Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The New York Times reports that the fast for immigration reform on the National Mall has ended:
"A longtime labor leader and two other advocates of an immigration overhaul ended their water-only fasts on Tuesday in a tent on the National Mall, the 22nd day of an effort to press the House to take up legislation on the issue.
In a ceremony choreographed to evoke the civil rights and farmworker movements of the 1960s, the labor leader, Eliseo Medina, 67, took a bite of bread and a sip of apple juice. Looking tired, Mr. Medina did not speak during the event. Afterward, he rose and walked away, leaning on the arm of another advocate."
The activists had been visited during the fast by President Obama and the First Lady.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) commemorated the 10th anniversary of its Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Program at an event held Tuesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington to highlight the agency’s commitment to holding these individuals accountable. Under the “No Safe Haven” initiative, ICE and its partners focus on investigating, prosecuting and removing human rights abusers, including Nazis and their collaborators, from the United States. The event was attended by law enforcement and government agency partners, non-governmental organizations and others.
American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat in the December 2013 issue of the ABA Journal writes about the many hurdles facing immigrants in the removal process, including lack of guaranteed counsel and prolonged detention. Immigration reform is one possible solution.
Steven Seidenberg in the ABA Journal reports on a growing body of legislation at the state level that targets modern human slavery, which occurs primarily in the forms of forced labor and forced sex. The U.S. State Department estimates in its Trafficking in Persons Report for 2012 that as many as 27 million women, children and men are enslaved around the world. The State Department and some nongovernmental organizations put the number of human trafficking victims in the United States at some 100,000.
Immigration Article of the Day: A Safe Country to Emulate? Canada and the European Refugee by Audrey Macklin
A Safe Country to Emulate? Canada and the European Refugee by Audrey Macklin University of Toronto - Faculty of Law November 16, 2013 The Global Reach of European Refugee Law, Hélène Lambert, Jane McAdam, Maryellen Fullerton, eds., Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming.
Abstract: Asylum policies seem to migrate across borders with notably greater ease than asylum seekers themselves. Many – though not all -- of these ‘mobile’ asylum policy instruments aim to securitize, deter, deflect and reject asylum seekers. The easy circulation and morphing of ideas between Canada, the US, Australia, the EU Member States and the EU itself can make it difficult to identify origins or label any particular iteration as an instance of emulation. Canada is both sending and receiving country for this policy migration. In this contribution to an edited volume, the author focuses on Canadian refugee policy toward Roma asylum seekers from the European Union (especially Hungary) which culminated in the adoption of a 'safe country of origin' (SCO) rule. The purpose of the rule is to facilitate the rejection of Roma asylum seekers by deeming their countries of nationality as non-refugee producing states and, by implication, discrediting Roma asylum seekers as disingenuous. Various European states have adopted SCO provision and the EU Asylum Directive authorizes such provisions. The Canadian SCO policy was doubtless inspired by the precedent of individual EU Member States (especially the UK). But I contend that Canada’s posture toward the EU was less about emulation than appeasement. The EU’s stature as supranational political and economic power did spur the adoption of the SCO, but not because the European imprimatur made the SCO concept intrinsically enticing. Instead, I identify two motives driving Canada’s adoption of an SCO provision: First, placating EU irritation about visa requirements and, second, facilitating the conclusion of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement. The paper explains the functional differences between the Canadian SCO and its transatlantic cousins. The author also suggests that the normative subtext of Canada’s SCO provision may owe as much to another EU instrument, the 1999 Aznar Protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam (which denies access to asylum in the EU by EU citizens), as it does to the SCO concept (which governs third country nationals seeking asylum in the EU).
Monday, December 2, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney-Lopez
The decades-long increase in income inequality has become perhaps 'the' issue in American politics, and scholars have offered many reasons for why the gap between the rich and the rest has widened so much since the mid-1970s. Most of the explanations have been social and political in the broadest sense, and many have keyed on the propensity of middle- and working class Americans to vote against their own interest. Yet given that the greatest income divide is racial in nature, why have so few looked toward racially motivated behavior as a cause? Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class is a sweeping account of how 'dog-whistle' racial politics contributed to increasing inequality in America since the 1960s. Now a pervasive term in American political coverage, 'dog whistle' refers to coded signals sent to certain constituencies that only those constituencies will understand. Just as only dogs can hear a dog whistle, only a constituency fluent in a subterranean argot can understand that argot when it is used. For instance, attacks on Obama's use of a teleprompter is a dog whistle for racist voters who question blacks' (and by extension, the President's) intelligence.
Haney's book looks at racial dog whistles in America from the 1960s to the present, showing that their appeal has helped generate working class and middle class populist enthusiasm for policies that were actually injurious to their own interests. The dog whistle tactic has been with us from at least the era of George Wallace, but every candidate who has benefited from race-based resentments has used it: Nixon, Reagan (welfare queens), George Bush I (Willie Horton), Bill Clinton (Sister Souljah), and-most recently-Newt Gingrich.
A sweeping reinterpretation of the recent political and legal history of the U.S., Dog Whistle Politics is sure to generate a productive and lively debate about the role of race as a fundamental driver of inequality.
Immigration Article of the Day: Undocumented Migrants and the Failures of Universal Individualism by Jaya Ramji-Nogales
Undocumented Migrants and the Failures of Universal Individualism by Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law November 25, 2013 Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-36
Abstract: In recent years, advocates and scholars have made increasing efforts to situate undocumented migrants within the human rights framework. Few have examined international human rights law closely enough to discover just how limited it is in its protections of the undocumented. This article takes that failure as a starting point to launch a critique of the universal individualist project that characterizes the current human rights system. It then catalogues in detail the protections available to undocumented migrants international human rights law, which are far fewer than often assumed. The article demonstrates through a careful analysis of relevant law that the human rights framework contains significant conceptual gaps when it comes to the undocumented. It concludes by stepping away from human rights law and offering a radically innovative approach to protecting undocumented migrants and other vulnerable populations.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on November 29, 2013 that Joshua Dinkle, former Exalted Cyclops of a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Ozark, Ala., was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Mississippi for burning a cross at the entrance to a predominantly African-American neighborhood and for obstructing the investigation into the offense. Pamela Morris, Dinkle’s mother and the former secretary of the KKK chapter, was arrested on Nov. 21, 2013, for committing perjury before the grand jury investigating the cross burning. Dinkle, 28, was charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama that was unsealed on Nov. 27. The indictment charges him with one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing, one count of using fire to commit a federal felony and two counts of obstruction of justice. The indictment alleges that on May 8, 2009, Dinkle conspired with another person to burn a cross in an African-American neighborhood to threaten and intimidate residents of that neighborhood and thereby interfere with their federally protected housing rights. Dinkle allegedly constructed a six-foot cross, wrapping jeans and a towel around it. He and his co-conspirator drove the cross to an African-American community near Johntown Road in Ozark where Dinkle poured fuel on the cross, erected it in the ground and set it on fire. The indictment further contends that Dinkle obstructed justice by lying to local investigators in 2009, and federal investigators in 2012. Dinkle claimed he had withdrawn from the KKK months before the cross burning, provided a false alibi and denied knowing a person who was, in fact, his superior in the KKK.
The Washington Post has published this interview with Joseph Carens, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. He is a political theorist and focuses on issues of justice, equality and freedom in democracies, with a particular interest in cultural diversity and migration. His latest book, "The Ethics of Immigration," was released this year by Oxford University Press.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Check out this story and pictures. What do the actress Julianne Moore, the funnyman John Leguizamo, the supermodel Christy Turlington Burns and the director George C. Wolfe have in common? They’re among the 15 celebrities brought together by We Belong Together, a new national initiative to promote immigration reform. Earlier this year, this melting pot of talent gathered to have their portraits taken by the fashion photographer Albert Watson, who immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1970. The resulting black-and-white photos are the calling card for Fedoras for Fairness, which has previously been highlighted on ImmigrationProf.
The certiorari petition pending in the Supreme Court in Perez-Guererro v. Holder raises important questions of judicial review. The question presented is whether 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C), part of the 1996 immigration reforms limits the review of asylum and withholding of removal to questions of law (not fact), restricts jurisdiction in deferral of removal cases under the Convention Against Torture in the absence of statutory text to that effect.
The Eleventh Circuit ruled as follows:
This petition [for review] presents the question whether the Board of Immigration Appeals erred when it denied Jose Alberto Perez-Guerrero's request for relief under the Convention Against Torture. Perez-Guerrero accepted a bribe from a Mexican drug cartel while he was employed by the United States Embassy in Mexico City. After the United States arrested Perez-Guerrero, he provided valuable information about corrupt officials in Mexico and pleaded guilty to bribery and obstruction of justice. Perez-Guerrero completed a sentence in a federal prison, and the United States then petitioned to remove him. The immigration judge and the Board concluded that Perez-Guerrero was subject to removal and that he was not entitled to relief under the Convention because he had failed to prove that it was more likely than not that he would be tortured in Mexico. We have jurisdiction to review only the conclusions of law, but not the findings of fact, of the Board. 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C), (D). Because the Board committed no error of law, we deny Perez-Guerrero's petition for relief under the Convention. . . ."
There is a split in the circuits on whether fact questions are subject to judicial review in Convention Against Torture claimns. The Supreme Court generally has been protective in reserving some kind of judicial review in removal cases. Perez-Guerrero, however, raises somewhat different questions involving th elimitation of judicial review to legal questions..
Saturday, November 30, 2013
On Friday, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited with a group of activists who are fasting in Washington, D.C. in an effort to pressure Congress to pass an immigration bill. The Obamas praised organizers Eliseo Medina and Dae Joong Yoon and thanked "all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication, and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform," according to a White House statement.
Friday, November 29, 2013
David Bacon at New America Media offers sobering thoughts for farmworkers' Thanksgiving. As families celebrated Thanksgiving, farmworkers across the country who help harvest the food they will prepare continue to struggle under bitter working and living conditions.
Jose Lopez told his story to NAM associate editor David Bacon, as part of a cooperative project with Farmworker Justice.
Catholic Bishops on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border are showing their displeasure with the current state of immigration reform by releasing a letter to their parishes and elected officials. This collaboration of priests hopes to change misconceptions about undocumented immigrants.
The letter, Family Beyond Borders, written by Bishop Daniel Flores of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville and 12 other border bishops from Texas and Mexico. The letter states that the church must be conscious of how to help families that are facing separation because of deportation procedures.
As Thanksgoving dinner is behind us, Black Friday is dominating the thoughts of many Americans today. I thought I might offer some ideas on immigration books that might be worth a look (and perhaps a purchase).
5. Social Control and Justice: Crimmigration in the Age of Fear (2013) Editors: Maria João Guia, Maartje van der Woude and Joanne van der Leun Nominated for the Stein Rokkan Prize 2013 for Comparative Social Science Research
Abstract: Every year, international athletes come to play professional sports in the United States. Are they stealing jobs from Americans, or should they be welcomed for their talents? Should they be entitled to special treatment with regard to immigration and labor laws, or should they have to go through the same procedures as any immigrant applying for United States citizenship? The purpose of this article is to determine the historical and cultural framework with regard to the use of sports as a vehicle to achieve immigrant assimilation in the United States. This article also addresses the topic of athletes coming into the United States to “steal” jobs from Americans. Second, this article discusses the legal issues as well as the overlapping labor issues concerning immigration and worker migration. Third, the article is also important in the post-9/11 period because of immigration and security issues.
"[S]tates [are] passing laws benefiting illegal immigrants [and rejecting] a years-long history of unfriendliness. From January to June this year, 43 states and the District of Columbia enacted such laws or resolutions related to immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Much of the measures seek to make life easier for immigrants or simply praise their contributions. In granting in-state tuition and driver’s licenses to people here illegally, several states were reacting to President Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals program. Under it, eligible young people in the country illegally are allowed to stay and work without being deported."
State and local governments, in my estimation, are moving in the right direction in seeking to better integrate immigrants into their communities, as opposed to adopting immigration enforcement strategies trying to keep "them" out.
UPDATE (12/1); The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times criticized cities continuing to pass immigration enforcement ordinances, such as Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Fremont, Nebraska, and Farmer's Branch, Texas, and hope that the Supreme Court will not review any of the lower court decisions stroking down the ordinances.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Immigration Article of the Day: Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Span the Migrant Labor Lifecycle by Emma Aguila and John Godges
Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Span the Migrant Labor Lifecycle By Emma Aguila and John Godges
What the United States and Mexico ultimately need goes beyond immigration reform. What they need is a binational effort at labor reform. The scope of this effort should span the entire lifecycle of migrant labor, from the root causes that drive Mexican workers northward to the retirements of those workers either in Mexico or in the United States.