Thursday, October 26, 2006
In Arizona, a state where the wave of border crossers is so great that it washes over every aspect of life, illegal immigration is a flash point in virtually every political race this fall. Moreover, there's a candidate for every view - from those saying "send 'em back and bar the door" to those who'd provide a path for citizenship for some undocumented workers. See the Christian Science Monitor(Oct. 26) story on Arizona immigration politics by clicking here.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A controversial rule requiring U.S. citizens and foreigners entering the country from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by air to carry passports will soon go into effect, even as complaints that the rule will slow international trade and befuddle tourists continue to be raised.
The State Department's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative mandates the use of passports as of Jan. 8 for air travelers from neighboring countries in place of rules that allowed driver's licenses and birth certificates to do the job.
Moreover, as early as Jan. 1, 2008 -- and not later than June 1, 2009 -- the passport rule will go into effect for travelers arriving by land and sea from previously exempt neighboring countries. Click here.
Bribery of federal and local officials by Mexican smugglers is rising sharply, and with it the fear that a culture of corruption is taking hold along the 2,000-mile border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego.
At least 200 public employees have been charged with helping to move narcotics or undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexican border since 2004, at least double the illicit activity documented in prior years, a Los Angeles Times examination of public records has found. Thousands more are under investigation. Click here.
The U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration is sending a delegation to the U.S./Mexico border region to study the plight of unaccompanied minors and human trafficking victims. The ever-growing problems with these populations are some of the gravest and many times most overlooked symptoms of the broken and out-dated immigration system currently employed by the United States. The delegation will attempt to meet with a broad cross-section of agencies and individuals involved with or knowledgeable of these populations to gain critical insights and to understand their needs. The delegation will meet with Church officials, government officials, community-based organization, and other with important perspectives. Programs established to serve these populations will also be visited. Efforts will be made to connect with the bishops and other Church leaders on the Mexican side of the border in order to better understand the circumstances and perspectives there. Particular attention will be paid to potential areas of collaboration between Church programs and others in Mexico and the U.S. The delegation's trip will begin in Tucson, AZ on Monday, October 23rd 2006. The second leg of the trip will take place in Houston, TX from Oct. 24th to the 26th. The bishops will finish their border delegation in El Paso, TX from Oct. 26th to the 29th. For a more detailed version of where and what the delegation will be doing, go to Delegation's Itinerary. This blog has been designed to allow its viewers to follow the bishops on their trip, to learn what they are learning, see what they are seeing, and to hear in their own words their impressions, thoughts, and conclusions. Click here for the blog.
The Houston Chronicle has been running an interesting five-day series, which started Sunday, that uses Morristown Tennessee as a microcosm of the reaction to Latino immigration in Appalachia. The five installments and a narrated slide show entitled "Our Town: Special Report" can be found at www.houstonchronicle.com/immigration.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The feds make more than half a million arrests of border jumpers in Arizona each year, and analysts believe that at least two succeed for every one who's caught. Reflecting the views of their constituents, candidates blame undocumented immigrants for raising the state's crime rate (the worst in the nation), lowering its public schools' test scores and crowding its hospitals' emergency rooms, among other ills.
What to do about the problem, however, is a question that divides voters and candidates alike, even those in the same party. There's no better illustration of this than Arizona's 8th Congressional District, a 9,000-square-mile, rough-hewn expanse that stretches from Tucson east to Willcox and south to an 80-mile stretch along the Mexican border. The Republican nominee is former state Rep. Randy Graf of Green Valley, a retiree-heavy enclave south of Tucson. Graf has made illegal immigration the central issue of his political career. Quite unrealistically, he wants to seal the borders and force undocumented aliens to leave the country to obtain a visa. A new guest worker program, he said at a recent debate with his three opponents, would "wave a white flag" on immigration and "allow the 20 million illegals to be here legally." Click here.
Hazleton Mayor Louis J. Barletta said illegal immigrants have brought gangs, drugs, graffiti and murders to his city, draining police and fire resources and taking services away from legal residents. Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act -- slated to take effect Nov. 1 -- would suspend the licenses of companies that hire illegal immigrants, hold landlords accountable for renting to illegal immigrants and -- in a separate ordinance -- make English the official language of education and government. Barletta wanted the act to protect the city's legal citizens, he told members of the Pennsylvania Press Club at a luncheon yesterday. A few hours later, Hazleton ophthalmologist Dr. Agapito Lopez-Rivera told a group at Widener University that Hazleton's act has prompted Latinos --legal and illegal -- to leave the city, depressing property values and hurting business.
Click here for the full story.
Thanks to Jill Family for this tip!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Randy Graf is a tough-on-immigration Republican in a district that is fed up with people pouring illegally across the border and hasn't elected a Democrat to the House in two decades.
Yet Graf's national party is turning its back on him, the retiring Republican congressman he wants to succeed has disavowed his candidacy and he's finding trouble getting traction beyond the most secure GOP voters _ and a border militia that's backing him.
Voters such as Sue Malusa, a mother of four from Tucson, think Graf and his supporters go too far. Graf is backed by the Minutemen, self-appointed border-watchers. Malusa will vote for a candidate who supports "a humane and fair way of controlling the border," she said. "That's important."
Arizona's 8th District, which stretches from Tucson to the Mexican border, has returned moderate Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe to office for 22 years, faithfully backing him even after he revealed in 1996 that he was gay. Click here.
Immigration law has long been the domain of the federal government in the United States. Arguments are increasingly being made both for state-federal cooperation in the enforcement of federal immigration law, with the suggestion that state law enforcement officials are necessary "force multipliers." On the other side are those who argue that state officials have neither the constitutional authority nor the practical expertise to enforce federal immigration law.
But here's another twist on the question (two twists, really): do state judicial officers have any power to banish? And can they banish citizens?
A judge in Cheektowaga Town Court in New York apparently thought so. He ordered a US citizen to depart the country and reside in Canada with his wife and children. The citizen, Malcolm Watson, chose Canada over a year-long jail sentence. You can read more about that here.
Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans (2006) by Martha Menchaca
This volume is an examination of the history of Mexicans in the territory of the present-day United States, emphasizing the role of legal systems in restricting racial groups and establishing a second-class political, economic, and social level for the Mexican American minority population. Using the theoretical framework developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant in Racial Formation in the United States, Menchaca (anthropology, Univ. of Texas, Austin) suggests that the dominant white populations in colonial Spanish America, independent Mexico, and the United States have used the rule of law to discriminate against those descended from African and Indian populations. One significant contribution of the book is an attempt to examine the mostly forgotten role of Mexicans of African descent in the Mexican American population of the United States. The author's focus on this population is important if overemphasized. This volume will be of interest to academic libraries and public libraries with Latino collections.
New Film Exposes Mexican Migrants Living in Third World Conditions Amongst Wealthy San Diego, CA Neighborhoods
Award winning filmmaker, John Carlos Frey’s new documentary “The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon” exposes the subhuman conditions thousands of undocumented immigrants endure as they work to maintain the multi-million dollar homes and businesses of San Diego, CA. Over two thousand laborers, mostly from central and southern Mexico, live without running water, electricity or sanitation in the clandestine canyons of northern San Diego County. Cost of living in the area is exorbitant so the migrants have built shacks made of plastic tarps, cardboard and scrap lumber. They live outdoors hidden in hillsides and dense vegetation. They provide a cheap source of labor for the rapidly growing local neighborhoods. Frey spent over a year living with and getting to know the migrants featured in the film. He followed them to work at construction sites, local farms and five star resorts. He accompanied them to Sunday services at a clandestine outdoor chapel built by the migrants deep in the heart of the canyon. He tracked their desperate circumstances as local citizens and law enforcement continued to demolish the migrant shacks and push them further from local neighborhoods. “The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon” is a never before seen expose of migrant life and the untold side of the immigration debate. The film is now available on DVD with half of all proceeds to benefit charitable organizations. Total running time: 73 minutes. http://www.invisiblemexicans.com
A Report by Rob Paral
Over the past year, Congress has debated major changes to immigration law as a response to undocumented immigration. While this debate has relied heavily upon estimates of undocumented immigration at the national level, less attention has been paid to the number of undocumented immigrants in local areasand almost no analyses have considered the size and scope of undocumented immigration in each of the 435 congressional districts. Yet the size of the undocumented population in each congressional district is an important consideration in gauging whether or not a representatives stance on a particular immigration policy or initiative has a basis in the actual, local impact of undocumented immigration.
Recently released data from the 2005 American Community Survey permit us to update our previous estimates of the undocumented population by congressional district and to compare these estimates with those from the 2000 census. Although the undocumented population of the United States as a whole increased substantially over these five years, trends in undocumented immigration varied widely from district to district:
In 2005, undocumented immigrants accounted for about 10 percent or more of the total population in only 27 (or roughly 6 percent) of the 435 congressional districts.
Conversely, undocumented immigrants comprised about 5 percent or less of the population in more than half (or 232) of all congressional districts in 2005.
Between 2000 and 2005, the undocumented population of 107 districts doubled, although most of these districts had relatively few undocumented immigrants to begin with.
More strikingly, 39 districts experienced either a decline or no change in their undocumented population between 2000 and 2005. Many of these districts had been major destinations for new arrivals in the past, but are becoming less so as immigrants move to other parts of the country.
Read the entire report here.
For more information contact Tim Vettel at (202) 742-5608.
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. The IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Today's Washington Post has a story anout the increase in undocumented immigrant children. Click here to read it.
The Wall Street Journal (October 21, 2006 Saturday) has an article on the U.S. population hitting 300 million. A subscription is necessary to read it.
The N.Y. Times has a story on the backlog of naturalization petitions. As recently as a year ago, the United States government acknowledged a huge backlog in such applications, and estimated that processing typically took almost a year and a half in New York — triple the wait in San Antonio or Phoenix. Click here to read it.
Christian, Kathryn Harrigan. Comment. National security and the victims of immigration law: crimes of violence after ... (Leocal v. Ashcroft, 125 S. Ct. 377, 2004.) 35 Stetson L. Rev. 1001-1050 (2006).
Martinez, Mariel. Comment. The Hoffman aftermath: analyzing the plight of the undocumented worker through a "wider lens". (Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137, 2002.) 7 U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L. 661-693 (2005).
Pham, Huyen. The constitutional right not to cooperate? Local sovereignty and the federal immigration power. 74 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1373-1413 (2006).
Saito, Natsu Taylor. Beyond the citizen/alien dichotomy: liberty, security, and the exercise of plenary power. 14 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 389-408 (2005).
Van Dyke, Jon M. Population, voting, and citizenship in the Kingdom of Hawai.i. 28 U. Hawai.i L. Rev. 81-103 (2005).
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Today's NY Times contained a story by Steven Lee Myers about anti-immigrant sentiment in Russia, which highlights the universal tendancy to link crime and immigration. He writes:
Aleksandr A. Belov found wide publicity last year when the organization he created gave a cash award to a Russian woman accused of stabbing an Armenian taxi driver to death. During her trial, covered with lurid relish by the news media, she testified that the driver had tried to rape her.
“She rid Moscow of a rapist,” Mr. Belov told a radio station at the time. Not just a rapist, however: a rapist from abroad. He went on to assert that half of all serious crimes were committed by immigrants, the issue at the heart of his personal mission and, by all appearances, his growing public prominence.
Myers notes that nativist views are taking center stage in Russian political debates. The full story is here.
UK Home Secretary John Reid will unveil details early next week of the Government's plan to control immigration from Romania and Bulgaria when the two countries join the European Union in January.
Reports in The Observer suggest that he will announce time-limited controls on the right of citizens from both countries to work in Britain.
While the UK will take a limited number of unskilled workers to carry out jobs like fruit-picking, Mr Reid is expected to say that it will not operate the same kind of "open-door" policy which has seen thousands of plumbers, builders and other workers arrive from Poland and other new EU members. Click here.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
For a fascinating immigration travelogue entitled "2,000 Miles Along the Us-Mexican Border" by Gary Younge, click here. Younge travels the entire length of the US-Mexican border to test the immigration waters in this election year.
Thanks to Dan Kowalski for this and so many other immigration tidbits.
The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 20) reports that a new study, "Immigrants, Baseball and the Contributions of Foreign-Born Players to America's Pastime," was conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit organization focused on trade and immigration issues. Executive director Stuart Anderson told us that the statistics he compiled about baseball point to the benefits of immigration for our society as a whole. (The full baseball report is available today on www.nfap.com). It shows that, as of Aug. 31, a whopping 23% of players on active rosters in the majors were foreign born. That's more than double the percentage as recently as 1990 and about 10 times what it was in the 1920s and '30s.