Friday, April 3, 2015
This is a late post but given that Passover begins today at sundown, it made sense to blog about it. On March 29th, 2015, the Anti-Defamation League New England Region hosted a community seder in Boston.
The ADL Regional Director Robert Trestan issued the following statement:
The symbolism of Passover is found in universal themes of the struggle for freedom, liberation, and hope. The Seder allows the Boston community to come together to welcome each other, recall the universal immigrant experience, and celebrate freedom and liberation. The Seder provides us the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to together rooting out injustice and overcoming all forms of bigotry and hate.
Happy Passover to those who celebrate!
Filmmaker Anayansi Prado has a new documentary, "Children in No Man's Land," which features the stories of children who immigrated to the United States without their parents.
Info from the film's website: "Every year, more and more children are immigrating to the United States without a parent or legal guardian. At any given time, an average of 700 unaccompanied minors are being detained by the U.S. Homeland Security Department (formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Services or I.N.S.). The majority of the 85,000 undocumented immigrants under 17 arrested in 2003 were teenagers, although cases of children as young as 10 traveling alone have been reported. Some of these children come to the United States seeking asylum, others hope to be reunited with family members, and all are simply in search of a better future for themselves. Often, these children are running away from physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse from a parent, relative or guardian. Others are fleeing their countries because of persecution due to their religious beliefs or gender. Many are often homeless and/or orphans. These children are driven by a strong survival instinct assuring them that the United States is their last resource, their salvation. They are willing to risk it all for a chance at a new life. And they do."
UC Davis will be doing a screening of the film and Q & A with Prado on Wednesday, April 15, at 6 PM. If you are interested in screening this film, click here.
This is Prado's second documentary. Her first one, "Maid in America," which is available on PBS, follows the lives of three Latina women who left their homes and immigrated to Los Angeles to work by cleaning other people's homes and caring for their children.
There is ferment on immigration in the United Kingdom, which is leading to some calls for the UK to leave the European Union. As ABC reports, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his policies have come under attack from six other party leaders in the only full debate before next month's general election. An unprecedented seven-leader live television contest underscored the fragmentation of the electorate.
An ITV News/ComRes survey of 1,120 viewers showed a tie between Cameron, Ed Miliband (Labour Party), the anti-immigration UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, followed by Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party that is set to sweep up most seats in Scotland. As topics ranged from a housing crisis, to national debt and the health service, Farage, who has blamed many social problems on immigration (see the videos below),insisted the root problem was an influx of immigrants and that Britain should cut migrant numbers by leaving the European Union.
The UK Independence Party's website articulates the following positions on "Controlling and managing our borders"
– UKIP recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration.
– UKIP will leave the EU, and take back control of our borders. Work permits will be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market.
– We will extend to EU citizens the existing points-based system for time-limited work permits. Those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance. – Migrants will only be eligible for benefits (in work or out of work) when they have been paying tax and NI for five years and will only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years.
– UKIP will reinstate the primary purpose rule for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK.
– UKIP will not offer an amnesty for illegal immigrants or those gaining British passports through fraud.
– UKIP will return to the principles of the UN Convention of Refugees which serves to protect the most vulnerable.
"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination is great news for Democrats: He will push the other Republican hopefuls to the right on immigration, further scaring away Hispanic voters and making it more difficult for Republicans to win next year’s elections."
Immigration Article of the Day: 'Impossible Families': Mixed‐Citizenship Status Couples and the Law by Jane Lilly López
'Impossible Families': Mixed‐Citizenship Status Couples and the Law by Jane Lilly López, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) January-April 2015 Law & Policy, Vol. 37, Issue 1-2, pp. 93-118, 2015
Abstract: This article explores the complex and contradictory relationship between citizenship in the law and the immigrant reality of mixed‐citizenship family life through in‐depth interviews with individuals in mixed‐citizenship marriages. An examination of mixed‐citizenship marriage exposes the inadequacies of approaching citizenship as an individual‐centered concept. The data indicate that, though both immigration and citizenship laws focus on the individual, the repercussions of those laws have family‐level effects. Because of their spouses' immigrant status, many citizens are obliged by the law to live the immigrant experience in their own country or to become immigrants themselves.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Immigration Reform 2015: What Menendez Corruption Charges Mean For National Debate On Immigrant Rights
Cristina Silva of the International Business Times analyzes the impacts of the indictment of an ardent supporter of immigration reform on the prospects for immigration reform. For decades, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has been a national advocate for Latinos and immigrants, holding their hands at immigration reform rallies and pushing for legislation in Congress to expand their legal rights. But with Menendez now facing federal corruption charges, Latino groups fear that their tireless champion will have to turn his attention to his own problems, leaving them without a voice in Washington.
This Migration Information Source Spotlight looks at women immigrants in the United States. Following a history of majority male migration through the mid-20th century, women have migrated to the United States in large numbers as a result of the emphasis on family reunification ushered in by the 1965 Immigration Act. Female immigrants represent 51 percent of the overall foreign-born population, with 21.2 million immigrant women residing in the United States in 2013, out of a total immigrant population of 41.3 million. The female share of the immigrant population is higher in the United States than it is globally, where about 48 percent of the international migrant stock is female. Even as female migration has increased globally since 1980, the share in the United States—the world’s top immigrant destination—has decreased slightly from 53 percent in 1980 to around 51 percent in 2013.
As of 2013, 49 percent (10.5 million) of all immigrant women were naturalized U.S. citizens. (Photo: McBeth/Flickr)
David Noriega at Buzzfeed reports that immigration lawyers pressured H&R Block, the tax preparation giant, to shut down a pilot program to help immigrants file forms with the U.S. government. The program, which was limited to Texas and aimed at the Latino community there, gave immigrant customers access to specialized software that would help them with applications for green cards, deferred action, and other immigration-related matters.
State and federal laws strictly limit who can provide legal advice to immigrants, however, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said H&R Block’s program ran afoul of those restrictions and would have put immigrant consumers at risk of harm, because they could wind up filing inaccurate information or applying for programs they weren’t eligible for.
The Intercept has an intriguing exposé on signs used by the Transportation Security Administration to identify potential terrorists in airports. The basis for the article is a "confidential" TSA checklist shared with the website by "a source concerned about the quality" of the TSA's Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques or SPOT program.
Check out this handy summary created by The Intercept:
Discussion of this checklist would make an intriguing addition to a class on post 9/11 national security and terrorism. It might also be helpful in a clinic setting to discuss inferences made about clients based on their non-verbal behavior in court. I plan to use it in combination with discussion of the USCIS Fraud Referral Sheet.
Aura Bogado on ColorLines reports that 78t mothers being held at Karnes County Residential Center have signed a letter demanding their release. The Spanish-language letter suggests that the immigration detainees are staging a hunger and work strike. Located in Karnes County, Texas, and run by the private GEO Group, Karnes been the site of repeated allegations of sexual abuse. Most of these mothers are asylum-seeking Central Americans picked up in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Most have brought their children from Guatemala and El Salvador—countries with some of the highest femicide rates on the planet. The mothers who’ve signed the letter have all been interviewed by immigration officials and have established a credible fear of persecution or torture if they were to be deported. But they either haven’t been given an opportunity to post bond for release, or the bond amount has been set too high. Their letter, in part, reads:
From the Bookshelves: Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande By George T. Díaz
In this first history of smuggling along the U.S.-Mexico border, Díaz shows how illicit trade evolved from a common practice of ordinary people into a professional, often violent, criminal activity.
Present-day smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border is a professional, often violent, criminal activity. However, it is only the latest chapter in a history of illicit business dealings that stretches back to 1848, when attempts by Mexico and the United States to tax commerce across the Rio Grande upset local trade and caused popular resentment. Rather than acquiesce to what they regarded as arbitrary trade regulations, borderlanders continued to cross goods and accepted many forms of smuggling as just.
In Border Contraband, George T. Díaz provides the first history of the common, yet little studied, practice of smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. In Part I, he examines the period between 1848 and 1910, when the United States’ and Mexico’s trade concerns focused on tariff collection and on borderlanders’ attempts to avoid paying tariffs by smuggling. Part II begins with the onset of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, when national customs and other security forces on the border shifted their emphasis to the interdiction of prohibited items (particularly guns and drugs) that threatened the state. Díaz’s pioneering research explains how greater restrictions have transformed smuggling from a low-level mundane activity, widely accepted and still routinely practiced, into a highly profitable professional criminal enterprise.
Immigration Article of the Day: National Study of Access to Counsel in Immigration Court by Ingrid V. Eagly and Steven Shafer
National Study of Access to Counsel in Immigration Court by Ingrid V. Eagly (UCLA School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies) and Steven Shafer (UCLA School of Law), March 19, 2015, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 164, 2016, Forthcoming UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 15-10
Abstract: Although immigrants have a right to be represented by counsel in immigration court, it has long been the case that the government has no obligation to provide an attorney for those who are unable to afford one. Recently, however, a broad coalition of advocates, public figures, scholars, courts, and philanthropic foundations have begun to push for the establishment of a public defender system to appoint counsel for at least some poor immigrants facing deportation. Yet, the national debate over appointing immigration defense counsel has proceeded with limited information regarding how many immigrants currently obtain attorneys and the efficacy and efficiency of such representation.
This Article presents the results of the first national study of access to counsel in United States immigration courts. Drawing on an extensive data sample of over 1.2 million deportation cases decided between 2007 and 2012, we find that only 37% of immigrants overall, and a mere 14% of detained immigrants, secured representation. Nationwide, only 2% of removal respondents obtained pro bono representation from nonprofit organizations, law school clinics, or large law firm volunteer programs. Barriers to accessing counsel were particularly acute in immigration courts located in rural areas and small cities, where almost one-third of detained cases were adjudicated. Moreover, we find that immigrants with attorneys in immigration court do better: after controlling for numerous case and respondent characteristics that could affect case outcomes, our regression analysis reveals that the odds are 15 times greater that an immigrant with representation, as compared to one without, sought relief, and 5.5 times greater that they obtained relief from removal. In addition, we show that involvement of counsel was associated with certain gains in court efficiency: represented respondents did not use valuable court and detention time to seek counsel, they were more likely to be released from custody, and, once released, were more likely to appear at their future deportation hearings. This research provides an essential data-driven understanding of immigration representation that should inform current efforts to expand access to counsel, while improving court efficiencies.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has published this Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth.
Today, the American Immigration Council released The H-1B Visa Program: A Primer on the Program and its Impact on Jobs, Wages, and the Economy. This fact sheet provides an overview of the visa and application process and discusses the important role that H-1B workers play in our economy.
Today also marks the day that U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals can start submitting their petitions for H-1B visas. If recent history is any indication, the available pool of H-1Bs will run dry in a matter of days. The statutory limit for H-1Bs stands at 65,000 for new hires, plus an additional 20,000 for foreign professionals who earn a graduate degree from a U.S. university. This numerical cap, which dates back to 1990, falls far short of demand—which is unfortunate given the contributions that H-1B workers make to the U.S. economy. H-1B workers are associated with higher wages and lower unemployment for native-born workers—and they add billions of dollars to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
From the Associated Press:
More than three decades ago, a three-year-old South Korean boy and his sister flew to the U.S. to become the adopted children of American citizens, but their life together didn't last long.
They were abandoned, sent into foster care and separated even though he was dependent upon her.
A family adopted the girl, and got her citizenship. The boy, named Adam Crapser, wasn't as fortunate: The parents he had were abusive, and never sought the green card or citizenship for him that they should have.
Now, at 39, after a life struggling with joblessness because of his lack of immigration papers, homelessness and crime, Crapser, a married father of three, is facing deportation because he's not a citizen.
"The state abandoned him when he was a child," his attorney, Lori Walls, said. "Now the U.S. is throwing him out."
A deportation hearing is set for April 2.
Federal immigration officials say they became aware of Crapser after he applied to renew his green card two years ago: his criminal convictions, ranging from burglary to assault, made him potentially deportable under immigration law. Read more...
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has concerns about the Special Immigration Juvenile (SIJ) program. He's sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, highlighting allegations of SIJ fraud.
Goodlatte's fraud concerns stem from a report on NY station WNBC regarding potential SIJ fraud. The report emphasized the fact that family court judges have no way to verify abuse alleged by children coming before them on their first stop to obtaining SIJ status: "Although [their stories] may be completely true, judges say they have no investigative recourse."
The NYT has also covered the issue of potential SIJ abuse and Goodlatte's concerns.
State court judges are skilled fact-checkers and experts in identifying child abuse and neglect. In fact, the reason Congress delegated the factual findings to state courts was their proficiency as child welfare experts. At the federal level, USCIS is statutorily required to review each SIJ application for potential fraud.
Byrne concludes by noting that
SIJ was pioneering in that it was the first piece of legislation that brought immigration law more closely in line with well-established child welfare principles. Increasing administrative barriers or reducing substantive eligibility will only exclude desperate children from the protection they need.
Immigration Article of the Day: Paradoxes of Family Immigration Policy: Separation, Reorganization, and Reunification of Families Under Current Immigration Laws by Maria E Enchautegui and Cecilia Menjívar
Paradoxes of Family Immigration Policy: Separation, Reorganization, and Reunification of Families Under Current Immigration Laws by Maria E Enchautegui, The Urban Institute, and Cecilia Menjívar, Arizona State University, January-April 2015 Law & Policy, Vol. 37, Issue 1-2, pp. 32-60, 2015
Abstract: It is increasingly recognized that immigration laws affect immigrants' integration. Most recently there has been growing attention to how immigration enforcement affects families through forced separations caused by deportations and long‐term family separations across national borders stemming from unauthorized entry to the United States. However, beyond enforcement, there has been little systematic account of how other provisions of immigration law contribute to family separations. In this article we examine how four key provisions in immigration law, far from creating conditions for immigrant families to reunite, contribute to keeping families apart. As such, these provisions shape, in fundamental ways, the structure and composition of immigrant families. Relying on data from the American Community Survey and ethnographic interviews in Phoenix, Arizona, we find evidence consistent with the premise that immigration laws affect the formation, composition, and structure of immigrant families with potential long‐term consequences.
In case you missed KitJ's post on "immigration geography" or even KJ's post of maps depicting which states allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses or may obtain in-state tuition, here are two more maps that offer an interesting look at different state policies affecting immigrants. These maps are courtesy of the New York Times.
Where Laws Have Been Passed Allowing Police to Question People About Their Immigration Status
Which States Are Challenging Programs to Give Work Permits and Protections from Deportation
It would be interesting to see maps of cities within these states that have passed sanctuary laws, adopted noncooperation policies with the federal government or filed amicus briefs in support of President Obama's DACA and DAPA programs.