means of its production (including labor and the utilization of farmland) out of or away from Mexico and into or toward the United States.
Finally, we consider possibilities for progressive intervention and interruption, in order to reimagine the feedback loop. It is intended that this imagination serve to “push back” against the redundant cycle this article describes and its troubling impacts on the genetic diversity of food crops, the global food supply, small and independent farmers outside the United States, U.S. agromaquila labor migrants, and global labor rights and human rights.
In a UC Davis Law Review symposium in Professor Aoki's memory, his co-author John Shuford wrote "In the Key of Aoki: Immigration Regionalism (eco)" . Here is an abstract:
In 2010, Keith Aoki and I coined the phrase "immigration regionalism" to describe a proposed innovation in immigration law and policy reform. Our intention was that immigration regionalism would become Immigration Regionalism — a book-length articulation, argument, and analysis of the provocative idea — in hopes that others would take up, critique, expand, revise, and operationalize this notion, in other words: help to answer our query as to whether 'immigration regionalism is an idea whose time has come.' Thus, without Immigration Regionalism, and without Keith, immigration regionalism necessarily remains incomplete. Given Keith’s love of music, his talent and background as a musician, his distinctive collaborative style of riffing-and-jamming, and his prolific career forged by crossing genres and media, I regard the status of our work on immigration regionalism like the first song of an unfinished album: Immigration Regionalism. Perhaps just as important as what we discussed is what we did not discuss before Keith passed away on April 26, 2011. Specifically, we had not written about these basic topics: what is a region; how and why are regions defined and who defines them; what is regionalism; what is the connection between regions and regionalism; what meaning or influence might regionalism have in the context of immigration law and policy; and what might count as an immigration region. I want to begin to address those topics here. In paying my respects to the influence of Keith’s work and thought, it feels right to continue with the focus of our collaboration and to reflect upon and share with others the distinctiveness of how Keith worked. How Keith thought through and worked out ideas with others was utterly refreshing, both professionally and personally speaking, and it is part of what so many of us dearly miss. With this Article, I mean to help bring our unfinished album nearer to completion. I do so here both by sharing the genesis and formation of immigration regionalism and by discussing and employing the methods by which we worked. I use a song structure framework as the organizational framework for this piece, both in homage to Keith and in keeping with our style of collaboration, and I utilize eco — the recalling of previously played notes, though softly and in a different octave — as I work to advance this half-written song toward a coda (repeat) and fade. My hope is that Keith’s voice, as well as his thought, vision, and inspiration, remains resonant here and in any future work on immigration regionalism.