Friday, January 18, 2013
The Global Initiatives Office at Hofstra Law has announced the 3rd annual Immigration Law and Border Enforcement Program, which will be held from Sunday-Sunday, May 19-26, 2013. This program is co-sponsored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and the National Center for Border Security & Immigration, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. The program will be taught on campus at the University of Texas, El Paso.
The course will run from May 19 - 26, 2013. Rose Cuison Villazor (UC Davis School of Law) and Lauris Wren (Hofstra) will co-teach the course. The program is open to all law students. Details can be found here.
Crossing Borders: Immigration and Gender in the Americas
April 25–26, 2013
Our conference will explore how gender, race, and social class shape the experience of immigrants and their children in the Americas.
The event begins on Thursday evening with a performance and panel featuring Quetzal, a bilingual rock band from East Los Angeles—led by scholar-singer Martha Gonzales—that has been nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award.
The keynote speaker on Friday morning is Sonia Nazario, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of the national best seller, Enrique's Journey.
The day's panels bring together academics and activitsts to examine changing immigration trends and the unfolding drama of crossing borders in the Americas.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
Learn more about our conference and speakers.
In a series of three reports from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, researchers at the Migration Policy Institute, University of Arkansas, and Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina tally up the myriad contributions of immigrants in Arkansas and balance that with an accounting of their fiscal “costs.” The bottom line is impressive. Read Walter Ewing's analysis by clicking here.
The state of Alabama will not give up in its effort to uphold as much of its state immigration enforcement measure, H.B. 56, as it can. Having lost in part in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the state now seeks review in the U.S. Supreme Court. Read this Immigration Impact report for details.
The petition, which was filed on Wednesday, asks the Court to consider the legality of three provisions of HB 56: (1) one criminalizing the harboring of immigrants who are unlawfully present; (2) one which criminalizes the transportation of immigrants who are unlawfully present; and (3) one which criminalizes encouraging unlawfully present immigrants to enter the state. The Eleventh Circuit found that each of these provisions was “preempted” by federal immigration law.
Click here for the Jurist article reporting on these latest developments and a link to Alabama's cert petition.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The North Carolina Attorney General's office just released an opinion concluding that
"[b]ased upon our review of the historical background and legal concepts applicable to prosecutorial discretion and deferred status in the enforcement of immigration laws, we believe that individuals who present documentation demonstrating a grant of deferred action by the United States government are legally present in the United States and entitled to a drivers license of limited duration, assuming all other criteria are met."
Oregon also has announced that DACA recipients will be eligible for driver's licenses. Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services will now accept deferred action work permits as proof of lawful presence in the United States." For an article about the developments in Oregon, see Andrea Castillo, The Oregonian. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber issued a statement on the announcement:
"The Obama Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program authorizes qualified immigrants to work in the United States. People need the ability to travel safely to and from work, and I am pleased DMV will begin issuing driver licenses to DACA residents. It's the right decision, and it will provide certainty for working families and employers."
Recall that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer soon after DACA's announcement stated that Arizona would not issue driver's licenses to DACA recipients.
Crime and violence have increased dramatically in Mexico and Central America in recent years — the result of a shift in cocaine-trafficking routes as well as the incomplete transition from authoritarian to democratic institutions of governance.
In Crime and Violence in Mexico and Central America: An Evolving but Incomplete US Policy Response, Wilson Center experts Andrew Selee, Cynthia Arnson, and Eric Olson examine the evolving US policy responses to the crime and violence.
The US government has significantly increased its attention to public security issues in the region since 2007-08, when it approved the Mérida Initiative, an extensive plan for security and economic assistance to Mexico, later followed by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).
The policy response has been hampered, however, by several obstacles, as the authors explore. Among them: Efforts at institutional strengthening and reform have come up against entrenched corruption, insufficient political will, and the lack of a broad societal consensus on the need to improve citizen security. Also, the US response has been less coordinated and strategic than warranted, the result of the multiplicity of US government actors involved in policy toward Central America.
The US policy emphasis has begun to shift in important ways, the authors suggest, moving from a near-total focus on the problem as one of drug trafficking and transnational crime to one with notably more attention paid to addressing the crisis of citizen security overall.
This report is the latest research from the Regional Migration Study Group, a partnership between MPI and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center. The Study Group, co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, is a high-level initiative that in spring 2013 will propose new collaborative approaches to migration, competitiveness, and human-capital development for the United States, Central America, and Mexico.
Today’s report marks the last in a series of Study Group reports focusing on insecurity in the region. Earlier research focused on the perennial problem of lawlessness along the borders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; the rise of Mexican criminal organizations and Central American gangs over recent decades; the economic costs of crime and insecurity; and the role of weak government institutions in allowing crime and insecurity to take root. To read the earlier reports, click here.
Study Highlights Abuses in the Recruitment of Migrant Workers Employed under the H-2 Temporary Worker Program and Recommends Change
It appears that Congress will soon be seriously considering immigration reform. We are likely to hear about the need for new -- or expanding existing -- "guest worker" programs. In contemplating these proposals, it is helpful to consider how the existing guest worker programs function.
Over 100,00 temporary workers are recruited abroad for employment in the United States each year under the H-2 temporary worker program. Policymakers view the U.S. guestworker programs, including the H-2 temporary worker program, as a central component of immigration reform in 2013. Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) released a report today, Recruitment Revealed: Fundamental Flaws in the H-2 Temporary Worker Program and Recommendations for Change, which exposes substantial defects in the current H-2 program's recruitment systems and proposes changes that will prevent worker exploitation and abuse. The report explains that many temporary workers are routinely subjected to fraud, charged illegal fees, and threatened, intimidated, and mistreated by recruiters and employers. "Temporary workers are important participants in the U.S. economy and deserve to be treated with dignity," said Rachel Micah-Jones, CDM's Executive Director. "By maintaining or expanding the H-2 worker visa programs as they currently operate, the U.S. will continue to place temporary workers and their families at risk for exploitation." The report is the result of an intensive, multi-source investigative study that involved over 220 lengthy interviews with workers, requests pursuant to governmental transparency laws in the U.S. and Mexico, and institutional surveys. H-2 workers are employed in industries such as agriculture, landscaping, forestry and hospitality. Until now, little has been understood about the conditions under which migrant workers are recruited for these jobs. To increase transparency in recruitment, an interactive online tool is being launched along with the report. This tool details abuses uncovered through the study and allows the public to report recruitment abuses online. Support for the study, report and interactive online tool was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Solidarity Center. The study was conducted to gain deeper insight into the experiences of H-2 temporary workers during their recruitment in Mexico and employment in the United States.
UC Davis Dean Kevin Johnson and blogger extraordinaire will be honored at theArchbishop Romero awards ceremony sponsored by the Central American Resource Center in San Francisco in May. For more information, contact Joel Streicker 415-642–4404.
Abstract: Theories of dignity have to navigate between two conceptions: the egalitarian idea of human dignity and the old idea of dignitas, connected with hierarchy, rank, and office. One possible way of bridging the gap between the two is to talk of the dignity of the citizen. In modern republics and democracies, the dignity of the citizen extends to a large sector of the population and connotes something about the general quality of the relation between the government and the governed. This chapter first explores Immanuel Kant’s account of the dignity of the citizen, and then it pursues the implications of the dignity of the citizen for modern society and modern theories of human dignity. Though the dignity of the citizen and human dignity are not the same concept, they are congruent in many respects and the former casts considerable light on the latter — in particular on the connection between dignity and responsibility and dignity and transparency in social and political relations.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
“It is said that the quality of recent immigration is undesirable. The time is quite within recent memory when the same thing was said of immigrants who, with their descendants, are now numbered among our best citizens.” – Grover Cleveland, veto message to proposed literacy test to restrict immigration, 1897
Sadly, this statement is no less true in 2012 than it was in 1897. Seen from today’s vantage point, it can be easy to forget that Germans were once derided for not speaking English, Eastern Europeans were considered inferior to real “white” people, and Mexicans have been an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the U.S. for more than 200 years.
Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts chronicles the experience of 11 immigrant groups in the U.S. written by 11 experts in their respective fields. By showing how each of these immigrant groups have faced discrimination, struggled to assimilate and ultimately made significant contributions to American life from the country’s founding through today, the current immigration debate can be seen as an ongoing dialogue repeating the same themes down through history. This book is part of The Immigrant Learning Center’s ongoing efforts through its Public Education Institute to educate the American public about the contributions of immigrants.
TRAC Immigration reports that the odds of an asylum claim being denied in Immigration Court reached an historic low in FY 2012, with only 44.5 percent being turned down. Ten years ago, almost two out of three (62.6%) individuals seeking asylum lost their cases in similar actions. Twenty years ago fewer than one out of four (24.0%) asylum applicants won their cases, while three out of four (76.0%) lost.
Overall, the data indicate that a total of 11,939 individuals were awarded asylum last year, the highest number receiving asylum in Immigration Court proceedings since FY 2007. While the odds of winning a case have been improving, the number of asylum cases decided by Immigration Judges has fallen since 2003. In that year 35,782 asylum cases were heard — a high water mark for case decisions. By FY 2010, that number had fallen precipitously to just 19,445. Since then volumes have rebounded slightly: during FY 2012 there were 21,512 asylum cases decided.
Click the link above for more information.
Since mid-December 2010, popular uprisings have taken hold in a number of countries across North Africa and the Middle East in what has been dubbed the Arab Spring. Philippe Fargues of the European University Institute discusses the demographic trends underpinning the recent eruption of unrest in the Arab world, and the likely impact of the revolts on migration.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., has announced the appointment of Chuck Adkins-Blanch as Vice Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), effective January 13, 2013. Mr. Adkins-Blanch received a bachelor of arts degree in 1984 from Grinnell College and a juris doctorate in 1990 from the National Law Center, George Washington University. He has served as a BIA member since 2008. From 2004 to 2008, he served as an immigration judge at the Headquarters Immigration Court and, from 1995 to 2004, Mr. Adkins-Blanch served in EOIR’s Office of the General Counsel, as general counsel from 2000 to 2004, as acting general counsel from 1999 to 2000, and as an associate general counsel from 1995 to 1999. From 1990 to 1995, he worked for the BIA as an attorney advisor entering on duty through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. From 1989 to 1990, he clerked in private practice with the firm of Maggio & Kattar, specializing in immigration and nationality law. Mr. Adkins-Blanch is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia State Bars.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Yale Law School seeks applications for a Robert M. Cover Fellowship in Public Interest Law, a two-year position beginning on or about July 1, 2013 in the Yale Law School clinical program. The Fellowship is designed for a lawyer with at least two years of practice who is considering a career in law school clinical teaching. The 2013-2015 Fellow will work with the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (“WIRAC”).
WIRAC is a year-long, in-house clinic whose students represent immigrants, workers, and their organizations in litigation under labor and employment, immigration, Freedom of Information Act, § 1983, and other civil rights laws; state and local legislative advocacy; and other non-litigation matters. Illustrative cases include representation of a community-based organization and individuals in East Haven challenging pervasive practices of anti-Latino police brutality through community organizing, litigation, and policy advocacy; class action litigation challenging Connecticut’s honoring of immigration detainers and individual client representation in immigration court on behalf of people improperly held on detainers; multiple suits by former restaurant employees denied minimum wage and overtime; habeas litigation by immigration detainees challenging their prolonged detention; representation of a national organization of immigrant youth advocating for federal administrative and legislative relief; and representation of community organizations, unions, and faith organizations in efforts to reform Connecticut’s in-state tuition statute, Hartford and New Haven living wage ordinances, and state and local confidentiality, policing, probation, and other laws and policies.
The Fellow’s responsibilities include representing clients, supervising students, assisting in teaching classes, and working on one=s own scholarship. Candidates must be prepared to apply for admission to the Connecticut bar. (Candidates may qualify for application without admission.) All work will be conducted with the support of the clinical faculty, and will focus on providing legal assistance to low-income and civil rights clients and organizations. The principal supervisors for the position will be Professors Muneer Ahmad and Michael Wishnie.
Candidates must be able to work both independently and as part of a team, and must possess strong written and oral communication skills. Experience in creative and community-driven advocacy is a strong plus. Annual salary is $63,000. Fellows receive health benefits and access to university facilities. Send (or email) a resume, cover letter, writing sample, law school transcript, and names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references by April 12, 2013 to: Kathryn Jannke, Office Manager, The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, P.O. Box 209090, New Haven, CT 06520-9090; telephone: (203) 432-4800; fax: (203) 432-1426; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez -- a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. immigration issues. Favianna is a co-founder of both Presente.org and Culture Strike, two groups pushing back against the wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation
that has recently swept the nation.
After a long and drawn out three and a half year battle, the U.S. government is moving to dismiss charges against Alex Sanchez, a well-respected and nationally renowned gang violence prevention and intervention advocate and Executive Director of Homies Unidos. In June of 2009, Sanchez was indicted for conspiracy to commit murder in a major federal racketeering case brought by the U.S. Government.
Alex’s case is particularly significant for immigration advocates since years earlier, in 2002, the U.S. government tried to deport Alex based on his immigration status and criminal history. Fortunately, Alex was granted relief in the form of Convention Against Torture by an Immigration Judge. There were credible threats out of El Salvador that Alex would be killed if deported there based on his peace work in the United States. Alex’s case gave hope to many others who also feared persecution after deportation based on their renunciation of gang membership and the gang lifestyle. Alex has since become a leading voice in immigrant’s rights advocacy and in challenging the current U.S. detention and deportation system.
Not surprisingly, when Sanchez was being considered for bail, he received approximately 100 letters of support from professors, politicians, social workers, clergy, law enforcement, and former gang members from around the country. He also received over $2.5 million dollars pledged in support of his release on bail. His supporters included former California State Senator Tom Hayden and Father Gregory Boyle, recipient of numerous humanitarian awards including the California Peace Prize.
But as our justice system would have it, this overwhelming evidence in support of Alex’s good character not only failed to move the judge to release Alex, but did little to move the government to ensure that their evidence against him was reliable.
In December, the government stated that it would be dismissing the current charges against Sanchez. The motion will likely be ruled upon in federal court this week. Although the government admitted that its case against Sanchez was flawed, federal prosecutors are asking for a dismissal “without prejudice” so that they may retain the right to re-file charges against Alex.
The government should join Alex in his efforts to prevent violence; not persecute him for doing so.
Monday, January 14, 2013
As we prepare for a national debate on immigration policy, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched an effort on Monday to encourage Christians to think about immigration from a distinctly biblical perspective. The diverse coalition of influential evangelicals will reach out to political leaders and more than 100,000 churches for their “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.
Leaders announced the launch of a promotional video featuring high-profile evangelical leaders reading from the 25th chapter of Matthew, from which the challenge gets its name. This coordinated effort of churches and Christian ministries summons legislators to allow biblical teachings to inform their views on immigration. The challenge invites individual evangelical Christians, church congregations, and legislators to read 40 verses of Scripture that relate to immigration and to pray that these passages will evoke the political will to create a just immigration system that better reflects Christian values.
The statements below can be attributed to the following evangelical leaders:
Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“For years, many people have asked whether evangelicals care about immigration. The “I Was A Stranger” Challenge mobilizes thousands of Christians to take action on immigration reform. Evangelicals are serious about Scripture and its command to take special care of immigrants living among us. As people all across our country put immigrants first, we believe our elected officials will understand reform is urgent, moral, and biblical, and that they must tackle it early this year.”
Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church:
“The church was birthed in diversity 2,000 years ago and for 2,000 years God's people have been speaking and acting on behalf of the vulnerable. God's call compels us to action today on behalf of immigrants in our congregations and communities.”
Taylor Bell, Student, Samford University (Alabama):
“This prayer challenge brings us evangelicals back to the scripture, reminding us that we are called as members of the community of God to welcome the stranger among us. I know from my own experience as a student in Alabama that we have a long way to go as evangelicals on the issue of immigration, and this prayer challenge will provide the biblical foundation we need to get there.”
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“Today, we are launching a campaign to explore the teaching of God's Word regarding our call to love the stranger in our land. Join thousands of Christians over the next 40 days to discover God's heart for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
Dave Gibbons, Pastor and Founder of Newsong Church and XEALOTS.org (California):
“Loving God and Loving Neighbors is the same as Loving Immigrants. They are all symbiotically related.”
Dr. Bill Hamel, President, Evangelical Free Church of America:
“As an evangelical, I am committed to not missing this moment in history where we can lead a movement for Biblical justice and compassion. Evangelicals sat on the sidelines in the civil rights discussions but we must not this time!”
Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church (Florida):
“As a pastor, I want my congregation to have a Biblical framework for addressing challenges, not a primarily political one. The most powerful motivation for us to find a good way to include people who are marginalized is to read scripture and try to follow its guidance.”
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself. She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.
From the Bookshelves: From Cape Town to Kabul Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women's Human Rights by Penelope Andrews
Using her experience of living under apartheid and witnessing its downfall and the subsequent creation of new governments in South Africa, the author examines and compares gender inequality in societies undergoing political and economic transformation. By applying this process of legal transformation as a paradigm, the author applies this model to Afghanistan. These two societies serve as counterpoints through which the book engages, in a nuanced and novel way, with the many broader issues that flow from the attempts in newly democratic societies to give effect to the promise of gender equality. Developing the idea of ‘conditional interdependence’, the book suggests a new approach based on the communitarian values which underpin newly democratic societies and would allow women’s rights to gain momentum and reap greater benefits. Broad in its thematic approach, the book generates challenging and complex questions about the achievement of gender equality. It will be of interest to academics interested in gender and human rights, international and comparative law.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
With the support of Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona state legislature enacted an aggressive immigration enforcement law, which made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. One of the defenses of the law was that the U.S. government had failed to enforce the U.S. border with Mexico and that the states had to act.
The Obama administration has responded and bolstered border enforcement in Arizona. Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times reports that some residents of the small border town of Bisbee, Arizona are not too happy about the new enforcement regime:
"Longtime locals say they damage irrigation lines, tread on land without permission, alienate merchants and contribute to a sense of unease that didn't use to exist.
But lately these complaints are aimed not so much at people arriving illegally from Mexico as they are at the federal forces sent to stop them.
Residents say the deployment of hundreds of agents — armed, uniformed and omnipresent — and millions of dollars in new infrastructure have created a military-like occupation in their once-sleepy hamlets.
They point to sprawling new facilities that dominate the scrubby landscape, such as the upgraded U.S. Border Patrol station in Naco and a fortified border fence that lights up like an airport runway lost among the yuccas. Some grumble that the federal agents are paid well above the county average while spurning the areas they patrol to live in a suburbanized town nearly 25 miles away."
As the old saying goes, you can please some of the people . . . .