Wednesday, January 31, 2007
EMBEDDED CITIZENSHIPS: Contexts and Practices of Migrant Political Membership in the U.S. and Mexico
ROBERT COURTNEY SMITH
Associate Professor of Sociology, Immigration Studies, and Public Affairs Baruch College and Graduate Center, City University of New York
Tuesday, February 6, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Reception to follow
Drawing on more than fifteen years of ethnographic research, Robert Smith will discuss how Mexican immigrants move back and forth between New York and their hometown in the state of Puebla, borrowing from and contributing to both communities as they forge new transnational identities and gender roles, new strategies of social mobility, and new brands of politics and egalitarianism.
Robert Courtney Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Immigration Studies and Public Affairs at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of Mexican New York: Transnational Worlds of New Immigrants (University of California Press, 2006), which won the 2006 W.I.Thomas and Florian Zaniecki Prize for the best book on migration from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association. He is also the author of more than 30 articles and chapters on migration, education and immigration, and state-diaspora relations. His current research project explores the school, work and social lives of children of immigrants as they enter early adulthood. He is also working as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice on a Voting Rights Act case involving Latinos in New York. He is the Vice President and Co-Founder of the Mexican Educational Foundation of New York, a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes educational achievement and community development among Mexicans in the New York area. ______________________________________________________________________________
These seminars are open to all members of the UCSD community, as well as faculty and students from other universities and the general public. For directions to CCIS, visit our website Parking permits can be purchased at the information booth on North Point Drive (north end of campus). Visitors may also use metered parking spaces (max. 2 hours) in the North side parking lot. Papers previously presented at CCIS seminars can also be downloaded from our website under “Working Papers.” For further information, please contact Tatis Cervantes (E-mail: email@example.com, Tel#: 858-822-4447).
CNN (here) reports that travel industry leaders meeting in Washington Wednesday said they want the U.S. government to stop treating tourists like terrorists, and to take steps to reverse a steep decline in overseas travel to the United States that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Overseas travel to the United States has plummeted 17 percent in the past five years, travel industry officials say. And while a recent surge in travelers from Mexico and Canada has helped the industry rebound, it masks a precipitous and painful drop in travel originating in other countries. The U.S. share of international travel has dropped from 9 percent to 6 percent, the group says.
Bhargava, Shalini. Detaining due process: the need for procedural reform in "Joseph" hearings after Demore v. Kim. 31 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 51-95 (2006).
Dempsey, Megan C. Note. A misplaced bright-line rule: coercive population control in China and asylum for unmarried partners. 92 Iowa L. Rev. 213-243 (2006).
Grant, Helen P. The floodgates are not going to open, but will the U.S. border? 29 Hous. J. Int'l L. 1-54 (2006).
Pettit, Katherine. Comment. Addressing the call for the elimination ofbirthright citizenship in the United States: constitutional and pragmatic reasons to keep birthright citizenship intact. 15 Tul. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 265-289 (2006).
Sage, Michael V. Note. The exploitation of legal loopholes in the name of national security: a case study on extraordinary rendition. (Arar v. Ashcroft, 414 F. Supp. 2d 250, E.D.N.Y. 2006.) 37 Cal. W. Int'l L.J. 121-142 (2006).
The BIA today issued an interim decision in In re A-M-E & J-G-U-, 24 I&N Dec. 69 (BIA 2007). According to the syllabus, the Board ruled as follows:
(1) Factors to be considered in determining whether a particular social group exists include whether the group’s shared characteristic gives the members the requisite social visibility to make them readily identifiable in society and whether the group can be defined with sufficient particularity to delimit its membership.
(2) The respondents failed to establish that their status as affluent Guatemalans gave them sufficient social visibility to be perceived as a group by society or that the group was defined with adequate particularity to constitute a particular social group.
Click here for the decision.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has a newly updated publication, Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance: A Short Guide. The guide is designed to give service providers the tools and information needed to address the barriers to resettlement and integration faced by asylees. It contains important and timely information about the benefits and services for which asylees are eligible, including job placement assistance, English language classes, medical screening, cash assistance, social security cards, employment authorization documents, adjustment of status, I-94s, travel authorization, petitioning for immediate relatives, and federal student financial aid. The guide, updated to January 2007, is a free resource for service providers that can be viewed and printed in PDF format on the CLINIC website at www.cliniclegal.org. It also is attached here Download CLINIC_Asylee.pdf
The Fairfax County (Virginia) School Board has defied the U.S. Department of Education -- and challenged the No Child Left Behind Act -- by declining to force thousands of immigrant students to take a federally mandated test because local educators think it is unfair. Fairfax school officials said they will continue to test how well those students are learning to read, speak and write English and will report those results. But this year they will not, as the federal government requires, give the students reading exams that cover the same grade-level material as tests taken by peers who are native-English speakers. Click here for the story.
The S.F. Chronicle (here) reports that an immigration judge who previously denied a gay man's asylum bid on the grounds that he could conceal his sexual orientation if he returned to his native Mexico reversed the decision Tuesday. In allowing Jorge Sota Vega to remain in the United States, Judge John D. Taylor said that gays should not be required to dress or act a certain way to avoid persecution and that Vega's lawyers proved he would be at risk if he were deported to Mexico. Now a New York resident, Vega appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit found that the immigration court had placed too heavy a burden on Vega in proving his claim and remanded the case back to immigration court. Vega v. Gonzales, 183 Fed. Appx. 627; 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 14047 (9th Cir. 2006).
Dan Kowalski (here) at Bender's Immigration Bulletin repoorts that "[a] federal immigration judge has dismissed the government's attempt to deport two men who were arrested along with six other U.S. residents because of their alleged ties to Palestinian terrorists and who fought relentless efforts to force them to leave the country for 20 years." Judge Bruce E. Einhorn of Los Angeles, in a ruling made public Tuesday, said the government had violated the constitutional rights of Khader M. Hamide and Michel I. Shehadeh by its "gross failure" to comply with his instructions to produce "potentially exculpatory and other relevant information." In a scathing decision, Einhorn said the government's conduct in the case was "an embarrassment to the rule of law" that left "a festering wound on" Hamide and Shehadeh, who have been in legal and personal limbo for two decades." For the L.A. Times report, click here. For the press release from the L.A. 8 Attorneys, click here.
As mentioned above, this case has been percolating in the agency and the courts for two decades. It has been the subject of numerous immigration court, BIA, federal district court, court of appeals, and one Supreme Court decision.
David Cole has an interesting piece in The Nation (here) a few years ago on the LA 8 case.
Spencer S. Hsu and Darryl Fears in an article in the Washington Post report that The Bush administration will announce an increase in immigration application fees of more than 80 percent, federal officials said yesterday. The cost of applying for naturalization, for example, would rise from $330 to $595, and a required fingerprint check would go from $70 to $80.The increases, which have been under consideration for months, would raise nearly $1 billion for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The troubled $2 billion-a-year agency has antiquated paper systems that have fed years-long delays for applicants and fears that terrorists might slip through the cracks.
Union, civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups called the fee increases discriminatory, warning that they will keep lower-income and less-educated people from becoming citizens.
Click here for the full story.
For a list of the fee increases, click here. Thanks David!
The Virginia House of Delegates approved a far-reaching proposal Tuesday to strip charities and other organizations of state and local funding if any of the money is used to provide services to immigrants in the country illegally. The proposal, one of nearly 50 immigration-related bills under consideration by the General Assembly, could force such groups as the Salvation Army and the Virginia Association of Free Clinics to verify immigration status before offering assistance to those in need or risk losing funding. Click here for the Washington Post story.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The San Diego Union Tribune reports that dozens of migrant workers returned to their canyon encampments Saturday afternoon to find their belongings slashed to pieces, police said yesterday. Several small encampments throughout Rancho Peñasquitos were targeted in a string of attacks, said attorney Claudia Smith of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. “It was truly stunning to see and pick your way through maybe 100 items, and every one of them is slashed. Jackets right down the middle,” said Smith, who notified police after reports of the attacks began to pour in Saturday. “This was so vicious and so deliberate.” San Diego police Capt. Boyd Long said the incidents were under investigation. Click here for the full story.
On January 28, we reported on how the City of Cosat Mmesa began making available immigration status information for prisioners detained by the city. Here is more news from Costa Mesa.
The arrest of Marcelino Tzir Tzul underscored the worst fears in Costa Mesa's Latino community. The 37-year-old illegal immigrant from Guatemala was picked up for riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the street, brought before a federal agent at the city jail and then shipped to a federal lockup to await his likely deportation. For months, Latino activists had worried that Costa Mesa's decision to become one of the nation's first cities to enforce federal immigration laws would result in people such as Tzir being swept off the streets. "This is exactly what we feared," said Amin David, who heads Los Amigos of Orange County, a Latino advocacy group. But others, including the mayor of Costa Mesa, applaud the crackdown, even if it means that people who have committed minor crimes are caught in the process. "I believe illegal immigration is wrong. It's breaking the law," said Mayor Allan Mansoor, an Orange County sheriff's deputy. Click here for the full story.
AlterNet (click here) has a fascinating story entitled "Who Would Jesus Deport?" by Alexander Zaitchik, Intelligence Report. The thesis of the article is that a grassroots movement is forming in which anti-immigrant rhetoric dovetails with the odes to God and country that have long constituted conservative evangelical boilerplate. This is so despite the fact that Joan Maruskin last April at a Family Research Council (FRC) immigration conference in Washington, D.C. "demonstrated that the Old and New Testaments are chock-full of soundbyte-ready advocacy for the 'stranger.' All told, she counts more than 300 scriptural admonishments to mercy toward immigrants.
Thanks to MAO for the hot tip!
On January 24, the ACLU joined in a suit on behalf of immigration detainees at San Diego Correctional Facility, charging that conditions in a privately managed immigration facilities are unconstitutional.
According to the complaint, more than 650 detainees live three-to-a-cell, meaning that one of them sleeps on a plastic slab on the floor by the toilet, with additional detainees sleeping on bunk beds in the recreation area. The population of some housing units is more than 50 percent over design-capacity. Chronically severe overcrowding poses health and safety risks to detainees.
Because of the huge backlog of immigration cases in the Ninth Circuit, hundreds of detainees are held in these detention centers for many months or years. According to litigants, more than half of the detainees in ICE custody have never been convicted of a crime and are only in custody to await civil proceedings related to their immigration status.
A link to the second amended complaint can be found here. The Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General recently issued a report on immigration detention conditions. The report was critical of the San Diego facility, although the criticisms do not extend to some of the issues raised in the Kiniti complaint. A link to the OIG report is here.
NPR looks at the class action lawsuit accusing Tyson Foods of hiring undocumented immigrants at eight U.S. plants. Tanya Ott of NPR member station WBHM reports. Immigration attorney Lilia Velasquez offers commentary. Click here for a link to the audio.
The L.A. Times in "Unfilled tunnels a weak link at border Key points are plugged in U.S. and Mexico, but smugglers may still try to reuse the passages" by Richard Marosi reports on tunnels along the U.S./Mexico border that have been discovered but have gone unfilled due to cost and other complications.
These are not tunnels made by amateurs. Here are a couple of examples from the article:
The 1,400-foot tunnel called the "Taj Mahal" because of its lighting system and reinforced concrete walls. The tunnel was discovered in 1993. Five years later, authorities suspected the passage had been reentered after 33 illegal immigrants were found covered in mud near the opening. A metal lid over the tunnel opening had been cut. Border Patrol agents say they never determined for sure if the passage was reused.
Two long tunnels leading from Mexicali, Mexico, to a quiet residential area in Calexico, Calif. One of them, discovered in 2005, was equipped with a ventilation system, phone line and video surveillance equipment.
Among the unfilled tunnels, created to ferry people and drugs, is the longest one yet found — extending nearly half a mile from San Diego to Tijuana. Filling the seven tunnels would cost about $2.7 million, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. Accessing tunnels that run under private property is also a problem, as is a lack of coordination with Mexican authorities.
Click here for the full story.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Richmond mayor Gayle McLaughlin offered support to nearly 1,000 residents who gathered Sunday afternoon to talk about an immigration sweep this month in which more than 100 undocumented immigrants were arrested in Contra Costa County.
"As the mayor, I'm here to give solidarity and support to families who in recent weeks have lived in a state of terror. I don't want our residents to live under terror," McLaughlin told the mainly Latino group in the gymnasium of St. Mark's Catholic Church in Richmond.
She said people are forced to migrate for survival, and that she intends to push forward a resolution to oppose the federal raids.
In "Operation Return To Sender," federal officials arrested 119 people in Contra Costa and deported 16 of them as of last week, according to Timothy Aitken, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco. Some of the arrests were in Richmond. Click here.
Today's Washington Post carries a story by Darryl Fears and Krissah Williams explaining DHS' new IMAGE program:
Over the past seven months, Bush administration officials have quietly toured the country, trying to persuade businesses that rely heavily on immigrant labor to join a little-known program that would spare them from embarrassing federal raids if they voluntarily handed over their workers' documents so the government can scan them for fraudulent information.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have asked companies to join the ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers program, known as IMAGE, operated by the department's Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division.
The story is here. While the Bush administration and some businesses are enthusiastic about the program, others see problems. The article quotes a union spokewoman who raises the possibility that a participating business can manipulate the process "and use it as a tool to intimidate and threaten workers" seeking better working conditions. And it may not be win-win for businesses. One analyst "compared it to 'advising average citizens to drive up to their local police station to get frisked.'"
The Dallas Morning News (here) has an interesting article on the ability of then-Governor Bush to positively influence the tenor of the immigration debate in Texas. It starts offlike this "The last time illegal immigration flared up as a national hot-button issue, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush made his intentions clear: Immigrant bashing would not be tolerated in his state. And he vowed to use his political clout to quash it elsewhere, too."