Saturday, July 27, 2013

Immigration for Same-Sex Spouses in a Post-DOMA World

Fedoras For Fairness: Stars Wear Hats To Support Immigration Reform

Friday, July 26, 2013

Third Circuit Re-Affirms Unconstitutionality of Hazleton, PA Immigration Enforcement Laws, Join South Carolina and Farmer's Branch, Texas Laws in Dustbin of History


In Lozano v. City of Hazleton, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had before it a case vacated and remanded by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Hazleton previously appealed the district court's permanent injunction barring enforcement of two ordinances that purported to  prohibit employment of undocumented immigrants and preclude them from renting housing in the city.  The Third Circuit had affirmed the judgment. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the Third Circuit ruling and remanded this case for reconsideration of the ruling in light of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting,131 S. Ct. 1968 (2011).  One year later, the Court decided Arizona v. United States,132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012).  Both Whiting and Arizona address the extent to which federal immigration law pre-empts state laws pertaining to the treatment of unauthorized aliens.

The Third Circuit adhered to its previous ruling, with the following punch-lines:

Having thoroughly considered the additional submissions of the parties and the Court's decisions in Whiting and Arizona, we again conclude that both the employment and housing provisions of the Hazleton ordinances are pre-empted by federal immigration law. Accordingly, we will again affirm the District Court's order enjoining enforcement of these provisions.

Omar Jadwat of the ACLU argued the case for plaintiffs-appellees.  Secretary of the State of Kansas Kris Kobach, dubbed the "deporter-in-chief," argued the case for the City of Hazleton.  Kobach has not had a good week, having also unsuccessfully defended the Farmer's Branch, Texas immigration enforcement ordinance.  Overall, Kobach for many years has aggressively advocated state and local immigration enforcement laws, which have proven costly to defend and often have been struck down.  On a somewhat related note, why is the Kansas Secretary of State still involved in these pieces of immigration litigation in Texas and Pennsylvania?  Others have questioned Kobach's moonlighting.



In any event, this has not been a good week for state and local immigration enforcement laws.  As Professor Rose Villazor blogged on Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit affimed the injunction barring the implementation of a heavily litigated Farmer's Branch, Texas immigration enforcement law.  Moeover, the Fourth Circuit affirmed an injunction barring implementation of core provisions of the South Carolina immigration enforcement law.




July 26, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CRLA’s Heat Stress Training Program vital to the safety of farmworkers in California as summer temperatures threaten lives

Califrnia Rural Legal Assistance stands at the forefront of a deep-rooted struggle between farmworkers, employers and the sun’s heat. In the most recent instance, state officials are investigating whether a farmworker's death last Tuesday, July 2, 2013 in a watermelon field near Coalinga was related to extremely high temperatures in the Central Valley this summer. While it is unclear whether this death is directly linked to heat-related illness, when the temperatures soar well past 100̊F, as it has in recent weeks, farmworkers’ lives are in danger if they fail to observe the proper precaution taught by our Heat Stress Training Initiative or HSTI.


July 26, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Desperado: A Mile High Noir By Manuel Ramos



Desperado: A Mile High Noir By Manuel Ramos(Author)

This gritty novel set in Denver features blackmail, murder and gang warfare Gus Corral can’t quite believe it when an old high school buddy he hasn’t seen in years asks him for help. Artie Baca looks as cool as ever; the hippest guy in high school now looks like a GQ cover boy, Chicano style. And like always, Artie has women problems, even though he’s married. He’s being blackmailed because of an imprudent fling—caught on video, of course. Artie has a prosperous real estate business and can afford to pay off the young girl, but he’ll reward Gus handsomely for his help in convincing her that there won’t be any future payments. Gus’s life hasn’t been as successful; he manages his ex-wife’s second hand shop after losing his job in the recession and claims to also work as the night watchman so he can live there too. He can really use the money Artie is offering and agrees to help, even though he knows Artie probably deserves the shake down. But before Gus can deliver the money, Artie is dead and the police want to know why the deceased was carrying a check made out to his old high school chum. And when an armed stranger breaks into the shop in the dead of night, Gus knows there’s more to the situation than meets the eye. An investigation into Artie’s involvement in the gentrification of Denver’s north side leads to harrowing encounters with dangerous criminals, both from the area and south of the border. Suddenly Gus is ensnared in the theft of one of the most revered religious symbols in the Catholic Latino world, a cloak bearing the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe. He's caught between warring gangs, and soon he and the people he cares about most are in a life-and-death predicament.


July 26, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Latest Numbers on People with Limited English Proficiency

The Migration Policy Institutes' online journal, Migration Information Source, recently published their latest findings on the population of people with limited English proficiency (LEP) in the U.S.

"In 2011, there were 25.3 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals, both foreign-born and US-born, residing in the United States. Over the past 20 years, the LEP share of the total US population has grown from close to 6 percent in 1990 to about 9 percent in 2011. The total number of LEP individuals has grown by 81 percent since 1990, and has established a relatively large presence in California, Texas, and New York."

Here's the link to the full report.


July 25, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Effect of Immigration on Entrepreneurship by Yaron Zelekha

The Effect of Immigration on Entrepreneurship by Yaron Zelekha Ono Academic College August 2013 Kyklos, Vol. 66, Issue 3, pp. 438-465, 2013

Abstract: This research focuses on the impact of immigration on entrepreneurship. I find clear evidence that immigration has a significant impact on entrepreneurship. The paper makes three important contributions to the research of both immigration and entrepreneurship. First, it proposes unique empirical evidence using a cross‐section analysis in which the country's level of immigrants has a significantly positive affect on its level of entrepreneurship. Second, it adds to the theoretical understanding of the mechanisms and environments that characterize positive immigration effects on entrepreneurship. I suggest that country‐specific characteristics – in particular urban, open, competitive and culturally diversified (including open minded for ethnic and gender diversity) – influence significantly the positive effect of immigrants on the country's level of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, these positive effects are magnified as the flow of immigrants grows. Third, it uses for the first time in the literature a cross‐section data set of 176 countries of immigrants and entrepreneurial activity.


July 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Villas at Parkside v. Farmers Branch and Varied Immigration Preemption Analyses

As Dean Kevin Johnson blogged yesterday, the 5th Circuit held en banc in Villas at Parkside v. City of Farmers Branch that the city's Ordinance 2952 conflicts with federal immigration law and is thus preempted. (Download Fb_en_banc_decision).

Those who are familiar with the case know that Farmers Branch Ordinance 2952 exemplifies the extent to which property, immigration and criminal law intersect.  (AALS recently hosted a workshop on the intersection of property and immigration law). Ordinance 2952 required individuals to obtain a license before renting an apartment or single-family housing.  Under the ordinance, individuals declare whether they are US citizens or nationals; those who do not become subject to inquiries by the city in which the city's building inspector verifies with the federal government whether the individual is lawfully present in the US. Those individuals whom the federal government reports are present in the US lawfully lose their occupancy license.  Ordinance 2952 also criminalized persons for renting housing without an occupancy license and landlords from knowingly renting housing to persons without a housing license. Additionally, Ordinance 2952 established judicial review of the revocation of licenses.

There were several opinions issued in this case and each offered a different preemption analysis. I summarize a few of them here (primarily the majority and concurring opinions) and hope to blog some more about the other opinions later.

Judge Higginson, writing for the majority in Villas at Parkside v. City of Farmers Branch, relies primarily on conflict preemption to opine that Ordinance 2952 is preempted. (Judge Higginson majority opinion was joined by Chief Judge Stewart, Davis, Southwick, and Haynes). In particular, Judge Higginson wrote that Ordinance 2952 conflicts with 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), the federal anti-harboring law, which makes it a felony to "harbor, shield or conceal" an undocumented noncitizen. The court noted that the federal anti-harboring law has been interpreted to mean that "something is being hidden from detection." By contrast, Ordinance 2952 does not require a landlord to know or recklessly disregard a renter's violation of federal immigration law or to shield a renter from detection. Indeed, the majority commented that by criminalizing a landord's decision to rent to a removable noncitizen, Ordinance 2952 obstructs the federal anti-harboring law, which requires removable noncitizens to provide the federal government with a reliable address "to guarantee and speed the removal process." Additionally, the court emphasized other ways in which Ordinance 2952 conflicts with the federal anti-harboring law, including the fact that the federal government has sole authority under the federal statute to prosecute, convict and sentence violators of the law.  Moreover, the judicial review of the revocation of occupancy licenses (which would have included a determination of whether the occupant is lawfully present in the US) conflicted with the sole authority of federal government to "classify noncitizens."

Interestingly, Judge Higginson wrote a separate special concurrence in which he expresses the view that the ordinance was not field preempted.  He explained that, "the Ordinance regulates the ability of non-citizens to obtain rental housing, and Congress has not determined that housing of non-citizens falls within its exclusive authority."  That is, there was no specific "ousting" of historic police powers in this case. (He then cites in a footnote an article that I co-wrote with Pratheepan Gulasekaram in 2009, Sanctuary Policies & Immigration Federalism: A Dialectic Analysis, to note the complexity of applying Decanas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351 (1976), in "sub-federal immigration regulation.")

Judge Reavley (joined by Judge Graves) concurred only in the judgment. Judge Reavley's opinion focused on field preemption.  He explained that Congress's "framework for removal provided in the INA and the discretion allowed by that framework show that Congress has occupied the field of alien removal."  What is particularly noteworthy from my perspective about Judge Reavley's opinion is that he pointed out the anti-Latino and anti-immigrant purpose of the Ordinance. He stated that "ordinance is surely offensive to immigrants and to our neighbors to the south" and noted that his "colleagues are silent about this." Indeed, he commented that the ordinance reminiscent of the "anti-Japanese fever" that existed in the 1940s. (To be sure, these comments fall squarely more under an equal protection analysis instead of preemption analysis).

Judge Dennis, joined by Judge Reavley, Prado and Graves, wrote that the "Ordinance is even more fundamentally flawed than" the majority acknowledged. Specifically, Judge Dennis opined that the the Ordinance was "preempted in all of its core provisions" (and not just the criminal offense and judicial review provisions of the Ordinance). Judge Dennis further stated the "regulat[ion of] the residence of noncitizens within the United States" is necessarily exclusive of infringement by state or local legislation."  

Overall, the foregoing opinions underscore the different views about the application of the preemption doctrine in immigration law. I'll blog about the other opinions in a later post.


July 24, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Blueprint for an ‘All-In Nation’

All-in nation

Today the Center for American Progress and PolicyLink released the new book All-In Nation, which lays the groundwork for federal policies that would create a more equitable economy and a more equitable nation. The book examines the impact of the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of America, and lays out a progressive policy agenda in key areas: infrastructure; jobs and the economy; health care and healthy communities; education and workforce development; immigration; criminal justice; and democratic participation.

Each policy chapter is introduced with a relevant personal essay written by a public figure, among them renowned educator Geoffrey Canada, jurist Michelle Alexander, and actress America Ferrera. The book’s contributors also include Marian Wright Edelman, Ai-jen Poo, Gov. Ed Rendell, Dr. Robert Ross, and Lawrence Summers. Together they represent a spectrum of issues and settings—from the streets to the halls of government and philanthropy to the ivory tower, along with a full range of wisdom, experience, and perspective that can lead to a stronger America.

All-In Nation includes a new analysis by economist Robert Lynch showing that if racial and ethnic income gaps were closed:

• Our gross domestic product would be about $1.2 trillion higher per year

• We would have about $192 billion more in federal, state, and local tax revenues

• 13 million people would be lifted out of poverty

All-In Nation is available for free in PDF format.

July 24, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Border Deaths in Arizona



In a 9-5 ruling, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down an immigration enforcement ordinance passed by Farmers Branch, Texas that would have prohibited landlords from renting to immigrants who were deemed unlawfully present and authorized arrest and prosecution of landlords and tenants found in violation of the law. A panel of the Fifth CIrcuit had previously struck down the ordinance before the court granted en banc review.

Under the ordinance, all prospective renters would have been required to provide information about their immigration status and obtain a rental license from the city building inspector, who would be responsible for determining immigration status. The ordinance was never allowed to take effect, as federal courts have blocked its implementation before it reached the en banc Fifth Circuit.

Beginning in 2006, the City of Farmers Branch, Texas passed a series of housing ordinances designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from being able to rent apartments or homes. The ordinances were part of an effort to drive immigrants from the city by making life as difficult as possible. Each of the ordinances has been blocked by the federal courts as the result of litigation brought by MALDEF, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas.

In its ruling, the court said the Farmers Branch ordinance was unconstitutional because it conflicted with federal immigration law. The court based its holding on guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2012 invalidating provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070. The Fifth Circuit emphasized that allowing city “officers to arrest an individual whom they believe to be not lawfully present would allow the [city] to achieve its own immigration policy and could be unnecessary harassment of some aliens … whom federal officials determine should not be removed.”

As an opinion concurring in the decision noted, because the “purpose and effect” of the ordinance was “the exclusion of Latinos from the city of Farmers Branch,” “legislation of [this] type is not entitled to wear the cloak of constitutionality.”

Nine judges held the ordinance unconstitutional, while only five judges would have upheld it.

Attorneys who are working on the case include Nina Perales, Marisa Bono, and Thomas A. Saenz of MALDEF; Omar Jadwat, Jennifer Chang Newell, and Lucas Guttentag of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; and Rebecca Robertson of the ACLU of Texas.


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Michele Bachmann on Voting by Legalized Immigrants


"The president … by executive order" could grant voting rights to illegal immigrants who are newly legalized under pending legislation, according to Michele Bachmann in a recent interview with World Net Daily.  Always the provocateur, Bachman is not alwys correct on the facts, which in this instance is especially important because there are frequent clains by Republicans that immigrants are unlawfully voting. 

Louis Jacobson on concludes that "Bachmann is wrong."


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Response to Alberto Gonzales on Same Sex Marriage under the Immigration Laws

Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta comment on the argument by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and David Strange in an op/ed in the New York Times that the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), which struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, does not make it clear that sex spouses may be entitled to immigration benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The Obama administration, including the BIA, disagrees with Gonzales and Strange.


July 22, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Biden: Immigration Reform is about Public Safety

Understanding that CIR is about promoting community policing, Vice President Biden has spoken out in favor of reform.

From CBS News:

Meeting with law enforcement officials on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly emphasized that immigration reform is a "public safety issue," saying the Senate's immigration bill would greatly strengthen border security and empower law enforcement officials. He called on the House of Representatives to "step up" and pass its own bill.

"This is a public safety issue," he said, pounding the table in front of him with each word to emphasize his point. "Immigration reform is going to make our communities safer and make these guys' job much easier," he added, nodding at the law enforcement officials assembled in the room.

The vice president emphasized the "unprecedented $46 billion dollars" the Senate allocated to strengthen border security, including more manpower, new technology, and new infrastructure, including an expanded border fence.

But "it extends beyond just dealing with border security," he continued, "by requiring all undocumented immigrants to come forward and register, submit to fingerprints, pass criminal background checks and a national security check."

By bringing those people out of the shadows, Biden said, law enforcement officials will finally be able to address problems among undocumented communities [unreported crimes and even domestic abuse] that too often go unreported due to a suspicion of authorities. Click here....


July 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Obama: We Should be Proud of Latino Immigration

From the Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama’s 2014 campaign team is spotlighting his emotional pitch to Latino voters, saying “our increasing Latino population should be a source of pride and strength.”

The Thursday tweet by Organizing For America showcased Obama’s statement from an interview with the Spanish-language Telemundo network.

“We know that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, there are going to be more people of Latino heritage here in the United States, and that should be a source of pride and a source of strength,” he told Telemundo’s Denver anchor, Maria Rozmán.

The interview was one of four that Obama did July 16 with Spanish-language TV shows to help build support for the controversial immigration rewrite that would double immigration to add 46 million immigrants to the country by 2033.

The praise for large-scale Latino immigration is the flip-side of Obama’s repeated suggestions that GOP opposition to low-skill immigration shows disrespect for Latinos and Latino culture.

That angle is also highlighted by amnesty-supporting pollsters. “Only 29 percent of Latinos felt the Republican Party ‘respects the Latino community’ while 67 percent said they did not,” according to a July survey by Latino Decisions.

Obama’s praise for the increased diversity caused by Latino migration reflects many progressives’ preference for creating cultural and social variety in place of the broadly-held social consensus that has evolved in many mostly-white suburban and rural communities. Read more...


July 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)