Monday, September 1, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Harry Bridges (Australia)


Courtesy of


Bayshore Inn

Courtesy of


Harry Bridges.  Born Alfred Renton Bridges July 28, 1901 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Died March 30, 1990 (aged 88) San Francisco, California, United States

Harry Bridges was an Australian-born American union leader, in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which he helped form and led for over 40 years. He was prosecuted by the U.S. government during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. His conviction by a federal jury for having lied about his Communist Party membership was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1953. On the West Coast, Bridges still excites passions both for and against the labor movement.


September 1, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Labor Day!



Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor website

The History of Labor Day Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day The father of labor day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.


The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television. The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker. 

Immigrants in the Labor Market

For analysis of the growing importance of immigrants in theh U.S. labor market, click here and here.


September 1, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unaccompanied Minors Face Death -- So What?


On Huffington Post, Laura Murray-Tjan discusses the controversy surrounding the U.S. government's treatment of Central Americans migrants, with a special emphasis of the limited definition of "refugee" under U.S. law.  "Even as political leaders debate whom to blame for the surge of child migrants at the border, most agree on one goal: deporting the children as quickly as possible. Yet few advocates of their speedy removal are willing to state on the record that the children's death is a strong possibility. . . . Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the highly conservative Center for Immigration Studies, has no problem acknowledging the risk of death. As he stated in a recent radio interview, the fact that one person loses his life after removal does not force the conclusion that others like him should be permitted to stay."


August 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Promise of Executive Action on Immigration Put on Hold Again?



For most of the summer, there has been talk of President Obama's bold executive action on immigration that would break a congressional gridlock on immigration reform.  It appears that the administration is rethinking the issue.

Carrie Budoff Brown on reports that "White House officials are locked in an intense debate over whether President Barack Obama should announce a plan to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants before Election Day — mindful that whichever choice they make could be tagged as the reason that Democrats lost the Senate. The problem: a lack of consensus, both inside and outside the West Wing, on the political ramifications. With the most endangered Senate Democrats faring better than expected heading into Labor Day, each option carries risks that could shake up the political environment — in essence, creating a September or October surprise."

The New York Times ran a similar story.


August 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Pierre Omidyar From France | Founder of eBay and Philanthropist

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The millionaires who rescue people at sea

ImmigrationProf has previously reported on migrants dying in the Mediterranan on the journey to Europe.  The BBC has an interesting report about a philanthropist couple have launched what they say is the world's first privately funded vessel to help migrants in trouble at sea.

"Last summer, Regina Catrambone and her husband Chris were on board a yacht cruising around the Mediterranean - but the idyllic holiday scene was interrupted when they spotted something in the sea. "My husband and I were on the deck and we saw a winter jacket floating in the water, like a ghost," says Regina. They asked the captain how it ended up there. "His face became very dark and he said probably the person who was wearing it is not with us any more. That started to trigger our attention." They realised it had probably belonged to one of the thousands of migrants who try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe - 1,889 have died in these waters since the start of the year, 1,600 of them since the beginning of June.

"Since then the couple, who are in their 30s, have drawn deeply from their own pockets to fund a highly-sophisticated ship, the Phoenix, based in Malta, where they live. It has dinghies and two state-of-the art drones which they are using to find and help migrants trying to enter Europe by boat, mostly from Africa."


August 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Human Rights and Immigrants' Access to Care by Wendy E. Parmet and Simon Fischer


Human Rights and Immigrants' Access to Care by Wendy E. Parmet, Northeastern University - School of Law, and  Simon Fischer, Northeastern University - School of Law 2014 Salud Pública de México, Vol. 55, No. 6, pp. 631 -637 (2013) Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 183-2014

Abstract: This article first examines the international framework for the right to health, and how it applies to non-citizens within a state. It then looks specifically at the case of the United States of America, which does not recognize a general right to health, but does have numerous particularized health programs, each with their own criteria and exclusions. The resulting hodgepodge is especially difficult for non-citizens, who face a number of exclusions based on their immigration status. This results in non-citizens being insured at low rates, and being put at greater risk for certain preventable or treatable diseases. Finally, the article looks at an example of using state rather than federal law in the United States to secure better health care for immigrant populations. Particular attention is paid to Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which established under Massachusetts law that legal immigrants could not be discriminated against in a state-funded broad-based health insurance program.


August 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Op/Ed on the DOJ Recusal of Immigration Court Judge Tabaddor


ImmigrationProf previously reported on a lawsuit against the Department of Justice brought by Immigration Court Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and current adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law.   The lawsuit challenges a DOJ order recusing Judge Tabaddor, an immigrant from Iran, indefinitely from all cases involving Iranian nationals.   The dispute apparently all started after Trabaddor sought a day of of leave to attend a meeting of Iranian American leaders at the White House.

For an op/ed on the DOJ order, see Download Daily Journal Article (Dean Johnson)


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foreign Students Contribute Billions to Metro Areas

Immigration Impact reports on a new study about the positive economic impacts of foreign students. International students enrich U.S. colleges and universities, but “only recently, however, have local leaders begun to appreciate that students from fast-growing foreign economies can also be important anchors in building global connections between their hometowns abroad and their U.S. metropolitan destinations,” said Neil Ruiz, author of a new report released by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, The Geography of Foreign Students in the United States: Origins and Destinations. As Ruiz said, “With knowledge of both markets, foreign students can be valuable assets to local business communities that are seeking to expand globally and the wider metropolitan economies in which they sit.”


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Training Videos on Representing Unaccompanied Minors

Immigrant of the Day: Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University

Mohammad H. Qayoumi is the 28th president of San Jose State University, as well as a professor of electrical engineering. As an immigrant who arrived in 1979, he is the first person born in Afghanistan to become president of a major American university. In addition to his three decades of experience as an engineer and an administrator at several universities, he has published eight books and presented at numerous international conferences. He holds four advanced degrees from the University of Cincinnati.


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fom the Bookshelves: Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez


Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez

A myth-busting account of the tragedies, tales of success, and ambiguities of undocumented immigration—the stories behind the overheated rhetoric in the news

“What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?” —anti-immigrant protest sign

Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more hostile.

Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing narrative takes us into Southern churches (which have quietly emerged as the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida, onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala.

A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time.


August 29, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Immigration Council Seeks Your Support For Justice

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Immigration Law and Executive Power on C-SPAN

Cuellar Confirmation Hearings for California Supreme Court Today

Sugrue_Stanford_Cuellar_040 2

Earlier this summer, California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated a Mexican-born Stanford Law School professor, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, to serve as an Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court. Cuéllar is the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science.

Today, the Commission on Judicial Appointments will hold a hearing on Cuéllar's nomination. The Commission members are Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (a proud alum of UC Davis School of Law), Attorney General Kamala Harris, and soon-to-retire Second District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

I will be attending the conformation hearings, which begin at 9 a.m. at the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco, and will update this post with details later in the day.

UPDATE:  After a short hearing (mostly accolades for soon-to-be Justice Cuellar) with no opposition and a mere two questions for the nominee, the Commission unanimously approved the nomination.  Click here for more details about the hearing.  

There were no statements or submissions in opposition to his confirmation.  Cuellar will be on the ballot in November for confirmation by the voters


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist


Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Liz Balmaseda was born in Puerto Padre in the midst of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. After graduating from Florida International University, she began her career in print and broadcast journalism, working as a reporter and feature writer for the Miami Herald, Central America bureau chief for Newsweek, field producer for NBC News, screenplay writer for HBO, and columnist for the Palm Beach Post. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the first in 1993 for her writing on refugees in Cuba and Haiti, and the second, in 2001, for her reporting on Elián González—she has spent her career reporting on human rights and social justice. She co-authored the book Waking Up in America: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those Who Need It Most. She won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 2001.


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 14 U.S. Hispanic Groups by National Origin

From the Bookshelves: Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience, William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors

Binational human rights

Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience, William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations—particularly the United States.

The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border. Binational Human Rights brings together explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses.

Contributors: Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Timothy J. Dunn, Miguel Escobar-Valdez, Clara Jusidman, Maureen Meyer, Carol Mueller, Julie A. Murphy Erfani, William Paul Simmons, Kathleen Staudt, Michelle Téllez.

William Paul Simmons is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona and author of Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other and An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas's Political Thought.

Carol Mueller is Professor of Sociology and former Director of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. She is coeditor of Repression and Mobilization and Frontiers of Social Movement Theory, among other titles.


August 27, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comedy Break: Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia



Courtesy of

Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia

Peter starts an anti-immigration group; however, he quickly changes his mind when he finds out that he was born in Mexico. Unable to prove his citizenship, pass the naturalization test or convince investigators that his marriage to Lois is for real, he ends up working for Carter as a landscaper, all the while fighting for immigration rights.

Watch here.



August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan From Syria | Federal Judge


Samuel Der-Yeghiayan From Syria | Federal Judge

Samuel Der-Yeghiayan is United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. President Bush appointed him to the position in 2003. He previously served as a judge in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and attorney in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, receiving the INS “District Counsel of the Year” award in 1998. He holds a degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Judge Der-Yeghiayan served in various capacities with the Chicago INS District, including as a trial attorney from 1978 to 1982, district counsel from 1982 to 2000, and acting district director from 1986 to 1987.


August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)