Thursday, February 20, 2014
Right wing rocker Ted Nugent, with his choice words for President Obama's ancestral background, has caused a stir in Texas as he campaigns for Republican candidate for Governor Greg Abbott. One can only hope that Democratic candidate Wendy Davis will benefit.
Makes you wonder who is in a Stranglehold now.
New America Media has a story on the growing number of deaths in U.S. immigrant detention facilities. There have been more than 130 deaths since 2003 in the 250 detention centers for immigrants in the country. The causes of death range from asphyxia to cardiopulmonary arrest and drowning. More than 400,000 people pass through the national network of detention centers every year.
Check out this map of immigrant detention centers in the United States.
Creating Crimmigration by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (CrImmigration blog) , Capital University Law School; University of Denver Sturm College of Law February 10, 2014 2013 Brigham Young University Law Review 1457 U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-12
Abstract: Scholars from a variety of disciples have begun to map the contours of crimmigration law, the convergence of criminal law and immigration law, in the United States. None, however, has explained why these two bodies of law, long operating mostly independently of each other, began to intersect with increasing frequency and severity in the closing decades of the twentieth century and not earlier. This Article unravels the political and legal shifts that occurred in the United States during this period to provide a historically contextualized explanation of crimmigration law’s creation. Specifically, this Article contends that, in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, overt racism became culturally disdained and facially racist laws impermissible. Derision of people of color, however, did not cease. Instead, racism hid behind a veneer of facially neutral rhetoric to find a new outlet in laws penalizing criminal activity. A few years later when immigration became a national political concern for the first time since the civil rights era, policymakers turned to criminal law and procedure to do what race had done in earlier generations: sort the desirable newcomers from the undesirable.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Immigration Article of the Day: The Immigrant 'Other': Racialized Identity and the Devaluation of Immigrant Family Relations by Anita Ortiz Maddali
The Immigrant 'Other': Racialized Identity and the Devaluation of Immigrant Family Relations by Anita Ortiz Maddali, Northern Illinois University College of Law February 3, 2014
Abstract: This Article explores how current terminations of undocumented immigrants’ parental rights are reminiscent of historical practices that removed early immigrant and Native American children from their parents in an attempt to cultivate an Anglo-American national identity. Today, children are separated from their families when courts terminate the rights of parents who have been, or who face, deportation. Often, biases toward undocumented parents affect determinations concerning parental fitness in a manner that, while different, reaps the same results as the removal of children from their families over a century ago. This Article examines cases in which courts terminated the parental rights of undocumented parents because of biases about the parents’ immigration status, language, race, culture, and the belief that life in the United States is better for children than returning with a parent to a poorer country, such as Mexico or Guatemala. This Article suggests that these termination decisions are reflective of tensions around identity and how to cultivate a preferred American identity. Further, this Article explores how using the law to cultivate a preferred identity can subvert the constitutional rights of undocumented parents and undermine their family relationships.
New TRAC data shows that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had diminishing success in convincing Immigration Judges to issue removal orders. Such orders are now granted only about 50 percent of the time, the lowest level since systematic tracking began more than 20 years ago.
Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Separation of Powers and the President's Power to Preempt by Catherine Kim
This article argues that considerations unique to immigration law undermine the utility of existing doctrinal frameworks for limiting executive preemption. Nonetheless, some restriction remains warranted. Given the limitations of the existing doctrines, it proposes a new approach to cabining executive authority in this context.
They keep coming! Last week, ImmigrationProf reported on the UK Immigration Minister who resigned after public disclosure of his employment of an undocumented domestic service worker. Over the years, the same problem has plagued a number of potential cabinet officers in the United States, including Attorney General hopeful Zoe Baird in the Clinton administration.
Now we see that Texas immigration hardliners are not immune from this kind of hypocrisy. The Dallas Morning News reports that State Sen. Dan Patrick, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor who says Texas leaders must “stop the illegal invasion,” employed unauthorized immigrants as cooks and dishwashers at his sports bar in the mid-1980s.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Justin Bieber is a big pop star. John Lennon was a popular music icon that influenced generations of fans and musicians. For others, like me, Lennon also was an important social and political commentator.
Justin Bieber is not John Lennon, but like Lennon, Bieber should not be deported.
While here on a temporary visa in 1972, Lennon performed at rallies organized to protest the United States’s involvement in the Vietnam War. This caught the attention of President Richard Nixon, who ordered immigration officials to make sure that Lennon was removed after his visa expired. But Lennon and his wife, artist Yoko Ono, had something else in mind. They had come to the United States in large part to seek custody of Ono’s daughter by a former marriage to a U.S. citizen. In the process, they each decided to seek lawful permanent resident status in a category reserved from individuals of “exceptional ability in the sciences or the arts.” After deportation proceedings were commenced, an immigration judge granted Ono’s application, but denied Lennon’s and ordered him deported. Lennon’s artistic standing was indisputable, but the judge ruled that Lennon was excludable because of a 1968 British conviction that Lennon suffered for possession of hashish. A federal court of appeals disagreed and granted Lennon’s application, ruling that the British conviction did not fall within the U.S. marijuana exclusion law.
While Lennon was vilified by the Nixon administration, Bieber is the subject of a petition campaign on the White House website calling on the administration to revoke his status (actually a temporary work visa) because he is a “dangerous” and “drug abusing” threat to the “safety” of the American people. The petition is based on Bieber’s recent run-ins with police related to throwing eggs at his neighbor’s house, driving under the influence, and assaulting a limo driver.
Should we deport Bieber or revoke his visa? No. Paying restitution, community service, and maybe a rehab program seem more appropriate. Yet, every day, the United States deports lawful immigrants and refugees who have been convicted of minor offenses such as shoplifting and writing bad checks. Yes, some have committed more serious crimes involving violence or narcotics, but all have been incarcerated, then deported on top of that.
As a legal services attorney in San Francisco in the 1970s, I represented a number of clients who were being deported because of crimes they had committed. "John," who immigrated as a kid from Hong Kong, had become a gang member. "Linda" was a woman from Canada who came with her parents as a toddler and later became a prostitute. After both were released from prison, I was able to help them convince an immigration judge that they were rehabilitated and on the road to a crime-free life. They were given a second chance, and to this day, both lead stable, productive lives.
Things have changed. After reforms in 1996, the law no longer affords those in John's and Linda's shoes a second chance. In the process, many non-citizens of countless other nationalities are removed from the United States where they have spent their formative years. Most of the convicted lawful residents and refugees have one thing in common under U.S. immigration laws: they are regarded as aggravated felons. Virtually no relief from deportation is available to aggravated felons. Issues of rehabilitation, remorse, family support in the United States, and employment opportunities are irrelevant to an immigration judge's determination of their deportability.
Ridding the country of criminal elements sounds like an admirable goal, but using deportation as the means to achieving this goal is wrong-headed. The impact that deportation has on family members who remain and employers should be devastating. Many deportable foreign nationals have resided in the United States since infancy. Also, deportation implies a failure on the part of the criminal justice system to rehabilitate incarcerated persons, forcing them to serve sentences imposed by U.S. courts and leave the country immediately afterwards in order to protect the public. Rethinking removal and developing reasonable alternatives is a challenge that requires immediate attention. Our current deportation policy destroys the lives of those who fall prey to it and destroys U.S. families and communities in the process. Nothing is gained, and ultimately, we all lose. Congress should reinstate pre-1996 discretion to immigration judges to enable them to make a fair assessment of whether an immigrant deserves a second chance. Short of that, ICE needs to exercise its discretion to grant a probation-type period to individuals to assess their behavior.
The experiment that we call America is a test of our character and our willingness to believe that we can have a strong country that is caring and diverse. Showing compassion and fairness in our immigration policies is not a sign of weakness. Rather, those traits demonstrate a confidence in a rule of law and system of government that metes out punishment when necessary, but understands that regulating the lives of those who seek to live within our borders must be done with compassion, dignity, and understanding. As in previous generations, there is much to admire about individuals who come to our shores seeking freedom and a better life. Whether they are fleeing persecution or entering to seek work in order to better their lives, the newcomers of today are not much different from those of the past. As they become part of our neighborhoods and communities, some may make mistakes, but we do well to remember that supporting rehabilitation, giving a second chance, and providing ways for individuals to mature are essential elements of a civil society. When an individual finally turns the corner and becomes a contributing member, the entire community benefits -- socially, emotionally, and economically.
Just as John Lennon and Justin Bieber deserve second chances, so do lawful immigrants and refugees who have made a mistake.
CNN Money reports that 3,000 U.S. citizens renounced their citizenship in 2013. The numbers are triple the average for the previous five years, according to a CNNMoney analysis of government data. Some of the rush is coming from expatiates who are tired of dealing with complicated tax filings.
In describing the report, the United Nations states that a wide array of crimes against humanity, arising from “policies established at the highest level of State,” have been committed and continue to take place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The UN report calls for urgent action by the international community to address the human rights situation in the country, including referral to the International Criminal Court.
In a 400-page set of linked reports and supporting documents, based on first-hand testimony from victims and witnesses, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK has documented in great detail the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the country.
“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the Commission says in a report that is unprecedented in scope.
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”
The second more detailed section of the report cites evidence provided by individual victims and witnesses, including the harrowing treatment meted out to political prisoners, some of whom said they would catch snakes and mice to feed malnourished babies. Others told of watching family members being murdered in prison camps, and of defenceless inmates being used for martial arts practice.
“The fact that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea…has for decades pursued policies involving crimes that shock the conscience of humanity raises questions about the inadequacy of the response of the international community,” the report stated. “The international community must accept its responsibility to protect the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from crimes against humanity, because the Government of the DPRK has manifestly failed to do so.”
The Commission found that the DPRK “displays many attributes of a totalitarian State.”
The sobering UN report places Dennis Rodman's basketball touring antics in North Korea in proper perspective, offering comfort to a ruthless government terrorizing its own people.
It is commonplace for ImmigrationProf to report lawsuits against the U.S. government for alleged violations of the law in its immigration enforcement activities. Two recent articles remind us of the raciual profiling prevalent in modern immigration enforcement and the devasting consequences on the lives of real people.
David Kravets on Wired reports that, after seven years of litigation, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error. FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking Obama administration officials spent years covering it up.
The ACLU of Rhode Island reports that a federal court has ruled that the ACLU can proceed with a lawsuit on behalf of a North Providence resident who has twice been held in prison as a deportable “alien” even though she is a U.S. citizen. Ada Morales, who was born in Guatemala and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1995, was taken into custody on criminal charges in May 2009. While she was being held at the ACI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials lodged an “immigration detainer” against her – apparently assuming, based on her race and her place of birth, that she was a deportable noncitizen.
Monday, February 17, 2014
From We Belong Together: Women for Common Sense Immigration Reform
PRESS CALL: Women Leaders Reveal Plans to Pressure GOP to Take Up Immigration Reform This Year
Undocumented mother of two to speak about her struggle as a woman in our immigration system
Now that House Republicans have backtracked yet again on immigration reform, leading women’s rights and immigration reform advocates are revealing their plans to turn up the heat on members of Congress who are standing in the way of reform. More than 75 women leaders representing 60 labor, faith, women's groups and immigrant rights organizations will convene a Women’s Summit on Immigration to strategize how to win immigration reform that will be fair to and inclusive of women.
We Belong Together, the summit organizer, is holding a press call to share the summit outcomes with media on Wednesday, February 19th, from 11:00AM to 12:00PM EST.
On this call, a diverse group of women from across race, professional, sector and class lines will come together to discuss how women’s organizations plan to channel their capacity and influence to move reform forward. We Belong Together will reveal their campaign plans for the spring with a particular emphasis on electoral strategies and new tactics to move Republicans.
You’ll have a chance to hear from María Galván, undocumented mother of two DACA recipients and community leader with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Valarie Long, SEIU Executive Vice President; Desiree Hoffman, Director of Advocacy and Policy, YWCA; and Ana García-Ashley, Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation and a naturalized citizen originally from the Dominican Republic. Pramila Jayapal, chair of We Belong Together, will moderate the call.
The call will be on the record and include a Q&A with participating media. More details below.
To RSVP for this call, please visit http://bit.ly/1bNkeAR or contact Leslie at email@example.com or 646-200-5326.
DATE: Wednesday, February 19th
TIME: 11:00AM – 12:00PM ET (8:00AM – 9:00AM PT)
CALL-IN #: 805-399-1000
Pramila Jayapal, Chair of We Belong Together will moderate.
Desiree Hoffman, Director of Advocacy and Policy, YWCA USA. Desiree leads the national organization’s advocacy efforts on women’s economic empowerment and racial justice policies.
Ana García-Ashley, Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation. Ana is a naturalized citizen and the first woman of color in America to head a national community organizing network. The Gamaliel Foundation is a network of grassroots, interfaith, interracial, multi-issue organizations working together to create a more just and democratic society.
María Galván, undocumented mother of two DACA recipients and community leader with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). María was trained as a hair stylist but because of her lack of legal status she has been unable to pursue her career. She is one of millions of immigrant women who are unable to fully contribute their skills and talents to the U.S. as a result of our broken immigration system, and her family is one of millions of mixed-status families that could be separated at any moment.
Valarie Long, SEIU Executive Vice President. Valarie is the International Executive Vice President of the Property Services Division of the Service Employees International Union, representing more than 400,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers, food service, light manufacturing, laundry and maintenance workers across North America. A long-time immigrant justice advocate, Valarie was one of 100 women to be arrested for demonstrating on Capitol Hill in September 2013 to help keep families together and win commonsense immigration reform.
This call will address:
What to expect from women's rights organizations that are now channeling their capacity and influence toward immigration reform.
Why immigration reform is and must be seen as a women's issue.
The electoral ramifications for members of Congress who stand in the way of reform.
About the Women’s Summit on Immigration
While House Republicans attempt to undermine bipartisan progress made in the Senate in 2013, this diverse convening of leaders representing more than 60 organizations will illustrate that immigration reform remains a top priority for women across the country, and that women remain deeply committed to working toward reforms that will keep families together and allow millions of immigrant women and their families to fully contribute to their communities in the United States.
About We Belong Together
We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country. It is a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration reform is rarely thought of as a women’s issue, but in fact it is central to the fight for women’s equality. Millions of immigrant women who are part of the fabric of our communities, workplaces, and schools are blocked from achieving their full potential because of a broken immigration system. A full list of WBT policy priorities is available at: http://www.webelongtogether.org/policy-goals.
CONTACT: Leslie Patterson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-200-5326
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will honor Presidents Day by welcoming approximately 17,800 new U.S. citizens during 148 naturalization ceremonies across the country from Feb. 14 through Feb. 22. Acting Director Scialabba will administer the Oath of Allegiance to 75 candidates and deliver keynote remarks during a naturalization ceremony on Presidents Day, Feb. 17, at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta.
Happy Presidents Day! If you are one of the lucky ones, enjoy your day off.
Given that it is Presidents Day and this is a blog devoted to immigration, I thought that it would be a good time to think about the ineligibility of immigrants for the Presidency. Article II, § 1 of U.S. Constitution sets forth the basic eligibility requirements for serving as president of the United States and includes the following:
“No person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President . . . ."
This is the only natural born citizenship requirement in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution does not require members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, or other federal officeholders to be natural born citizens.
The natural born Citizen requirement has been an issue for President Barack Obama, with a small vocal group known as the "birthers" having persisted in contesting whether he was in fact born in the United States. While a funny distraction to some, it seems likely that the Obama administration does not see much humor in the attacks of the birthers. Law professor Jack Chin claimed that 2008 Republican Presiudential candidate Senator John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, did not satisfy the natural born citizen requirement. The eligibility issue also has been raised recently with respect to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Californnia Governor Arnold Schwazenegger and whether the two of them might be eligible for the Presidency.
What do our readers think? Is it time to eliminate the natural born citizn requiremnet for the Presidency?
Immigration reform in the United States is one of those hot-button political, social, and economic issues that just will not go away. As the policy makers and commentators duke it out on Capitol Hill and in the media, and as melting pot advocates and xenophobes exchange barbs on Internet forums, immigrants continue to stream into the US – legally or otherwise. There is simply no denying that immigrants – legal and undocumented alike – play a significant part in the U.S. economy. Though many people still seem to hold to the stereotype that immigrants are for the most part relegated to low-paying, menial jobs that “no one else wants,” immigrants in the US are also very well represented in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) occupations. There is also no denying that like everyone else, immigrants must deal with day to day realities that often seem to escape the notice of the politicians and pundits. Childcare is one of those issues. And since US childcare policy is always subject to change, it is particularly important for immigrants to stay current on these matters.
According to statistics provided by the government, one in four young children in the United States lives in an immigrant family. Many, though certainly not all, of these families may need childcare assistance. Federal law establishes policies on immigrant eligibility for childcare assistance, but many people remain confused by eligibility requirements, particularly since these requirements may vary by state and county.
Where the funding comes from
Most childcare assistance in the US is funded through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, each of which has its own rules regarding immigrant eligibility.
· CCDBG funded childcare
For CCDBG funded childcare, only the child’s immigration status determines his or her eligibility for subsidies. Federal guidelines state, “For implementing the verification requirements mandated by title IV of PRWORA, only the citizenship and immigration status of the child, who is the primary beneficiary of the childcare benefit, is relevant for eligibility purposes.” In other words, regardless of a parent’s immigration status, citizen children and “qualified” immigrant children may be eligible for childcare assistance.
· TANF funded childcare
Federal TANF assistance – and this includes TANF-funded childcare, is generally denied to legal immigrants during their first five years in the United States. There are, however, limited exceptions. And many states use state funds or CCDBG funds to cover immigrants during that initial five -year period. A mixed status household – where there is at least one citizen and one non-citizen family member – is a different story. A citizen child may be eligible for federally funded TANF cash assistance even if her or his parents and other family members are ineligible. But in most states, TANF-subsidized childcare is considered to be serving the needs of the parent, and therefore is not available to an unqualified immigrant parent.
A shaky future for many families
One problem facing many families, immigrant or otherwise, is the devastating impact of sequestration on the federal Head Start program. The government cut $115 million from the childcare subsidy system, which only made the problem of inadequate funding much worse. For years the system had failed to keep up with the rising cost of childcare, which created enough of a problem, but the funding cuts made things even worse by forcing some families out of quality childcare programs. Moreover, funding cuts eliminated nearly 60,000 children from the Head Start program in 2013, with the result that some centers had to shut down some of their classrooms or close their doors entirely.
Policies can be complicated and, as noted above, are always subject to change. Although all US families need to pay attention to the issues regarding childcare and other family policies in the US, immigrants often face unique challenges, so it pays for them to make an extra effort to stay current on policies. Immigration lawyers also need to be cognizant of current policies, recent changes and pending legislation.
· For official government information on US immigration reform efforts, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration
· For information on US policies and policy reform for low-income families, see http://clasp.org.
· For general information on how immigration policy impacts immigrants, see this 2012 report: http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/DrebyImmigrationFamiliesFINAL.pdf
· For information and resources on international immigration (migration) policies, see http://www.migrationpolicy.org/
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
From Asian Americans Advancing Justice:
Undocumented immigrants from Asia are a growing force in American politics and society. In California alone, there are an estimated 416,000 Asian undocumented immigrants, or roughly 15 percent of the state's entire undocumented population. While immigration is commonly understood to be a "Latino" issue, Asian Americans have an equal stake in immigration reform. With policy change at the local and state levels and new hopes of reform from Washington, the time is right for a national dialogue.
Join us on Thursday, March 20 at this event hosted by Asia Society of Northern California as we bring together young activists, grassroots leaders, and legal experts to examine this complex and timely subject.
Katharine Gin, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Educators for Fair Consideration
Bill Ong Hing (moderator), Professor, University of San Francisco School of Law
Ju Hong, Researcher, Harvard University; undocumented member, Asian Students for Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE)
Grace Lee, Policy Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action
Anoop Prasad, Staff Attorney, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Registration
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Discussion/Audience Q&A
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. Reception
Asia Society, Bechtel Conference Room, 500 Washington Street, San Francisco
$10 Asia Society/Co-Sponsor Members; $5 Students; $15 Non-members.
To purchase tickets, click here. For more information, please visit the Asia Society of Northern California.
Co-Sponsors: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, Asian Students for Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), Chinese for Affirmative Action, International Institute of the Bay Area
The Immigrant Justice Network and CAMBIO are excited to share a new resource in English and Spanish for community based organizations, activists, and all those fighting for fair and just immigration reforms at the federal and local levels.
Learn, Share, Fight Back:
The Short Immigration Guide to How Arrests and Convictions Separate Families
This illustrated guide breaks down how arrests and convictions affect immigrants who have status and those who hope to get it, discusses the impact of current immigration reform proposals, and provides stories and tools for communities to fight back.
The guides can be downloaded here.
We hope this resource will be shared far and wide and be used by community based organizations, activists, and others in efforts to fight for fair and just immigration reform for all immigrants.
While states like California are extending driver's license eligibility to the undocumented, there is a push in the opposiite direction in New Mexico. Immigration Impact reports that for the fifth time in four years, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is trying to persuade the legislature to repeal the 2003 law making all drivers, regardless of their immigration status, eligible for a license. Even though the chances of repeal seem slim, the call for rescinding the driver’s license law is grist for the governor’s fundraising mill. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the governor’s December 2013 fundraising pitch claimed, “Now, our opponents want us to give up. They are organized and well financed so I am asking you to join me by contributing whatever you can to help make sure we go into the session prepared to fight.”