Monday, April 30, 2007
Secretary Chertoff of the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo on April 27 allowing for a waiver of the statutory bars to immigration for individuals who have provided "material support" for terrorism (as defined by the INA) in cases where the individual provided such support under duress and poses no threat to the security of the United States. This is a much needed, common sense waiver that Congress.
You can find a link to the memo on the Bender's Immigration Bulletin site. The link is here.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform sent this message out on its e-mail list today:
April 30, 2007
Hold Their Feet to the Fire Immigration Reform Event Called "Electrifying"
Last week, FAIR combined forces with 38 radio talk show hosts and several hundred activists in Washington, D.C. for Hold Their Feet to the Fire, a national drive for immigration reform. The event, which lasted from April 22, 2007 until April 25, 2007, employed the broad reach of talk radio to give voice to millions of Americans who oppose guest worker amnesty legislation. For three days, these top-rated talk show hosts from around the country aired their shows live from Capitol Hill while hundreds of activists walked the halls of Congress urging Members to increase border security, provide employer sanctions, and oppose any legislation that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Listeners who were unable to make the trek to the nation's capital also took part by calling in to the radio shows from home and offering their views on the dire need for true immigration reform. The unprecedented gathering of talk radio in Washington, D.C. garnered national attention and received coverage from the print media, bloggers, and cable news networks, including a live report aired on CNN, in which Correspondent Lisa Sylvester described the energy as "electrifying." Summing up the event, FAIR president Dan Stein declared that Hold Their Feet to the Fire "represents a new age in the battle to control our borders. We are universal in our opposition to amnesty. Every immigrant must comply with immigration laws." FAIR would like to thank all of the participating talk show hosts and our supporters and activists for making Hold Their Feet to the Fire a tremendous success!
Today, Reuters presents the issue of border fences in a global context. The article begins:
What do Tijuana, Baghdad and Jerusalem have in common?
They all have walls that divide neighbors, cause controversy and form part of an array of physical barriers around the world that dwarf the late, unlamented Iron Curtain.
When completed, the barriers will run thousands of miles, in places as far apart as Mexico and India, Afghanistan and Spain, Morocco and Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
The article highlights the complexities of fencing people out in an age where goods and services flow across borders with increasing ease. A link to the story is here.
Latino Groups Unite Against White House Anti-Family Immigration Proposals
Uniting American families must remain a top priority of immigration policy
APRIL 30, 2007 - Last Thursday, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and its coalition partners - National Council of La Raza (NCLR), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) - sent a letter to President George W. Bush expressing opposition to White House proposals to cut family-based immigration programs.
Recent reports have signaled that the Administration is urging the U.S. Senate to accept a proposal that eliminates some visa categories for United States citizens to reunite legally with their family members and ignores the traditional importance of families in resettling newcomers in the United States.
"Family reunification must continue to be a cornerstone of our immigration policy. The White House proposal erodes the strength of families and their capacity to equip newcomers with the skills and support to contribute fully to the nation," said John Trasviña, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.
"The notion that strong families are essential to strong communities isn't just a Hispanic American value, it's an American value. We need to preserve family as a basis for our immigration system," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
The groups also issued their strong opposition to a proposed Administration green card plan that replaces family reunification with a point system to allocate visas. The proposal would also prohibit future temporary workers from petitioning for their family members. If enacted, it would keep families apart, impede integration into the American mainstream, and be a further incentive to enter the United States illegally.
"As the president acknowledged, healthy families are invaluable to the nation's well being. It is therefore imperative that families are not being separated due to the Administration's recent posture toward family-based immigration," said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. "We urge the president to have a heart and remember that family values are at the core of our nation's immigration policy."
According to Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, "We are at a critical juncture in our national discussion of our immigration policy. The choices we make now will determine the future of our nation's prosperity and well-being. We urge the president to demonstrate the leadership necessary to chart a course toward comprehensive immigration reform which recognizes and reinforces the value of family reunification for all Americans."
The Latino community urges President Bush to fulfill his commitment to families in this country by supporting and strengthening family values through our nation's immigration policy.
David Rogers reports in the Wall Street Journal today:
"Senate negotiations over an immigration overhaul bill have reached a tipping point, as the White House tries to win over a border-state hardliner while not driving off Democrats heading in to the floor debate, due to begin in two weeks.
"The administration's legislative strategy is heavily keyed on Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), a conservative leader who criticized last year's immigration bill for being too lax on enforcement and too forgiving of illegal aliens. This year Mr. Kyl has actively participated in talks led by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who is gambling that with Mr. Kyl's support, the administration can win a majority of Senate Republicans and begin to make inroads in the House on what is becoming a legacy issue for President Bush." Click here for the rest of the story.
U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren
16th Congressional District, California
HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION:
An Examination of Point Systems as a Method for Selecting Immigrants
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
2237 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law has scheduled a hearing on “An Examination of Point Systems as a Method for Selecting Immigrants” for Tuesday, May 1, 2007. The hearing, which starts at 3:00 pm, will be held in room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
United States Senate (R-AL)
Foreign Law Specialist
Law Library of Congress
Stephen F. Clarke
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
Law Library of Congress
Foreign Law Specialist
Law Library of Congress
Demetrios Papademetriou, Ph.D.
President and Board Member
Migration Policy Institute
Howard D. Greenberg
Partner, Greenberg Turner
Partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Senior Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
The U.S. government is illegally delaying the naturalization applications of thousands of immigrants by profiling individuals it perceives to be Muslim and subjecting them to indefinite security checks, charged the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) in a new report released today. The 63-page report, titled Americans on Hold: Profiling, Citizenship, and the "War on Terror", documents the impact of expanded security checks on the lives of those experiencing citizenship delays, often for years on end. The report analyzes these delays and their impact within an international human rights framework, and offers specific policy recommendations to help end discrimination in access to citizenship and other human rights violations. For a link to the report, click here.
Thanks to Len Hall for the tip!
You probably have heard that immigration marches are planned on May 1 in cities across the country. In "Why the immigration march matters," documentary filmmaker DAN BANDA (here) discusses the importance of the immigration reform marches in Milwaukee and throughout the United States. Click here for the op/ed.
Following up on a similar L.A. Times op/ed earlier this year (here), Professor Tanya Hernandez (here) authored a commentary "Latino, African-American violence on rise since riots" in the- BY L.A. Daily News. The lead is as follows:
Fifteen years ago on April 29, 1992, widespread civil unrest erupted in Los Angeles, following the not-guilty verdict in the trial of the four white police officers accused of using excessive force in the arrest of a Black motorist named Rodney King. What have we learned about race relations 15 years after the Los Angeles riots? Today Los Angeles is more racially diverse than ever, and certainly one of the most diverse U.S. cities. And yet all is not well. Inter-ethnic violence in today's Los Angeles is centered upon the targeting of African American residents by Latino street gangs operating with the goal of eradicating African Americans from "Latino" spaces.
I think that this is a one-sided depiction of the conflict. Nonetheless, the issue, in my estimation, is how such conflict can concretely be addressed. Los Angeles, my hometown, is not alone. Indeed, after a trip to New Orleans earlier this month, I wrote on this blog (here) about Black/Latina/o immigrant conflict.
WHAT: Media conference for "Braving Borders, Building Bridges: A Journey for Human Rights", a tour the U.S.-Mexico border by an African American delegation led by Rev. Phil Lawson and Rev. Kelvin Sauls of the United Methodist Church. The delegation will give a preliminary report on the violations of the human rights of migrants it investigated. The tour took place April 26-29, 2007 in Tucson, Douglas and Sasabe, Ariz.; Agua Prieta, Magdalena and Altar, Sonora Mexico; and the Pascua Yaqui Nation.
WHERE: America Latina United Methodist Church in the Sanctuary, 118 N. Westmoreland Avenue, Tucson
WHO: The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) based in Berkeley, Calif., the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (the Coalition for Human Rights), a Tucson-based organization and the National Network for Immigrant and Refuge Rights located in Oakland, Calif.
(Tucson, AZ) A14-member delegation of African Americans investigated human rights abuses of immigrants, Mexican Americans and indigenous communities on the U.S.-Mexican border in fact-finding tour April 26-29, 2007 in the Tucson border region.
Delegates from six states and 10 cities took part in The Braving Borders Building Bridges: A Journey for Human Rights tour of sponsored by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) in partnership with Coalicion de Derechos Humanos and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
The tour began with members observing trials of migrants charged with illegal entry into the United States at federal court building in Tucson. From there delegates heard reports from the Pima County Medical Examiners Office on increased migrants deaths during passage through the desert. The group then traveled to the border towns of Douglas, Ariz, and Agua Prieta and Altar in Sonora, Mexico, to hear testimonies of local people impacted by the increased border crossing and militarization of the border. The tour ended with visits with Pascua Yaqui leaders and a Tohono O'odham activist, representing Native American communities also impacted by the militarization of the border.
"The increasing numbers of those who have died is a direct result of U.S. policy funneling migrants to cross through the desert," said the Rev. Phillip Lawson, interim pastor of Jones United Methodist Church in San Francisco, Calif., and member of the delegation.
Migrants typically crossed into the United States through urban areas till 1994 when the U.S. adopted the "Prevention Through Deterrence" policy sealing off of urban-area borders and forcing migrants to risk life by crossing through desert and mountain areas.
"The image that does not leave my head is of 12 men in orange suits and women in pink, handcuffed and with shackles on their legs," Rev. Lawson said. "They were prosecuted by a D.A., guarded by six deputies and judged by a magistrate, each saying simply, 'Presente.' Their only crime was risking their lives in search of a better life."
The delegation heard first-hand accounts of racial profiling and abuses including:
"We came to investigate human rights abuses, and we found
significant evidence that there are widespread violations caused by the U.S.
militarization of the border and immigration control," said Gerald Lenoir,
coordinator of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. "These policies are
racist attacks on the most vulnerable members of society: immigrants of
Leaders of Coalicion de Derechos Humanos concurred.
"The increase in the militarization of the border and cities like Chicago and Oakland as well as the expansion of private prison construction called for by the STRIVE bill will fuel even more human rights violations," said Isabel Garcia, co-chair of the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos. STRIVE is a border enforcement bill currently pending in Congress opposed by the three tour sponsors. "The criminalization of Latinos and immigrants matches what has been done to African Americans historically. Already 60 percent of the people in federal prisons are Black and Latino."
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights launched a national community dialog ueto expose the militarization of border and immigration control, explained network spokesperson Arnoldo Garcia.
"The BAJI border tour is a major contribution to the dialogue breaking the silence on the thousands of migrants who have died as a result of these policies," Mr. Garcia said. "By coming to the border the BAJI tour represents an unprecedented coalition to stop the deaths and joins our demands for justice."
BAJI will share its findings in reports in several cities and to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Migrants.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
John Borreto, of the Associated Press, reports on the immigrant march in Houston yesterday:
Hundreds of immigrants and their supporters marched through a Mexican-American neighborhood on Saturday calling for lawmakers to create a far-reaching immigration policy that allows undocumented workers to keep their families intact.
About 300 to 400 participants beat drums, blew whistles and carried signs and banners, along with U.S. and Mexican flags. One sign read "Today we march, tomorrow we vote." Click here for the rest of the story.
The Public Policy Institute of California (here) has a fact sheet on immigrants in California, one of the most vibrant economies in the world.
Highlights, most of which are not too surprising, include:
California’s foreign-born population has increased tremendously in recent decades.
One in four Californians is an immigrant, a higher proportion than in any other state.
Most of California’s immigrants are from Latin America or Asia.
California is the primary destination for immigrants to the United States.
Fewer than half of California’s foreign-born residents are citizens, but naturalization rates have increased substantially.
Poverty rates are substantially higher for immigrants than U.S. natives.
Many immigrants are highly educated, but most have less education than other residents.
In "Borders Spell Trouble for Arab-American," N.Y. Times reporter Neil MacFararquhar tells the story of Abe Dabdoub, a naturalized U.S. citizen who is Arab American. Coording to the story,
Most of his family members live in Canada, and on each of Mr. Dabdoub’s 14 trips to visit them since last August, on his way back across the Ambassador Bridge into Michigan, the Customs and Border Patrol agents have sent him through a security gantlet, he says. He has been fingerprinted 14 times, his body searched 9 times, been handcuffed 4 times and isolated in a separate detention room 13 times. On the fourth trip, the border patrol agents started subjecting his wife to similar scrutiny.
Click here for the details.
The Associated Press (here) reports that immigration-related felony cases are swamping federal courts along the Southwest border, forcing judges to handle hundreds more cases than their peers elsewhere. Judges in the five, mostly rural judicial districts on the border carry the heaviest felony caseloads in the nation.
The Washington Times (here) in an article by Tom Carter ("Private charity outpaces, outperforms foreign aid") looks at how, accodring to studies, private giving exceeds U.S. foreign aid. It states that "Using figures from the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Hudson study found that the estimated 12.6 million immigrants living in the United States earn about $500 billion a year, and more than 10 percent of that is sent home."
The 1990s saw horrendous atrocities, inclusing genocide, in the former Yugoslavia. In "Bosnians in America: A Two-Sided Saga," N.Y. Times reporter LYNETTE CLEMETSON (here) writes on some of the challenges facing Bosnian refugees who have resettled in the United States. Accordng to the aricle, among other things,
-- From 1992 to this March, the State Department resettled 131,000 refugees from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina in the United States.
-- More than 9,000 were placed in Chicago, many of them clustered in the poorer quarters of the city’s North Side.
-- The multiple jobs that many of the parents juggle, combined with emotional struggles left over from the war, leave them little time or ability to understand the very American struggles of their children.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Our post earlier in the week about Lou Dobbs' latest immigation column generated comment on this blog and others. Well, there is no end to the fun! This Sunday at 10 p.m., CNN anchors Rick Sanchez and Lou Dobbs will debate their very different views on immigration. A video of the the show and transcript will be posted to cnn.com on Monday morning.
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (press release) late this week introduced “The Immigrant Accountability Act of 2007.” The legislation would create a point system to deal with those living in the country illegally. Those who receive enough points would be put on a pathway to earn citizenship after 13 years.
Hagel’s legislation is a compromise intended to be incorporated into the comprehensive immigration reform legislation the Senate will consider in May. The legislation builds on previous immigration reform legislation introduced by Hagel in the last two Congresses.
To qualify for a greencard under the Hagel legislation, an individual here illegally must earn points in categories that show specific characteristics that demonstrate investment, contribution and assimilation into the United States. The individual would be required to receive 65% of the available points to qualify for a greencard. After the initial application, if at anytime DHS determines that the alien cannot qualify for the program, the alien would have to leave the U.S. or would be deported. The bill establishes the following point categories:
Military Service (after meeting initial qualifications for adjustment)
Advanced English proficiency
Civic Engagement – significant community service work (religious or secular), a clean criminal record, and on time payment of income taxes for past work
Business ownership (which employs at least 2 unrelated “legal” workers)
Work History (points for each year of work an alien can prove) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
Education (additional points for all levels of education)
U.S. Presence (points for length of time in the U.S.) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident Spouse or minor child
Click here for a copy of the bill.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Mexican American Political Association
ALL OUT FOR MAY DAY MARCHES NO TO THE GUTIERREZ-FLAKE BILL
We invite you to join us in the May 1st, MAY DAY, marches and actions to raise our collective voices to STOP IMMIGRATION RAIDS and DEPORTATIONS, STOP the FORCED SEPARATION OF OUR FAMILIES, LEGALIZATION FOR ALL, and NO BRACERO-TYPE CONTRACT PROGRAMS.
Lastly, we adamantly oppose the Gutierrez-Flake Immigration Bill, known as the STRIVE ACT, introduced last month by Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Our next eNewsletter will provide much more information about the STRIVE ACT by various sources which critique the legislation as deficient and dangerous to immigrants and working people.
We encourage you to download the letters we have posted for your convenience, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and circulate amongst your family, friends, and work-mates and forward these to the Democratic Party leadership.
This month's Harvard Magazine (here) has a story by Ashley Pettus entitled "End of the Melting Pot? The new wave of immigrants presents new challenges." Although Harvard is often thought of as a liberal bastion, some prominent restrictionists, including Samuel Huntington (author of the book Who Are We? The Challenges to an American Identity), labor economist George Borjas, and the late Arthur Schlesinger (The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society). are, or were, on the faculty.