Thursday, August 31, 2006
CNN Is reporting that Canada will arm its border guards starting in 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday. Canada has unarmed guards along its 4,000-mile (6,435-kilometer) border with the United States, but Canada's will now be armed, as their U.S. counterparts are. The government plans to arm and train its 4,500 border agents over the next 10 years. Harper said some will be armed starting in September 2007 and about 150 will receive guns by the end of March 2008. For the full story, click here.
Check out http://www.lokman.nu/?p=221 to see an interesting international reference to this blog
Speaking of refugees, some of you may know I have a long standing interest in issues like the flow of people, and in particular the constraints on this flow, such as immigration laws. I thus wanted to introduce you to a second blog, ImmigrationProf Blog, (the title says it all) run by professor Kevin Johnson, Bill Hing and Jennifer Chacon, all professors at UC Davis. They do people like me a great service in keeping track of the recent developments in immigration law (focusing on the US mostly) and providing thoughtful comments.
A Senate committee hearing on immigration, headed by Colorado Republican Wayne Allard, triggered a debate even before it got started Wednesday when critics questioned the purpose and the list of invited witnesses.
Allard, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he wants Colorado to have a voice in the immigration debate and wants to pin down how legislation pending in Congress will affect state and local budgets and personnel.
Critics, including Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., derided the hearing as nothing more than election-year politics because the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform in May after months of debate and hearings. Click here.
After four months of relative quiet, immigration reform advocates are mobilizing a new round of protests in Washington and other cities to put pressure on a returning Congress and reinvigorate a Latino movement that awakened in massive demonstrations this spring.
The events will begin tomorrow in Chicago, where demonstrators plan to set out on a four-day march to the district offices of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R) in Batavia, Ill., and will continue with one-day rallies throughout next week in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles. Click here.
JOANNE MARINER has en excellent story on findlaw.com on Ali Saleh al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar held since mid-2003 as an "enemy combatant" in the United States. Al-Marri has largely been treated as an afterthought. Even as editorial boards waxed indignant over the indefinite detention of American citizens Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, few seemed to notice the like situation of al-Marri. But now that the two others have been released from military custody - Hamdi to return to Saudi Arabia, and Padilla to face criminal prosecution on terrorism charges - al-Marri's circumstances warrant greater scrutiny. As his habeas corpus claim works its way up through the courts, some very basic constitutional rights questions are being decided. Click here for the full commentary.
Professors Baher Azmy, and his clinical students, have spent the past two years immersed in a multifaceted campaign to free Marat Kurnaz, a German resident of Turkish descent who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years. After years of litigation, international media campaigns, collaboration with attorneys in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere, advocacy with countless government officials, and travel to Guantanamo, Turkey, and Germany, the United States government finally released Mr. Kurnaz. In the words of Professor Azmy, "the U.S. government has repeatedly said Guantanamo houses only terrorists and people from the battlefields--the worst of the worst. We know that this claim is not only an exaggeration, but a lie, and Murat Kurnaz's case proves this." Congratulations to Professor Baher Azmy and his students for years of groundbreaking and tireless work to advance the rule of law and shed light on the U.S.'s unlawful imprisonment of his client at Guantanamo. Click here and here for recent articles about this case. Lori Nessel, Professor of Law, Dean's Fellow and Director, Center for Social Justice, at Seton Hall also deserves kudos.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Matter of O'Cealleagh, 23 I&N Dec. 976 (BIA 2006) Interim Decision # 3538 (1) In order for an offense to qualify for the “purely political offense” exception to the ground of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) (2000), based on an alien’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, the offense must be completely or totally “political.” (2) The respondent is inadmissible where he properly conceded that his offense, substantively regarded, was not “purely political,” and where there was substantial evidence that the offense was not fabricated or trumped-up and therefore did not qualify from a procedural perspective as a “purely political offense,” because the circumstances surrounding his conviction in Northern Ireland for aiding and abetting the murder of two British corporals reflected a sincere effort to prosecute real lawbreakers. Click here for the full opinion.
The leaders of Britain's biggest businesses employing millions of people have called on the Government to allow unlimited immigration from Bulgaria and Romania when the two former Eastern Bloc states join the European Union next year.
They said any break in the "open door" policy that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants from Poland and other eastern European countries come to Britain would be a major mistake. The business leaders have put their names to a statement issued by the Business for New Europe Group (BNEG), a pressure group calling for further integration. Click here.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Today's NY Times profiles Representative Mike Pence. A conservative (politically and socially) on virtually every issue from his support for massive tax cuts to his opposition to stem cell research, Mr. Pence has made enemies through his apparent moderation on one issue: immigration. Pence is one of the important movers behind a potential compromise approach in the US House of Reps, which earlier voted for an enforcement-only immigration bill that is inconsistent with the Senate's legalization-and-enforcement plan. Pence's proposal would contain numerous provisions to increase immigration retrictions and border enforcement and would also require undocumented migrants to return home, but would allow many of them to return quickly. It's not exactly a radical proposition. But you can't tell that from the sniping that it has inspired.
Jason DeParle of the Times writes:
Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum called his plan “a sick joke.” Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail pioneer, threatened to punish politicians who supported it. Pat Buchanan, editor of The American Conservative, likened the betrayal to a scene from “The Godfather.”
Still, he's sticking to his guns, inspired, he says, by his Irish immigrant grandfather. The full story is here.
Bekiares, Jeffrey A. Note. In country, on parole, out of luck-- regulating away alien eligibility for adjustment of status contrary to congressional intent and sound immigration policy. (Succar v. Ashcroft, 394 F.3d 8, 1st Cir. 2005.) 58 Fla. L. Rev. 713-741 (2006).
Cummings, Scott L. and Ingrid V. Eagly. After public interest law. (Reviewing Jennifer Gordon, Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights.) 100 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1251-1293 (2006).
Gutner, Rebecca H. Note. A neglected alternative: toward a workable standard for implementing humanitarian asylum. 39 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 413-450 (2006).
An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is
challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination
in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in the Latino community. The ad
criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for allowing city police to
accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as identification. Chafee's
spokesman had no comment about the ad. Laffey's campaign called it an
insensitive attack on the mayor's attempt to empathize with"people who
struggle and who try to make a better life for themselves." Click here. bh
An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in the Latino community. The ad criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for allowing city police to accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as identification.
Chafee's spokesman had no comment about the ad. Laffey's campaign called it an insensitive attack on the mayor's attempt to empathize with"people who struggle and who try to make a better life for themselves." Click here.
Jonah Goldberg editor at large of National Review Online defends racial profiling in the name of national security in an op/ed in the Chicago Tribune:
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Transportation Security Administration is testing sophisticated machines that use elaborate algorithms to determine whether air travelers have "hostile intent." The machines measure your sweat output, pulse rate and other signs while asking questions such as: "Are you planning to immigrate illegally?" "Are you smuggling drugs?" "Do these stupid questions make you feel like committing a terrorist act?" OK, I made the last one up, and I shouldn't make fun because supposedly the Israelis have figured out how to make this stuff work. The thinking behind this program rests on the assumption that searching for every kind of potential weapon or explosive is too reactive. Find the bad motives, and the rest will follow. If it works, great. But one of the frustrating reasons the U.S. government feels compelled to spend all of this time and energy coming up with computerized lie detectors is that civil libertarians can't trust airport security personnel to do the same thing. Why? Because it's possible for humans to be racist. The TSA's more established security system, Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, or SPOT, relies on human intelligence instead of the artificial kind. Teams are trained to scrutinize passengers for more than 30 questionable behaviors, according to the Journal: "They look for obvious things like someone wearing a heavy coat on a hot day, but also for subtle signs like vocal timbre, gestures and tiny facial movements that indicate someone is trying to disguise an emotion." This apparently is unacceptable for civil libertarians. "Our concern is that giving TSA screeners this kind of responsibility and discretion can result in their making decisions not based on solid criteria but on impermissible characteristics such as race," the American Civil Liberties Union's Gregory T. Nojeim told the Journal. In other words, while our enemies are coming up with ingenious ways to murder Americans, we're coming up with ingenious ways to search for our enemies in the nicest manner possible. No amount of training, it seems, can immunize against the real threat to America: the possibility that somewhere, at some time, a TSA cop might pull an Arab or South Asian out of a line at an airport unfairly and talk to them for five minutes.
Click here for the rest. Most of the national policies adopted in the name of national security after September 11 have elements of racial and religious profiling. Special registration and Operation Absconder are just two examples. Do you feel safer today?
Monday, August 28, 2006
At least some of the people who favor felony status for undocumented migrants do so because they assume that these individuals are flouting the law rather than taking advantage of opportunities to apply for legal status. A story in today's LA Times provides a reminder that for many people -- including the parents of citizen children who have lived in the US for very long periods of time -- obtaining legal status is illusory. Indeed, the process of applying for legal status sometimes puts people on the road to removal. The story by Ann Gorman begins:
Mercedalia Diaz was tired of being an illegal immigrant, living in fear of arrest and separation from her young son. So she filed an application to work legally in the United States — in effect, turning herself in.
After a permit was denied, Diaz landed here, in U.S. Immigration Court in Los Angeles, nervously fielding questions from a federal judge: If you don't get permanent residency, would you agree to leave the U.S. voluntarily? Do you promise not to return without a visa? What would you do with your son?
The full story is here.
We are pleased to announce that the second annual 2007 Immigration Law Moot
Court Competition will take place at NYU School of Law in Greenwich Village,
New York City, on February 22-25, 2007. We hope that you will encourage
your students to enter this competition, which will give them valuable
appellate brief-writing and oral advocacy experience, while developing their
knowledge of current key issues in immigration law.
The competition is open to 16 teams, which may consist of two or three law
students. We do not require participants to be members of moot court teams
or other similar programs at their law schools, and we particularly wish to
encourage the participation of students with strong interest in the topic of
The double-issue problem is created by members of the NYU Moot Court Board's
highly regarded Casebook Division, and will address topics on which the
Circuit Courts of Appeals are currently split. Teams will submit briefs
prior to the competition, and will argue at least four times at the
tournament before panels of judges (many of whom are attorneys, professors
and judges specializing in immigration law).
Applications to participate in the competition must be received no later
than Monday, October 16. There is no application fee, but participating
teams will have to submit a registration fee of $300 by December 1.
For further information about the Immigration Law Competition, please
contact me at email@example.com. Thank you!
NYU School of Law, Moot Court Board
Today, El Paso County Commissioners passed a resolution detailing its position on immigration policies.
The resolution says the following:
§ State resources should not be diverted to support policies and initiatives that tolerate or result in racial profiling in our communities.
§ Erecting a wall would be a waste of money. The federal government should instead invest in secure, fast, and smart technology to allow fast movement of people and products.
§ Federal government should approve additional fund to reimburse states and hospitals for costs related to emergency health services, prosecution, and the incarceration of undocumented immigrants.
§ Opposition to laws that aim to tax immigrants' remittances.
§ Support for a temporary worker program with the possibility for low-skilled immigrant workers to obtain a permanent residence status.
§ Public education for all children regardless of their immigration status.
§ Support fair and comprehensive immigration legislation that balances border security concerns with recognition of the U.S. demand for workers.
§ Local law enforcement should not be given the powers to stop, interrogate, detain or otherwise participate in immigration enforcement activities.
§ Path to citizenship, to immigrants who have paid taxes, and parented citizen children and grandchildren.
§ Larger number of employment and family-based green cards to promote family unification, reduce backlogs in application processing, and that demands sensitive quotas.
§ Opposition to the $100-million expansion of the state immigration program.
§ Obligation to fund and oversee a robust Border Patrol.
§ Look at technology solutions that offer low-cost alternatives to the interdiction efforts of local law enforcement that lead inevitably to racial profiling.
§ Support the implementation of information-sharing, international and federal-state-local coordination, technology, and anti-smuggling.
§ Support for anti-fraud measures and biometric data on all visa and immigration documents.
§ Reject any action by civilians - individual or groups - who interfere with the duties of United States law enforcement officials in securing the border region.
§ Reject legislation that criminalizes immigrants, their families, and the organizations that provide assistance to them
From undocumented immigrant workers to restaurant owners, students and employment advocates, numerous Chicago-area residents are voicing their opinions as the nation debates immigration reform. This series presents first-person stories from individuals in the community who feel they have a personal stake in the immigration debate. Eight Forty-Eight producer Madeleine Bair documents their histories from life in their birth country to their current place in Chicago. Click here for the link.
U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a man who was throwing rocks at officers from the Mexican side of the border late Saturday, officials said. The incident began after agents spotted a suspicious vehicle near the Andrade Port of Entry west of the California-Arizona border, just north of the international border and alongside the Colorado River. The driver fled and then tried to swim across a pond along the river in an effort to return to Mexico, the agency said in a press release. Click here for the full story.
Editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle today:
IT WAS ONLY a matter of time before opponents of immigration reform would drag out the tired old arguments of the "costs" of immigration to the American taxpayers.
Last week, the allegedly "nonpartisan" Congressional Budget Office
declared that the cost of implementing the immigration-reform plan approved by
the U.S. Senate would be a staggering $126 billion over 10 years. Click here for the rest.