Friday, February 8, 2013
The Center for American Progress released “Immigrants Are Makers, Not Takers” to outline how immigrants contribute more to the U.S. economy than they cost in public benefits. Immigration opponents continue to incorrectly insist that immigrants are a drag on the economy, a stereotype that is contradicted by the evidence. This column and the accompanying charts make the case for how immigrants help create economic gains in GDP, tax revenue, and the Social Security Trust Fund, and are a net positive to the economy overall. They also explain how two oft-cited reports from the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, incorrectly claim that immigrants are an economic drag. The column walks through how Heritage and the Center for Immigration Studies get the analysis wrong, and explains how immigrants help boost the economy.
Two former governors and two former Cabinet secretaries are forming a bipartisan group to push for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and putting 11 million undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, disclosed details in an interview about the effort he'll be heading along with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Republican, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, a Democrat, are the other two involved.
Rendell says the purpose is to keep up momentum behind the immigration reform effort and help devise a solution that can get through Congress.
The group is being formed with help from the Bipartisan Policy Center
Thursday, February 7, 2013
For the third time, the Emerging Immigration Law Scholars and Teachers Conference is being organized to create a space for junior law teachers to share drafts of research and writing projects, discuss teaching techniques and get to know one another.
This year’s conference will be held at the University of California-Irvine School of Law on June 13-14, 2013. The conference will run from 9:00am to 8:00pm on Thursday June 13th, including dinner, and from 9:00am to 2:00pm on Friday, June 14th.
The conference will consist of panel discussions on teaching immigration law (covering doctrinal and clinical teaching), scholarship, recent developments in immigration law and policy, and works-in-progress sessions. It will be open to emerging law teachers (tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track) who have been teaching immigration law for eight years or less. This includes doctrinal and clinical faculty, fellows, and others looking to enter full-time law teaching.
In the near future, we will be distributing information about registering for the conference, and submitting works-in-progress papers for panel discussions.
The Organizing Committee,
Kathleen Kim, Loyola Los Angeles
Deep Gulasekaram, Santa Clara
Ernesto Hernandez, Chapman
Stephen Lee, UC-Irvine
Kevin Lapp, Loyola Los Angeles
Stewart Chang, Whittier
WEBINAR INVITATION: Immigration and Gender: An Analysis of Public Opinion and Media Coverage
February 13, 2013
As a group, immigrants who are women face challenges that are often overlooked in public discourse surrounding other immigration concerns. Women often find themselves at the intersection of matters related to work, immigration status, family, and gender, affected by each of these in ways that are often ignored in the policy arena.
To ensure that women’s concerns are included in conversations regarding immigration, we need to know how current discourse and public opinion treat immigrant women, and how we can leverage existing opportunities, improve coverage, and shape discussions.
During this telebriefing speakers will present research and recommendations that pertain to public opinion and media coverage of immigrant women.
Sienna Baskin, Urban Justice Center
Michelle Brané, Women’s Refugee Commission
Julie Rowe, The Opportunity Agenda
Loren Siegel, Loren Siegel Consulting
Juhu Thukral, The Opportunity Agenda
CLICK HERE TO RSVP
Immigration and Gender Report (2012)
"THE DIGNITY CAMPAIGN'S ALTERNATIVE VISION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM" by David Bacon in The Nation reports on the Dignity Campaign, a loose network of more than forty immigrant rights and community organizations, unions and churches that has crafted an immigration reform proposal based on “human, labor and civil rights for all.” The campaign’s member organizations support it as an alternative to the political strategy behind the tradeoffs toward enforcement, guest worker programs, etc.in manyt comprehgensive immigration reform proposals. Here is what the campaign calls for:
"Over the last year a group of Organizations and Individuals Have Been meeting to AFFIRM the Need for an Immigration Reform bill based on human rights. Would This bill include legalization of the undocumented Immediate, de-criminalization of Immigrants, equal rights, reunification of Families, an end to temporary worker Programs, and an end to foreign trade and the Policies That cause dislocation of people.
We are calling this effort the Dignity Campaign for Real Immigration Reform. We Need Real Solutions to the denial of migrants’ rights, to the Economic and Political Forces That force migration, and to the Economic Crisis Affects That working people in general. We hope to raise our collective Aspirations for Immigration Reform, Rather Than limit our work to criticizing Congressional Proposals Reflect corporate That Needs for exploitable labor.
The Dignity Campaign is an education and Organizing Effective tool – a positive alternative to Congressional Proposals and Policies That Immigrants continue to criminalize. Can we use the alternative ‘bill’ in community forums, union meetings, marches, lobbying visits to Congress Members, newspaper articles and other Ways to raise our expectations for real solutions and rally support.
We welcome the input of groups and Individuals On this Proposal and Communities Encourage unions to use it and in Formulating your own Proposals. Some Communities are using the Proposal Already This Way. We invite you to join the Dignity Campaign in Developing an immigration bill Represents the Reforms That we really need."
Immigrants Sue U.S. Government, Illinois County Jail for Inhumane Detention Conditions and Neglectful Medical Care
Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed a lawsuit yesterday against officials of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Jefferson County, Illinois, on behalf of seven immigrants who were held at the Jefferson County Justice Center under unsanitary conditions and with inadequate health care. The lawsuit follows ICE’s evacuation of dozens of immigrants from the facility in November 2012, when all but one member of the facility’s medical staff had resigned or tendered their resignation, including the jail’s only doctor. NIJC has since documented reports of MRSA, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, and skin funguses which occurred among the jail’s ICE populations in the weeks leading up to the resignations and evacuation.
The lawsuit challenges the validity of ICE’s contract with Jefferson County, as well as widespread constitutional violations at the jail. Under federal law, ICE cannot detain people at facilities that are found to be “deficient” on two consecutive inspections. But even though Jefferson County Justice Center failed ICE inspections in four consecutive years from 2006 to 2009, ICE signed a contract and began to house immigrants there in 2009. Furthermore, the inspections that have taken place since 2009 were based on detention standards that that have been superseded.
Immigrants who were held in ICE custody at Jefferson County during fall 2012 paint a grim picture: requests for medical treatment were repeatedly ignored, showers and restrooms were crusted with mold, drinking water was brown and putrid, jail pods were poorly ventilated, jail uniforms were tattered and soiled, and immigrants had no outdoor recreation or meaningful access to sunlight. About 70 percent of the more than 420,000 men and women detained by ICE in fiscal year 2012 were held at state and local jails like Jefferson County Justice Center.
The full complaint and exhibits in Padron et al. v. ICE et al. are available for download at th elink above.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Farmers in U.S., Mexico & Central America May Increasingly Have to Compete for Shrinking Agricultural Labor Workforce amid Evolving Regional Dynamics, MPI Report Finds
Agriculture is unlike most other key sectors of the North American economy in that its comparative advantage has rested on having access to abundant labor willing to do the work instead of on the accumulation of education and formal credentials. Agricultural labor trends are evolving, however, raising labor supply questions for the United States, Mexico and Central America.
For example, Mexico, which is still the largest supplier of hired labor to U.S. farms, is in the transitional phase of being both farm labor exporter and importer, increasingly relying on workers from Guatemala as its own agricultural workforce shrinks. And with the production of labor-intensive crops expanding in Mexico and the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) as agricultural jobs become less attractive throughout the region, there could be a growing tension between labor supply and demand.
In Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central America, economists Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor of the University of California, Davis examine the region’s farm labor market dynamics. The report focuses on changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution in Latin America, as well as on trends in training and education, and their implications for workers and migration. (The Spanish-language report brief can be found here.)While the share of the total workforce employed in agriculture is high in Mexico and Central America relative to the United States, it is falling fast. Across Mexico and Central America, educational attainment is increasing and incomes are rising — though these advances and demographic trends are evolving at different speeds in each country, the report finds. Mexico and El Salvador are seeing their populations age and total population growth slowdown. In contrast, birth rates remain high in Guatemala and Honduras.
Fordham International Law Journal Symposium- Is the EU a Model for NAFTA?
Februay 15, 2013, Fordham Law School
Keynote Speaker: Stephen Zamora, Professor, University of Houston Law Center
Current Immigration and Freedom of Movement Policy in NAFTA and the EU
Moderator: Jennifer Gordon, Professor, Fordham University School of Law
Panelists: Madeleine Sumption, Senior Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute
Bill Ong Hing, Professor, University of San Francisco School of Law
Can NAFTA Be Made to Work Like the EU?
Moderator: Gemma Solimene, Professor, Fordham University School of Law
Panelists: Edward Alden, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Professor Alan Hyde, Professor, Rutgers School of Law-Newark
From the Bookshelves: Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston by Shannon Gleeson
Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston by Shannon Gleeson, Cornell University Press (2012)
In Conflicting Commitments, Shannon Gleeson goes beyond the debate over federal immigration policy to examine the complicated terrain of immigrant worker rights. Federal law requires that basic labor standards apply to all workers, yet this principle clashes with increasingly restrictive immigration laws and creates a confusing bureaucratic terrain for local policymakers and labor advocates. Gleeson examines this issue in two of the largest immigrant gateways in the country: San Jose, California, and Houston, Texas. Conflicting Commitments reveals two cities with very different approaches to addressing the exploitation of immigrant workers—both involving the strategic coordination of a range of bureaucratic brokers, but in strikingly different ways. Drawing on the real life accounts of ordinary workers, federal, state, and local government officials, community organizers, and consular staff, Gleeson argues that local political contexts matter for protecting undocumented workers in particular. Providing a rich description of the bureaucratic minefields of labor law, and the explosive politics of immigrant rights, Gleeson shows how the lessons learned from San Jose and Houston can inform models for upholding labor and human rights in the United States.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Esteban Tiznado-Reyna, who is currently detained and undergoing removal proceedings, claims that he is a U.S. citizen and, therefore, could not be removed. (The full article is here).
In particular, in 2008, Tiznado-Reyna was charged with violating 8 U.S. 1326 or the crime of illegal re-entry. Violation of this crime requires the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is (1) an alien, (2) has been removed, and (3) entered, attempted to enter or is in the U.S. At trial, Tiznado-Reyna presented evidence of his U.S. citizenship, presumably challenging the first element. A jury ultimately found Tiznado-Reyna not guilty.
His victory, however, was unavailing. Sometime after that trial, ICE removed him. He came back 2011 and, after being found not guilty of drug charges, he was once again placed in removal proceedings.
Among other issues, this case raises an interesting question about the role a jury's finding of citizenship in the context of a criminal trial should play in the overall claim of citizenship for purposes of removal proceedings. No doubt, Tiznado-Reyna would be forced to definitely prove his citizenship (again) in the removal case.
Unfortunately, as Professor Jacqueline Stevens has documented in her June 2011 article, U.S. Government Unlawfully Detaining and Deporting U.S. Citizens as Aliens, a number of Americans have been removed from this country in recent memory.
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Presented by Sam Rock of Rock & Hardin and moderated by Nora Privitera, this training is for intermediate to advanced immigration attorneys who handle family based and removal cases, and is specifically geared to help immigration practitioners understand the tax issues that may affect their clients' cases. During this webinar, you will learn how to recognize suspect tax returns as well as tax issues that will cause problems in cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, consular processing and naturalization cases.
Date: February 14, 2013
Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am Pacific Time
Register by: February 12
MCLE: 1.5 CA
This morning Congressman Nadler re-introduced the Uniting American Families Act in the 113th Congress.
"Our immigration system has always recognized the value of keeping families together. But when it comes to legally married same-sex couples and domestic partners our immigration law says those families don’t count." — Represenative John Conyers (Michigan) as quoted in The Hill
Congressman Nadler is familiar with the re-introduction process; he has been the lead sponsor of UAFA for over a decade. But this time, it's different. With immigration reform on the horizon, the support that we gather for UAFA in these next few months could make the difference for our families’ inclusion.
In this critical moment for immigration reform, we need your help to get UAFA co-sponsors.
Last year, UAFA had the most co-sponsors of any immigration bill in the House or Senate. This record number of co-sponsors sends a message that LGBT immigrant families cannot be left out of immigration reform. Help us reach that same number of co-sponsors — and more — by writing to your Representative now.
Sending your letter is easy — we provide some starter text, you just include a few sentences about what UAFA means to you and your family.
Write a letter to your Representative today asking them to become a co-sponsor.
We’ll keep you posted on our progress. And keep an eye out in the coming days for even more that you can do. Let’s ensure that this is Congressman Nadler’s last UAFA re-introduction.
Thank you for all that you do,
Monday, February 4, 2013
At a White House ceremony Friday, President Obama conferred the National Medal of Technology and Innovation on Dr. Jan Vilcek, Professor of Microbiology at the NYU Langone Medical Center and President of the Vilcek Foundation. Twenty-two other distinguished scientists and innovators were also recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments in science and engineering.
Dr. Vilcek, an immigrant from the former Czechoslovakia, received this honor for his pioneering work on interferons and contributions to the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. His work was instrumental in the development of the anti-inflammatory drug Remicade®, now widely used for the treatment of Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many other chronic inflammatory disorders.
Before conferring the National Medal of Honor on the top scientists, engineers and inventors in the United States, President Obama noted, “If there’s one idea that sets this country apart - one idea that makes us different from any other nations, it’s that here in America, success doesn’t depend on where you’re born or what your last name is. Success depends on the idea that you can dream up, possibilities that you envision, and the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears you want to put in.” Using Dr. Vilcek’s story as an example of the American dream, President Obama added, “One of the scientists being honored today is Jan Vilcek. Jan was born in Slovakia, to Jewish parents who fled the Nazis during World War II. To keep their young son safe, his parents placed him in an orphanage owned by Catholic nuns and later he and his mother were taken in by some brave farmers in a remote Slovak village and hidden until the war was over. Today, Jan is a pioneer in the study of the immune system in the treatment of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.”
A native of Bratislava, Slovakia, Dr. Vilcek’s path to the United States was not an easy one. Carrying little more than a suitcase and the list of a few professional contacts, Dr. Vilcek and his wife Marica defected from communist Czechoslovakia during a visit to Vienna, Austria. From there, they crossed yet another border to West Germany, where they applied to be granted refugee status in order to receive immigrant visas to the United States.
Upon immigrating to the United States in 1965, Dr. Vilcek joined the faculty of New York University School of Medicine where he devoted his career to biomedical research in the field of immunology. Marica Vilcek, an art historian by training, joined the curatorial staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A devoted scientist and educator, Dr. Vilcek is also a generous philanthropist. With the royalties due to him for his inventions made as a faculty member at NYU, in 2000, Dr. Vilcek and his wife established the Vilcek Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. The Foundation awards annual Vilcek Prizes in biomedical science and the arts, sponsors cultural programs, and hosts the work of immigrant artists in its gallery space in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Foundation’s mission was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history. The Vilceks have also made major gifts to the NYU Langone Medical Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Commenting on his award, Dr. Vilcek said, “As an immigrant scientist, I see this honor as a confirmation of the importance of revising our immigration polices, removing obstacles for qualified scientists and engineers from abroad to join our workforce, and thus helping to ensure that the United States continues to be the world leader in technology and innovation. I also see these awards as an affirmation of the importance of providing sufficient funding for scientific research.”
The Vilcek Foundation’s growth and development over the past decade is a tribute to Jan and Marica Vilcek’s appreciation for the opportunities they found as newcomers to the United States. By linking American arts and sciences with immigrants’ contributions in its mission, the Vilcek Foundation possesses a unique and distinctly positive voice in the ongoing and often controversial dialogue over immigration in this country.
In the first days of President Obama's second term, immigration has taken center stage in the political arena. The Republican "Gang of 8" senators, led by Orrin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, and John McCain of Arizona, introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 on January 29. For his part, President Obama posted his own framework for immigration reform on the same day. Both pleas for reform have strong political undertones; Republicans hope to erase the 44% Democratic advantage that Obama enjoyed among Hispanics in the 2012 election, while the president and his party hope to solidify their advantage with these voters.
Yet the issue of immigration reform is far more than a political scuffle. Throughout American history, immigrants have brought passion, intelligence, and creativity to the country's workforce. Since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, skilled foreign workers have come to the United States on H-1B visas. Under the law's current provisions, American employers compete for 65,000 visa slots, with an additional 20,000 slots for foreigners with advanced degrees.
Which skills do American employers demand the most in foreign workers? The answers come in a report by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
1: Computer programming
By a wide margin, occupations in systems analysis and computer programming are the single largest driver of the H-1B visa program. In fact, in fiscal year 2011 these occupations were awarded 43.8% of the total H-1Bs. That year, computer programmers and systems analysts received 116,236 H-1B visas, up from 78,440 in 2010. In addition, non-programming computer professionals were awarded 13,901 visas. Not surprisingly, according to a July 2012 report by the Brookings Institution, the company that requested the most H-1B workers was Microsoft, with 4,109 requests.
2: Higher Education
H-1B legislation includes a special, uncapped category for non-profit groups. Thanks largely to these groups, foreign professionals in higher education occupations received 17,859 visas during fiscal year 2011.
3: Electrical/Electronics and Mechanical Engineering
Of all the occupations eligible for H-1B visas, engineers may represent the clearest case of the United States being out-competed by the rest of the world. According to the Brookings report, 56% of the world's undergraduate engineering degrees are awarded in Asia, with a third of the world's total earned in China alone. In 2011, electrical/electronics engineers account for 11,400 H-1B visas, and mechanical engineers make up an additional 5,070.
4: Accounting and auditing
After Microsoft, the top 2 H-1B requesting corporations are in the financial industry: Deloitte, one of the "Big 4" professional services firms, and Tata Consultancy Services, an arm of the India-based Tata Group that offers business and technology solutions. In fiscal year 2011, accounting and auditing occupations accounted for 8,750 H-1B visas.
Physicians and surgeons round out the top 5 list H-1B recipients, with 8,649 in 2011. Therapists account for an additional 2,783 visas, while 3,654 were awarded to other medical and health professionals.
Should immigration law be reformed so that more of these foreign professionals can enter the United States? The short answer is yes. Last year, US companies were so eager to hire that the year-long cap was filled in just two and a half months. In fact, The New Republic reports that 22,000 H-1B applications were filled in just four and a half days. The speed with which H-1B slots are filled reflects the overall strength of the US economy- the more success American firms enjoy, the more spots they'll have to fill. Nor are foreign workers hired just to avoid paying higher wages to Americans: the current law stipulates that H-1B recipients must be paid at least the local "prevailing wage".
The Republican proposal in particular emphasizes the need for H-1B caps to be relaxed. The Immigration Innovation Act advocates raising the occupational cap from 65,000 to 115,000, and eliminating the advanced-degree cap altogether. It also calls for a market-based "escalator" that would allow the cap to increase or decrease according to demand. The president's proposal calls for a special class of H-1B visas for foreign entrepreneurs eager to come to the US, and echoes Mitt Romney's proposal to "staple green cards" to the diplomas of advanced graduates in science, math, and engineering fields. In the coming weeks and months, we'll see if the federal government has the political capital and foresight necessary to achieve reform on immigration.
This is a guest post from Nick Gidwani, founder of SkilledUp.com – the Internet’s leading source of information on online courses, with over 60,000 courses from over 200 providers available in every subject. Nick previously worked at Bain Capital and WebMD, and graduated from MIT. Find online courses at SkilledUp.com, and visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
As a gay [undocumented] Mexican immigrant, Alex Aldana acutely understands his double-minority status. Not only does he fear deportation, he can't seek citizenship by marrying a partner because the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.
He and other gay activists are hoping the new immigration debate at the top of Washington's agenda will change that, and they are betting on a newly forged but still fragile alliance between a pair of voting blocs considered critical to President Obama's re-election: Latinos and the gay community.
The gay rights movement is working to make sure bi-national same-sex couples are included in immigration reform legislation making its way toward Congress, a tricky task for a constituency at the nexus of two hot-button social issues. So far, it has done so with strong backing from its liberal Latino partners.
Groups such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council de la Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund — all of which endorsed same-sex unions last year — reiterated this week that married gays should be part of a reform plan that provides a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Both Obama and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have included bi-national gay couples in their immigration reform blueprints. The framework that eight leading Democratic and Republican senators unveiled this week did not.
Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two of the senators working to hammer out a bipartisan immigration bill, already have rejected the idea that gay immigrants have a place in the coming debate.
"I'm telling you now, if you load this up with social issues and things that are controversial, then it will endanger" the endeavor, said McCain, whose wife and daughter support marriage rights for same-sex couples. He does not. Read more..