Monday, July 14, 2014

Billionaires: Congress Shortchanges America on Immigration

In "Break the Immigration Impasse," Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates call for Congress to pass immigration reform:

"The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington."

The views of the three successful business people is getting considerable attention.


July 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kids Caught At Border Deserve Due Process of Law

Immigrant of the Day: Paul Tiyambe Zeleza (Zimbabwe)

Zeleza thumb 2

A historian, literary critic, fiction writer, and academic, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is a prolific and multitalented scholar whose books have won many international awards, such as the Noma Award for A Modern Economic History of Africa and Manufacturing African Studies and Crises. Born in 1955 in Harare, Zimbabwe, he earned his master’s degree from the University of London, and his doctorate degree in economic history from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2009 he became the Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University, and in 2013 was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs at Quinnipiac University.

Born in Zimbabwe, Zeleza was raised in Malawi, the native country of his parents. He earned his B.A. from the University of Malawi and an M.A from the University of London, where he studied African history and international relations. He holds his Ph.D. in economic history from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


July 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Dina Powell (Egypt)


Dina Powell is president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, global head of corporate engagement, and head of Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group. Previously, she worked for the Bush Administration, serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as Deputy Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. There, she played a critical role in public diplomacy as anti-American sentiment spread in the Arab world following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. For a full bio, click here.


July 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sonia Naazario: The Children of the Drug Wars and the Migration from Honduras


Sonia Nazario, auithor of the book Enrique's Journey which tells tells the astonishing true story of the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States. reports that she recently traveled to Honduras to spend a week with Enrique's family.  She writes that "I saw firsthand the unimaginable violence that children face daily that is caused by the narco/drug traffickers who run much of Honduras."

Narzario has a cover opinion piece for the New York Times' Sunday Review entitled "The Children of teh Drug Wars."  The piece contends that proposals by President Obama and others to shortchange due process and expedite removal of these children will send many of them back to certain death. 


July 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Case for More Open Borders: Improving the Lives of Native Workers by Allowing More Immigration?


The Economist reports on a new study by Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, and Michele Battisti, Gabriel Felbermayr and Panu Poutvaara, all of the Ifo Institute:

"These economists sought to measure the effect of immigration on the native-born in 20 rich countries, taking into account differences in skills between immigrants and natives, imperfect labour markets and the size of the welfare state in each country. Their results offer ammunition for fans of more open borders. In 19 out of 20 countries, the authors calculated that shutting the doors entirely to foreign workers would make the native-born worse off. (Never mind what it would do to the immigrants themselves, who benefit far more than anyone else from being allowed to cross borders to find work.) The study also suggests that most countries could handle more immigration than they currently allow."


July 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Sara Ramirez (Mexico)


Sara Ramirez, a film and theater actress, was born in 1975 in Mazatlan, Mexico. Best known for her role as Dr. Callie Torres, on the popular television hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy, she has also appeared in films including You’ve Got Mail and Spiderman. She has won numerous awards for her stage work, including the 2005 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, for her performance in the Broadway show Spamalot.

Ramirez's father was Mexican and her mother was of half Mexican and half Irish-American descent. When Ramirez was eight years old, her mother took her to Tierrasanta, in San Diego, California, where they settled. After completing the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego, California, Ramirez attended and graduated from the Juilliard School (B.F.A. '97, drama) in New York City, where she refined her skills as an actress. Ramirez speaks both Spanish and English fluently.


July 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Jose Luis Zavala's story as an Unaccompanied Minor and now PhD candidate

From United We Dream:

In case you haven't already seen this. This is a video where Jose Luis Zavala, a Dreamer and now PhD candidate, shares his story of migrating from Honduras to the United States as an unaccompanied minor.


July 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Lara Logan (South Africa)

Lara Logan is currently a full-time correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes, having previously served as the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. She was the only American journalist present in Baghdad when the U.S. military invaded the city, and she has also reported from the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan. She won an Emmy for her profile of Medal of Honor-winner Salvatore Giunta, and another for her report “Ramadi: On the Front Line,” which covered American troops under fire in Iraq.



July 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Border Police Don’t Deter Migrants


In CounterpunchBOZA explains why spending billions more on border enforcement will not end the flow of migrants from Central America to the United States.  The Border Patrol apprehended twice as many unaccompanied minors trying to enter the United States this year as they did last year. In response to this surge in the apprehension of unaccompanied minors, President Obama is requesting $4 billion from Congress. These funds will be used on new Border Patrol agents, immigration judges, aerial surveillance, and new detention facilities – all designed to speed up deportations of people caught at the border. Spending $4 billion more on enforcement will not alleviate the situation. Pouring money into border enforcement, however,  has never been successful at deterring the flow of migrants.

Speeding up deportations does nothing to address the root causes of this surge in the arrival of unaccompanied minors from Central America. These youth are fleeing violence and instability in their home countries. If we don’t address these issues, these youth will continue to come.

The United States government is already spending unprecedented amounts of money on immigration law enforcement: the total budget authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is $60 billion – one fifth of which goes to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Another $4 billion will not make CBP more effective unless there is a fundamental shift in policy.


July 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Deported L.A. Gangs Behind This Border Kid Crisis

Immigration Article of the Day: Illegitimate Borders: Jus Sanguinis Citizenship and the Legal Construction of Family, Race, and Nation by Kristin A. Collins

Yale law

Illegitimate Borders: Jus Sanguinis Citizenship and the Legal Construction of Family, Race, and Nation by Kristin A. Collins

Abstract. The citizenship status of children born to American parents outside the United States is governed by a complex set of statutes. When the parents of such children are not married, these statutes encumber the transmission of citizenship between father and child while readily recognizing the child of an American mother as a citizen. Much of the debate concerning the propriety and constitutionality of those laws has centered on the extent to which they reflect gender-traditional understandings of fathers’ and mothers’ respective parental roles, or instead reflect “real difference.” Based on extensive archival research, this Article demonstrates that an important yet overlooked reason for the development of gender- and marriage-based derivative citizenship law—jus sanguinis citizenship—was officials’ felt need to enforce the racially nativist policies that were a core component of American nationality law for over 150 years. The complex interaction of gender, race, family law, and nationality law charted here demonstrates that gender-based jus sanguinis citizenship is not a biologically inevitable feature of American nationality law, as has been argued, but is in important respects the product of choices made by officials engaged in a racially nativist nation-building project. This history also suggests that what is at stake in modern challenges to gender-based citizenship laws is not only the constitutionality of those statutes, but a mode of reasoning about citizenship, family, gender, and race that continues to shape the practice and politics of citizenship in ways that are often obscured in modern citizenship debates.


July 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Surveillance of Muslim Americans is Wrong

A new report based on documents provided by Edward J. Snowden has identified five American Muslims, including the leader of a civil rights group, as having been subjected to surveillance by the federal government.

From Asian Americans Advancing Justice:

Reports of Surveillance Against Muslim Americans Gravely Concerning

Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC), issued the following statement in response to recent reports that five prominent Muslim Americans have been subjected to ongoing secret surveillance by the FBI and NSA:

"We express profound concern at these allegations and demand President Obama and his administration provide the bases on which these individuals have been singled out and monitored. These reports remind us of the long history of government surveillance of communities of color and community advocates, including the surveillance of Japanese Americans during World War II (which preceded their unconstitutional mass incarceration); spying on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. at the hands of the unlawful secret intelligence program, COINTELPRO; and vast surveillance networks set up by the NYPD to monitor and spy on Muslim Americans in the Northeast. These tactics are ineffective and only sow fear and mistrust in our communities."

Advancing Justice | AAJC stands in solidarity with the Muslim American community and denounces the surveillance of these individuals and all Americans who are monitored solely based on their religion and advocacy for civil rights.


July 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Administrative Action on Immigration Would Benefit American Workers

In light of President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he has requested recommendations from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to help fix the nation’s immigration system, CAP experts have outlined the reasons why establishing a deferred-action program for undocumented immigrants would help American workers.

The most significant step President Obama can take toward fixing our immigration system would enable eligible undocumented immigrants to register with the government, request temporary protection from deportation, and apply for a work permit. Bringing undocumented immigrants into the folds of our society and economy would benefit all Americans.

The benefits of a deferred-action program for American workers are:

• Immigrants with temporary status would contribute more in tax revenues.

Undocumented immigrants who can work legally would improve the productivity of our labor market.

• A deferred-action program would create jobs as undocumented immigrants spend more money in their communities.

• Granting temporary status would increase the wages of American workers.

• Giving legal status to unauthorized workers would improve employment protections for all workers.

While expanding temporary protection from deportation to certain undocumented immigrants clearly benefits American workers and the economy as a whole, experts point out that these gains are only a partial fix to the system as a whole.

“The benefits will be much deeper and wider once Congress overcomes its paralysis and passes comprehensive immigration reform,” said Marshall Fitz, CAP Director of Immigration Policy and co-author of the analysis. “As American workers wait for Congress to pass immigration reform, they would be wise to welcome the president extending temporary status to undocumented immigrants.”

Read the analysis: Top 5 Reasons Why Administrative Action on Immigration Would Benefit American Workers by Patrick Oakford and Marshall Fitz.


July 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's The Law, Stupid, Now Obey It! Protecting the Human Rights of Unaccompanied Youth at the Border By Nativo Vigil Lopez©

How many times have we heard politicians declare continually that this is a nation of laws, especially as this pertains to immigration? How many times have they repeatedly howled about the RULE OF LAW? Well, this is exactly the retort to those who complain about the unaccompanied minors reaching the U.S. border seeking refugee from the orgy of violence prevalent in their countries of origin.

The reference is to H.R. 7311, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 introduced by former Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA-28), which became Public Law No: 110-457 on December 23, 2008. It was signed by President George W. Bush prior to leaving office. This is a comprehensive law, which amended previous statutes related to combating international trafficking in persons, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000 and 1961, and has legal implications both within and without the U.S.

For the rest of this article, and a summary of the provisions governing the treatment of unaccompanied minors in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, click here.


July 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Mediating Human Rights: Culture, Media and the Human Rights Act by Lieve Gies


Mediating Human Rights:  Culture, Media and the Human Rights Act by Lieve Gies Routledge – 2015

Drawing on social-legal, cultural and media theory, this book is one of the first to examine the media politics of human rights. It examines how the media construct the story of human rights, investigating what lies behind the apparent media hostility to human rights and what has become of the original ambition to establish a human rights culture. The human rights regime has been high on the political agenda ever since the Human Rights Act 1998 was enacted. Often maligned in sections of the press, the legislation has entered popular folklore as shorthand for an overbearing government, an overzealous judiciary and exploitative claimants. This book examines a range of significant factors in the mediation of human rights, including: Euroscepticism, the war on terror, the digital reordering of the media landscape, press concerns about an emerging privacy law and civil liberties.

Mediating Human Rights is a timely exploration of the relationship between law, politics and media. It will be of immense interest to those studying and researching across Law, Media Studies, Human Rights, and Politics.

Lieve Gies is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Her main research interests are in the area of media representations of the law.


July 11, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director


Leon Rodriguez was sworn in today as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a ceremony at USCIS headquarters. Rodriguez, born in Brooklyn, and raised in Miami, comes to USCIS with a broad legal background and will lead the nearly 18,000 employee agency charged with administering the nation’s immigration and naturalization system.

“This is both an exciting and challenging time for USCIS,” Rodriguez said. “Our role in administering our nation’s immigration and naturalization laws has never been more important. I look forward to working with the entire USCIS family, including our partners and constituents, to ensure that our mission is carried out with fairness and integrity.”

Leon Rodriguez was confirmed by the Senate in June 2014 as the director of USCIS. He previously served as the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, a position he held from 2011 to 2014. From 2010 to 2011, he served as chief of staff and deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Previously, Mr. Rodriguez was county attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland from 2007 to 2010. He was a principal at Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver in Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2007. He served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2001, first as chief of the White Collar Crimes Section from 1998 to 1999 and then as first assistant U.S. Attorney until his departure. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Rodriguez was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division at DOJ from 1994 to 1997 and a senior assistant district attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in New York from 1988 to 1994. He received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.


July 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Juvenile Cases Help Push Immigration Court Backlog to New High

As of the end of June 2014, the number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has climbed to an all time high of 375,503 -- an increase of more than 50,000 since the start of FY 2013 -- according to very timely government enforcement data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. California has the largest backlog (77,400 cases), followed by Texas (62,143) and then New York (55,010).

Wait times have also lengthened: the average time a pending case has been waiting in the Immigration Courts of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is now up to 587 days. For each pending case, many more days are likely to elapse before a hearing takes place and an Immigration Judge can determine whether the individual can be deported.

Preliminary figures indicate that the number of cases involving juveniles has climbed to 41,640, with more arriving daily. As of the end of June 2014, the court backlog for juveniles from Guatemala is the largest with 12,841 cases, closely followed by Honduras (12,696) and El Salvador (12,162).

To view annual backlog trends as well as the ten states with the largest backlog as of the end of June 2014, see the latest TRAC snapshot report.

For more details by location and by nationality, including average wait times, use TRAC's immigration backlog tool.


July 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE Offers Media tour at Artesia, New Mexico Residential Detention Facility

From ICE:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) will host a media tour of the unoccupied portions of the new temporary facility for adults with children in expedited removal on the campus of the FLETC facility in Artesia, New Mexico.

The purpose of this tour is to show members of the press the interior of the facility and explain ICE’s responsibilities for the care and custody of adults with children who are pending completion of their immigration cases. For privacy reasons, the tour is being limited to the unoccupied portion of the facility.  

Who:               Barbara Gonzalez, Press Secretary

U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Event:            Media tour of the new temporary adults with children residential facility (unoccupied portions) in Artesia, New Mexico.  

Date:               Friday, July 11 at 11:30 a.m.

Location:       Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, 1300 W. Richey Ave., Artesia, N.M.  

Note to editors and reporters: Media representatives with press credentials should arrive at the facility no later than 10:30 a.m. Please allot appropriate time for parking and security screening.

Credentialed media planning to participate must RSVP by sending an email to:

Phone: 305-970-1294, or


July 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Webinar: Best Practices for Screening & Representing Unaccompanied Minors

From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

Free Webinar
Addressing the Unaccompanied Minor Surge:
Best Practices for Screening & Representing Children

As the U.S. experiences an unprecedented surge of unaccompanied children migrating from Central America, there is an increased need for legal service providers to assist them.  Many of these children, because of their unaccompanied status and their personal histories, may be eligible for legal relief.   However, to screen and identify legal options for these children most effectively and represent them successfully, practitioners need to familiarize themselves with child related immigration procedures and laws and child sensitive practices.  Two legal practitioners and a social worker, who have extensive experience working with children, will cover the following topics:
·         An overview of the deportation system for children – how children are apprehended, processed, and released;

·         How to conceptualize the attorney-client relationship with a child and ethical considerations in that relationship;

·         How to work with children, and in particular, unaccompanied minors who have experienced trauma, in a way that is productive and sensitive to their needs;

·         Best practices for screening children; and

·         Potential legal relief options that these children may be eligible for, with a particular emphasis on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum.  

Hayley Upshaw, Senior Attorney - Legal Services for Children
Kristen Jackson, Senior Attorney - Public Counsel
Erin Maxwell, Social Worker - Legal Services for Children
Moderated by: Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney – Immigrant Legal Resource Center
July 15, 2014
1:00 – 2:30 pm PT / 4:00 – 5:30 pm ET
To register for this FREE webinar, click here and complete the online form.


July 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)