Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, and the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States. The book won the 2011 Williams College Book Award Program, the 2006 California Book Award, Silver Medal in non-fiction, and the 2006 Christopher Book Award. It has been translated into eight languages, chosen by 66 universities and scores of high schools nationwide as a common or freshman read, and selected by 11 cities as a "One City" read.
At a time when America is embroiled in a national debate on immigration that will shape the country’s future, Sonia Nazario argues that we urgently need a different approach. Instead of continuing the same three ineffectual strategies--greater border enforcement (costing $18 billion a year), temporary guest worker programs, and pathways to citizenship--she calls for a new approach that addresses key “push” factors that propel migrants, especially women and children, to leave their homelands. She argues that instead of spending billions on walls that don’t work, the U.S. must improve conditions in four countries that send 74% of migrants who come to the U.S. illegally by increasing aide to help improve education for girls, lowering birthrates; promoting micro-loans to help women start job-generating businesses; and gear trade policies to give clear preference to goods from these four countries. As the Latino electorate is felt more acutely at the polls and businesses demand more immigrant workers as the economy grows, political leaders are increasingly confronting the immigration issue. House Republican leaders on January 30th proposed changes that include tougher border enforcement, a better system for temporary workers, more visas for high skilled workers, and a path to legalization for children, but not necessarily for half of the 11.7 million in the U.S. illegally.
A revised and updated version of Enrique's Journey was published today by Random House! The new edition truly re-works the original with an updated, compelling epilogue about the family, chapter on immigration, never before seen photos of Enrique and his family, as well as a Q & A with the author.
Lawmakers must focus on four elements to resolve conflicting interests over immigration and achieve real reform, according to a new report prepared by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and sent to President Barack Obama and key members of Congress. Elements include more secure borders; interior enforcement, particularly at the workplace; temporary worker programs that match gaps in the job market; and some form of legalization for the millions of unauthorized immigrants in the United States.
Click here to read “The Way Forward on Immigration: A Memo to the President and the Congress.”
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) announced today that the U.S. Senate ‘Gang of 8’ will be presented with the prestigious Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service at the organization’s annual NALEO Edward R. Roybal Legacy Gala. The event will be held February 12, 2014 at The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C. The award will recognize the efforts of U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (confirmed), Dick Durbin (confirmed), Jeff Flake (video remarks), Lindsey Graham (invited), John McCain (confirmed), Bob Menendez (confirmed), Marco Rubio (video remarks) and Charles Schumer (confirmed) to move immigration reform forward by developing and securing passage of bipartisan legislation that would fix our nation’s broken immigration system in June of this year.
Politico.com reports a change in strategy by advocates of immigration reform. Several immigration reform groups now plan to unleash their anger at House Republicans. A new, more aggressive campaign kicks off today, when these groups say they will begin confronting Republican lawmakers at public appearances, congressional hearings, and events back in home districts. The goal is to shame Republicans in swing districts into taking up the issue — or make them pay at the ballot box in November.
Monday, February 10, 2014
ABC news recently reported an undercover story about the increasing number of Chinese nationals who are going to Saipan, the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory, in order to give birth to their children there. Because the CNMI is a U.S. territory, anyone born there acquires citizenship by birth. According to the report, more than 200 babies - whom the report refers to as "ABC" or "American Born Chinese"- were born on Saipan in 2012.
The report further explained that this type of "baby tourism" is a lucrative business that begins in China. For $27,000, those engaged in this business assist clients get tourist visas, help take care of the baby after he/she is born, and ensure that the baby obtains a Social Security card, birth certificate, and a U.S. passport.
The Boston Globe reports that many community leaders see a crime pattern in the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Over the last few years, crimes, including vicious physical attacks, have been directed at Mayan Guatemalans. According to the Globe, "The Mayans are seen as soft targets: They’re employed, they cash their paychecks and carry the money home, and, since many are undocumented, they don’t feel comfortable going to the police."
The Pima County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider an Immigrant Welcoming Resolution
When: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
Where: Pima County Board of Supervisors, 130 West Congress Street, Tucson, AZ
The Pima County Interfaith Council and Religious Leaders Against SB 1070 are scheduled to present a resolution making Pima County an Immigrant Welcoming County. If approved, Pima County would be the fifth county to pass such a resolution in the United States and the first in Arizona.
The resolution stahtes that “We respect the rights of all immigrants, we welcome those who come here from all parts of the world and from all backgrounds, and we recognize the value of their economic and cultural contributions to our communities.”
Photo Courtesy of http://www.sochi2014.com/en/photos
The Winter Olympics in Sochi have attracted interntaional attention. Think Progress reports on something not likely to be covered in the television coverage.
As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, kick off this week, many Central Asian migrant workers who transformed the small resort town into a lavish, international winter sports hub will not be around to celebrate. Over the course of seven years of construction, at least 700 workers were not paid, with hundreds expelled to their home countries.
The International Olympic Committee has launched a full investigation into the claims that hundreds of migrants who worked on the Sochi Games have not been paid. NPR reports that activists, including those voicing concerns on the treatment of migrant workers, are suffering harassment and fear that it will escalate after the Olympics conclude and the world is not watching.
Immigration Article of the Day: When Do Human Rights Treaties Help Asylum-Seekers? A Study of Theory and Practice in Canadian Jurisprudence Since 1990 by Stephen Meili
When Do Human Rights Treaties Help Asylum-Seekers? A Study of Theory and Practice in Canadian Jurisprudence Since 1990 by Stephen Meili, University of Minnesota Law School January 2014 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 51:2, Forthcoming
Abstract: This article supports a new theoretical approach to the utilization of human rights treaties in refugee status adjudications in domestic courts. The existing literature on treaty effectiveness is divided between several optimistic and pessimistic perspectives, none of which adequately predict the circumstances under which domestic courts in Canada reference treaties in ways that help refugees obtain relief. This new theoretical approach adds to the literature on treaty effectiveness in the litigation context by suggesting that the extent to which Canadian domestic courts reference treaties in ways that help refugees depends on several factors, including the manner in which those treaties are integrated into domestic law. It also demonstrates that invoking human rights treaties indiscriminately can be detrimental to the interests of refugees, as it can create the impression that the refugee’s lawyer is desperate. This article will be published in the next issue of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal (51:2).
Civil Rights Article of the Day: Toward a Definitive History of Griggs v. Duke Power Co. by David J. Garrow
Toward a Definitive History of Griggs v. Duke Power Co. by David J. Garrow University of Pittsburgh - School of Law January 23, 2014 Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 67, p. 197
Abstract: When Griggs v. Duke Power Co. was unanimously handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 8, 1971, the decision did not draw prominent headlines. However, knowledgeable judges, scholars, and litigators quickly acknowledged how Griggs, a case involving employment discrimination, actually had an import far beyond several more historically notable rulings that likewise were handed down during the first six months of that year. Yet the high regard in which some jurists, law professors, and lawyers held Griggs did not mean — just as on the day it first came down — that the case was significantly memorialized far and wide. Perhaps the best and most fully informed scholarly history of the Burger Court, which handed down the Griggs landmark decision and which was written by the late Bernard Schwartz, never even once mentions Griggs. The best-known biographies of the Justices who heard the case likewise without exception fail to ever mention it. Indeed, despite the best efforts of an energetic and enterprising journalist covering Griggs’s twentieth anniversary to plumb historians’ interest in the case, a complaint from this Essay’s author summed up his findings: “Even though Griggs is a huge touchstone, there’s little history about it.” And so, this author was extremely pleased to discover Professor Robert Belton’s almost definitive history of early employment equality litigation, The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace. Belton’s posthumously published work encompasses not only Griggs’s own particular story but also all of the related developments and litigation concerning Title VII from the 1960s on through the 1990s. With enlightenment from Benton’s thorough account, this review essay examines the Griggs case and the surrounding issues.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Guest Blogger: WookSun Hong, second-year law student, University of San Francisco
Recently, I was fortunate enough to join a community service bus trip organized by a wonderful organization called OneJustice. We went to San Joaquin Valley to help Central California Legal Services (CCLS) with preliminary interviews for staff attorneys and general intake. We were invited to visit the small town of Pixley in Tulare county first. My first impression was “this is it?” No traffic light, no multi-story buildings. Later, I learned there had been only one stop sign in the whole town and they just got another one. Gray and clay-brown was the theme of the town.
The person who invited us was Sarah Ramirez, a remarkable passionate person. You can read about her in an NPR article “This Stanford Ph.D. Became A Fruit Picker To Feed California’s Hungry.” She grew up in Pixley and went to Stanford to get her Ph.D. in epidemiology. She never forgot about the people she grew up with. She knew she would come back and help them. She and her husband moved back to Pixley. Her husband is teaching at a high school in Pixley and she is educating people to eat better with less money. She also teaches at Cal Poly in San Louis Obispo but her heart is in Pixley. When she talked about her town, and her family and people she loved in Pixley, I could not help feeling her passion and love in her voice. She cried and we all cried. Also, it made me wonder why this town looked like it had not developed for decades, or a set for a post-apocalyptical movie.
The next day, we went to Fresno, and the director of CCLS of Fresno, Chris, heard we were at Pixley the day before and wanted to tell us the history of that town. It started with a cotton grower named J.G. Boswell. He was a cotton grower from Georgia. In 1920, he convinced the state government to build a damn so that he could use the newly formed land for cotton farming. His vision of transplanting southern cotton plantations into new cotton plantations in California using Mexican workers instead of black slaves came alive. Then the Great Depression hit farming. From 1929 to 1932, cotton price went down 35% and the cotton pickers’ wage went from $1.40 to 40 cents per 100 pounds. The anger among the farm workers exploded in October 1933. About 18,000 farm workers went on strike and 12,000 of them were cotton pickers. The cotton pickers demanded $ 1 per one hundred pounds of cotton and the growers offered 60 cents.
On October 18, 1933, groups of strikers gathered in Pixley. Growers heard of the meeting and went to the building where the meeting was being held, with determination and militarized “supporters.” The growers started randomly shooting at the group to break up the meeting. Two people were killed and eight others were injured. The militarized growers attacked the workers in other towns, and families of the striking workers were evicted from the housing owned by the growers. Many lost their jobs and homes, and some headed back to Mexico.
When the strike was declared over in late October, three farm workers were dead and twenty were injured. Eight growers and their “supporters” were indicted for the shootings but they were all acquitted. However, seven strike organizers were arrested. The growers convinced the court that the word they chanted during the strike, “Huelga,” was a communist slogan and that the leaders were communists. They were convicted and went to jail. The state of California ordered the cotton strike officially ended and other leaders of the strike left the area.
This was not the end. This was the beginning of systemic oppression of the area and its farm workers. The area and its farm workers were kept poor and powerless by the state and federal governments and powerful growers who could influence them. The State of California ordered the cotton picking to be resumed under armed protection of State authorities. When President Roosevelt created social security in 1935, he excluded agricultural workers, along with domestic workers.
When Cesar Chavez moved to the San Joaquin valley in 1950 to organize farm workers, the word “union” symbolized failures to the farm workers, and something to block and suppress to growers. Using the word “union” would come with hesitance from workers and oppression from the government and its system. He named his organization Farm Workers Association avoiding the use of the term Union. When a lawyer tied to Chavez’ National Farm Workers Association was named the director of CCLS, their funding was threatened. He had to resign.
It is not difficult to see the oppression and poverty in Pixley even today. There is not much government funding coming to the area. It is hard to believe that Pixley is still being punished for a strike that happened 80 years ago, as Chris claimed, but one look at the town makes you wonder.
It is not simply something that happens only in the United States, with Linda Chavez, Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood, and others (including former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff) coming to mind. The latest news is that Britain's immigration minister, under fire for what critics said was an overly harsh crackdown on illegal immigrants, resigned Saturday after it was learned that his cleaning lady was an undocumented immigrant.
AP reports that First projections about a Swiss referendum on a proposal to cap immigration indicate voters are deeply divided on the issue. The polling organization gfs.bern found that that 50 percent had voted in favor of the referendum and 50 percent against it. If approved, the measure would impose an absolute limit on the number of foreigners who can move to Switzerland each year. It would require the Swiss government to renegotiate treaties with the European Union on the free movement of workers.
UPDATE (2/10): Swiss voters passed the "Stop Mass Immigration" referendum by a narrow 50.5 percent vote.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
From the Associated Press:
Making the case for a delay, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said there's "overwhelming support for doing nothing this year." Labrador, who worked with a small group of Republicans and Democrats on comprehensive legislation last year then abandoned the negotiations, said it would be a mistake to have an internal battle in the GOP. He argued for waiting until next year when the Republicans might have control of the Senate.
Some Republican supporters of a new immigration law are pushing back.
"I'm trying to convince my colleagues that regardless of primaries, regardless of elections this November, that we have an obligation and a duty to solve this crisis once and for all," Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., told the Spanish-language television network Telemundo in an interview scheduled to air Sunday. Read more....
In a January 31 letter to Members of Congress, the United States Conference of Mayors urged expeditious action on immigration reform in 2014. The letter states that
“Fixing our nation’s broken immigration laws is among the most important issues of interest to America’s mayors currently before the U.S. House of Representatives. We believe strongly that maintaining the status quo will further damage the economic, political and social structure of our cities and our country. As Mayors, we have a ground-level understanding of the pressing economic and moral imperatives that necessitate changing our national immigration system, and we urge the House to expeditiously bring legislation to the floor.”
For more on this story, click here.
Popular culture teaches all Americans about the Miranda warnings that police must give to criminal suspects. Immigration Impact reports on two recent immigration cases argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that raise the possibility of similar warnings in immigration matters.
Last week, the courts heard arguments in two cases (Segovia v. Holder and Miranda-Fuentes v. Holder) addressing when immigration officers should inform noncitizens who are under arrest and facing deportation of their rights under a regulation. Both sides agreed that immigration officers must give noncitizens the warnings required by the regulation—including that their statements will be used against them in immigration court and that they have a right to an attorney if they can pay for one. But the government has also argued that a noncitizen should not learn of his rights until after he already has been interrogated and the government has begun the case against him in immigration court.
Stay tuned as we watch to see how the Ninth Circuit addresses the possibility of a Miranda-style warning to noncitizens held for immigration violations.
It continues to amaze me that the U.S. government uses drones to patrol the U.S./Mexico border, a tactic that strikes me as something out of a science fiction movie like "Escape from New York."
Click here for a cost/benefit analysis in the Christian Science Monitor of drone patrols - and the use of Predator B drones. The drones are back in the air after being grounded after a January 28 crash. What have we come to as a nation?