Saturday, November 24, 2012
Ricardo Sepida gets emotional when he sees his son-in-law in a Navy uniform. Even aircraft carriers make him misty-eyed. There is no better country than the United States, says Sepida, an immigrant from the Philippines.
Yet despite possessing a green card for 40 years, Sepida has never become an American citizen. Life got in the way, as he raised two children, worked a full-time job as a biomedical technician and ran side businesses on the weekends.
"I was so busy at work, I had so many things to do and I'd forget about it," said Sepida, 61, of Sylmar. "I regret it now. I should have done it a long time ago."
Sepida is among the millions of immigrants who are eligible for citizenship but have postponed the milestone, whether because of the $680 fee, a busy schedule or fear of the English and civics exams. In 2011, about 750,000 immigrants applied for naturalization out of the 8.5 million who were eligible.
A $20-million effort is now under way to get more permanent residents to become citizens so they can vote, have access to a wider range of jobs and become fully American. The money for the New Americans Campaign comes from major foundations and is going mainly to nonprofits that have already been doing citizenship work. Two former commissioners of the Immigration and Naturalization Service have signed on as advisors.
"We're going to just grow the number of people who aren't really completely part of the American fabric, who aren't pitching their tent, unless we get them off the sideline and into the game," said Eric Cohen, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which is the campaign's main coordinator.
The campaign is being touted as bipartisan — Doris Meissner and James Ziglar, the two former INS leaders, served under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively. Organizers chose to launch the effort after the November presidential election to avoid any association with partisan voter registration drives, Meissner said. Read more...
Friday, November 23, 2012
Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Federalism & Preemption in Arizona v. United States by Troy Fuhriman
Immigration Federalism & Preemption in Arizona v. United States by Troy Fuhriman, Kyungpook National University Law School; University of Maryland University College - Asia August 30, 2012 Study of American Constitutional Law, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 207-257, 2012
Abstract: Arizona v. United States is in many ways indicative of the messy state of the balance of power between state and federal governments in various substantive areas of law in the way it both illustrates direct tension between state and federal power in a policy area that has been clearly the purview of both the state and federal authorities and further illustrates the very tensely contested, yet ongoing trend towards centralization of power into the federal government and away from the states. This article focuses on presenting the context for, and a basic analysis of, the Arizona decision. In order to do this, it explores the background and history of American federalism, particularly within the context of explaining the shifting balance between state and federal laws and policies in the field of immigration and alien-related regulations and the failures of the federal government’s immigration policies and enforcement measures in both creating, and failing to address, a massive population of unauthorized immigrants. In order to compensate for massive federal failures in immigration policy and enforcement, the State of Arizona passed The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (commonly referred to as 'SB 1070') in 2010. The law was written in an effort to encourage unauthorized immigrants to leave Arizona on the basis of 'attrition through enforcement.' It was immediately challenged in federal court by the Obama administration on federal preemption grounds. Ultimately, this article presents and analyzes the Arizona decision concerning three of the four challenged sections of SB 1070, ultimately concluding that the Court largely misconstrues and/or ignores established preemption analysis precedents. Nevertheless, the Court reaches the proper conclusion under preemption doctrines with respect to Section 2(B) of SB 1070. Then it misapplies the field preemption analytical framework with respect to Section 3 and fails to properly employ the obstacle-based preemption doctrine with respect to Section 5(C). Additionally, while paying lip service to it, the Court fails to respect the historic presumption against federal preemption. Such a failure is particularly grievous given that the Court states '[t]he problems posed to the State [of Arizona] by illegal immigration must not be underestimated' but then summarily ignores such problems in its preemption analysis. Instead of being ignored, such problems should have strengthened the presumption against obstacle-based preemption. If the Arizona Court had followed established preemption precedents, it would have resulted in striking a much different immigration federalism balance of power and creating a better, easier to follow precedent for the future.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
As we enjoy company and a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, one heart-wrenching story -- and ironic -- from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch should remind us all of what we should be thankful for.
Encarnación Bail Romero, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who lives in Missouri, until a few weeks ago worked at a local turkey plant. Bail, and other workers like her, put in long hours of grim work for little pay, all while facing the threat of deportation. Bail's American-born (and U.S. citizen) son, Carlos, is 6 years old. She has not seen Carlos since May 2007 when the plant where Bail worked was raided by immigration agents. Mother and son have never spent a Thanksgiving together.
Bail was detained while the court terminated his mother’s parental rights and Carlos was put up for adoption. She did not speak English. She did not know what was happening to her.
Bail is allowed legally to stay in the U.S. as her appeal to regain custody of her son continues winding through the Missouri courts. Carlos lives with a Missouri family that adopted him while Bail was awaiting deportation.
The Missouri Supreme Court took the case and sent it back to the trial court. The trial court decided last summer to keep Carlos with his adoptive parents. Lawyers for Bail have asked the Missouri Supreme Court to take the case again.
Abstract: Hundreds of millions of people around the world are unable to meet their needs on their own, and do not receive adequate protection or support from their home states. These people, if they are to be provided for, need assistance from the international community. If we are to meet our duties to these people, we must have ways of knowing who should be eligible for different forms of relief. One prominent proposal from scholars and activists has been to classify all who are unable to meet their basic needs on their own as 'refugees,' and to extend to them the sorts of protections established under the United Nations Refugee Convention. Such an approach would expand the traditional refugee definition significantly. Unlike most academic commentators discussing this issue, I reject calls for an expanded refugee definition, and instead defend the core elements of the definition set out in the 1967 Protocol to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Using the tools of moral and political philosophy, I explain in this article how the group picked out by this definition has particular characteristics that make refugee protection distinctly appropriate for it. While many people in need of assistance can be helped 'in place', in their home countries, or by providing a form of temporary protected status to them, this is not so, I show, of convention refugees. The group picked out by the UN refugee definition is a normatively distinct group to whom we owe particular duties, duties we can only meet by granting them refuge in a safe country. Additionally, there are further practical reasons why a broader refugee definition may lead to problems. Finally, I argue that rejecting the call for a broader definition of refugees will better help us meet our duties to those in need than would an expanded definition.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
In June, the Obama administration announced the Defered Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Here are the number of requests made, ranked by state:
1. California: 81,858
2. Texas: 47,727
3. New York: 19,320
4. Florida: 15,318
5. Illinois: 13,904
6. North Carolina: 11,138
7. Arizona: 11,074
8. New Jersey: 10,474
9. Georgia: 10,206
10. Virginia: 5,886
Here are the countries of origin of the applicants, with the number one nation winning in a landslide:
1. Mexico: 212,514
2. El Salvador: 13,769
3. Honduras: 8,577
4. Guatemala: 7,630
5. Peru: 5,052
6. South Korea: 4,880
7. Brazil: 4,345
8. Colombia: 3,856
9. Ecuador: 3,737
10. Philippines: 2,613
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Last week, the Obama administration released updated statistics (see Immigration Impact) indicating that, as of November 15, 53,273 undocumented youths have been granted relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had received more than 300,000 requests for deferred action, with most applicants still awaiting the completion of background checks. The figures did not indicate how many beneficiaries have received work permits under the program or whether any requests for deferred action have been denied. At the rate the agency is processing applications, more than 100,000 requests for deferred action appear likely to be granted by the end of the year.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Americans are thinking about delicious Turkey. Or is that tradition changing?
In the immigrant capital of Los Angeles, Thanksgiving does not always involve turkey and mashed potatoes. In LA, Thanksgiving dinner may include a kebab or mole. Turkey mole truly is the best.
"For those who eat turkey, there will be birds basted with butter, sure, just as there will be turkeys on tables throughout Southern California that have been stuffed with a delectable sticky rice mixture, Chinese style, rubbed with chile powder and served with chocolatey black mole Oaxacan style, or marinated in a garlic-sour orange Cuban-style mojo to make it, frankly, tastier."
Read on by clicking here and finding out what some other Angelenos are eating on Turkey Day.
Leslie Berestein Rojas has an interesting post on the question of how the United States ranks in immigrant-friendliness. She looks at a piece in Forbes that looks at inbound migration to the U.S. from different perspectives. Based on international migration statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States ranks first on a list of 25 nations for admitting the most immigrants on an annual basis, roughly a million a year. Its rank drops to number 22 when you calculate this inflow as a percentage of the population. That list is topped by Luxembourg, followed by Switzerland.
The American Immigration Council is now accepting nominations for their 2013 Immigrant Youth Achievement Award. Each year the Council receives hundreds of nominations from around the country lifting up exceptional young people whose accomplishments amaze us and whose dreams inspire us.
The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award celebrates high-achieving young immigrants, whose personal accomplishments and contributions demonstrate the important impact young immigrants are having on our nation every day. These nominations serve as a reminder that our country was built by hard-working, forward-thinking immigrants and in order for our country to continue to lead, we must invest in the future of today’s immigrant youth.
The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented to the winner at the American Immigration Council’s annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards in the Spring. Past nominees have emigrated from countries such as Ireland, India, Mexico, Cambodia, China, and Cuba and have made contributions in literature, journalism, music, and politics.
• The honoree must be between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age on April 11, 2013 ;
• 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 on Thursday, April 11, 2013. 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;
• The honoree will receive a $1,000 award.
You may attach up to 3 supporting documents, two pages max per document. Supporting documents include resumes, news articles, essays, or letters of recommendation. The winner will be notified and announced on this website by February 15, 2013.
Deadline: February 1, 2013 at midnight EST. Read about the 2012 immigrant youth acheivement award winner, Vineet Singal. To learn more about past winners, click here.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Anju Gupta has updated the list of immigration law clinics. Here's the new link: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61625492/immigrationclinicslist.xlsx
As Kevin Johnson blogged previously, a number of American Samoans filed a lawsuit against the federal government claiming that, under the Citizenship Clause, they are U.S. citizens. A link to the complaint may be found here.
Last week, Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, who represents the territory of American Samoa, filed an amicus brief seeking dismissal of the lawsuit. Download Tuaua v. US Faleomavaega Amicus Brief
Congressman Faleomavaega relied on legal precedent - the Insular Cases - which has held that the Citizenship Clause does not extend to persons born in unincorporated territories (like American Samoa). Moreoever, Congressman Faleomavaega argued that the issue of U.S. citizenship is best left up to Congress, which has plenary power over the territories. Finally, he contended that the question of citizenship may have adverse impacts on traditional aspects of Samoan culture, including restrictions on the alienation of communal land.
This case raises the question of the extent to which constitutional rights apply in the U.S. territories, which is at the heart of another lawsuit about citizenship in a U.S. territory, the CNMI, that I blogged about previously. I believe it is important to follow these territorial cases because they highlight the ways in which citizenship continues to be contested and negotiated.
After years of failed attempts to develop new immigration legislation there is a post-election buzz: something might actually happen to fix our broken immigration system.
Your voice is critical in shaping this moment. Please email your congressional delegation today. Let them know you will no longer stand for policies and practices that tear apart families and communities, and call on them to work for just and humane reform.
In the hope that we can truly bring fundamental and lasting change, the American Friends Service Committee’s immigrant constituents put forth seven principles that would recognize the dignity of all migrants and protect human rights.
Create justice with humane economic policies.
Protect the labor rights of all workers.
Develop a clear path to permanent residence.
Respect the civil and human rights of immigrants.
Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
Make family reunification a top priority.
Ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to services.
Click here for email access.
Immigration Article of the Day: How the Court's Upholding of Federal Immigration Enforcement Authority in Arizona v. United States Casts Doubt on the Validity of Federal Immigration Detainers by Christopher N. Lasch
How the Court's Upholding of Federal Immigration Enforcement Authority in Arizona v. United States Casts Doubt on the Validity of Federal Immigration Detainers by Christopher N. Lasch University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Forthcoming
Abstract: The Court’s June 25, 2012 decision in Arizona v. United States struck down three of the four challenged sections of Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” colloquially known simply as “S.B. 1070.” Two of these provisions created state crimes to punish immigrants for not carrying federally required registration documents and for seeking work without authorization; the third provision expanded state arrest authority to allow police to arrest suspected immigration violators.
The Court held that these legislative efforts were preempted by comprehensive federal regulation of immigration enforcement. The Court additionally left open the possibility that the fourth challenged provision of S.B. 1070, requiring Arizona police officers to run immigration status checks on suspected immigration violators, might be held unconstitutional or preempted, depending on how the law is actually applied.
This Article explores a less obvious consequence of Arizona: its implications for the continuing viability of a critical federal enforcement mechanism, the immigration detainer. The Arizona decision saps the vitality out of this mechanism, and exposes it as far exceeding any Congressional grant of authority and as conflicting with the Fourth Amendment principles discussed in the opinion. I begin in Part II with a discussion of the context in which S.B. 1070 was passed, a brief history of the litigation over S.B. 1070, and the Arizona decision. The ongoing civil rights battle over immigration brought to the fore issues of racial profiling and the debate over whether states possess “inherent authority” to enforce the immigration laws. Arizona failed to put these issues to rest and the Court’s silence ensures ongoing controversy and litigation. Digesting the Arizona opinion, I address in turn: (1) the majority’s preemption analysis (and its failure to address the civil rights issues) with respect to the four challenged provisions of S.B. 1070; (2) the Fourth Amendment discussion among the Justices, attendant to the question of whether state officials may subject suspected immigration violators to prolonged detention; and (3) the omission by the Justices—except for Justice Scalia—of any discussion of a state’s “inherent authority” or police power with respect to immigration enforcement. The remainder of the Article assesses the effect Arizona will have on the federal government’s use of immigration detainers to obtain custody over prisoners held by other law enforcement agencies. Ironically, while Arizona trumpets the supremacy of the federal government in the field of immigration, the opinion has negative implications for the federal government’s central enforcement mechanism for obtaining custody of suspected immigration violators. The legality of the immigration detainer system put in place by the executive branch can be analyzed through the same doctrinal frames seen in Arizona—preemption and the Fourth Amendment concerns with prolonged detention. I proceed to that analysis in Part III, addressing Arizona’s impact on federal authority to issue immigration detainers requiring other law enforcement officials to prolong the detention of their prisoners. I conclude that the detainer regulation purporting to allow this is ultra vires for the same reason the Arizona Court held parts of S.B. 1070 preempted—the executive branch’s detainer regulation is flatly inconsistent with the comprehensive enforcement regime established by Congress. Additionally, there are substantial Fourth Amendment problems with the immigration detainer regulation that are illuminated by the Fourth Amendment discussion in Arizona. The regulation is invalid because of these substantial constitutional questions.
From the Bookshelves: Soft Soil, Black Grapes The Birth of Italian Winemaking in California by Simone Cinotto
Abstract: From Ernest and Julio Gallo to Francis Ford Coppola, Italians have shaped the history of California wine. More than any other group, Italian immigrants and their families have made California viticulture one of America’s most distinctive and vibrant achievements, from boutique vineyards in the Sonoma hills to the massive industrial wineries of the Central Valley. But how did a small group of nineteenth-century immigrants plant the roots that flourished into a world-class industry? Was there something particularly “Italian” in their success?
In this fresh, fascinating account of the ethnic origins of California wine, Simone Cinotto rewrites a century-old triumphalist story. He demonstrates that these Italian visionaries were not skilled winemakers transplanting an immemorial agricultural tradition, even if California did resemble the rolling Italian countryside of their native Piedmont. Instead, Cinotto argues that it was the wine-makers’ access to “social capital,” or the ethnic and familial ties that bound them to their rich wine-growing heritage, and not financial leverage or direct enological experience, that enabled them to develop such a successful and influential wine business. Focusing on some of the most important names in wine history —particularly Pietro Carlo Rossi, Secondo Guasti, and the Gallos—he chronicles a story driven by ambition and creativity but realized in a complicated tangle of immigrant entrepreneurship, class struggle, racial inequality, and a new world of consumer culture. Skillfully blending regional, social, and immigration history, Soft Soil, Black Grapes takes us on an original journey into the cultural construction of ethnic economies and markets, the social dynamics of American race, and the fully transnational history of American wine.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Last weekend, we learned that Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had resumed work on a comprehensive immigration bill which they tabled two years ago. Both Senators took to the Sunday talk shows to promote a four-point plan to fix the nation's broken immigration system and offer the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in America a path to citizenship.
Both Senators insist that nothing will take place until the country's southern border is secure. This point seems already to have been settled. The Obama Administration deported record numbers of undocumented immigrants during the President's first term. Moreover, improving economic conditions in Mexico and other Latin American countries slowed migration such that Douglas Massey, the co-director of Princeton University's Mexican Migration Project, told the New York Times in July 2011 that, "for the first time in 60 years, the net traffic has gone to zero and is probably a little bit negative." Senator Graham's suggestion that "you do nothing until you secure the border" offers opponents of reform an avenue for further delay, because it implies that this goal remains out of reach. In fact, this target was met well before the Senators got back to work.
We are also not persuaded by proposed language tests. Senator Graham's statement to Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer that "[the undocumented] can't stay unless they learn our language" rests upon a myth. The United States does not have an official language and has never required any other immigrant group to learn English as a condition of citizenship. Why are undocumented Latinos being singled out? If knowing two languages is a condition of citizenship, then every other citizen should meet this requirement.
Going after employers who hire the undocumented is both nonsensical and sinister. Is destroying commerce the economic plan for the future of this nation? Is taking a family's income and life chances an American value? This economy can ill afford to lose one business or job, and here are political leaders trying to tear down businesses and tear apart families.
The issue of biometric testing, which Senator Graham floated as the method for verifying immigrant identity, is most troubling. The citizens of this country have never made a decision to violate the privacy of our people. What types of physical data would the government gather from immigrants to stock its database? What other possible uses could and would this data have? The potential for mass intrusion on personal privacy is real and should alarm every American.
We want to end the limbo so many immigrant families endure. We nonetheless believe that the bill in its current form is unacceptable. Immigrants already pay billions of dollars in taxes. They already provide a sizable percentage of the American labor force and the overwhelming majority already live "at the back of the line," where both Senators demand that they go. All they desire to is to do so openly and with some dignity. The present version of this immigration bill does not provide it.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Gus West, please contact XiNomara Velazquez Yehuda at (202) 544-8284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hispanic Institute is a 501 (c)(3) designated nonprofit organization that provides an effective education forum for an informed and empowered Hispanic America. The Hispanic Institute manages a number of projects including, studies of Hispanic economic contributions, media monitoring, consumer fraud and citizenship education. For more information, please visit www.thehispanicinstitute.org.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Immigrant groups urge ICE to free DREAMer facing deportation in time for Thanksgiving
San Jose resident, unfairly detained for two months, aspires to join marines
What: Community vigil calling for immigration officials to release Jesús Ruiz Diego, a “DREAMer” who has lived in the US since age four and aspires to join the US Marine Corps, but is currently detained and at risk of deportation.
When: 5:00 PM, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012
Where: 630 Sansome St, San Francisco
Who: Immigrant rights organizations including DreamActivist.org, Asian Law Caucus, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Educators for Fair Consideration, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education (ASPIRE), National Immigrant Youth Alliance, San Francisco Immigrant Youth Collection, Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), Students Advocating for Higher Education at San Jose State (SAHE)
San Francisco – With Sunday marking two months since Dreamer Jesús Ruiz Diego was unfairly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), community groups will gather at the agency’s Northern California headquarters Monday to call for ICE to release Jesús and reunite him with his family in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The case underscores the disconnect between current, unjust detention and deportation policies and President Obama's stated intent and support for creating a reasonable immigration process. Such a process needs to include a pathway to citizenship for promising young people like Jesus through measures like the federal DREAM Act.
About Jesús: Jesus came to the United States with his family at the age of four. He attended kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school in San Jose, which he considers his hometown. As the first person in his family and in his neighborhood to graduate from high school, Jesus has served as a role model for his community.
After 9/11, Jesus began dreaming of joining the United States military. He graduated in 2004, with the hope of joining the Marines, but learned he was unable to pursue his dream due to his immigration status. While continuing to dream about joining the Marines one day, Jesus was accepted to college. But because he couldn’t afford it, he decided to find work to support his younger U.S.-citizen-brother and to be able to later go to college.
In 2008, immigration officers raided Jesus’ home in San Jose and deported him to Mexico. Jesus later learned that back in 1998, when he was an eleven-year old boy, his family had been ordered deported as the result of an unsuccessful asylum claim. For the first time in his life for as long as he could remember, Jesus was living in Mexico, where he knew no one.
Surrounded by violence, he quickly made his way back to the United States, the place he had considered his home since the age of four. On September 18, 2012, ICE detained Jose at his workplace and immediately put him in deportation proceedings. He has been held at the Yuba County Detention Center ever since.
Along with your presence this Monday, we urge you to please sign this petition.
In the wake of the 2008 election, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has been offering Republicans some thoughts on immigration reform and the Latino vote. President Obama received more than 70 percent of the Latino vote. To many Latinos, Republicans have emerged as the supporters of tough-as-nails immigration enforcement and Arizona-like state "self-deportation" laws. Many Latinos also see the Republicans as anti-"amnesty", anti-"illegals," and, at bottom, Anti-Latino.
The Atlantic has an interesting feature on Senator Rubio's immigration recent statements -- which Democrats and Republicans should pay heed to in the coming months.
Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg will be this year's keynote speaker at the observance commemorating the 149th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The ceremony will be held on Nov. 19 at the Solders’ National Cemetery at 10a.m. The famous director’s visit coincides with the release of his newest film, “Lincoln.”
The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. with a wreath laying ceremony at the Soldier’s national monument. The official commencement of the Dedication Day will begin at 10 a.m. at the rostrum, where Spielberg will make his speech. Next, James Getty will recite the Gettysburg Address, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will hold a naturalization ceremony for 16 citizenship candidates.
A white Carrara marble monument created by local sculptor Franco Allesandrini. It is dedicated to the courageous men and women who left their homeland seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life in a new country.
On one side, Miss Liberty faces the mighty Mississippi, while an immigrant family faces the French Quarter, where most immigrants lived when they came to this area.