Friday, December 13, 2013
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) has announced that it is identifying the GOP incumbents in Washington who need to be replaced by Tea Party challengers who oppose "amnesty' for certain undocumented immigrants.
ALIPAC organized Tea Parties Against Amnesty, originally led in a coalition of more than 20 illegal immigration fighting groups into the first wave of Tea Party protests, and has made speeches about illegal immigration at many Tea Party rallies.
A new report reveals that Orange County probation officials have referred more children to immigration authorities than any other county in the state. The report, titled Second Chances for All: Why Orange County Probation Should Stop Choosing Deportation Over Rehabilitation for Immigrant Youth, was authored by students in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.
Earlier this year, California took a giant step forward when Governor Brown signed the TRUST Act, a state law which limits who may be detained for ICE. "But Orange County officials insist on continuing to entangle themselves in federal immigration enforcement,” said Tim Martin, a law student and co-author of the report. “These referrals violate confidentiality laws and constitutional limits on the authority of county officers.”
“Although the Orange County Probation Department enacted changes to its policies last November, apparently limiting ICE referrals to children who pose a ‘public safety threat’ or instances where deportation would be in the ‘best interests’ of a child, our report shows that the Department continues to make a steady stream of referrals,” said James Buatti, another co-author of the report.
“Referring juveniles to ICE undermines the rehabilitative mission of the juvenile justice system, with no corresponding benefit to public safety,” said co-author Victoria Anderson. “The Department requires probation officers to do immigration work they were not hired or trained to do, at significant cost to the county.”
Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications
Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications By Madeleine Sumption, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Sarah Flamm Skilled migration is an important resource for governments seeking to build their country’s human-capital base and make the most of global trade and investment opportunities. In many cases, however, migrant professionals face barriers transferring their skills and experiences across borders — with professional regulation one such barrier. Mutual recognition agreements that set out clear rules for licensing practitioners who move between signatory countries represents one solution. But reaching agreement on mutual recognition is no easy feat. Overall, as this report explores, the challenge for policymakers is to determine how governments can get more out of MRAs than they have done to date.
From the Peninsula Daily News:
The relationship between Latinos and U.S. Border Patrol officers in Forks (Washington State) has improved, according to an academic study released Thursday.
But state legislation should be passed to further protect the Spanish-speaking population from unwarranted stops and questioning by agency law enforcement personnel, it said.
“Twilight in Forks: The Real-Life Legacy of U.S. Border Patrol on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State” was prepared by the immigrant-advocacy organization Forks Human Rights Group, the Ronald Peterson Student Law Clinic at the Seattle University School of Law and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University.
Forks is best known for the fantasy trilogy the Twilight saga, the authors said in the report's background and summary statement.
“Members of the Latino community in Forks, however, live with the very real fear, not of vampires or the supernatural, but of the United States Border Patrol.” Read more...
Read the full report here.
Chris Christie has ambitions to become President. So what is his position on immigration reform?
Shortly after his landslide re-election victory, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) hit the Sunday shows, where he was asked for his opinion on comprehensive immigration reform. The Republican governor, who’s cultivated a reputation as a fearless straight-talker, ducked – Christie, who’d already endorsed the policy in years past, suddenly refused to speak his mind.
It was an unsettling display of cowardice, but it was also a reminder that Christie has no idea what to do with this issue. On the one hand, the New Jersey chief executive wants to appeal to Latino voters and the American mainstream. On the other, he has national ambitions and realizes his party’s radicalized base has no tolerance for bipartisan immigration solutions. Read more...
The song is ICE/El Hielo by La Santa Cecilia has been nominated for "Video of the Year" in Univision's 2014 Premio Lo Nuestro awards show. It tells the story about what millions of undocumented people who work on a daily basis go through to provide for their families only to get caught up in unjust deportations. Erika Andiola is the central character in the video, a young waitress who gets caught in the middle of a workplace immigration raid. Erika lived through a similar experience earlier this year. Without notice, immigration agents detained her mother Maria Arreola and brother while at home and put them into deportation proceedings. Erika led efforts to build pressure on ICE through online petitions, calls and mobilizations to stop their deportations. Her brother was released shortly after and her mom was saved from being deported as the bus she was being transported in was literally turned around miles before the Mexican border in Arizona.
Vote for the video and tell your friends, family and co-workers to do the same. Just register on the voting site as a "guest" then click "General" on left column and scroll down to find "Video of the Year" and select "ICE El Hielo" by La Santa Cecilia. Here's the link to vote.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
From Fusion/America with Jorge Ramos:
Michael Bloomberg is winding down his 12-year tenure as mayor of New York City, but he’s still pushing signature issues on the national stage, including immigration reform.
He told Jorge Ramos on Thursday that “it defies imagination” that any politician would oppose an immigration overhaul.
“We’re selling our birthright here,” Bloomberg said. “We’re creating industries overseas we’ll never get back to America, we have crops in the fields that rot because there’s no people to pick those crops.”
Bloomberg said allowing current immigration laws to stand is “national suicide,” reiterating a frequent talking point.
A large-scale immigration reform bill passed in the Senate this June, but similar legislation has collected dust in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will not bring legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives without majority support from his party.
That’s seems unlikely given the current political climate among Republican elected officials and their supporters. On Thursday, Boehner excoriated Tea Party groups for criticizing a recent budget deal, saying, "Frankly, I just think they've lost all credibility.”
In his interview with Ramos, Bloomberg acknowledged the divide among members of the GOP.
“It’s hard to understand Congress not being able to come together,” the mayor said. “In all fairness to Boehner, he’s got a tough time pulling lots of people together.”
Congratulations to Biram Dah Abeid, founder and President of Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, for winning the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights. This award is bestowed every five years upon individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the field of Human Rights. Past recipients include Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and Benazir Bhutto.
Dah Abeid is a preeminent leader in the movement to end the practice of slavery in his native Mauritania. That country was the last country in the world to abolish the practice, in 1981, and only recently criminalized the act of owning another human being, in 2007. Hundreds of thousands of Mauritanians continue to be held as slaves, just as their ancestors have been for thousands of years.
AlterNet reports that the U.S. government illegally deported a gay asylum-seeker to months of torture and death in a Honduran prison, his mother claims in court. Ana Lopez sued the United States and Immigration and Customer Enforcement for the death of her son, Nelson Javier Avila-Lopez. Lopez claims her son had a stay of deportation but ICE deported him anyway to Honduras, where he was "thrown, without formal charges, into the notorious Comayagua prison ... where he suffered unspeakable torture for nearly four months . . . . " Her son died in Comayagua prison on Valentine's Day 2012, in a fire that killed 357 other prisoners with him, his mother says.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus ("Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus") and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC), with co-counsel Keker Van Nest LLP, have filed a statewide class action lawsuit to challenge the current federal policy of detaining certain immigrants without giving them the opportunity to prove they pose no flight risk or danger to the public. The advocates urge that immigrants are entitled to go before an immigration judge to request release while they fight their deportation cases.
Many immigrants are being caught in a vast bureaucratic dragnet. The sheer arbitrariness is breathtaking and the needless suffering must be stopped." said Jon Streeter, lead counsel on the case for Keker & Van Nest. "What is perhaps most troubling is the Department of Homeland Security's policy is in clear contravention of the letter of the law. This case spotlights these practices, which are quietly devastating hundreds of immigrant families."
Named plaintiff Eduardo Vega Padilla is one of the many in California being detained without due process. Mr. Padilla came to the United States from Mexico in 1966 and received his green card before he turned two. During a difficult period in his life over a decade ago, Mr. Padilla was convicted of two non-violent, victimless crimes with potential immigration consequences. He was released from custody in 2002 and cleaned up his life to focus on taking care of his family, including providing primary financial support for his elderly mother, pregnant daughter, and grandson. On August 15, 2013-over ten years after the last time he was in criminal custody-immigration agents arrived at Mr. Padilla's home and arrested him on civil immigration charges. He is now detained in the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Sacramento County without any opportunity to go before a judge to be considered for release on bond. Mr. Padilla, like other immigrants represented in the case, has a past conviction that potentially could result in deportation. The lawsuit proposes that Mr. Padilla and others like him should have the opportunity to make an individualized case against their unconditional detention.
For several years Tom Tancredo was a regular subject of stories on the ImmigrationProf blog, including for his tough-as-nails approach to immigration enforcement. Tancredo represented the state's sixth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, as a Republican. He ran for President of the United States during the 2008 election, and was the Constitution Party's unsuccessful nominee for Governor of Colorado in 2010.
Tom Tancredo is back in the news. He has declared that he will run for governor in 2014 because of his opposition to current Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's refusal to execute a convicted murder as well as Hickenlooper's attempts to pass firearm legislation. Tancredo's campaign website does not include his current positions on immigration. Among Tancredo's supporters are rocker Ted ("Strangehold") Nugent and "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio.
The race for Governor of Colorado just might be fun to watch!
Here are my top 10 immigration news stories for 2013:
1. Congress (Again) Fails to Pass Immigration Reform in 2013
The biggest American immigration news in 2013 by far was Congress’s failure -- once again -- to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
The prospects for successful passage of immigration reform initially were promising. In June, the U.S. Senate passed the immigration reform bill by a 68-32 vote. The high hopes for the passage of immigration reform were dashed when the House under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) never took up the bill. This failure came after many months of political agitation for Congress to act on a reform proposal.
Protests followed, including a well-publicized fast by well-known political figures on the National Mall, who were visited by the President, First Lady, and Vice President. Moreover, an undocumented “heckler” grabbed national attention by asking President Obama at a press conference if he would place a moratorium on deportations.
2. Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects Are Legal Immigrants
The Rolling Stone magazine's decision to put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, on the cover of an issue has ignited a firestorm of controversy.
3. Immigration Lawyer and Law Professor Margaret Stock Wins MacArthur “Genius” Award
In September, immigration attorney and Professor Margaret Stock was honored with a MacArthur “Genius” Award.
4. DHS Secretary Becomes President of University of California System
In September, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, also former Governor of Arizona, made a major career move and became the President of the entire University of California.
5. DHS Recognizes Same Sex Marriages for Immigration Purposes
After years of resistance, the Department of Homeland Security moved amazingly fast in recognizing same sex marriages for immigration purposes after the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor (2013) striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
A week after the decision, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement "that effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse." (emphasis added).
This quick Executive Branch action demonstrates that elections in fact do matter. It is hard to imagine that a President Romney would have done what the Obama administration did with respect to gay marriage in the mere stroke of a pen.
6. Federal Court Rules Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Violated U.S. Constitution: Court Says Arpaio and His Deputies Have Engaged in Racial Profiling Against Latinos
After a trial in summer 2012, the District Court in May 2013, issued a lengthy ruling, which found that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MSCO) engaged in a pattern and practice of racial profiling in its immigration enforcement activities in violation of the U.S. Constitution and entered a permanent injunction barring future profiling of Latinos by the MSCO. The court later issued a supplemental order calling for a monitor, bias training, policy changes for the MSCO.
The racial profiling isn state and local immigration enforcement was ducked by the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States (2012), in which the Court refused to strike down Arizona S.B. 1070's “show me papers” provision requiring police to check the immigration status of any person about whom they reasonably suspect is in the country in violation of the U.S. immigration laws.
7. Immigration in the Supreme Court in the 2012 Term: Individualized Decision-Making, No Immigration Exceptionalism
In the 2012 Term, the Supreme Court decided two immigration cases, which fall into the mainstream of immigration jurisprudence. The most significant decision was Moncrieffe v. Holder, in which the Court refused to subject to mandatory removal a long-term lawful permanent resident who had been convicted of a drug crime for possession of the equivalent of a few marijuana cigarettes (currently legal in a number of states).
8. Obama Administration Sets Many Immigration Enforcement Records.
The Obama administration continued to show its deep and enduring commitment to immigration enforcement The administration has deported more immigrants than any administration in U.S. history. Among other immigration enforcement milestones in 2013,
-- U.S. immigration officials planned to ratchet up removals of immigrants convicted of minor crimes as part of an urgent push to make sure the government would not fall short of its criminal deportation targets.
-- The congressional "detention bed mandate" has contributed to the record number of immigrants held in detention.
9. States Extending Rights to Undocumented immigrants, An Undocumented Attorney Next?
Just a couple of years ago, states, like Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina were passing record numbers of immigration enforcement laws, many of which the courts struck down in whole or in part. Times have changed. Most recently, the District of Columbia followed 11 other states allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license. California has blazed a trail with a number of state immigrant integration -- as opposed to immigration enforcement -- laws, including laws protecting immigrant workers and making undocumented immigrants eligible for a driver's license.
In addition, the California Supreme Court is considering whether Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, should be licensed to practice law. There is a long history of limiting immigrant eligibility for bar admission. In the fall, the Court held oral arguments on Garcia’s admission. In response to some of the Justices' questioning, the California legislature in near-record time expressly authorized undocumented immigrants to be eligible for admission to the bar.
10. Author of Immigration Report Quits the Heritage Foundation
The co-author of a controversial report, which estimated the cost to taxpayers of legalizing 11 million undocumented immigrants, issued by the Heritage Foundation, left the conservative think tank. Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at Heritage, quickly resigned as the controversy grew over work he had done as a graduate student. “His Harvard University dissertation, argued that persistent differences between immigrants’ IQs and those of white Americans should be a factor in determining who should be allowed to permanently come to the United States.”
AP reports that "A detective for Arizona's state police force has resigned following the discovery that she was living in the country illegally after being brought to the U.S. from Mexico by her family at a young age, the agency said Wednesday." Detective Carmen Figueroa, who had an "exemplary record" in her position, apparently had been misinformed by her mother that she had been born in the United States.
Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications
Skilled migration is a critical resource for governments seeking to build their country’s human-capital base and make the most of global trade and investment opportunities. However, as detailed in a Migration Policy Institute (MPI) research project focused on the recognition of the skills and experience that skilled migrant professionals bring across borders, there often are barriers to the full productive use of such skills in destination countries. As discussed in MPI’s newest report on this topic, Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, professional regulation represents a key barrier to credential recognition.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The big news today is that the TIME Person of the Year is Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is an interesting choice among the final contenders for the honor (listed alphabetically):
Bashar Assad, President of Syria
Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder
Ted Cruz, Texas Senator
Miley Cyrus, Singer
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Edward Snowden, N.S.A. Leaker
Edith Windsor, Gay rights activist
Argument recap: Another immigration case? Another argument about statutory interpretation and agency deference
Yesterday, the Court heard oral arguments in Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio, a case raising a technical issue of statutory construction of the complex U.S. immigration laws. The specific question presented by the case is whether a provision of the Immigration & Nationality Act, as amended by the Child Status Protection Act (2002), allows children of all family immigrant visa applicants (or only for some family immigrant visas) who turn twenty-one (“age out”) while waiting for a visa, to be issued a visa with their parent when the visas are issued. 8 U.S.C. § 1153(h)(3) provides that, for an “aged out” child, “the alien’s petition shall automatically be converted to the appropriate category and the alien shall retain the original priority date issued upon receipt of the original petition.” The Board of Immigration Appeals has interpreted the statute to cover only certain, rather than all, family immigrant visas.
See my SCOTUSblog recap of the oral argument here.
FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG: Our nation's immigration system is broken – and fixing it is an economic, national security, and moral imperative. That’s why President Obama is deeply committed to working to pass a common sense, comprehensive set of reforms that ensures everyone plays by the same rules. And we want to answer your questions about the issue. On Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform. During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call, answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.
What are your questions about immigration reform? Ask a question by Skype Video Message now and join the conversation on Twitter with #AskTheWhiteHouse, then be sure to tune in live on Wednesday, December 11th at 3:45 p.m. ET at Bing.com/WhiteHouse and WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Alleged criminal activity continues to turn up less and less often as the basis for new Immigration Court filings seeking removal orders. So far in fiscal year 2014, only 13.5 percent of individuals have been alleged to be removable based on criminal activity, according to the latest case-by-case court records through November 2013 obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. This is down from 14.2 percent during FY 2013 and 15.5 percent in FY 2012. An even smaller proportion -- 3.6 percent, fewer than one out of twenty-five -- have been charged under aggravated felony provisions so far this fiscal year.
According to statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 5,796 criminal incidents involving 6,718 offenses were reported in 2012 as being motivated by a bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. The statistics, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in Hate Crime Statistics, 2012, provide data about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. Due to the unique nature of hate crime, however, the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports.
Hate Crime Statistics, 2012, includes the following information:
■ There were 5,790 single-bias incidents. Of these, 48.3 percent were motivated by racial bias, 19.6 percent were motivated by sexual-orientation bias, 19.0 percent were motivated by religious bias, and 11.5 percent were motivated by ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against disabilities accounted for 1.6 percent of single-bias incidents. There were six multiple-bias hate crime incidents reported in 2012.
■ Of the 3,968 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2012, simple assaults accounted for 39.6 percent, intimidation accounted for 37.5 percent, and aggravated assault for 21.5 percent. Ten murders and 15 forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
■ There were 2,547 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (74.8 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/ vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 25.2 percent of crimes against property.
■ Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6 percent were white and 23.3 percent were black. The race was unknown for 11.5 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
■ Most hate crime incidents (32.6 percent) occurred in or near homes. Over 18 percent (18.3) occurred on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 8.3 percent occurred at schools or colleges; 5.7 percent happened at parking or drop lots or garages; and 4.1 percent took place in churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. The location was considered other or unknown for 12.8 percent of hate crime incidents. The remainder of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.
The Los Angeles Times reports in a lawsuit that illustrates some of the challenges faced by young people who are able to regularize their immigration status.
Two years ago, Victor Guerrero applied for a job as a prison guard with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The background check asked whether the applicant had ever used a Social Security number "other than the one you used on this questionnaire.” Guerrero, who was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age 11, disclosed that, at age 15, he took a job in a restaurant using a Social Security number that didn't belong to him. Guerrero used it until he became a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2007. He became a citizen in 2010.
Guerrero was denied the job. In a letter, the corrections department said his use of another person's SSN “shows a lack of honesty, integrity, and good judgment.” Guerrero applied for the job again this year and was denied again.
On Monday, Guerrero filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the State Personnel Board. He claims the prison system's policy violates fair employment laws and unfairly hurts Latino job applicants.
Immigrant rights activists say the case could have implications for a wide variety of workers, especially young, undocumented immigrants who are eligible for a federal program that lets them stay in the country for at least two years and work legally. Krsna Avila, legal services manager for Educators for Fair Consideration, an organization that helps undocumented immigrant youths access education and apply for citizenship, said denying Guerrero a job as a prison guard sets a bad precedent.
Guerrero's attorney, Marsha Chien, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center, said her organization decided to take up Guerrero's case because it frequently hears from previously undocumented immigrants who have achieved lawful status but who are afraid to the tell their employers for fear of retribution.