Saturday, February 25, 2012

Protect the DREAM Act--Say No to GOP Candidates

From America's Voice:

Mitt Romney flat-out said he would veto the DREAM Act, and Newt Gingrich says he’ll weaken it. By doing so, they would both deny the dreams of so many young undocumented immigrants who want to give back to the country they call home.

Here’s the bottom line: there is only ONE DREAM Act and it includes the right to an education -- and the only politicians we know that want to veto or change it are anti-immigrant.

In the Romney/Gingrich mutilated version of the bill, young undocumented Americans can only give back to their country by enlisting in the military.

Help us fight back against this nonsense. Please sign our petition here:

www.americasvoiceonline.org/protectDREAM

bh

February 25, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Rebellious State Crimmigration Enforcement and the Foreign Affairs Power"

"Rebellious State Crimmigration Enforcement and the Foreign Affairs Power" Washington University Law Review, MARY FAN, University of Washington - School of Law.

ABSTRACT: The propriety of a new breed of state laws interfering in immigration enforcement is pending before the Supreme Court and the lower courts. These laws typically incorporate federal standards defining unlawful alienage and immigration-related criminalization but diverge aggressively from federal enforcement policy. Enacting states argue that the legislation is merely a species of “cooperative federalism” that does not trespass upon the federal power over foreign affairs, foreign commerce and nationality rules since the laws mirror federal standards. This article challenges the formalist mirror theory assumptions behind the new laws and argues that inconsistent state crimmigration enforcement policy and resulting foreign affairs complications render the new spate of immigration policing laws infirm. The article argues for the need to give due weight to statements of interest by the executive on the foreign affairs implications of rebellious state crimmigration enforcement. The article contends that the caste-carving approach of the multi-front “attrition through enforcement” attack strategy behind the laws contravenes national immigration enforcement policy and strains foreign relations. The analysis provides a basis for distinguishing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting upholding the Legal Arizona Workers Act from the current spate of legislation pending in the courts. The analysis in the crimmigration context also enriches our understanding of what cooperative -- and uncooperative -- federalism enforcement means and the dangers of the phenomenon in areas of special national concern fraught with localized animosity.

KJ

February 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: Nadia Jones, "Backdoor amnesty" or democratic humanism? Obama administration seeks to rejoin immigrant families of US citizens

Last month, to the outrage of Republicans, the Obama administration proposed an amendment to a long-standing immigration rule that until now has kept illegal immigrant spouses and children separated from their citizen families.

Though they can request to waive the three- to 10-year ban on returning to the US, most immigrants are deported back to their homeland before they are given the opportunity to do so. Once deported, the term of the ban is decided in accordance with the duration of their illegal residency in America.

Had they been given the chance at a waiver request, many immigrants could have returned home after only a few days or weeks, rather than years, once they had finished the visa process abroad. Instead, the families remained separated sometimes for a decade, barred from reuniting by bureaucratic delays.

In response to this situation, the Obama administration proposed that the rule should be changed to give these immigrants audience with the government about their waiver request decision before they are removed.

Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Alejandro Mayorkas said "it currently takes about six months for the government to issue a waiver," a time the new rule hopes to shorten.

Altruistic as the rule change proposal may be, one has to wonder whether change like this will stick, especially with the Republican party so vehemently opposed to immigration reform. Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, for example, accused Obama of "putting the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of those of Americans," and many Congressional Republicans describe Obama's call for immigration policy change without congressional action as giving immigrants "backdoor amnesty."

Whether or not circumventing congressional action was unsanctioned, it clearly has many Americans riled up. Policy often is more forward-thinking than the constituency it governs is ready to accept; still, one can't help but think that the Republicans are just throwing a tantrum because they didn't have a say in a change that is humanistic and clearly in alignment with American values.

All that said, times like these do act as a kind of litmus test for the readiness of the American psyche, and sadly, it seems that immigration reform continues to be a hotly contested, and all-too-frequently neglected topic.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.

February 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alleged Rwandan Genocide Participant Could be Stripped of Citizenship and Deported

From WMUR:

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are describing the federal trial of a Rwandan woman as, "A case about lies."

Beatrice Munyenyezi, 41, is accused of lying about her role in the Rwandan genocide while applying to become a U.S. citizen.

Munyenyezi wiped back a few tears as she sat and awaited the start of the trial that could end with her stripped of her citizenship and deported back to Rwanda.

In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin told the jury that the defendant lied about her past and then repeated those lies to gain entry to the United States.

Capin said prosecutors will prove that Munyenyezi took part in the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994 and that she "encouraged killers to kill, rapists to rape."

He said there was a roadblock set up at a hotel owned by Munyenyezi's husband's family and that the purpose of the roadblock was to separate ethnic Tutsis for slaughter. Capin said Munyenyezi took part in singling people out to be killed and decided, in some cases, who would be killed or taken to a rape room. Read more....

bh

February 24, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Salvadoran War Criminal Ordered Deported

Julia Preston writes for the NY Times:

An immigration judge in Florida has cleared the way for the deportation from the United States of Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, a former defense minister of El Salvador, finding that he assisted in acts of torture and murder committed by soldiers under his command during the civil war there, including several notorious killings of Americans.

The decision by Judge James Grim of immigration court in Orlando is the first time that federal immigration prosecutors have established that a top-ranking foreign military commander can be deported based on human rights violations under a law passed in 2004, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, intended to bar human rights violators from coming to or living in the United States.

Judge Grim found that General Vides assisted in the killings of four American churchwomen on a rural road in El Salvador in 1980, a crime that caused shock there and in Washington and presaged the bloody violence that would engulf the Central American nation for the next decade. The immigration judge’s ruling is the first time General Vides has been held responsible for those deaths in a court of law. Read more...

bh

February 24, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IMMIGRANT STEEL WORKERS MARCH AGAINST UNJUST FIRINGS

Silent raids

David Bacon on Truthout reports that two hundred immigrant workers, their families, and hundreds of supporters marched through downtown Berkeley February 17, protesting their firing from Pacific Steel Castings. The company is one of the city's biggest employers.  Two hundred fourteen workers were fired in December and January, as a result of a so-called silent raid, in which the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security inspected the company's records to find workers who don't have legal immigration status. ICE then demanded that the company fire them.

KJ

February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

LA's Finest Support Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

The two top law enforcement officers (here and here) in Los Angeles support the issuance of driver's licenses of some kind to undocumented immigrants.  The reason -- to promote public safety.  Access to a license would mean that undocumented immigrants would be tested on the basic driving rules and, once licensed, be eligible for (and required to secure) liability insurance.  I made these same arguments several years ago in a law review article.

KJ

February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Yale Law School immigration clinic files class action lawsuit challenge to Secure Communities

An Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School has filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging the use of detainers by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and asked Wednesday that the suit be expedited now that ICE is rolling out Secure Communities in Connecticut statewide. For a news story on teh suit, and a link to the complaint, click here.

KJ

February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Immigration Article of the Day: Administrative Law Through the Lens of Immigration Law by JillyFamily

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Administrative Law Through the Lens of Immigration Law
by Jill E. Family Widener University School of Law.

ABSTRACT: Immigration law does lag behind in the advancement of public law, but not in all respects. While immigration law is idiosyncratic in many ways, this article finds immigration law in the administrative law mainstream when it comes to its troubles with nonlegislative rules (sometimes called guidance documents). There are concerns throughout administrative law that agencies use such rules to bind regulated parties practically, even if not legally, without the procedural protections of notice and comment. This article analyzes immigration troubles with nonlegislative rules and makes three main contributions. First, it casts new light on the negative effects of guidance documents by viewing administrative law through the lens of immigration law. In immigration law, the cons of guidance documents play out in the context of some of life’s most fundamental questions: where and with whom to live and to work. Second, by showing how administrative law manifests in immigration law, this article concludes that immigration law’s troubles cannot be divorced from the mainstream administrative law debate over nonlegislative rules. Third, this article also evaluates a procedure new to immigration law: the draft memorandum for comment. Through the draft memorandum for comment procedure, the public may comment on draft guidance documents, but is not afforded the full protections of notice and comment rulemaking. While the new procedure is a pragmatic and positive step for immigration law, this article highlights that nonlegislative rules are not the only administrative tool available and argues for greater priority for notice and comment rulemaking in immigration law.

KJ

February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ICE Admits that Local Police Don't Have to Honor Detainers

Elise Foley reports in Huffington Post:

Local law enforcement agencies are not required to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the federal government, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by a coalition of groups critical of the Secure Communities enforcement program.

The documents could provide ammunition for jurisdictions that no longer want to participate in Secure Communities, which allows federal immigration authorities to use fingerprints to scan those arrested by local law enforcement. They also support recent actions by Cook County, Ill., Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, all of which decided this year to stop adhering to federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants who were either low-level offenders or were accused of felonies.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Center for Constitutional Rights and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law received the documents after a Freedom of Information Act request and plan to release them this week. The three documents, from October 2010 and January 2011, clarify DHS policy on detainers -- requests from federal immigration officials for police to hold those arrested, in some cases after being detected by enforcement programs.

"A detainer serves only to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks an opportunity to interview and potentially assume custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency," according to an undated document.

Another document, notes from a briefing to Congressional Hispanic Caucus staff in October 2010, says "local [law enforcements] are not mandated to honor a detainer, and in some jurisdictions they do not." The third document, a series of questions and answers emailed in January 2010, says ICE detainers are "a request," and "there is no penalty if they [local law enforcement] do not comply." Read more...

bh

February 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Duel in the Desert: Republican Candidates Spar on Immigration In Arizona

The four remaining Republican Presidential contenders, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, debated in Arizona last night. Here is the complete transcript to the debate. This is the portion dealing with immigration, which includes no real surprises -- support for the border fence, agreement with Arizona's approach to immigration enforcement, criticism of the Obama administration, etc..

QUESTION: Gentleman my name is Jerry Lott (ph) and I'm from Key Man, Arizona. It seems that Arizona has come under federal attack just for wanting to secure its southern border. What will you and your administrations do to fix the situation? To secure our border and to protect the American people?

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Congressman Paul, I want to go to you first on this one. You're from a border state. As you answer Gary's question, a recent federal analysis says the cost of secure fencing, which they have a good deal of the border along this state, would cost about $3 million per mile. Is that a good investment? Money well spent?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably not, but we can do a better job, and the best way to do it is forget about the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and deal with our borders, put our resources on this border. This is what we need. But we need to change the rules. We reward illegal immigration. They get benefits, Texas hospitals, and, you know, schools are going bankrupt.

The restraints on the states, and Obama's restraints on the states to deal with it. Why is it if an illegal comes across the border and they go on private property, why isn't that trespassing? And why don't you have the right to stop it? So but there should be no mandates from the federal government about what you must do under the 9th and 10th. There would be essentially none.

But the federal government does have a responsibility for these borders. And I just hate to see all these resources -- I think that we should have much more immigration service on the border to make it easier -- it's hard to even get to visit this country. We're losing a lot of visitors and workers that could come to this country because we have an inefficient immigration service.

And then that invites the illegal. We have to deal -- we can't endorse the illegal, but the program today endorses the illegal problems. And a weak economy is always detrimental, too, because of the welfare state. We have welfare at home and some jobs go begging, we have jobs going begging in this country in the midst of the recession, has to do with the economy.

You can't ignore the economy. But also the welfare state, allowing immigrants to come over and then get the benefits -- if you subsidize something, you get more of. So there's a lot we can do and should do and certainly this president is not doing a very good job.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Mr. Speaker, the fence has been a point of contention in the race. And one of your high-profile supporters, a gentleman who's been up here during this campaign, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, is here tonight. He said this: if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets really good.

You signed a pledge to construct a double fence. Why is Governor Perry wrong?

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's not wrong. They'd have to have two 35-foot ladders because it's a double fence. (LAUGHTER)

Look, the fact is I helped Duncan Hunter pass the first fence bill in San Diego when I was Speaker of the House. San Diego and Tijuana are the most densely populated border. It turned out it worked. It worked dramatically. Duncan and I would be glad to testify. He's former chairman of the national -- of the Defense Committee -- how much it worked.

However, it stopped. It stopped in part because there was a wetlands. It turned out none of the illegal immigrants cared about wetlands policy. Then you had to go and build around the wetlands, which we did. The further we have gone with the fence, the fewer the people have broken into California.

Now, the thing that's fascinating, though, John, is you quoted a government study of how much it would cost. That's my earlier point. If you modernize the federal government so it's competent, you could probably do it for 10 percent of the cost of that study.

The fact is --

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: -- what I would do, I would -- I have -- I have a commitment at newt.org, I would -- to finish the job by January 1, 2014, I would initiate a bill that would waive all federal regulations, requirement and studies.

I would ask Governor Brewer here, I would ask Governor Martinez, Governor Brown, and Governor Perry to become the co-leaders in their state. We would apply as many resources as are needed to be done by January 1 of 2014, including, if necessary -- there are 23,000 Department of Homeland Security personnel in the D.C. area.

I'm prepared to move up to half of them to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This is a doable thing.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Governor Romney, the border security is part of the equation, what to do about whether it's 8 million or 11 million illegal immigrants in the country now is another part of the equation. And Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who's with us tonight from Maricopa County -- he's in the audience -- he told me --

(APPLAUSE)

KING: -- he told me this week here in Mesa -- these are his words -- "it's called political garbage, if you will, to not arrest illegals already in this country."

You've talked to the governor about self-deportation, if businesses do their job, asking for the right documents, the people will leave. What about arresting? Should there be aggressive, seek them out, find them and arrest them as the Sheriff Arpaio advocates? ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e- verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally.

And as a result of e-verify being put in place, the number of people in Arizona that are here illegally has dropped by some 14 percent, where the national average has only gone down 7 percent. So going back to the question that was asked, the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will drop those lawsuits on day one. I'll also complete the fence. I'll make sure we have enough border patrol agents to secure the fence. And I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers, and to check E- Verify. And if an employer hires someone that has not gone through E- Verify, they're going to get sanctioned just like they do for not paying their taxes.

You do that, and just as Arizona is finding out, you can stop illegal immigration. It's time we finally did it.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Senator Santorum, we had the conversation about the border and the fence. Governor Romney talks about E-Verify, making sure business is doing their part of the equation.

What about the individual? You said in our last debate employers should be sanctioned, as Governor Romney just said, if they hire illegal immigrants. About a quarter of all workers in private households are undocumented.

What about the homeowner who hires somebody as a household cleaning worker, as a nanny, perhaps? Does that person -- if you're going to be consistent, have enforcement across the board, should that person be sanctioned?

SANTORUM: I'm not going to require homeowners to do E-Verify. I think that's one step too far. But I think what we need to do is to give law enforcement the opportunity to do what they're doing here in Arizona and what Sheriff Arpaio was doing before he ran into some issues with the federal government, which is to allow folks to enforce the law here in this country, to allow people who are breaking the law or suspicious of breaking the law to be able to be detained and deported if they're found here in this country illegally, as well as those who are trying to seek employment.

This is enforcing not just upon the employer, but on those who are here illegally and trying to do things that are against the law, like seeking employment here. KING: It's a tough policy question, obviously, and this state has been part of the driving force. It also becomes -- especially for four gentlemen who would like to be the next president of the United States, it's a difficult political question in the sense that the Latino population is the fastest-growing demographic in our country.

And some Republicans -- some Republicans -- Marco Rubio, for example, the senator from Florida that all of you have complimented, said -- could be a leading force in your administration if you're elected -- he said this recently. He says he worries that some of the rhetoric used by Republican politicians on this issue has been harsh, intolerable, inexcusable.

Mr. Speaker, is he right?

GINGRICH: I don't know who he's referring to, so I'm not going to comment in general on a statement. Is there somebody somewhere who's done that? Sure.

Was it also intolerable for President Obama to go to El Paso and make a totally demagogic speech in which he fundamentally -- no.

(APPLAUSE)

The great failure here -- I voted in 1986 for the bill which was supposed to solve all this, which Ronald Reagan solved -- signed. And in Reagan's diary, he says, I signed this bill because we have to get control of the border and we have to have an employer-sanctioned program with a guest worker program.

Now, all of us who voted for that bill got shortchanged on everything we were supposed to get. President Bush couldn't get it through. President Obama can't get it through.

I believe you cannot pass a single large comprehensive bill, the 2,700-page kind of bill you described. I think you've got to go one step at a time.

The first step is to control the border. I don't believe anybody who's here illegally -- and I talked last night, for example, with folks who are of Hispanic background from Nogales who are in the import-export business dealing with Mexico every day. They don't want a border that's closed, they want a border that's controlled, that has easy access for legality and impossible access for illegality. And that's the model that I think you can talk about in my community of any ethnic background in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

KJ

February 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Eleventh Annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law

LexisNexis® Matthew Bender® is accapting nominations for the Eleventh Annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law.

A member of the Editorial Board of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, Daniel Levy died at the age of 48 on September 14, 2001, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Levy was a prolific author, litigator, and scholar, and was widely known and loved by many in the immigration bar. With this annual award LexisNexis® Matthew Bender® seeks to honor an individual who emulates the values that informed Mr. Levy’s life and work:

- enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients;

- deep scholarship in immigration law; and

- an expansive vision of justice.

We welcome nominations of all persons (not only attorneys), who have been working on the local and/or state level, as well as those who are known on the national level, and those who have been quietly toiling on behalf of immigrants, wherever they may be located. Readers are encouraged to forward nominations to Ellen Flynn at ellen.m.flynn@lexisnexis.com by April 15, 2012.

Last year's winner was Michael Ortiz at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

KJ

February 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SF Giants' Immigration Problem

As he has said, blogger Bill Hing is a devoted San Francisco Giants fan.  Let's just say that I am not.

Well the Giants have an immigration issue. A bonus baby prospect, Angel Villalona, is having problems getting a visa to come to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic reportedly because of his weight.  It has nothing to do with the fact that he had been a murder suspect.

KJ

February 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

No Evidence of "Self-Deportation" Found in Study of Restrictive Immigration Laws

The Center for American Progress today released “Staying Put but Still in the Shadows: Undocumented Immigrants Remain in the Country Despite Strict Laws.

With more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants currently living in the country, a consensus has emerged that the current immigration system is broken and badly needs mending. In the absence of federal legislation providing a coherent immigration policy, states have taken it upon themselves to enforce their way to a solution. Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama recently took matters into their own hands by passing laws designed to criminalize virtually all activity engaged in by undocumented immigrants. This patchwork of state and local laws is driven by a strategy known by immigration restrictionists as “attrition through enforcement.” The goal is to create a climate of fear and make life so difficult for immigrants that they will self-deport. Based on the experiences of immigrants

in Oklahoma City, and in more recent cases such as in Arizona after S.B. 1070, we find that:

• Most unauthorized immigrants make the decision to stay in the country despite attempts to drive them out.  The proliferation of state-level anti-immigrant laws has not changed the calculus for immigrants when it comes to choosing to stay here or return home.

• At best, anti-immigrant laws simply drive immigrants from one area to another—say from one county to the next or from one state to the next—rather than from the country. At worst, they further isolate immigrants from the communities they live in and from local law enforcement, while driving families deeper into the shadows.

The reasons behind their decisions to stay include:

• Most undocumented immigrants have been in the country for 10 years or more and the majority live in family units with children, meaning that they are well-settled into American life, making it less likely that they would want to leave.

• The costs of a return trip also are too steep for most people.

• Finally, the stark lack of opportunities in the migrants’ home countries—which pushed them to enter the United States outside of legal status in the first place—have not gone away, leaving them with little reason to believe that life would be better there than in the United States.

Instead of burdensome state and local legislation, sensible policy solutions lie with the federal government and with Congress, which has the power to pass comprehensive immigration reform, bringing immigrants out of the shadows to vet them in a secure and orderly way rather than further criminalizing them. Reforming the legal visa system will help diminish the impetus for clandestine migration in the first place. Revamping the cumbersome, slow, and backlogged system will curtail illegal entry and promote the complementary goals of economic growth and family unification. Rather than unsuccessfully trying to drive unauthorized immigrants out of the country, we should work to integrate them, which will keep families together, improve community safety, and better the economy all at the same time.

KJ

February 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lawsuit Filed On Behalf of Domestic Worker Trafficking Victim

From APILO:

Lawyers' Committee, API Legal Outreach and O’Melveny & Myers File Civil Suit on Behalf of Abused Domestic Worker
 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Lawyers’ Committee), Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (API Legal Outreach), and O’Melveny & Myers LLP filed a civil suit today on behalf of a Chinese woman who was trafficked into the United States and forced into a life of indentured servitude by a Fremont couple under deplorable conditions.
 
The plaintiff, who will be proceeding as a “Jane Doe,” was subject to sleep deprivation, food deprivation, threats of harm towards herself and her family in China, and horrific verbal and physical abuse over the course of more than a year. The family also confiscated her legal documents, prevented her from leaving the home at will, and denied her medical treatment for trauma suffered due to the abuse.

After more than a year of servitude, the plaintiff was able to escape with the aid of a Good Samaritan. The family was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, and the plaintiff eventually secured a visa to remain in the country. The legal team of Lawyers’ Committee, API Legal Outreach, and O’Melveny & Myers are now assisting her in filing a civil suit seeking compensation for the psychological, emotional, and medical damages she suffered, as well as numerous violations of the California Labor Code.
 
The case is one of many the Lawyers’ Committee and API Legal Outreach have tackled in past years addressing the rights of domestic workers, immigrants, and survivors of human trafficking. “Cases like this are critical in ensuring these issues are taken out of the secrecy of the ‘domestic’ sphere and are squarely addressed as human rights violations,” stated Paul R. Chavez of the Lawyers’ Committee. “Rather than be blamed and treated as criminals, immigrants who are subjected to human trafficking and forced labor deserve full access to the protections accorded to them under the law,” added Cindy Liou of API Legal Outreach. “We believe this civil lawsuit will send the clear message that human trafficking in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Michael Tubach of O’Melveny & Myers.

bh

February 22, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

LA County Apologizes for 1930s Repatriation

Some 80 years ago, tens of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in L.A. County were forced aboard trains and taken to Mexico. On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors formally -- and finally -- apologized. “L.A. was very much part of these official roundups,” said Supervisor Gloria Molina. Scholars estimate that more than 60% og thr 1-2 million "repatriated" ewre U.S. citizens. In a motion to the county board, Molina said there were massive clandestine raids that often separated families. “Families were forced to abandon, or were defrauded of, personal and real property, which often was sold by local authorities as ‘payment’ for the transportation expenses incurred in their removal.”

Politicians, including California Senator Joe Dunn (now the Executive Director of the State Bar of California), and legal advocates launched a campaign in 2003 to win a formal apology and reparations. And in 2005, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill apologizing to the estimated 400,000 U.S. citizens and legal residents who were illegally deported to Mexico between 1929 and 1944.

In 2005, I published "The Forgotten `Repatriation' of Persons of Mexican Ancestry and Lessons for the `War on Terror,'" which I initially delivered as a lecture at Pace Law School:

My remarks, titled “The Forgotten ‘Repatriation’ of Persons of Mexican Ancestry and Lessons for the ‘War on Terror,’” begin with a forgotten historical incident that spanned a decade and end with the time in which we live. I refer to the “forgotten ‘repatriation’” because many Americans have not heard of the forced removal of approximately one million persons—U.S. citizens as well as noncitizens—of Mexican ancestry from the United States during the Great Depression. This is true despite the fact that the number of repatriates dwarfed by about tenfold the number of persons of Japanese ancestry who were interned by the United States government during World War II. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness of the repatriation is consistent with the general invisibility of Latina/o civil rights deprivations throughout much of U.S. history.

The United States should acknowledge the repatriation campaign of the 1930s and its long and enduring impact on Mexican-Americans in this country. In a time of severe national economic crisis, the deportation campaign sought to save jobs for true “Americans” and reduce the welfare rolls by encouraging Mexicans to “voluntarily” leave the country.  An economic threat had placed the nation’s future in jeopardy, caused severe economic distress for many U.S. citizens, and effectively compelled the government to act. A discrete and insular minority, the most available and vulnerable target, suffered from the government’s policy choice.

The tragedy of the Mexican repatriation is well worth remembering as the United States continues to wage a “war on terror” in response to the horrible loss of life on September 11, 2001. This “war” has targeted Arab and Muslim noncitizens suspected of no crime and subjected them to special immigration procedures, arrest, detention, and deportation from the United States. In criticizing the government’s responses to the tragic events of September 11, the specter of the internment of the persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II has often been invoked. The analogy is apt in important ways, with racial profiling based on statistical probabilities at the core of the governmental policies adopted in both incidents. In my estimation, however, the repatriation of the 1930s also has modern relevance in evaluating the measures taken by the U.S. government in the name of national security after September 11. This paper draws out the historic and legal parallels between these two episodes in U.S. legal history and suggests that the nation should pay heed to the excesses of the practices and policies in the “war on terror.”

Here is Leslie Berestein' Rojas's take on the LA County apology.

KJ

February 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U Visa Training Webinars

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

U Visa Webinars – Individual Sessions

Subpoenas and Motions to Quash in the U Visa Context (1.5 CA MCLE)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT. This webinar will cover suggestions for immigration attorneys to protect clients' information from unnecessary disclosure, regardless of whether or not a subpoena is issued, strategies for counseling the client; and communicating with the district attorney.Read more

U Visa Hot Topics (1.5 CA MCLE)

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT. This webinar will focus on cutting-edge issues related to U visa cases including updates on age out issues, adjustment adjudication, processing of cases with approved I-929, and updates and best practices emerging from the field.Read more

Consular Processing and Travel with a U Visa (1.5 CA MCLE)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10:00 am – 11:30 am PDT. During this webinar, we will go step-by-step through the consular processing practice of helping U nonimmigrants travel into the United States with a U visa.Read more

bh

February 22, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: Paloma Velez, Law Student, UC Davis, Call for Change – “Sanctuary City” as an Outdated and Inaccurate Term

In recent years, the term “Sanctuary City” has become a politically charged word. Politicians have inaccurately portrayed Sanctuary Cities as lawless cities. The public has been exposed to many half-truths and falsehoods regarding Sanctuary Cities. As a result, the label “sanctuary city,” has become very misleading.

“Sanctuary cities,” which perhaps seek to provide sanctuary from racial profiling, give the false impression that they nullify immigration laws. “Sanctuary cities” are instead trying to reserve their resources for more effective law enforcement practices.

Why then continue using the label “sanctuary city”? It is a historical relic from a time when “sanctuary” really involved shielding people from detection and detention. It is not an appropriate label for police departments who want to enforce the spirit of the Fourth Amendment in order to improve their law enforcement effectiveness.

Police Departments who do not want to participate in immigration law enforcement should declare themselves a “Fourth Amendment city” instead. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unwarranted searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment was a response to abuses of power by local officials who investigated people for importing federally prohibited goods during the American Revolution. Similarly, local police who enforce immigration laws are using their discretion to aid government officials in searching for smuggled people.

Colonial lawyer James Otis famously argued “[this is] a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. . . .” Similarly, having police officers search for undocumented individuals among the general population has placed the liberty of every person with a foreign appearance at the hands of every police officer. It has resulted in police officers abusing their discretion to stop, detain, and investigate legal residents and U.S. citizens; depriving them of their liberty for up to forty-eight hours.

Thus, localities who choose to declare their local resources unavailable for immigration law enforcement want to reassure their residents that they will not be subject to unwarranted stops and arrests on suspicion that they may be undocumented. The policy essentially serves to re-enforce the spirit of the Fourth Amendment in local law enforcement practices. Thus, it is more accurate for cities to call themselves a “Fourth Amendment city”, rather than a “sanctuary city.”

February 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Split Decision on Fremont, Nebraska Immigration Enforcement Ordinance

On Monday, a federal district court strck down portions of a Fremont, Nebraska immigration enforcement ordinance that barred landlords from providing housing to undcoumented immigrants, but let stand provisions that require employers to verify the immigration status of their workers and require tenants to obtain an “occupancy license” before they can rent a house or apartment.  For links to additional informantion about the case, including a link to the decision,see the LEXIS-NEXIS Immigration Law Community by Dan Kowalski.

KJ

February 22, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshleves: Humanitarian Law in Action within Africa byJennifer Moore

Jennifer moore
In Humanitarian Law in Action within Africa, Jennifer Moore studies the role and application of humanitarian law by focusing on African countries that are emerging from civil wars. Moore offers an overview of international law, including its essential vocabulary, and describes four particular subfields of international law: international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law, and international refugee law. After setting forth this overview, Moore considers practical mechanisms to implement international humanitarian law, focusing specifically on the experiences of Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Burundi. Through the case studies of these countries, Moore describes transitional justice's fundamental components: criminal, social, and historical. Although the African continent has gone through some of the world's greatest humanitarian emergencies, issues such as violence against women, child soldiers, and genocide are not unique to Africa, and as such, the study of humanitarian law by examining Africa's experience is important to conflict resolution and reconstruction throughout the world.

KJ

February 22, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)