Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Strange Bedfellows in Texas

This press release is from, a site devoted to Texas politics:

In a rare convergence on policy, Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business joined with representatives of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC) of the Texas House of Representatives today to call on Congress to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform. Hammond initiated discussions with MALC after Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) successfully added a provision to the new margins tax prohibiting employers from including undocumented or illegal workers in their payroll calculations when figuring their tax liability. The margins tax is based on a percentage of gross revenues minus either payroll or cost of goods sold. While TAB and MALC outlined fifteen core principles of agreement, three core themes emerged: secure borders, a legal avenue for foreign nationals to enter the country to work and an easy and reliable verification system for employers. MALC Chair Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) criticized recent Congressional hearings as "choreographed to stir up passions. We expect more out of our leaders," he said. He pointed out that business currently needs over 500,000 low-skill workers but federal law permits a total of only 5,000 legal visas.


President Bush is on the same wave length,


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Andrew Young, Wal-Mart, Koreans, Jews, and Arabs

In an interview last week, civil rights leader and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was asked whether he was concerned that Wal-Mart causes smaller mom-and-pop stores to close.

"Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighbourhood," the paper quoted Young as saying.

"But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat, and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."

Young, who has apologised for the remarks, said he decided to end his involvement with Working Families for Wal-Mart after he started getting criticism and calls about the story. Click here.


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles

Guttenplan, Marra. Note. Granting asylum to persecuted Afghan Western Women. 12 Cardozo J.L. & Gender 291-420 (2005).

Kleinert, Tiffany Walters. Comment. Local and state enforcement of immigration law: an equal protection analysis. 55 DePaul L. Rev. 1103- 1136 (2006).

Lopez, Maria Pabon. The intersection of immigration law and civil right law: noncitizen workers and the international human rights paradigm. 44 Brandeis L.J. 611-635 (2006).

Shreyer, Amanda E. Note. Human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border: U.S. laws are not stopping it. 39 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 795-815 (2006).

Trucios-Haynes, Enid. Civil rights, Latinos, and immigration: cybercascades and other distortions in the immigration reform debate. 44 Brandeis L.J. 637-653 (2006).


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Patrick Buchanan at it Again

Perennial presidential candidate, Patrick Buchanan, is at it again with his attack on immigration on talk shows and a new book. Here's a recent interview on Hannity & Colmes featuring more of his hate rhetoric. Click here.


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Human Rights Groups Ask for Suspension of High Speed Border Chases

In the wake of a recent Yuma Border Patrol high speed chase that resulted in the deaths of 10 migrants, including a young child, and injury of eleven others, border human rights groups from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas today joined in a letter to DHS Secretary Chertoff, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham, and Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, asking that the Border Patrol suspend high speed chases pending a review and updating of Border Patrol hot pursuit policies. The Border Human Rights Working Group was formed at a July 12 meeting in Tucson of the major organizations in the four states along the US-Mexico border involved in border violence work. The Border Human Rights Working Group also joined a request addressed to the Border Patrol for copies of all documents relating to the Yuma chase and crash and all policies and training materials regarding high speed chases. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law will seek U visas for surviving victims who assist law enforcement to prosecute the driver. These visas for victims of violent crimes were made possible by a law enacted by Congress six years, but the DHS has yet to issue an application form, visa regulations, or approve a single U visa. A copy of the to DHS Secretary Chertoff, et al. is Download yumacrash_letter


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Believe It or Not: Border Patrol Simulation a Tourist Attraction in Mexico

On a misty, moonless night, the group scurried down the canyon wall, their feet slipping in the ankle-high mud. The sirens grew louder as their guide, clad in a ski mask and known only as Poncho, urged them to run faster. "Hurry up! The Border Patrol is coming!" A couple in matching designer tennis outfits loped awkwardly along, the boyfriend clutching a digital video camera and struggling to keep the pop-out screen steady. The 20 or so people fleeing the fictional Border Patrol weren't undocumented immigrants; they were tourists about 700 miles from the border. Most are well-heeled professionals more likely to travel to the United States in an airplane than on foot. They've each paid 150 pesos — about $15 — for what is perhaps Mexico's strangest tourist attraction: a night as an illegal immigrant crossing the Rio Grande. Advertising for the mock journey, which takes place at a nature park in the central state of Hidalgo, tells the pretend immigrants to "Make fun of the Border Patrol!" and to "Cross the Border as an Extreme Sport!" As craven as the advertising sounds, the organizers say they are trying to build empathy for migrants by putting people in their shoes.   Click here for the full story.   thanks to Texas correspondent Cappy White for the scoop!

August 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More chastisement for immigration judges

Previously on this site, we've noted that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has issued a memo to IJs urging increased care and professionalism in dealing with the individuals who appear before them.  His memo came as a response to a wave criticism that has been lavished on some IJs by various circuit court judges in the years since immigration "reforms" have virtually elimited meaningful BIA review of many IJ decisions.

On August 21, the 7th Circuit issued yet another decision with a stinging rebuff of an IJs reasoning.  Dismantling the foundation of the IJ's adverse credibility finding, the 7th Circuit remanded the case for further deliberation.  In so doing, Judge Bauer writes for a unanimous panel:

Troubling to us is the surprising lack of regard for the rich record in this case coupled with the fact that at least parts of the IJ's opinion appear to be a "cut and paste" job from previous opinions. While Ayi offered an affidavit from his treating physician (who noted the scarring and damage on Ayi's hands and knees), the IJ's opinion does not mention this corroborating evidence nor does he explain if or why it was excluded. Our concern is not new, Pasha v. Gonzales, 433 F.3d 530 (7th Cir. 2005);Benslimane v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 828, 829--30 (7th Cir. 2005), but unfortunately, it has not [*21] abated.  Specifically, the IJ refers to Ayi as "her" twice in the opinion.

The poorly reasoned IJ decisions that are filtering up to the Circuit Court level with such frequency these days are a waste of resources, and the long process of appeals puts asymlum applicants through untold agonies of protracted uncertainty, often under conditions of mandatory detention.

A link to the full case is here:Download Ayi.pdf  and can also be found at


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

El Paso Sheriff Criticized Again

Announcement from the Border Network for Human Rights:

Yesterday, the El Paso County Commissioners Court passed a resolution opposing the policy and the practice of El Paso Sheriff Office of enforcing federal immigration laws. The Border Network for Human Rights commends this resolution and supports the decision of County Commissioners since sets up and important precedent of de-linking criminal and community security enforcement from immigration related policies.

In the resolution, passed by majority (4-1), the County Commissioner and the County Judge called upon the Sheriff's Office to limit its enforcement activities and restrain from single out individuals from legal scrutiny  "based solely on the country of origin, religion, race, ethnicity, or immigration status." Additionally, County officials resolved, thru the resolution that agents and employee of the County “should not inquire about immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other who call or request assistance from them."

For the past months, Border Network for Human Rights has been supporting the effort of communities in East El Paso to end the Sheriff’s office attempts to enforce federal immigration laws. According to families and individuals living in the communities of San Elizario, Agua Dulce, Sparks, and Montana Vista, the Sheriff’s Department has been holding immigration roadblocks and conducting immigration raids in their communities.  Mothers expressed fear in taking their children to school, and other community members spoke of fear of going to the store or calling the Sheriff’s Office in the event of a crime, emergency, or even domestic violence.

In June of 2006 the communities of East El Paso presented a petition signed by more than 3,000 persons asking for the resignation of Sheriff Leo Samaniego and a halt to the policy of harassment held by the Sheriff’s Office.

After that community outcry, in June 23rd of this year El Paso County Sheriff, lead by Leo Samaniego, temporarily suspended his policy and practice under the Operation Linebacker program by which he and his deputies engaged in the enforcement of immigration laws. At that time, the Border Network for Human Rights recognized such announcement, but demanded a permanent County policy and called upon the Sheriff’s Office to proactively regain the community’s trust. 

The El Paso County resolution was, indeed, a victory of organized communities in El Paso County and a result of an intense campaign in our region to ensure community security and protection of civil and human rights of border residents.

The Border Network for Human Rights hopes that the County Sheriff Chief Leo Samaniego and its deputies will comply with the recommendation, parameters and values stated in the county resolution and proceeds to restore community trust and the sense of security jeopardized by past activities from their office.

The Border Network for Human Rights, in conjunction with the communities of East El Paso, will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and document testimonies with regards to the violation of civil rights on the part of the Sheriff’s Office. Based on the results of monitoring, the communities of East El Paso and the Border Network for Human Rights will consider withdrawing the petition for the resignation of Leo Samaniego.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

326 Arrests in Houston

Authorities have arrested 326 people in the Houston area, including some accused of murder, as part of a national crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

They were accused of crimes including homicide, aggravated sexual assault of minors, robbery, assault, human smuggling and narcotics trafficking.

"Criminal aliens are a threat to the safety of our children, families, community and our nation," said Kenneth L. Landgrebe, field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Detention and Removal Operations office in Houston. "Our goal is to remove these threats from the United States." Click here.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gobernator Does it Again to the Mexican Repatriates of th 1930s!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday vetoed legislation that would have allowed Mexican-American victims of a Great Depression-era deportation campaign to seek damages for being forcibly sent back to Mexico. Advocates of the bill estimate that some 400,000 Californians of Mexican descent were sent back to Mexico during a nearly two-decade period beginning at the onset of the Depression in 1929. The repatriation was sometimes violent, as immigrants were taken across the boarder on trucks, buses and trains, according to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which backed the bill. Senate Bill 1765, by Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Norwalk, would have allowed victims and relatives to seek damages through 2016, extending a statute of limitations that expired long ago. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said he was sympathetic to victims and that "a great injustice was done to many." But "broadly drafted legislation that allows private litigation of potentially thousands of claims against the state, local governments and private citizens is not the answer." Layla Razavi, a policy analyst with MALDEF, said the veto is "disappointing for the families and the victims of the families. These people have been waiting upwards of 70 years for justice." There are an estimated 5,000 survivors living in California - most in their 80s and 90s - and an untold number of relatives, Razavi said. The bill would have allowed only U.S. residents to bring civil lawsuits. A relatively unknown event in the nation's history, the deportation was spotlighted in a 1995 book called "Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s," by Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez. Mexican immigration was encouraged at the turn of the century as a way to provide labor, including farm workers. But the tide turned with the job loss and economic peril of the Depression. And a wave of "anti-immigrant sentiment" led to government-sponsored repatriation programs, according to the bill analysis. Federal repatriation programs ended in 1933, but some state and local programs continued as late as 1944, according to the analysis. Governments once again embraced immigrant labor between 1942 and 1964, when the "bracero" program brought an estimated 4.6 million Mexican guest workers to the United States, including many to the Central Valley.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Charges Against Jose Padilla Dismissed

A federal judge has ruled that the government brought overlapping and redundant charges against Jose Padilla, a former “enemy combatant” linked to Al Qaeda, and she dismissed one that could have resulted in a life sentence. Click here for the NY Times story.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Radio Interview of Elvira Arrellano

Listen to a radio interview with Elvira Arellano, an immigrants' rights activist involved in a fight to remain in the US by clicking here.  There are reports that Senator Barack Obama has made a very equivocal statement about Elvira's case, but that she has received strong support from Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration in the News

Mexican Bikers in the Desert -- Low Tech Trafficking

Reuters is reporting that illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are using dilapidated bicycles to make a swift, night-time dash over the desert to Arizona from Mexico, border police say. Border Patrol agents in the desert state are finding dozens of the bikes dumped at hamlets such as Three Points, southwest of Tucson, which are used as staging areas by smugglers ferrying marijuana and immigrants on to cities inland.   Click here for the story.Bike

More on Hazelton

The Washington Post reports that an immigrant's grandson, Louis J. Barletta, the mayor of this once-sleepy hill city, leans forward behind the desk in his corner office and with an easy smile confides his goal. Barletta wants to make Hazleton "the toughest place on illegal immigrants in America." "What I'm doing here is protecting the legal taxpayer of any race," said the dapper 50-year-old mayor, sweeping his hands toward the working-class city outside. "And I will get rid of the illegal people. It's this simple: They must leave ." Last month, in a raucous meeting, the mayor and City Council passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. (Barletta wore a bulletproof vest because, he says, Hazleton is menaced by a surge in crime committed by illegal immigrants.) The act imposes a $1,000-per-day fine on any landlord who rents to an illegal immigrant, and it revokes for five years the business license of any employer who hires one.   Click here for the story.Hazelton

Immigration Reform Would Cost a Bundle

The Senate's embattled immigration bill would raise government spending by as much as $126 billion over the next decade, as the government begins paying out federal benefits to millions of new legal workers and cracks down on the border, a new Congressional Budget Office analysis concludes. Law enforcement measures alone would necessitate the hiring of nearly 31,000 federal workers in the next five years, while the building and maintenance of 870 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers would cost $3.3 billion. Newly legalized immigrants would claim nearly $50 billion in federal benefits such as the earned income and child tax credits, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Click here for the story.

Compassionate Treatment of Asylum-seeker

A Congolese woman, caught up in political terror at home, sought asylum in the U.S. Her claim was denied by the Immigration Court, likewise at the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.But now, in a rare fit of compassion - or maybe just common sense - the attorney for ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) has joined in a motion to the BIA to reopen the case. HENRY WEINSTEIN tells the tale in the Los Angeles Times.   Click here for the story.


August 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 21, 2006

California Governator Considers Law to Help 1930s Wrongful Deportees

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign Senate Bill 1765 (Escutia), which would allow the survivors of the 1930s deportations program to seek justice through the appropriate legal channels. “The unconstitutional deportations program that swept up US citizen and non-citizen alike during the Great Depression constitutes a dark and shameful chapter in our history. It is essential that the governor sign this bill, as a corrective measure that will help prevent future generations from enduring a similar injustice,” said John Trasviña, MALDEF Interim President and General Counsel. “During the 1930s, people were illegally deported or coerced to leave, without verifying their citizenship or status. This led to hundreds of thousands of American citizens being wrongfully deported,” stated Layla Razavi, MALDEF Policy Analyst. “We strongly urge the governor to allow the survivors of this unconscionable program an opportunity to access justice.” Throughout the Great Depression, the U.S. government carried out an aggressive and illegal program to deport nearly two million Americans of Mexican descent, effectively violating their constitutional and civil rights. One L.A. county official said at the time, “It is not possible for me to indicate who of the Mexicans…were American citizens or Mexican nationals as I keep no record in that respect.” The official characterized the program as “a question of pigment, not a question of citizenship or right.” Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 670 (Dunn) last year, which issued a formal apology to the victims and their families, but vetoed a companion measure, SB 675 (Dunn), which would have created a reparations fund for the survivors.


August 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judgment Against Haitian Death Squad Leader

Annoucement from the Center for Justice & Accountability:

Dear Friends of CJA,

We are pleased to announce that we won a judgment against notorious Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel "Toto" Constant.  After living openly and freely in New York for the last 12 years, Constant has finally been held responsible by a court of law for the campaign of terror that he orchestrated against the Haitian people. 

Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Southern District of New York issued the default judgment on Wednesday, August 16, 2006.  A hearing will take place in New York City starting Tuesday, August 29, 2006 to determine damages.   Please see the media advisory below for more information.

After the close of the hearing, friends and supporters living in the New York area are invited to join CJA, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Amnesty International in honoring the Haitian community and their relentless efforts to hold Constant accountable for the atrocities committed by his paramilitary organization known as FRAPH. On Thursday, August 31, 2006, at 6:30 pm we will gather to celebrate at:

DC 1707 AFSCME Union Headquarters
75 Varick Street, Suite 1404
New York, NY 10013

For questions regarding this event, please contact Maria Sison (415-544-0444 x301 or via email at


Pamela Merchant
Executive Director


August 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


They keep coming.  For the press release on the settlement in a case of assaulkt by the Border Patrol against a U.S. citizen, click here.

August 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

SPSSI & EAESP Seek Participants for Conference on Immigration

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology are seeking participants for a small meeting (30 participants) on the topic of "Immigrants and Hosts: Perceptions, Interactions and Transformations."  The aim of the meeting, which will take place in Toronto from May 31-June 2, 2007, is to develop "an integrated psychological agenda for collaborative, cross-national work on immigration."  More information on the meeting, and on the application process, can be found here:Download SPSSI.doc .


August 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Our Crack Immigration/Criminal Justice System at Work

A man who served three-and-a-half years in prison on a conviction for illegally re-entering the United States was actually a citizen and never should have been deported in the first place, a judge has ruled. In a case of mistaken status, Duarnis Perez faced a second deportation before the government told him he was in fact a U.S. citizen. Even after discovering his status, federal prosecutors fought to keep him in custody. Click here for the story.


August 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Schwarzenneger Appeals to Conservative Base on Immigration

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger swiped at his Democratic opponent in a speech before California Republicans on Saturday, seeking to convince any doubters that he is the better choice on immigration and taxes.

Even though Schwarzenegger enjoys a comfortable lead over challenger Phil Angelides in early polling, some conservatives object to his recent overtures to Democrats. And many consider his moderate views on immigration too wishy-washy. Click here.


August 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Election Impacts of Immigration at State Level

A NY Times article by RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD analyzes the impact of immigration and the Latino vote on Califonia's gubernatorial race, as well as a few others.  It starts like this:

Illegal immigration has long been a political minefield in California, making and breaking political careers. Now, with Congress considering the most sweeping changes to immigration laws in two decades, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is learning just how troublesome that terrain can be in an election year. No Republican candidate for governor or president since the 1970’s has won in California without getting at least one-third of the Hispanic vote, which Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, achieved in a wide-open recall election in 2003. In his bid for re-election in November, he faces the difficult task of courting both Latino voters and his core conservative supporters, two groups that are often far apart on immigration. The immigration debate in Congress has also rippled into several other races for governor, including those in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Colorado and Arizona. Democrats and Republicans are carefully staking out their positions, often with intense political calculation.



August 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)