Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The LA Times ran an op-ed yesterday criticizing the President's efforts in the immigration area. The Editors write:
"Watching Bush talk about immigration is like watching an old athlete who never fulfilled his promise. He has been saying the right things on immigration since he took office but has never followed through, for various reasons: 9/11, the war, other political imperatives and the need to nurse his political capital. Now he has almost no political capital, which might account for his timid approach . . . ."
"As Bush said: 'People in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary-worker program.' Trouble is, print out Bush's speech and you'll see that he said this on the seventh of eight pages."
In short, while Bush still pays lip-service to his earlier guest worker idea, his rhetoric skews very heavily toward casting immigration solely as a security and anti-terrorist measure. For 4 long years, it has been clear that this is the few vocabularies with which the president feels fluent....the editorial implies....for I would not suggest such a thing myself, of course.
-just another blogger
The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse (TRAC) gathers, analyzes, and distributes data about the fairness and effectiveness of federal enforcement of laws and regulations. Associated with Syracuse University, its purpose is to provide the U.S. public with the information they need to hold the federal government accountable for its activities, staffing, and spending. TRAC has just added administrative immigration enforcement as a particular focus of its research. TRAC hopes to supplement the work of immigration advocates by uncovering hard data to document what is known - and, at times, is not known - about how the government enforces immigration laws. To accomplish this, TRAC has hired Washington-based immigration attorney Larry Katzman as well as a system/web delivery professional to work full time in this arena. In other areas, TRAC has been successful over the years in obtaining detailed and hard-to-find information about federal civil and criminal enforcement and getting it into the hands of public interest groups, the media, members of Congress, and the public. It will do the same in immigration. TRAC obtains data on government operations. TRAC reviews all publicly-available information such as reports and statistical tables generated by agencies, Congressional testimony, websites, news articles, and reports by Inspectors General and the GAO. TRAC then files Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain internal agency data. It also goes after detailed, redacted records of the thousands or millions of individuals impacted by agency action. Importantly, TRAC also litigates against the federal government when its FOIA requests are not fully and promptly complied with. It has current or impending lawsuits, for instance, against the Department of Justice, Office of Personnel Management, and the RS. TRAC organizes and analyzes the data. TRAC staff members utilize their statistical, legal, and analytical expertise in assessing the data it obtains. Is the data complete and accurate? What has been withheld? What do the results tell us about government effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness? How does the information differ from data or messages previously provided by the agency, from public perceptions, and from the anecdotal experience of practitioners and advocates? TRAC reports on its findings. TRAC issues reports based on the data. Colorful maps, graphs, and links to thousands of pages of supporting material accompany the reports. TRAC maintains websites. The reports and summary data are then published on TRAC's public website (http://trac.syr.edu). TRAC also maintains a subscription site that is accessed both by the media (The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, and many others), law schools, public interest groups, and the government itself (e.g. the DOJ's Inspector General, Congressional committees, the Government Accounting Office). More than a terabyte of data, or the equivalent of 500,000,000 printed pages, is indexed and easily available on TRAC's websites. About TRAC's Immigration Project: So often, immigration advocates create carefully-researched and well-written letters, reports, and press releases as part of their important government oversight function. But because of the dearth of comprehensive data on immigration enforcement and adjudications, these documents are often based on personal experiences with clients or judges, on observations (e.g., in detention centers) or on publicly-available government statistics that sometimes are incomplete or inaccurate. Hard statistics are invaluable for documenting problems, bolstering arguments for legal and policy changes, and supporting litigation efforts. How many indefinite detainees are not receiving timely and fair reviews of their continued detention? How many unaccompanied minors are not promptly transferred to ORR custody and how many are denied consent to pursue their special immigrant juvenile claims? How many individuals with misdemeanor convictions are deemed to be aggravated felons and ordered removed as a result? What are the historical and regional trends of the numbers? Authoritative data on these and many other matters, such as those relating to asylum, removal, gender, adjudications, and adjustments are usually maintained by the U.S. government but not made publicly available.TRAC's goal is to perform the hard work of acquiring this type of information - exactly what immigration advocates need but do not have the resources or expertise to obtain on their own. Litigators, practitioners, policy-makers, human rights groups, academics, and the media will also benefit from the data that TRAC uncovers. TRAC will work closely with advocates in identifying specific issues that can be quantified, analyzing data that is received, and drafting reports. TRAC will make all of its reports available free-of-charge to the non-profit sector through a website. TRAC invites you to work with us in developing and implementing this important project. For more information, contact Larry Katzman, 202-518-9000, ext. 2; firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICE announced in a press released that a total of 44 individuals, many of them based in Orange County, CA's Little Saigon, have been indicted for their roles in an elaborate scheme to obtain fraudulent immigrant visas for hundreds of Chinese and Vietnamese nationals based on sham marriages to US citizens. http://www.ilw.com/immigdaily/news/2005,1201-fraud.pdf
Peter A. Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Foundation writes "Despite knowing for nearly five years that they were required to afford crime victims a path to legal status, the Defendants have unlawfully refused and failed to implement the U visa provisions of the Violence Protection Act." http://www.ilw.com/articles/2005,1201-schey.shtm
Susan Gzesh ifnormed the immigration law professors listserve of the sad news about the recent stroke suffered by Father Jon Cortina:
Many of us who have worked on issues related to El Salvador have gotten to know Father Jon Cortina over the years. He was the surviving Jesuit of the 1989 massacre, as he was away from the UCA when his brethren were killed by the Salvadoran military. He has worked tirelessly over the years on post-war justice issues, from litigation in the US against the Salvadoran generals to finding the "lost" Salvadoran children adopted outside the country. We just heard that Father Cortina has suffered a massive stroke and is in a coma. I thought there would be members of our network who know him and would want to hear this news, however sad.
Donald Kerwin has an article on national security and immigration in the Oxford International Journal of Refugee Protection http://ijrl.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/17/4/749?ijkey=p2xGUNeY6tO6SEK&keytype=ref.
Over the last few days, some pieces of information came my way that have made me rethink the idea of a blog.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Immigration Law Professors listserve that said something like "tunder the USA PATRIOT Act, this e-mail transmission can be accessed by teh government absent a court order.
Today, I read an article at http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2005/11/oregon_refuses_.html about a university's refusal to pay the legal fees of a law professor threatened with a lawsuit over a law review article. The article argues that Article 20 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction should be strengthened to offer more protection for domestic violence victims who flee transnationally with their children as part of their effort to escape from domestic violence. The article made two brief references to a court dispute in one such case and one of the parties to that dispute threatened to sue. Inside Higher Ed reports that Oregon refused to pay the legal fees of the professor in defending against the threatened lawsuit.
Third, blog reader, and future immigration attorney, Karen Hamilton pointed me to the following blog entry http://hoder.com/weblog/archives/014729.shtml The comments reflect a lot of anti-immigrant hate. But what was esepecially scary is the fact that the immigration inspectors at the border apparently are Googling some entrants (intellectuals?) to see what they are saying about the Bush administration, politics, the Middle East and the war(s), etc.
So please forgive me if I duck and cover from the blogosphere for a few days. :)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
New Voices Fellowship
Call for Grant Applications
The Academy for Edutional Development Announces Next Competition for 12 New Grant Awards to Support Nonprofits and Promising New Leaders Committed to Social Justice and Peace.
Sponsored fields of work include:
*Migrant and Refugee Rights
The two-year grants, worth about $100,000, offer support for salary, fringe benefits, financial assistance, leadership training, mentoring, and a professional development account for a promising new leader. The applying nonprofit and its prospective Fellow prepare an application together as a team.
This competition we also hope to receive more applications from candidates who are men of color (specifically Latino & East Asian males), LGBT organizations working on marriage rights, and women's rights organizations focusing on women in the work force. We are also interested in applications from nonprofit organizations in cities impacted by Hurricane Katrina (e.g., New Orleans, Mobile, Biloxi, Gulfport*etc). New Voices also hopes to receive applications from organizations working on social justice issues in the city of Detroit. This list is not exclusive or exhaustive.
Grant applications and eligibility criteria are now available from the New Voices web site at www.aed.org/newvoices The deadline is February 13, 2006.
For additional information or to join the program mailing list, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com, by phone at 202-884-8051, by fax at (202) 884-8407, or by mail at:
1825 Connecticut Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
For a copy of President Bush's latest proposal on immigration (Nov. 28), see http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/11/print/20051128-3.html It begins as follows:
"Today, President Bush Outlined The Strategy To Enhance America's Homeland Security Through Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Addressing the Customsand Border Protection agents stationed in southern Arizona, the President discussed the strategy to secure the border, prevent illegal crossings, and strengthen enforcement of immigration laws. The President also proposed to take pressure off the border by creating a Temporary Worker Program that meets the economy's demands while rejecting amnesty for those who break America's laws."
For a CNN report on the reaction to the proposal, see http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/11/29/bush.immigration/index.html
An article entitled 86 Alito Memo Argues Against Foreigners' Rights: Work for Justice Dept. Points to Views That May Affect Anti-Terrorism Rulings on High Court, by Jo Becker and Amy Goldstein in the Washington Post (Nov. 29) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/28/AR2005112801849.html reports that
"As a senior lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Samuel A. Alito Jr. argued that immigrants who enter the United States illegally and foreigners living outside their countries are not entitled to the constitutional rights afforded to Americans.
In an opinion that offers insight into the Supreme Court nominee's view of an area of law that has gained new significance with the Bush administration's policies to combat terrorism, Alito gave his approval to an FBI effort in the 1980s to collect from Canadian authorities fingerprint cards of Iranian and Afghan refugees living in that country."
A related Press Release from a Latino groups followed on the Post article. It reads as follows:
Documents released this week by the Justice Department from 1986 show Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, as then Deputy Assistant Attorney General under the Reagan Administration, arguing strongly against constitutional protections being afforded to undocumented immigrants and foreign nationals residing in the U.S. Legislative Staff Attorney for MALDEF's Washington, D.C.office, Peter Zamora, summarized, "In a 1986 letter to FBI Director William Webster, Alito offers a cramped, troubling interpretation of the constitutional protections properly afforded to undocumented immigrants. In writing that the Constitution "grants only fundamental rights to illegal aliens within the United States," Alito ignores a significant body of caselaw to the contrary. Significantly, he ignores the landmark case of Plyler v. Doe, brought by MALDEF and decided in 1982, which held that undocumented immigrants are protected under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, even in the context where the right is not "fundamental." Alito's legal interpretation in this matter was strained and misguided, and the implications of elevating this interpretation to the Supreme Court are deeply troubling for those concerned with protecting immigrants' rights." "The Senate needs to question Alito vigorously on his statements. What he suggested calls for the creation of a subclass of people who would be entirely vulnerable to abuse and victimization by unscrupulous people," said Irasema Garza, spokesperson for HFJ and AFSCME representative. "As a community, we must urge our Senators to question Alito on what he meant and how far he was willing to go in denying constitutional protections to immigrants and foreign nationals that contribute greatly to this country." Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez, vice-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Civil Rights Task Force added that, "Judge Alito's nomination represents an abandonment of the principle that the Supreme Court should be comprised of highly qualified individuals with backgrounds, experiences and heritages that reflect the diversity of America. As we get to know more about Judge Alito, I am concerned with his record of undermining civil rights, as he has been one of the most conservative federal judges in the country. I urge my Senate colleagues to look through his record carefully and for all Americans to pay close attention to this process as this appointment will have consequences for decades to come," HFJ Spokesperson and St. Mary's University School of Law Professor, Reynaldo Valencia, remarked, "Each new troubling revelation regarding Judge Alito's personal views on affirmative action, voting rights, immigrant rights, and other issues of importance to the Latino community further reinforces the need for a thorough review and investigation of his judicial philosophy, and whether that philosophy will hurt or advance the interests of Latinos." HFJ will continue its National Judicial Briefing Tour on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 in Denver, Colorado with a presentation on what's at stake for Latinos with the Alito nomination and a new Supreme Court. For more information contact Gabriela Ventura at firstname.lastname@example.org
(HFJ) was formed in April 2005 through the efforts of Alliance for Justice in order to provide Hispanic leaders across the nation a platform and voice in matters related to our nation's judicial system. HFJ consists of Hispanic civil rights leaders as well as Hispanic state and local elected officials. The group is led by long-time civil rights advocates Raul Yzaguirre, former president of the National Council of La Raza and Dolores Huerta, as well as MALDEF and PRLDEF. www.rabengroup.com
For you law profs stuck in the airport with nothing to read, you might want to pick up a copy of the November 28 issue of U.S. News & World Report. It has a Special Report entitled "Border Wars: The Border with Mexico leaks Like a Sieve. Why the Feds Can't Fix It." There is nothing all that new here. Still, as any law professor knows, when U.S. News talks, people listen. :)
Last night, I was on local television, along with an anti-immigrant activist, to discuss the latest Bush immigration proposal. Although it might surprise some of you, I mentioned that the President deserves credit for raising the issue of immigration reform. The activist, however, lambasted the President and clamored for more Border Patrol officers (despite the fact that there is no evidence that this will reduce the undocumented immigrant population). On camera, she seemed aggressive but vaguely coherent; off camera, she complanied about Bush succumbing to the "ethnic" lobby, Mexicans taking over the state, stealing jobs from Americans, etc. I was shocked by how much antipathy she had for immigrants and how so much was race-based. It made me wonder: Why can't we have a reasoned and rational debate about immigration? Why is it that the ideologues are permitted to shout down moderates on the issue? Why is there so much hate in the air about immigration?
Monday, November 28, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle ran an interesting two-part series the last two days on how Mexican and United States cultures, economies, and futures intersect. Part 1 notes that jobs created by maquiladoras have drawn not only Mexicans with high hopes to the border, but also U.S. citizens. While the Mexicans fill low-wage assembly line jobs and live in sprawling slums, U.S. citizens take positions in management, design, engineering and shipping and live in new suburbs. Part 2 discusses how the culture of Mexico has melded with the United States' to create a distinct Tejano culture. Many Texans draw an imaginary demarcation they call the Mexican-Dixon Line, from El Paso east to Houston, which essentially consigns heavily Latino south Texas to Mexico.
President Bush is expected to discuss his immigration reform proposal, including greater enforcement, guest workers, and border security on a trip through Texas and Arizona this week. There is nothing new in his proposal, which represents the usual effort by President Bush to "walk the line" (to paraphrase Johnny Cash) between the two immigration wings of the Republican Party.
For a quick summary of Judge Alito's decisions on the Third Circuit, see http://3dcir.blogspot.com/2005/10/judge-samuel-alito-and-immigration.html The summary suggests that Judge Alito generally will be deferential to the BIA in immigration cases.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Like most circuit courts, there are interesting immigration cases coming out of the Third Circuit. An immigration blog that focuses on immigration cases decided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals or within the Third Circuit is maintained on a voluntary basis at 3dcir.blogspot.com
Thanks to "Rex" for this information.
Current immigration projections describe substantial levels of future immigration to the U.S. similar to those experienced in recent years. These projections suggest that immigrants could make up between 1/3 and 1/2 of the growth of the U.S. labor force through 2030. Immigrants are predicted to make up a growing share of both high and low skill workforces. Between 2000 and 2030, immigrants are projected to grow from 10 to 15% of workers with a high school degree, and from 14 to 18% of those with a college education. At the same time, occupational projections suggest that jobs requiring a college education will be the fastest growing (have the highest percent growth), while jobs with the largest absolute grown (largest numerical growth) will require only on-the-job training. Immigrants already form a large proportion of workers at both ends of the skill spectrum and, therefore, are likely to be a significant share of workers in tomorrow's labor force across the skill spectrum. Any discussion of the nature of tomorrow's demand must address the country's aging population and producdtivity bottlenecks. While these cannot be solved simply by increasing immigration, the budget and productivity shortfalls they will produce will generate demand for generous numbers of immigrant workers, especially skilled workers.
The latent demand for immigrant labor will be strong due to the aging of the population and the institutions that make the United States, compared with Europe, an unparalleled job creation machine. As globalization knits together international labor markets, this will ensure that U.S. employers will continue to seek to employ foreign workers.
Source: Migration Policy Institute
The Supreme Court, 2004 Term issue of the Harvard Law Review (vol. 119, pp. 386-95, Nov. 2005) has a comment on Clark v. Martinez, 125 S. Ct. 716 (2005), which extended the holding of Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001) on detention, to inadmissible aliens paroled into the country. Although more about canons of constitutional interpretation than immigration law per se, the Comment still should be of interest to immigration law profs. It also is worth looking at the foreword to the issue in which Judge Richard Posner talks about how the Supreme Court necessarily is a "political court."