Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Model for Providing Counsel to New York Immigrants in Removal Proceedings

A new report, New York Immigrant Representation Study Report:  Part II, Accessing Justice II:  A Model for Providing Counsel to New York Immigrants in Removal Proceedings, was released today.  It proposes the creation of a pilot assigned counsel program for detained immigrants in removal proceedings in New York.

The report outlines a plan to create a network of legal service providers to represent all low-income immigrants in the region who have been detained and face deportation. The network would be the first of its kind in the country.

The report grows out of the Study Group on Immigrant Representation launched by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Robert A. Katzmann.

Here is the New York Times story on the report.


November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Engaging the Asian Diaspora

Policymakers increasingly recognize the value that diaspora populations bring to development efforts at home, not just as senders of remittances but also as sources of human capital and direct and indirect investments.

In Engaging the Asian Diaspora, Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias and Kathleen Newland explore how governments in Asia are facilitating diaspora contributions, including creation of conducive legal frameworks and diaspora-centered institutions to initiation of programs that specifically target diasporas as development actors. The issue brief details a number of legislative proposals geared at diasporas, including flexible citizenship laws and visa arrangements, political and property rights, and reduced income tax rates; it also examines the diaspora-centered institutions in government.

The authors make the case that these and other mechanisms of diaspora engagement, while beneficial, are insufficient if not integrated in a broad-based strategy that receives sustained attention over many years. Such a strategy, they note, must be tailored to the unique context of each diaspora population. The issue brief offers a helpful road map for diaspora engagement.

While such policies must be tailored to be effective, the issue brief outlines four fundamental steps that governments would do well to consider across the board: (1) identify goals, (2) map diaspora geography and skills, (3) create a relationship of trust between diasporas and governments of both origin and destination countries, and, ultimately, (4) mobilize diasporas to contribute to sustainable development.

The issue brief is the seventh in a series launched by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the International Organization for Migration’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region today. To read earlier briefs in the series, click here.

This brief is drawn from a user-friendly handbook, Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development, that MPI and IOM published earlier this year. The handbook offers practical advice to policymakers and practitioners and details the wide range of institutions that governments worldwide have established to work with diasporas. For more information and a free download of the handbook, click here.


November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

How To Get Through A U.S. Border Checkpoint (At Least If You Look and Talk a Certain Way)



November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Transnational Crime in Mexico and Central America: Its Evolution and Role in International Migration

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers. Migrants crossing the region are particularly vulnerable, facing increasing threats from Mexican drug traffickers, Central American gangs, and corrupt government officials.

Migrants who choose to proceed even in the face of these risks increasingly are forced to seek the assistance of intermediaries known as polleros, or “coyotes.” Those who are unable to afford a coyote are more likely to be abused or kidnapped, and held for ransom along the way. While there is little consensus on the numbers, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights estimates that about 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year by criminal organizations.

In Transnational Crime in Mexico and Central America: Its Evolution and Role in International Migration, Steven Dudley, the co-director of InSight Crime, traces the rise of Mexican criminal organizations and Central American gangs over recent decades and examines how these criminal groups impact migrants moving northward. The report reviews the origins and growth of the main illicit networks operating in Mexico and Central America, then outlines the little that is known about how criminal groups profit from, and in some cases facilitate, the flow of migrants northward.

This report is the latest research from the Regional Migration Study Group, a partnership between MPI and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Study Group, co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, is a high-level initiative that in 2013 will propose new collaborative approaches to migration, competitiveness, and human-capital development for the United States, Central America, and Mexico.

Today’s report marks the second in a series of Study Group reports examining insecurity in the region. The first report, Border Insecurity in Central America’s Northern Triangle, examines the perennial problem of lawlessness along the borders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Within the next few weeks, the Study Group will release a third report, examining how democratic transitions in Mexico and Central America have tested the limits of their governing institutions.

The Study Group’s website, , showcases the initiative’s research to date, mission statement, and selected background readings. We invite you to check it out, now and in the months to come, as we publish more works in the lead-up to our final report in spring 2013.


November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DREAM-Lite Bill Introduced by Republicans

Yesterday, Senators Kyl, Hutchison, and McCain introduced legislation that would affect DREAMers, but without a pathway to citizenship. The timing is curious, especially since both Kyl and Hutchinson are retiring.
More in-depth analysis to come later, but following are the some of the requirements for the initial W-1 visa (which would allow individuals to go to college or join the military, and grants work authorization, ability to travel, no benefit to other family members).  There is then the opportunity to apply for two additional visas, each with their own additional respective fees, including fees for renewal. There is no direct pathway to citizenship. Some of the key requirements for the initial W-1 Visa include:
·         Must have entered the U.S. prior to age 14
·         Must be under the age of 29 on day of enactment, or 32 if individual has a college degree
·         5 years continuous presence on day of enactment
·         High school diploma or GED
·         Good moral character, no felonies, not more than one misdemeanor with a jail term of 30 days with certain exceptions, no crimes of “moral turpitude” and no final order of removal
·         $525 fee

Click here for the language of the so-called "Achieve Act."


November 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Undocumented Immigrants for TIME Person of the Year

From Gaby Pacheco

Just wanted to let you know that TIME magazine is currently seeking for its yearly person of the year.  Although, I think this honor is going to be given to the much deserved activist Malala Yousafzai, Undocumented Immigrants can win the popular vote.  The winner of the people's choice for the person who most influenced the news this year for better or worse will be announced on December 14. Voting closes at 11:59 PM on December 12th.
You can vote here.
Please share with your family and friends and vote.  This is something extremely powerful! The more undocumented people get recognize and reminded they are part of this nation, the higher the likelihood we will not be ignored.

November 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

National Study of Domestic Service Workers

STEVEN GREENHOUSE of the N.Y. Times reports that domestic service workers -- nannies, caregivers and housecleaners  -- earn a median wage of about $10 an hour, and few receive benefits like health insurance or paid sick days, according to the first-ever national statistical study of domestic workers, which is released yesterday. The study, based on interviews with 2,086 workers in 14 major metropolitan areas, found substantial differences in pay across ethnicity, immigration status and whether the worker lived with her employer.


In important respects, the study's fiondings are not particularly surprising.  The classic book on the plight of domestic service workers is Maid in the USA by Dr. Mary Romero, which was recently released its 10th Anniversary Edition.  Romero worked her way through graduate school as a domestic service worker and has many keen insights about the treatment of these workers.  She was an advisor on the National Study of Domestic Service Workers.



November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UCI Immigration Clinic Prevails in Defending Rights of Immigrant Workers

Eighteen hotel employees reached a $130,000 settlement with HEI Hotels and Resorts over denial of meal and rest breaks required by California law. The settlement arose from claims filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement by employees of the Hilton Long Beach and Executive Meeting Center, owned and managed by HEI.

In hearings before the Labor Commissioner, workers described facing direct pressure from supervisors to work through meals and to skip rest breaks to keep up with increasingly heavy workloads. Some employees suffered injuries due to the unremitting nature of their work. Employees in the hotel’s kitchen, restaurant, room service, banquet services and housekeeping departments stepped forward to participate in the legal action. Most of the workers are “back of the house” monolingual Spanish speakers.

Under California law, employers must establish practices that do not discourage workers from exercising their right to full 30-minute meal periods and 10-minute rest breaks. The workers, current and former Long Beach Hilton employees, were supported in their efforts by UNITE HERE Local 11 and represented by the UC Irvine School of Law-Immigrant Rights Clinic and Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.

"Like many at the hotel, I worked through my breaks for years while rushing from room to room changing beds and scrubbing floors," said Maria Patlan, a Hilton housekeeper. "I hope this money will help teach the Hilton Long Beach a lesson in how to treat people like me."


"Through persuasive testimony and painstaking analysis of time records, workers, law students, and public interest lawyers overcame the odds in a challenging area of the law. They showed that groups of employees with dedicated legal support can hold employers accountable for worsening conditions of work in the low-wage sector," said Sameer Ashar, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine School of Law.

Click here for more details.


November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Multilingualism and Multiculturalism: Transatlantic Discourses on Language, Identity, and Immigrant Schooling by Rosemary C. Salomone


Multilingualism and Multiculturalism: Transatlantic Discourses on Language, Identity, and Immigrant Schooling by Rosemary C. Salomone St. John's University - School of Law November 12, 2012 Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 87, p. 2031, 2012 St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-0020

Abstract: This essay explores the interconnections among language, identity, and schooling as they relate to the right of linguistic minority children to a “meaningful” education. In doing so, it uses contrasting discourses on multilingualism and multiculturalism in the United States and Western Europe as a framework for examining how history and politics have shaped attitudes on immigrants and their languages and how the current political rhetoric at times defies the reality of education policies. It begins with the United States, where the argument for preserving immigrant languages in the schools enjoys diminishing political and legal support despite widespread embrace of an unofficial “multiculturalism lite” in a society that prides itself on its diverse immigrant roots. By way of contrast, the essay discusses Western European nations where most notably the European Commission and the Council on Europe officially promote multilingualism (in certain “national” languages) in the interests of European integration. Meanwhile, in the face of mounting immigration, multiculturalism has come under broad attack, even among European leaders, as harmful to a cohesive society. Bilingualism for immigrant children, moreover, is afforded low priority, if at all, among European educators and policymakers. In response to these challenges and seeming contradictions, the essay examines research findings supporting the emotional and academic benefits that students derive when schools affirm their home language. It thereby makes the case for recognizing immigrant languages not as a negative barrier to social and political integration but as a critical constituent of culture and identity and a positive national resource. In conclusion, it calls on both European supranational institutions, historically standard bearers in protecting language rights as human rights, and the United States federal government, to articulate an overall vision of immigrant schooling that state actors can put into practice within a range of linguistic and culturally sensitive approaches informed by transnational research, dialogue, and collaboration.


November 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Immigration Policy in the Next Administration

From the NY Immigration Coalition:

Latino voters were decisive in the last election, giving renewed momentum for immigration reform in the next Congress. What would be the likely dimensions of immigration reform legislation? Where might the two parties compromise in order to move reform forward? What are the implications for the U.S. economy and labor market? Join Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the New York Immigration Coalition for a discussion on these issues and more.
Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
Jorge Pérez, Senior Vice President, Manpower North America
Muzaffar Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute Office at NYU School of Law
Moderator: Jason Marczak Director of Policy, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
*Additional panelists to be confirmed
Monday, December 3, 2012
Registration: 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Presentation: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Reception: 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
680 Park Avenue
New York, NY
Prior registration is required.
Registration is complimentary for all NYIC - affiliated organizations. If you are an NYIC - affiliated organization, please contact Melanie Reyes at or 212-627-2227 Ext. 238 to register.


November 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Arab America by Nadine Naber


Arab America by Nadine Naber.  Part of the Nation of Newcomers Series, NYU Press, 2012

Arab Americans are one of the most misunderstood segments of the U.S. population, especially after the events of 9/11. In Arab America, Nadine Naber tells the stories of second generation Arab American young adults living in the San Francisco Bay Area, most of whom are political activists engaged in two culturalist movements that draw on the conditions of diaspora, a Muslim global justice and a Leftist Arab movement. Writing from a transnational feminist perspective, Naber reveals the complex and at times contradictory cultural and political processes through which Arabness is forged in the contemporary United States, and explores the apparently intra-communal cultural concepts of religion, family, gender, and sexuality as the battleground on which Arab American young adults and the looming world of America all wrangle. As this struggle continues, these young adults reject Orientalist thought, producing counter-narratives that open up new possibilities for transcending the limitations of Orientalist, imperialist, and conventional nationalist articulations of self, possibilities that ground concepts of religion, family, gender, and sexuality in some of the most urgent issues of our times: immigration politics, racial justice struggles, and U.S. militarism and war.


November 27, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking by Hila Shamir


A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking by Hila Shamir, Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law November 6, 2012 UCLA Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2012

Abstract: Although human trafficking has gained unprecedented national and international attention and condemnation over the past decade, the legal instruments developed to combat this phenomenon have thus far proved insufficient. In particular, current efforts help an alarmingly small number of individuals out of the multitudes currently understood as falling under the category of trafficked persons, and even in these few cases, the assistance provided is of questionable value. This Article thus calls for a paradigm shift in anti-trafficking policy: a move away from the currently predominant human rights approach to trafficking and the adoption of a labor approach that targets the structure of labor markets prone to severely exploitative labor practices. This labor paradigm, the Article contends, offers more effective strategies for combating trafficking. After establishing the case for the labor paradigm, the Article suggests how it can be incorporated into existing anti-trafficking regimes. The Article proposes five measures for implementing anti-trafficking policies grounded on the labor approach: prevent the criminalization and deportation of workers who report exploitation; eliminate binding arrangements; reduce recruitment fees and the power of middlemen; guarantee the right to unionize; and extend and enforce the application of labor and employment laws to vulnerable workers. Finally, the Article analyzes why this paradigm has yet to be adopted and responds to some of the main objections to a paradigm shift.


November 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Human Rights Summit

Human Rights First invites you to the upcoming Human Rights Summit from December 4–5 featuring a panel on “Where is the common ground in fixing our broken immigration system” on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 8:30 am (doors open at 8:15 am) at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

The panel will include, a video message from former Governor Jeb Bush (Florida), opening remarks by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and a discussion featuring Dr. Richard Land, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention, Thomas F. McLarty, President, McLarty Associates, and James W. Ziglar, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute and Senior Counsel, Van Ness Feldman, moderated by Ted Alden, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations. Please register today.


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DACA and Your Workplace Rights


The National Immigration Law Center has received many questions about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Many of them are about your rights in the workplace, both when you are applying for deferred action and after your application has been approved. This FAQ is intended to answer your questions about DACA and your workplace rights and to provide information that may be helpful when you apply for and after you’ve been granted deferred action under the DACA program.


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Center for Forced Migration Studies' Summer Institute: "The Refugee Status Determination Process" June 2–9, 2013

The Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS) Summer Institute is an intensive eight-day, non-degree earning certificate program. Through lectures, focused discussions, workshops and simulation exercises, the CFMS Summer Institute, held at Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, IL, provides a forum to exchange ideas, build relationships, develop new approaches and policy recommendations and learn about new developments in the field.

Past participants have included government officials, non-governmental organization personnel, university faculty and graduate students (select advanced undergraduate students may seek permission to attend). Applicants must have good to excellent English speaking and reading skills. No translation services are available.

The 2013 Summer Institute on The Refugee Status Determination Process introduces participants to the legal basis for refugee status and the variations in how authorities in different countries determine whether an asylum-seeker is eligible for refugee status. It provides students with guidance and workshops on case preparation including taking testimony, evidence documentation, working with victims of trauma and with issues of credibility and includes a focus on special topics such as LGBTI and gang-related asylum claims and cases involving unaccompanied minors.

Faculty include:

Deborah Anker (Harvard University);

Barbara Harrell-Bond, (University of Oxford);

Michael Kagan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas);

Uzoamaka Nzliebe (Northwestern University);

Miriam Marton (University of Connecticut); and

representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Division.


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Asian-American says Latinos not only ones hit by Ariz. immigration law

Here is interesting reading on the impact of Arizona's S.B. 1070 on Asian Americans.  The impact on Latinos is well-known.


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sign of the Immigration Times: A New Immigrant Detainee Intercultural Center

Intercultural center

Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a newly-established Detainee Intercultural Center at the El Paso Processing Center in Texas.  ICE stated that it "is a place where men and women in ICE custody can reflect, meditate and worship. The modest 13-by-55 foot structure is part of the existing building."

"The El Paso Processing Center is the only ICE detention facility in the country with such a dedicated center," said Sandra Marinelarena, the interim assistant field office director, addressing the group of attendees at the center's dedication ceremony held in early October.

The Obama administration detained a record 425,000+ immigrants in fiscal year 2011. 


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Naturalization Ceremony on the Today Show

On Friday, November 16, USCIS welcomed 30 new citizens during a naturalization ceremony televised live on the Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas provided the call of countries and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano administered the oath ceremony. 


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

6 Steps for President Obama on Immigration Reform NOW

Pablo Alvarado, Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, offers these six steps on immigration reform for President Obama:

1. Stop the quota of 400,000 deportations per year.

 2. Uncover the truth about the practice of immigration enforcement. 

3. Terminate the dangerous "Secure Communities" program.

4. Change leadership at ICE and DHS.

5. Bring Sheriff Joe Arpaio to justice.

6. Grant lawful status to civil rights and labor leaders.

Any thoughts from our readers?


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Maintaining the Diversity Lottery?

In his latest installment on Nation of Immigrators, Angelo Paparelli advocates keeping the diversity visa lottery and not eliminating it in immigration reform. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The U.S. Department of State's website has more information about its operation.

I am not as sure about the benefits of the "serendipity" of the diversity visa program, which in many ways is a stacked lottery akin to gambling in Las Vegas.  Originally designed to benefit the Irish, the diversity visa program has been criticized for, as Professor Stephen Legomsky (now Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) put it, being "anti-diversity," see Stephen H. Legomsky, Immigration, Equality and Diversity, 31 COLUM. J. TRANSNT’L L. 319 (1993).  It disqualifies from eligibility prospective immigrants from Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, and other nations that send a steady flow of immigrants to the United States each year (and add to the diversity of the U.S. population).

I guess that what I would hope for is a better justification for keeping the diversity visa program in light of the other national immigration priorities that we must address. 


November 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)