Saturday, February 18, 2012

287(g) Agreements on Way Out?

It look likes the Obama administration will be phasing out the 287(g) programs in which the U.S. government trained state and local law enforcement officers to enforce the U.S. immigration laws. The administration is using budget cutting to justify not signing any new contracts with state and local governments and terminating the least productive agreements.

The U.S. government had experienced some problems with the 287(g) programs with state and local police overzealously enforcing the immigrtaion laws. For example, the Department of Homeland Security had to cancel the contract with Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio) after a Justice Department investigation confirmed what was in the newspapers for years -- that the office had been engaging in a systematic violation of the civil rights of immigrants and Latinos.

But the administration is not abandoning its efforts to use state and local law enforcement to assist in enforcing the U.S. immigration laws. The administration has put its money on Secure Communities, which it views as a more efficient way to deport noncitizens arrested by state and local law enforcement.


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

Usual Suspects Support Arizona in SB1070 Case

From Immigration Impact:

Following the filing last week of Arizona’s brief defending SB 1070, the Supreme Court has received a barrage of briefs supporting the notorious immigration law from a none-too-surprising array of suspects. As might be expected, the arguments range from the predictable (that the Obama Administration fails to enforce the immigration laws) to the provocative (that states can carry out all immigration functions short of deportation) to the preposterous (that the Constitution allows Arizona to wage war against an “invasion” of immigrants). Of course, while neither Arizona nor their lawyers can be held responsible for the arguments of outside organizations, the briefs still offer a revealing look at the identities and motivations of SB 1070’s most ardent supporters.

Like Arizona, many of the state’s supporters spill a great deal of ink on the impact of unauthorized immigration on Arizona itself. Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls Phoenix the “kidnapping capital of the United States,” for example, while the American Civil Rights Union (not to be confused with the ACLU) dubs Arizona “ground zero for the illegal immigration tidal wave.” But while these issues deserve attention from a policy perspective, they are utterly irrelevant from a legal standpoint. Why? Because the issue facing the Supreme Court is not whether Arizona alone has authority to pass SB1070, but whether any state can enact such a law.

Perhaps aware of this point, a brief from a coalition of conservative organizations—including the Gun Owners of America and the English First Foundation—makes a stunning (and scary) argument: that the level of unauthorized immigration from Mexico constitutes an “invasion” against which Arizona may constitutionally wage war. According to the brief, if “it is possible to fight a war against the amorphous idea of ‘terrorism,’ then it is certainly possible for the people of Arizona to take steps to protect themselves against the very real, visible illegal alien force that has invaded their State.”

Also like Arizona, many of the state’s supporters parrot the claim that the Obama administration systematically fails to enforce federal immigration laws. Of course, this claim is as false as it is predictable, for as we noted last week, the Obama administration is on pace (if the President is re-elected) to deport as many immigrants as the last four Presidents combined. More importantly, even if the President did have a systematic non-enforcement policy, it would have no legal significance whatsoever, because the question before the Supreme Court is whether Congress has preempted states from passing laws like SB 1070, not the President.

Even when discussing legally relevant issues, the state’s supporters are no more persuasive. For example, a brief filed by sixteen state Attorneys General (all but one Republican) says local police should have authority to arrest undocumented immigrants—even without federal confirmation of their immigration status—simply because they are more likely to come across them on a day-to-day basis. The State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) also contend that local police can take any action against immigrants “short of deportation.”  But under this line of reasoning, local police would have the authority to arrest people for any conceivable violation of federal law, thereby creating a de facto national police force and giving Congress no incentive to hire more immigration agents. Read more....


February 18, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Michael Wishnie Named William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School


Yale Law School has announced that Michael Wishnie, a clinical professor of law at Yale Law School and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (LSO), has been named the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School.


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

2012 Conable Conference in International Studies Refugees, Asylum Law, and Expert Testimony: The Construction of Africa & the Global South in Comparative Perspective Rochester Institute of Technology April 12-14, 2012

2012 Conable Conference in International Studies Refugees, Asylum Law, and Expert Testimony: The Construction of Africa & the Global South in Comparative Perspective Rochester Institute of Technology April 12-14, 2012

Specialists are increasingly invited to comment on the petitions of asylum seekers and refugees from Africa and the comparative Global South. Commentary may take a variety of forms, including consultation, written reports, formal affidavits and ‘live’ oral testimony and cross-examination in court.

The 2012 Conable Conference—convened jointly by the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University—proposes exploring new research situated at the dynamic interdisciplinary intersection of law, scholarship and activism pertaining to African asylum petitions and refugee status determination in a comparative international context. We are interested in new research exploring the construction of expertise and the emergence of ideas and the production of knowledge about Africa and the comparative Global South in the context of asylum petitions and refugee status determinations.


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

St. John's School of Law Conference: Border Patrols: The Legal, Racial, Social and Economic Implications of United States Immigration Policy

St. John's School of Law will be hosting a conference on "Border Patrols: The Legal, Racial, Social and Economic Implications of United States Immigration Policy."  This symposium provides a multi-disciplinary exploration of immigration issues that is thoughtful, intellectually rigorous, and provocative.


    Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development

    The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development


    St. John’s School of Law Education Law Society

    St. John’s University Committee for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Date:           Friday, March 16, 2012 Time 8 a.m.–7:30 p.m.

Location:     St. John’s School of Law 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

The speakers include, among others, Anna W. Shavers (University of Nebraska School of Law), Ira Mehlman (Federation for American Immigration Reform), Katherine L. Vaughns (University of Maryland), César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Capital University Law School), Michelle R. Slack (University of Oregon School of Law), Huyen Pham (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law), Liliana C. Yanez (CUNY School of Law), Maureen Sweeney (University of Maryland), Michael Olivas (University of Houston Law Center), Rosemary Salomone (St. John’s School of Law), Mark Noferi (Brooklyn Law School), Scott Titshaw (Mercer University School of Law), Leonard M. Baynes (St. John’s School of Law), Nora V. Demleitner (Hofstra Law School), Nicholas Espiritu (MALDEF), Michele Waslin (Immigration Policy Center), and Angelo Pappareli (Seyfarth Shaw).


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

Challenge to Anti-Immigrant Utah Law Heard Today

From Bloomberg News:

A Utah law requiring police to verify the immigration status of people arrested on felony charges violates the American Constitution and must be blocked, the U.S. Justice Department said.

That measure was included in a package of four bills signed into law last year by Governor Gary R. Herbert as parts of a legislative package he then called “the Utah solution” to undocumented immigration issues.

Justice Department lawyers in a hearing today are asking U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups in Salt Lake City for an order temporarily blocking the status verification law and two other statutes they say conflict with the constitutional powers of the federal government.

“In our constitutional system, the power to regulate immigration is exclusively vested in the federal government,” the U.S. argued in court papers. “The state of Utah has crossed this constitutional line.”

Attorneys for the federal government are also asking Waddoups to block enforcement of measures authorizing police to arrest without a warrant people they believe are subject to the removal order of an immigration judge and making it a felony to encourage or induce an undocumented alien to enter or settle in Utah. Read more...


February 17, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ICE Officers Shoot in Out, One Dead in Long Beach, California

Details currently are sketchy but stay tuned. UPDATE (2/18): It appears that an ICE officer was shot and killed after shooting a supervisory officer during a job performance counseling session.




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

Kansas Man With Truck Covered In Anti-Immigrant Stickers Arrested At State Capitol With Explosives

Think Progress had an interesting story from America's heartland yesterday:

"Yesterday, police arrested an unidentified man at the Kansas Capitol after discovering several homemade bombs in his truck close to the Kansas Capitol. The truck had stickers on its back window saying, “Welcome to America. Now speak English” and “Does my American flag offend you? Call 1-800-LEAVE THE USA.’’

This arrest came on the same day that Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an anti-immigrant official who drafted Arizona’s and Alabama’s harmful immigration laws, urged Kansas lawmakers to pass stricter immigration policies. Hundreds of peaceful protesters also showed up to the capitol to protest Kobach’s arrival."


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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Restrictive State Immigration Laws: Bad for the Economy

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Restrictive State Immigration Laws:
Questions Answered and Lessons Learned

Washington D.C. - This session, state legislatures around the country, including those in Mississippi and Kansas, are again considering harsh immigration-control laws. These laws are intended to make everyday life so difficult for unauthorized immigrants that they will choose to “self-deport” to their home countries. However, experience from states that have previously passed restrictive immigration laws, like Arizona and Alabama, shows that these laws can hinder prospects for economic growth and cost taxpayers millions to implement, defend and enforce.

The Immigration Policy Center is releasing two publications that explain the wide range of issues associated with these restrictive state immigration laws:

Q&A Guide to State Immigration Laws: What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-Immigrant Legislation (IPC Special Report, Updated February, 2010) 
This updated guide provides key answers to basic questions about state immigration-related laws—from the substance of the legislation and myths surrounding the debate to the legal and fiscal implications. As other states contemplate legislation, knowing the answers to these basic questions is critically important in furthering a rational discussion.

Bad for Business: How Harsh Anti-Immigration Legislation Drains Budgets and Damages States’ Economies (IPC Fact Check, February, 2012) 
This paper outlines some of the economic and fiscal lessons from states that have passed harsh immigration-control legislation.


February 16, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Armando Tejeda-Soto (Mexico)


Armando Tejeda-Soto is an artist who brings people together in the small Eastern Idaho town he lives in and has lived in since being brought here as a young boy. His vibrant paintings hang on the walls of local coffee shops and galleries. Armando inspires other artists to follow their passions. When Armando isn’t painting, he gives poetry readings at local gatherings, hikes in the beautiful Idaho wilderness, coaches soccer at his nephew’s elementary school, studies the Bible, and travels around town on his skateboard.

Armando is a high school graduate who hopes to one day go to college. He was recently arrested for driving without a license and is now facing deportation. Since Armando was placed in proceedings, his tight-knit siblings and friends have rallied to his support. Please take a moment and join them by signing this petition asking DHS lawyers to close his case. If Armando’s case is closed, he will be able to get a green card soon thanks to a petition filed for him years ago by his sister. If his case isn't closed, Armando will be hit with the 10 year bar to returning the minute he sets foot in Mexico - with no chance of waiving it.


February 16, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Season of Change: Reforming the H-2B Guestworker Program by Jayesh Rathod

"A Season of Change: Reforming the H-2B Guestworker Program" Clearinghouse Review, Vol. 45, Nos. 1-2, May-June 2011 JAYESH RATHOD, American University - Washington College of Law.

ABSTRACT:  The mistreatment of seasonal nonagricultural workers brought to the United States through the H-2B program is an area of concern for many immigration and workplace justice advocates. While recent proposed revisions of the H2-B regulations may bring some positive changes in the scheme, the H2-B program remains the same until the regulations are finalized. Examining the structure and flaws of the current H-2B framework shows that H-2B workers face many challenges, both when they try to participate in the program and when they try to challenge unfair treatment by their employers.


February 16, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Immigrant Worker Justice Blog

Here is a new blog by NELP’s Immigrant Worker Justice Project. The blog focuses on the intersection between immigration and labor law and policy, and highlights organizing campaigns by immigrant worker groups. 

The Newblog provides thoughtful analysis, informative articles, updates on the latest immigrant worker news, and the ability to connect with others in the immigrant worker justice movement.

It's run by NELP’s Immigrant Worker Justice Project, which works at the intersection of labor and immigration law and policy to promote justice and fairness for immigrant workers, in partnership with economic and immigrant justice movements.


February 15, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Is this Alabama? Live-Stream Documentary on HB 56

From the Center for American Progress:

In June 2011 Alabama enacted H.B. 56—the most extreme state-level anti-immigrant bill passed to date—which went into effect in September. Now Hollywood director Chris Weitz has turned the camera on Alabama and is asking “Is This Alabama?”

Watch a livestream of today's event "Is This Alabama?" at 1:00pm EST. Read more and watch this event here.


February 15, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ImmIgrants of the Day: NBA Star Jeremy Lin's Parents (Taiwan)

Jemery lin
Courtesy of NBA.Com

ImmigrationProf has decided to contribute to the media sensation -- dubbed "Lin-Sanity" -- over new NBA star Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. As we have heard, Lin was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Palo Alto, and went to Harvard.  His parents, Gie-Ming and Shirley, immigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1970s.  His paternal family comes from Beidou, Changhua in Taiwan (his great-grandfather immigrated to Taiwan from Zhangpu County, Fujian in mainland China, while his maternal grandmother is from Pinghu, Zhejiang in mainland China.


Watch Lin beat the Toronto Raptors on Valentine's Day 2012.


February 15, 2012 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Temporary Admissions of Nonimmigrants to the United States

here were more than 46 million nonimmigrant (temporary) admissions to the United States in 2010, the highest number in nearly three decades. Migration Policy Institute's Alicia Lee and Jeanne Batalova outline the definition of nonimmigrants and take a detailed look at the admissions data of tourists, international students, temporary workers, and other nonimmigrants.


February 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DREAM or NIGHTMARE? Why Congress Should Reject a Military-Only Version of the DREAM Act

Stephen Yale-Loeh posted an interesting critique of the military-only version of the DREAM Act on Nation of Immigrators.


February 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


We recently heard about the law enforcement problems in East Haven, Connecticut.   Now, let's here the latest from neighboring New Havem.

Eleven New Haven residents whose homes were illegally raided by immigration agents almost five years ago have reached a settlement of a civil rights lawsuit against top U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, local agents, and the U.S. government.

The plaintiffs and their counsel will announce the settlement at a press conference on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 10:30 AM at the Wilson Branch Library in New Haven, Connecticut.

The eleven men alleged that in the early morning hours of June 6, 2007, approximately 20 ICE agents together with other federal, state, and local officers spread out across the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Fair Haven, invaded homes without warrants or consent, and illegally seized and arrested the men. Agents drew their weapons, pushed through the doors of residents’ homes, banged on bedroom doors, forced several men out of bed, and frightened young children present in some of the homes. The raids came just two days after the Board of Aldermen had approved Mayor DeStefano’s proposal for an Elm City Resident Card program to offer identification cards to all New Haven residents without regard to immigration status.

The plaintiffs alleged that the raids were carried out in retaliation for the City’s municipal identification program and other integrationist measures, and that they were targeted solely on the basis of their Latino appearance. To settle the claims in Diaz-Bernal et al. v. Myers et al., No. 3:09-cv-1734-SRU (D. Conn. filed Oct. 28, 2009), the federal government will pay $350,000 and has offered plaintiffs the choice of either immigration relief known as deferred action or termination of pending deportation proceedings.

The agreement appears to be the largest monetary settlement ever paid by the United States in a suit over residential immigration raids, and the first to include both compensation and immigration relief. “I remember everything that happened to me that morning as if it were yesterday,” Edinson Yangua-Calva, one of the plaintiffs, stated.

“There are things I haven’t been able to get over, it is something that stays with you forever,” he explained. “This settlement means a lot to me,” stated Cristobal Serrano-Mendez, another plaintiff.

“Five years of pressure on the government has led to this agreement, and I think that the government knows it did something wrong.” Amilcar Soto Velasquez, another plaintiff, sees the settlement as an opportunity to tell other victims of raids and abuse that they should not become disillusioned. “They should keep fighting,” he stated.

The eleven Plaintiffs, Eduardo Diaz-Bernal, Florente Baranda-Barreto, Edilberto Cedeño-Trujillo, Washington Colala-Peñarreta, Julio Sergio Paredes-Mendez, Cristobal Serrano-Mendez, Jose Solano-Yangua, Silvino Trujillo-Mirafuentes, Gerardo Trujillo-Morellano, Amilcar Soto Velasquez and Edinson Yangua-Calva, were represented by law students and attorneys at the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School and pro bono counsel from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP of New York.


February 14, 2012 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

North Carolina Seeks To Sever Childrens' Ties to Deportee

From the Applied Research Center:

Over a year ago Felipe Montes was deported to Mexico, away from his wife and three children, the four of whom are U.S. Citizens. Now the North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) wants to take his kids away from him forever, claiming that he has no rights to his children because he is a deported immigrant. We only have one week before they petition to strip away Felipe's parental rights in court.

Help us save Felipe's family.

The Applied Research Center is partnering with to rally public support for Felipe Montes to be reunited with his three young sons. ARC's "Shattered Familes" report showed there are over 5,000 children currently in foster care who had their parents deported. Another 15,000 could be separated from their parents forever in the next five years. This is a growing national problem – and not one confined to border states.

Felipe's family is one of thousands of families devasted by immigration enforcement and child welfare systems that collide and greatly increase the chance that children will never see their families again. If enough of us speak out, we may be able to stop this.

Next week, Allegheny County’s DSS in North Carolina is planning to ask a judge to let them terminate Felipe’s parental rights and put his children up for adoption. We have a chance to prevent these three children from being separated from their family and possibly spark a national movement to keep this from happening again.

Please sign this petition to tell North Carolina's DSS to save Felipe's family:


February 14, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigrants Will Support Baby Boomers' Retirement

From the Immigration Policy Center:

The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers
Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers, by Walter Ewing, Ph.D.

The United States is in the midst of a profound demographic transformation that will long outlast the current economic downturn. In 2011, the first of the baby boomers—Americans born between 1946 and 1964—turned 65 years old. There are 77 million baby boomers, comprising nearly one quarter of the total population, and their eventual retirement will have an enormous impact on the U.S. economy.

There will be growing demand within the U.S. economy for younger workers and taxpayers as the number of working-age adults supporting those over 65 diminishes. More and more of these workers and taxpayers will be immigrants and the children of immigrants. Given these trends, and given the size of the predominantly white, native-born baby boom generation that is now heading into retirement, projections point to an inescapable conclusion: immigrants and the children of immigrants will play increasingly important roles within the U.S. economy as workers and taxpayers for decades to come.


February 14, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: The Oakland A's New Centerfielder Yoenis Cespedes (Cuba)

ImmigrationProf's Immigrant of the Day is Yoenis Cespedes, the the Oakland A's new centerfielder.  Yesterday, Oakland signed the 26-year old Cuban outfielder to a four-year, $36 million deal. The contract will not be official until Cespedes, who defected from Cuba obtains a visa, and takes a physical. Cespedes will earn $6.5 million in 2012, $8.5 million next season and $10.5 million in each of the final two years of the deal. Read more.


February 14, 2012 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | TrackBack (0)