Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is Pomona College Anti-Immigrant?

From Unite Here:

Dear Friends,

On December 2, 2011, Pomona College fired Carmen, her mother Felipa, and her brother-in-law Rogelio after an investigation into their work authorization documents. Now, Carmen and the Pomona community are speaking out in a new video. Watch it here.

Pomona is a college, not a greedy corporation. This was not an ICE raid. A federal agency did not prompt this investigation. The firings come in the midst of workers' efforts to form a union – an effort Pomona College has opposed.

Help us spread the word about Pomona's attack on immigrant workers by sharing the video with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

By spreading this video, we'll put Pomona College's despicable behavior in the national spotlight, and persuade the College to rethink the disrespectful way it treats workers


February 11, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Support Pacific Steel Workers

From the Interfaith Coalition:

Join us Friday, Feb. 17th, to march with the unjustly fired Pacific Steel Workers!

Dear Interfaith Supporters of Immigrant Rights,

The unjustly fired workers of Pacific Steel have specially invited the faith community to stand and walk beside them on this march as they publicly and boldly march for their dignity in the face of fear and intimidation from ICE.

Please wear religious garb or white as a symbol of peace, unity and strength.

Friday, Feb. 17th, 10am -12:30pm
March from Berkeley Old City Hall to Pacific Steel Plant
Ending with Solidarity Program. Click here for the flyer.

Meet at 2134 Martin Luther King Way, Berkeley, CA


February 11, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Taking Care of Our Vets? Banish Them to Rosarito Beach

This story by Cindy Carcamo of the Orange County Registe left me scratching my head and thinking "How can we do this in America?" Just south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Rosarito in Baja California, a group of about a dozen veterans who call themselves the "Banished Veterans" are lobbying to change an immigration act that allows legal residents who commit certain crimes to be deported, despite his or her military service. The group has launched a website, Facebook page and created a network of advocates and attorneys who provide legal and emotional support to U.S. veterans who face deportation.


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

Hollywood Turns the Camera on Alabama Immigration Enforcement Law

On Wednesday, February 15, acclaimed director Chris Weitz ("A Better Life," "The Golden Compass," "About a Boy") will unveil a new fim series ("Is This Alabama?") that turns the lens on Alabama's harsh anti-immigration law, H.B. 56, and the Center for American Progress will release the report “Alabama’s Immigration Disaster: The Harshest Law in the Land Harms the State’s Economy and Society,” by journalist Tom Baxter, which goes even more in-depth into how this law is destroying the fabric of Alabama’s society and economy.

Pulitzer Prize-winning undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has spent a considerable amount of time in Alabama amplifying the stories of immigrants in the state, will lead the discussion on the film, the report, and the effects of the law.

On June 9, 2011, Alabama enacted H.B. 56—the most extreme state-level anti-immigrant bill passed to date. The act, designed to make every aspect of life unbearably difficult for undocumented immigrants living in Alabama, deploys fear as a weapon to marginalize and oppress an unwanted population just as segregationist policies did 50 years ago. It has been nine months since the law’s passage and its path of destruction is still palpable from children too afraid to come to school to potential economic losses of up to $10.8 billion.

Adding to the cacophony of voices opposed to H.B. 56, including leaders from the civil rights, faith, education, and business communities, is a new and notable voice: Hollywood.

The Center for American Progress, along with America’s Voice Educational Fund and Define American, invites th epublic for a closer look at the consequences of this extreme law.

Who: Chris Weitz, Director, "A Better Life"

Jose Antonio Vargas, Writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, and founder of Define American

Tom Baxter, Columnist, Saporta

Report Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy, Center for American Progress

When: February 15, 2012, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Center for American Progress 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005


February 11, 2012 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 10, 2012

From the Bookshelves: American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans

American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans contains essays by contemporary immigrant writers in America today. New from the Vilcek Foundation Press, American Odysseys is an anthology of twenty-two novelists, poets, and short story writers. Among the featured writers are Ethiopian-born Dinaw Mengestu, the recipient of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature; Yugoslavian-born Téa Obreht, the youngest author to receive the Orange Prize in Fiction; and Chinese-born Yiyun Li, a MacArthur Genius grantee. The foreword is by U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, the winner of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Literature.


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

Prop 8 Case and Same-Sex Marriages for Immigration

My comments on Prop 8 and same-sex marriages for immigration purposes:

From Huffington Post:

The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision striking down California's Proposition 8 attempt to take away marital rights from same-sex couples sends a strong immigration-reform message to Congress: it's time to allow U.S. citizens lawfully married to same-sex partners the opportunity to apply for lawful immigrant status. Under current law, prospective immigrants who want to immigrate through marriage can only do so if they are parties to a heterosexual relationship.

The history of the treatment of gays and lesbians under U.S. immigration laws is sordid. Beginning in 1917 with language directed at persons who were of "psychopathic inferiority" or "afflicted with psychopathic personality," Congress targeted gays and lesbians for immigration exclusion. Legislators reaffirmed their malevolence in 1965 with language excluding those with "sexual deviation." The constitutionality of the exclusion of homosexuals was upheld in Boutilier v. INS (1967), a deportation case. Even though Clive Boutilier had become a lawful immigrant, the Supreme Court determined that the legislative history of the exclusion laws indicated "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that Congress intended to exclude immigrants who were homosexuals via the "psychopathic personality" provision. As a result, the Court order Mr. Boutilier deported, because prior to his entry in the United States when he was twenty-one years old, he had engaged in homosexual activity. Since he was excludable at the time of his immigration, he could now be deported. After lengthy administrative battles within the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Public Health Service as well as judicial challenges, the exclusion ground finally was removed in 1990.

However, immigrant visas (green cards) for spouses U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents continue to be limited to spouses of the opposite sex. Ironically, in another Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision back in 1981 (Adams v. Howerton), the court ruled that the term "spouse" as used in the Immigration and Nationality Act was limited to marriages involving heterosexual relations. The court found that Congress had a rational basis for that limitation because "homosexual marriages never produce offspring, because they are not recognized in most, if in any, states, or because they violate traditional and often prevailing social mores." Even though times have changed since 1981, the Adams v. Howerton interpretation of the immigration laws prevails. As a result, the threat to deport the foreign national partner in such marriages continue. For example, Anthony Makk, an Australian citizen married to U.S. citizen Bradford Wells, only recently received a deportation reprieve. Makk, who is the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse, was ordered deported last summer, but has been permitted to remain another two years. . .

The way out of this inequity is the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA would allow U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration to the United States. The bill (and its predecessor) has been introduced into every subsequent Congress since the year 2000. Every year support has increased, and in the last Congress, more co-sponsors than ever before were garnered. In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), there was a record-breaking 135 co-sponsors in the House. And today there are more than 20 co-sponsors in the Senate. UAFA would amend the immigration laws by simply adding the term "permanent partner" in sections where "spouse" appears, thus ensuring that a non-citizen permanent partner may receive the same immigration benefits that a non-citizen spouse now receives. Read more...


February 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) today launches a new, interactive web feature highlighting state and local immigration initiatives across the country. This feature is publically available for free, thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation. In 2007, CLINIC created a project to support advocates working to address the growing number of restrictionist immigration measures proposed and enacted at the state and local levels. After the collapse of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, approximately 500 immigration-related bills were introduced by state legislators. By 2008, the number of proposed immigration-related bills had tripled to 1,562. In 2011, legislatures in all 50 states considered at least one measure related to immigrants, the most notably being the legislation enacted in Arizona. CLINIC'S cutting-edge online resource provides practitioners, advocates, and the general public with legal and policy analyses, technical assistance, and advocacy tools such as statements from U.S. Catholic bishops, Q&As, talking points, and issue briefs. "For almost 25 years, CLINIC has provided critical support to the country's largest network of charitable legal immigration service providers," said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC's executive director.


February 10, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano's 2nd Annual Address on the State of America's Homeland Security: Homeland Security and Economic Security

In this speech, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano outlines, among other thinbgs, how DHS has bolstered immigration and border enforcement. Indeed, she proclaims that :The Obama administration has undertaken the most serious and sustained actions to secure our borders in our nation’s history. And it is clear from every measure we currently have that this approach is working."


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

Champions of Change: American Diaspora Communities

On Monday, January 30th, the White House honored 14 leaders in American Diaspora communities with roots in the Horn of Africa as Champions of Change. These leaders are helping to build stronger neighborhoods in communities across the country, and are working to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.


February 10, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Assistant Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the American Constitution Society Southeast Symposium on State Immigration Laws

On February 7, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tony West delivered remarks on the Department of Justices’ state immigration preemption litigation at the American Constitution Society Southeast Symposium on State Immigration Laws in Atlanta, GA. In those remarkes, West, among other things, West commented on the deleterious effects of Alabama's immigrtaion enforcement law:

"My colleague, Civil Rights Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, and I have traveled to Alabama several times where we've heard accounts of children being kept out of school by fearful parents, and school officials who told us of the precipitous drop in the enrollment of Latino students when the school year started this past September; utility companies denying or discontinuing heat, water or electricity, citing their concerns about violating the contracting prohibitions of the Alabama statute; and landlords evicting immigrants and their families as fall and winter approached."


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


LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: A GUIDE FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS BRAND NEW FOR 2012! This 73-page guide contains valuable information, tips, and resources to help undocumented students navigate life after graduation. While initially it may seem as though undocumented students have limited options upon graduating from college, this guide is intended to shed light on the possibilities that do exist. The guide has been written to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible by including personal narratives, student testimonials and advice from experts. We hope that undocumented students and allies read through this guide and walk away feeling encouraged and unafraid of the next steps. Author: Iliana Perez Download here

"The guide is an inspirational and practical resource for students who are facing challenging dilemmas on how to continue in higher education or earn a living. Students can learn that real options are available and connect with supportive allies in the community like E4FC.” -- Bill Ong Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law

“The Life After College Guide is excellent. It is probably the most valuable guide produced so far for undocumented students, and it is written BY undocumented students, which is wonderful. This will be an invaluable guide to undocumented students who are in high school, university, and have already graduated.” -- Mark Silverman, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

"The Life After College Guide is a thorough, practical resource for undocumented students trying to navigate the complexities of earning a living, society, and immigration law. I highly recommend it." -- Stephen Yale-Loehr, Cornell Law School

About the Author: ILIANA PEREZ was born in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico and immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old. With the support and encouragement from her parents, family and friends, she graduated with academic and university honors from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Econom­ics. Upon graduation, Iliana went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Global Political Economy and Finance at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She believes that every student deserves the right to an education regardless of legal status. Because of her personal and educational history, she feels committed to bringing change to immigrant communities in the U.S. and later to commu­nities in Mexico. Iliana would like to embark on an academic career that will ultimately prepare her for a career in academia as a professor. Iliana is currently a first-year doctoral student in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.


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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

U.S. Immigration Law's Impacts on Families and Juveniles

Families and children often are in the immigration news.  CNN tells the tragic story of a U.S. citizen who was murdered in Mexico while he waited with his Mexican national wife to obtain the necessary pwaperwork to come lawfully to this country.

On a more optimistic note, Public Counsel’s Kristen Jackson has the cover story in the Los Angeles Lawyer about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. "Sitting largely unnoticed on a single page of the Immigration and Nationality Act is a unique classification whose purpose is not only to benefit immigrant children but also to do so consistent with accepted child welfare principles and with international norms. This classification is known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS.”  She concludes:  “SIJS has not opened the floodgates to unauthorized immigration, but it has changed thousands of children’s and adoptive parents’ lives. The DREAM Act has the same potential to transform politics, policy, and the futures of many people.”

Also focusing on juveniles and teh U.S. immigration laws, Elizabeth Frankel (Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago) has published an article in the Duke Forum on Law and Social Change entitled "Detention and Deportation with Inadequate Due Process: The Devastating Consequences of Juvenile Involvement with Law Enforcement for Immigrant Youth."  The article focuses on the growing population of immigrant children apprehended each year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after coming into contact with state and local police. It examines how these youth are forced to navigate two competing custodial and legal systems—the juvenile justice and immigration systems—with the likely result that they will end up detained for lengthy periods of time and ultimately deported. The article argues that the unique needs and vulnerabilities of these children gives rise to a due process right to counsel at government expense.


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

It is Almost Baseball Season! Cheering for the Criminal Alien


Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Professor Capital) discusses the recent arrest in the Dominican Republic of Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona for allegedly lying about his name and age to get signed as a baseball player. His take on the arrest, and its possible immigration consequences in seeking to return to the United States, in “Cheering for the Criminal Alien” is interesting.


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

Maryland Panel Makes Recommendations on Immigration

From the University of Maryland:

'Common Sense' Immigration Policy Recommended by Maryland State Panel

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Immigrants to Maryland contribute significantly to the state's economy, and were vital to its workforce expansion in both technical and less-skilled occupations from 2000 to 2010, concludes a new report by a Maryland commission. During this period, immigrants mostly complemented rather than competed with U.S.-born state residents for jobs, it adds.

The Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland, a state panel coordinated by the University of Maryland, evaluated the economic contributions of the state's foreign-born and the cost of government services for them. It also studied the education experience of the children of immigrants, immigration law enforcement issues facing local communities, and the use of the federal E-Verify system to verify workers' immigration status.

The panel's final report, "The Impact of Immigrants in Maryland," says the state's foreign-born workers accounted for more than 57 percent of workforce expansion from 2000 to 2010. This was well above the national average of 45 percent.

Also, the report urges legislators to take a long view of immigration, which will show that the benefits significantly outweigh the costs, even the short run fiscal costs of providing state and local services. It says the state would be "foolhardy" to shortchange the education of immigrants' children, who will be part of the state's future workforce.

"The panel has adopted a common sense approach that we believe reflects the will of the State," says Commission Chair Larry Shinagawa, a University of Maryland professor and demographer. "We've based our findings on the demographic and economic facts and the legal responsibilities of Maryland's jurisdictions, and we believe our recommendations can help the State leverage global energy and talent to continue as a diverse, prosperous, and dynamic community."

The General Assembly authorized the commission in 2008, and the panel first met in 2010. As staff director, University of Maryland economist Jeffrey Werling, who directs the university's econometric research center, Inforum, coordinated the work of the panel, which included representatives from the governor's office, both houses of the Assembly, and the private sector. Together, they scoured data sources and immigration literature and interviewed dozens of witnesses.

Among the report's major findings and recommendations:

"Immigrants have made considerable contributions to Maryland's leading industries in the information, science, and medical fields," the report says, pointing to evidence from 2000 to 2010. Additionally, unskilled immigrants play important roles in agriculture, seafood, construction, tourism, and transportation.

"Without the influx of foreign-born workers, expansion in these labor-intensive industries would have been choked off, increasing prices and discouraging growth across the economy," it finds.

The report did note that when economic growth is weak, competition from new immigrants may lead to lower wages and contribute to unemployment among lower-skilled workers. "Notably, when it occurs, the negative effects of new immigration are most concentrated on the wage and employment opportunities of previous low-skilled immigrants.”

Foreign-born workers' contribution to economic growth largely supplies the tax and other resources needed to cope with the larger population that immigration produces, the report says.

A 2007 Congressional Budget Office report concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, immigrants pay more in federal, state, and local taxes than they use in government services.

The rapid influx of lesser-skilled immigrants can strain the capacity of state and local government budgets to supply health and education services. About three-fourths of the costs of serving immigrants, regardless of legal status, involve providing a public education for their children - services the U.S. Supreme Court says cannot be denied. Many of these children are U.S. citizens.

The report finds that immigrants are less likely to commit violent crime than the U.S.-born, and it urges communities to be wary of federal programs designed to engage local police agencies in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

There are two major programs that can involve local law enforcement agencies. Under "Secure Communities,"  fingerprints of those arrested for any criminal offense that are sent for identification to the FBI are automatically forwarded to immigration officials to determine whether the person in custody is subject to deportation. A second program,  "287(g)," creates a partnership that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration law.

The Commission's recommendation: "Programs that enroll local law agencies in enforcing immigration law can work against the interests of Maryland's communities. Local jurisdictions should engage with these programs only under certain conditions."

The education of children of immigrant parents provides many challenges to public school systems, the report finds. Some immigrant youth feel a sense of isolation from their communities and pessimism surrounding their futures, failing to get into a positive cycle of academic enrichment, extracurricular activities, and social engagement.

"Regardless of their status, it is most likely that the children of unauthorized immigrants will be part of the labor force over the coming decades," the report says. "This labor force will underpin the U.S. and Maryland economies, not to mention the Social Security and Medicare benefits that current workers expect to receive. It would be foolhardy, then, for state and local communities to withhold education and other opportunities from those future workers."

To insure Maryland's continued global economic and technical leadership, the state must redouble its efforts to provide superior education at every level to all young residents, including the foreign-born, regardless of immigration status, the report concludes.

A full copy of the report is available online:

Neil Tickner
UMD Public Affairs

Larry Shinagawa, Ph.D.
Commission Chair
UMD Professor and Director of Asian American Studies

Jeffrey Werling, Ph.D.
Commission Staff Director
Executive Director of UMD Inforum Economic Research Center


February 9, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

International and European Migration Call for Papers


Utrecht Journal of International and European Law

The Editorial Board of Merkourios, the Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, invites you to take notice of our new Call for Papers concerning the subject of International and European Migration Law. We kindly request for the distribution of this Call among professors, colleagues and (PhD-)students. Contact for more information. April 23 deadline.

We thank you for your time and consideration.


On Behalf of the Merkourios Board of Editors
Mindy Cooper
Executive Editor
Merkourios, Utrecht Journal of International and European Law


February 9, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Terrorist Watch List Challenge to No-Fly Rule Re-instated

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A Stanford student who was arrested at San Francisco International Airport in 2005 before being allowed to fly to her native Malaysia can sue the U.S. government over her apparent inclusion on its no-fly list, which has kept her from re-entering the United States, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated a lawsuit by Rahinah Ibrahim, who says she was mistakenly placed on a terrorist watch list - a list whose government overseers have acknowledged thousands of errors in the past decade.

The Department of Homeland Security maintains lists of hundreds of thousands of passengers who allegedly pose a risk of terrorism or air piracy, information it shares with airlines. Those on the no-fly list are barred from boarding. Those on the larger "selectee" list can fly but are subjected to additional searches.

Ibrahim's status is unclear. When she arrived at an SFO ticket counter in January 2005, a clerk said he found her name on a no-fly list and called police, who - after contacting federal authorities - handcuffed her and held her in a cell at the airport for two hours.

She was released and allowed to fly the next day, with extra searches at each stop. But when she tried to return two months later, an airport agent in Kuala Lumpur turned her away and said she was subject to arrest. A month after that, the U.S. consulate said her student visa had been revoked under a terrorism law, an explanation that was repeated when she reapplied in 2009. Read more...


February 9, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Call on Honda, Hyndai, Daimler to Oppose Alabama HB 56

From the Campaign for Community Change:

The Campaign for Community Change is joining with labor, civil rights and human rights organizations today to call on foreign-owned automakers doing business in Alabama to speak out against the state’s vehemently anti-immigrant law.
To date, none of the foreign automakers have voiced an opinion on the law, H.B. 56.
“Their silence is akin to an endorsement of the law, and if they feel otherwise, the automakers must stand up and speak out against the law, and call for its repeal,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Campaign for Community Change. “Foreign investors should realize that the law targets anyone who is not a U.S. citizen.”
The Campaign for Community Change is part of a national effort to get the top three foreign automakers in Alabama, Daimler AG, Honda and Hyundai, to join the effort to repeal H.B. 56. Information on the campaign can be found at


February 8, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Multimedia Contest

From the American Immigration Council:

The American Immigration Council Seeks Entries to New National Multimedia Contest

The American Immigration Council is calling all young filmmakers and photographers to submit to the 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The contest invites young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities through video and other multimedia projects. The first place prize is $1,000! Projects should focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and exploring immigration's impact on our everyday lives.

Who is eligible?

Young adults between the ages of 16-25 are eligible to submit entries.  Both individual and group entries are permitted, however there is a single cash prize for first, second and third place.

What do we mean by “multimedia”?

Acceptable entries include videos projects or photo essays. (Check out these examples created in iMovie and Power Point)

How technical does my project need to be?

Your story and the way you tell it matter more than how sophisticated your technical abilities are.

Is there a time limit?

Entries should be no more than 5 minutes in length.

How do we enter the contest?

There are two ways to submit entries.

Submit a complete and signed entry form and a copy of the multimedia file on a CD or DVD, to the American Immigration Council “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest , 1331 G Street N.W. Suite 200, Washington, DC  20005.

Submit your video entry via your own YouTube account.  Send us an email, attach a complete and signed entry form and a link to the submission on your YouTube account. Type "2012 MULTIMEDIA Contest" in the subject line. We will add the content on the American Immigration Council’s Playlist on YouTube. (When submitting your videos please tag the content with the following: “American Immigration Council’s “Change in Motion” Multimedia contest 2012.)  

Who will judge the contest?

The winners will be chosen by representatives of the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a panel of distinguished judges.

What criteria will be used to select the winner?

The multimedia entries will be judged on the basis of concept, originality, creativity, aesthetics, technical execution and relevance.

What is the prize?

There are first ($1,000), second ($500) and third place ($250) prizes.

What is the deadline?

The deadline is Midnight EST, April 17, 2012.

For more information, including the rules and terms of the contest, please visit our Multimedia Contest page or email


February 8, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tell Cook County to Stand Behind ICE Detainer Ordinance

From the National Immigrant Justice Center:

Action Alert

Tell Cook County to Stay Strong on Immigration Detainer Ordinance

Five months ago, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance to keep taxpayers from picking up the tab for federal immigration enforcement.  For years, the federal government has issued “detainers” that instruct local police to hold individuals after their authority has expired and until immigration agents can take custody, costing Cook County residents millions of dollars each year.

The county board found that the vast majority of individuals held on detainers had only minor criminal charges, and that the federal detainer policy dissuaded immigrant victims and witnesses from stepping forward to report crimes.

The county ordinance is a good policy that protects public safety and reserves limited law enforcement resources.

But the board is now rethinking its vote.

Tell Cook County commissioners to stand behind the original ordinance rejecting these costly detainers.

Why is the Board reconsidering the ordinance?

U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the media are exploiting one family’s tragic loss to fuel anti-immigrant fear and strong-arm Cook County into paying for federal immigration enforcement.

Saul Chavez killed Chicagoan William McCann while driving drunk last summer. A Cook County judge gave Chavez, an undocumented immigrant with a DUI conviction, an uncharacteristically low bond, which Chavez paid. Chavez has since disappeared, and officials suspect he returned to Mexico.

The McCann family deserves justice, but the solution does not lie in the detainer ordinance. Here’s the problem:  had Cook County honored ICE’s detainer request, Chavez would have been deported to Mexico within a matter of weeks. He would have never made it to a criminal trial. He would not have served a criminal sentence. Justice would not have been served.

This Thursday, the Cook County Board will hear testimony and they need to hear from you!  They may vote to amend the ordinance, costing Cook County taxpayers millions of dollars and harming immigrant communities who help local police keep criminals off the streets.

Tell the Board that immigrants are not scapegoats for a broken criminal justice system. Stand behind the immigration detainer ordinance.

Thank you for speaking out.


Tara Tidwell Cullen
National Immigrant Justice Center


February 8, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Best Super Bowl Story: Blind Haitian Immigrant Attends Super Bowl, Son Stars for the Winning Team

Here is the best Super Bowl Story.  And, no, it is not about Madonna, Clint Eastwood, or Eli Manning.  Haitian American footballer, Jason Pierre-Paul, helped lead his team, the New York Giants, to a win in Super Bowl XLVI. Pierre-Paul anchored the Giants' defense as his blind Haitian-born father, Jean Pierre-Paul, sat in the stands, experiencing his first Super Bowl and listening to the game in French.



February 8, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)