Saturday, December 1, 2007

Luis Urrea at UC Davis

Devilshighwaycover Urreadevilshighwayauth_w2_2 Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway, spoke about his book at UC Davis on Thursday as part of the Campus Community Book Project.   The Devil's Highway, which tells the tragic story of 14 people who try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, is this year's book for the project.

The Campus Community Book Project allowed the campus to focus its attention on immigration.  The book was a launching pad for dozens of talks, discussions, and film screenings over the last few months.  Hundreds of faculty, students, staff, and administrators participated. For more information on the campus community book project and the complete schedule of events for this project, go to:

A graduate of UCSD, Luis Urrea ( was a wonderful storyteller and engaging speaker.  Based on extensive research and interviews, he skillfully humanized the law enforcement officers as well as the migrants.

The Devil's Highway was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Urrea also is author of many other books, including Nobody's Son and The Hummingbird's Daughter.  I enthusiastically recommend his work!


December 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Challenge to Prince William County Ordinance Tossed -- For Now

AP reports that a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Prince William County's recent effort to clamp down on undocumented immigrants. U.S. District Judge James Cacheris said the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge measures passed earlier this year by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. One resolution requires police to check the immigration status of people they detain if they have reason to suspect the person is undocumented. A second seeks to deny numerous county services to illegal immigrants, including business licenses, drug counseling, housing assistance and some services for the elderly. County attorneys successfully argued that the plaintiffs could not show they had suffered from the measures, which have not yet been fully implemented.

Upon full implementation, bet on seeing a suit brought by people actually affected by the ordinance.

UPDATE  Here is a copy of the order.  Download prince_william


December 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

"CNN: Corrupt News Network"?

We covered the fireworks of the Republican Presidential debate earlier in the week.  And Lou Dobbs,who cannot be racist because his wife is Mexican-American and who we seemingly cannot avoid seeing on television at any airport in the country, hasDobbs  been a popular piñata for these blogsters.  Tim Rutten of the L.A. Times has a very critical -- and especially refreshing because it came from a major news daily -- column linking the debates, CNN, and Lou Dobbs.  In "CNN: Corrupt News Network: A self-serving agenda was set for the Republican presidential debates," he writes:

" Selecting a president is, more than ever, a life and death business, and a news organization that consciously injects itself into the process, as CNN did by hosting Wednesday's debate, incurs a special responsibility to conduct itself in a dispassionate and, most of all, disinterested fashion. When one considers CNN's performance, however, the adjectives that leap to mind are corrupt and incompetent.

Corruption is a strong word. But consider these facts: The gimmick behind Wednesday's debate was that the questions would be selected from those that ordinary Americans submitted to the video sharing Internet website YouTube, which is owned by Google. According to CNN, its staff culled through 5,000 submissions to select the handful that were put to the candidates. That process essentially puts the lie to the vox populi aura the association with YouTube was meant to create. When producers exercise that level of selectivity, the questions -- whoever initially formulated and recorded them -- actually are theirs.

That's where things begin to get troubling, because CNN chose to devote the first 35 minutes of this critical debate to a single issue -- immigration. Now, if that leaves you scratching your head, it's probably because you're included in the 96% of Americans who do not think immigration is the most important issue confronting this country. . . .


So, why did CNN make immigration the keystone of this debate? What standard dictated the decision to give that much time to an issue so remote from the majority of voters' concerns? The answer is that CNN's most popular news-oriented personality, Lou Dobbs, has made opposition to illegal immigration and free trade the centerpiece of his neonativist/neopopulist platform. In fact, Dobbs led into Wednesday's debate with a good solid dose of immigrant bashing. His network is in a desperate ratings battle with Fox News and, in a critical prime-time slot, with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. So, what's good for Dobbs is good for CNN. In other words, CNN intentionally directed the Republicans' debate to advance its own interests. Make immigration a bigger issue and you've made a bigger audience for Dobbs.

That's corruption, and it's why the Republican candidates had to spend more than half an hour "debating" an issue on which their differences are essentially marginal -- and, more important, why GOP voters had to sit and wait, mostly in vain, for the issues that really concern them to be discussed. . . ." (emphasis added).

OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  One has to wonder why Lou Dobbs remains on the air.  It is not because he is reporting "news."  Nor is he particularly insightful (even when he has his facts right).  What else can it be besides ratings and money?  And, if one believes Rutten's account, $ is affecting CNN's marketing, programming, and questions posed at a Presidential debate!


December 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

December 18 Call to Action--International Migrants Day

Following another year of Congress ignoring calls for just and humane legislation that strengthens and promotes rights and instead pushing and approving bills and measures reinforcing continued attacks, repression, and scapegoating of immigrant communities, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) invites you to close the year by organizing and supporting events to celebrate International Migrants Day, reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all immigrants. Please go here for more information.


December 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 30, 2007

New SSRN Articles

"Lawmakers Gone Wild? College Residency and the Response to Professor Kobach" MICHAEL A. OLIVAS University of Houston Law Center

"Unsecured Borders: Immigration Restrictions, Crime Control and National Security" JENNIFER M. CHACÓN University of California, Davis - School of Law  Full Text:

"The Overlooked Costs of Religious Deference" ROBIN FRETWELL WILSON Washington and Lee University - School of Law

"Citizenship and Fundamental Rights (Ciudadanía Y Derechos Fundamentales)" NORONHA RODRIGUES University of the Azores - Department of Economics and Business, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela - Departamento de Derecho Público y Teoría del Estado  Full Text:

"In the Shadow of Article I: Applying a Dormant Commerce Clause Analysis to State Laws Regulating Aliens" ERIN F. DELANEY New York University - School of Law  Full Text:

"The Crimmigration Crisis: Immigrants, Crime, and Sovereign Power" JULIET P. STUMPF Lewis & Clark College - Law School  Full Text:


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

El Paso Border Conference: El Paso Police Chief

At the Border Policy conference that I am attending in El Paso, Richard Wiles, Chief of the El Paso Police Department had this response to a question about the notion of local law enforcement involvement in enforcing federal immigration laws:

"We recognize that we are one community--both El Paso and Juarez. The relationships, including family, have allowed the community to thrive. We know the majority come across for economic reasons. Some allege that illegals come across to commit crimes. But nothing could be further from the truth. El Paso is one of the safest places in the United States. Immigration is a federal responsibility. We have not been provided with extra resources. We don’t have the resources to take on federal immigration responsibility. What’s next? Will we have to knock on people’s doors to say that you owe back taxes to IRS? I’m not shirking my responsibility with respect to criminal law responsibilities. We know we have to work to prevent crime, but if crime is committed we need to find the perpetrator. We also know that many immigrants are victims of crime. But this is different from enforcing federal immigration laws. We have 1100 officers, and the community must respect and trust us. They can’t be afraid to call us. We don’t want them to worry that if they are a victim and call, that we will ask them for their papers. What worries me the most (I refer to this as blackmail) is that they try to force us to enforce immigration laws by conditioning grant monies on federal enforcement. Don’t tie general grants monies to this type of enforcement."


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

ILRC Names Sally Kinoshita as Deputy Director

On behalf of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, we are thrilled to announce that Sally Kinoshita has accepted the position of ILRC’s new Deputy Director.  Deputy Director is a new position at the ILRC and we are very excited that Sally has accepted the position.

Sally graduated from the University of California at Davis School of Law in 1998 and has served as an ILRC staff attorney since 2001.  Sally has dedicated her legal career to promoting policy and advocacy on behalf of immigrants. She is recognized nationally as an expert on immigration matters relating to domestic violence, child abuse and other crimes and has trained and mentored volunteer attorneys, advocates, judges, law enforcement agencies and social workers throughout the country. In addition to her invaluable work with ILRC, Sally has worked for the Asian Law Caucus, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and ASISTA Immigrant Women’s Technical Assistance Project in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sally has conducted extensive training programs and developed comprehensive resource materials on immigration, domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.  She is also the author and co-author of numerous ILRC resources and practice manuals for legal advocates working with immigrant survivors of domestic abuse and crime.  Her publications include, How to Obtain U Interim Relief: A Brief Manual for Advocates Assisting Immigrant Victims of Crime; Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Children Under Juvenile Court Jurisdiction; The VAWA Manual:  Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants, Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Court Judges.  Additionally, Sally co-authored, Application of Protection Remedies for Victims of Domestic Abuse, Human Trafficking, and Crime under U.S. Law to Persons Physically Present in the U. S. Territories for the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

We are confident that Sally will excel in her new position and that ILRC, as well as the community based organizations with which we partner and the immigrants we serve, will all benefit greatly with her as Deputy Director.  Please join us in extending congratulations to Sally.

The interim assistant director is Rene Perez.  The staff attorneys include Kathy Brady, Angie Junck, Nora Privitera, and Mark Silverman.  Donald Ungar is Of Counsel to the ILRC and Bill Hing volunteers as its General Counsel.


Lisa Spiegel
ILRC Board Chair

Eric Cohen
Executive Director


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No Plan for Returning Iraqi Refugees

Yesterday, we blogged about the return of refugees to Iraq.  Unfortunately, in "Iraq Lacks Plan on the Return of Refugees, Military," MICHAEL R. GORDON and STEPHEN FARRELL report that "U.S. military officials said the Iraqi government had yet to develop a plan to absorb returning refugees and keep them from setting off a new round of violence."  No plan.  Sound familiar?


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (Ireland)

Caitlin Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (born May 26, 1964 in Skerries, Dublin, Ireland) is the author of many science fiction and dark fantasy works, including six novels, many comic books, more than one hundred published short stories, novellas, and vignettes.

As a small child, Kiernan moved to the United States with her mother. Much of her childhood was spent in the small town of Leeds, Alabama.  Kiernan attended college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying geology and vertebrate paleontology, and she held both museum and teaching positions before finally turning to fiction writing in 1992.

Kiernan's first novel, The Five of Cups, was written in 1992-93 but was not published until 2003. Her first published short story was "Persephone," a dark science-fiction tale, released in 1995.

Kiernan has had short fiction selected for Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and The Year's Best Science Fiction, and her short stories have been collected in several volumes.

Kiernan lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

News from the North: Canadian Court Finds that U.S. Fails to Honor International Refugee Obligations

The Federal Court of Canada has ruled in favor of the Canadian Council for Refugees, Canadian Council of Churches, and Amnesty International in finding that it was inappropriate for the Safe Third Country Agreement to designate the United States as a "safe third country" for asylum-seekers (who if they make it to the U.S. before entering Canada can be returned there). The decision, 123 pages long, found that the United States fails to comply with Convention on Torture or Article 33 of the Refugee Convention and the U.S./Canada safe third country agreement was flawed as there was no ongoing meaningful review mechanism. Expert witnesses for the asylum-seekers included Eleanor Acer, Susan Akram (Bostin U), Deborah Anker (Harvard), James Hathaway (Michigan), Karen Musalo (Hastings), Victoria Neilson, Hadat Nazami, Jaya Ramji Nogales (Temple), Andrew Schoenholtz (Georgetown), Philip Shrag (Georgetown), Morton Sklar and Steve Watt.  The Canadian government's witnesses were Kay Hailbronner, David Martin (Virginia), and Bruce Schoffield.

We will see what happens at the Canadian Supreme Court.


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Burger King Has It Its Way: Our Fast Food Nation and Migrant Farm Workers

200pxfast_food_nation Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness, has an op/ed in the N.Y. Times about Burger King's wage dispute with Florida farm workers.  From the story, it looks like McDonald's and Taco Bell are a tiny bit more generous to their workers.


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Discussion on "Immigration, Amnesty, and the Rule of Law"

For an hour long discussion of "Immigration, Amnesty, and the Rule of Law" with T. Alexander Aleinikoff (Dean, Georgetown), John S. Baker, Jr. (LSU), Kris Kobach (UMKC), Gerald L. Neuman (Harvard), Judge Carlos T. Bea (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), click here.  The Federalist Society's Administrative Law Practice Group presented this discussion at the 2007 Annual National Lawyers Convention on November 16, 2007.

For the most part, the discussion on this panel is pretty good.   The Q&A revealed much about the audience but Dean Aleinikoff and Professors Neuman and Baker did a great job trying to keep the discussion "real," i.e., grounded in law and fact.


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Radical? "John McCain said not everyone in the U.S. illegally should be deported"

Mccain AP reportsthat Senator John McCain has staked out a "radical" position on immigration (at least in the current political climate with among others Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney fighting it out to be the toughest on immigrants) :

"Suggesting compassion, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said not everyone in the U.S. illegally should be deported.

"If you’re prepared to send an 80-year-old grandmother who’s been here 70 years back to some country, then frankly you’re not quite as compassionate as maybe I am," McCain said Wednesday in response to a question from a Clemson University student who described himself as the child of legal immigrants."  (emphasis added).


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Framing the Immigration Debate

George Lakoff and Sam Ferguson have written an essay on the language of the immigration debate:

Framing is at the center of the recent immigration debate. Simply framing it as about “immigration” has shaped its politics, defining what count as “problems” and constraining the debate to a narrow set of issues. The language is telling. The linguistic framing is remarkable: frames for illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals, undocumented workers, undocumented immigrants, guest workers, temporary workers, amnesty, and border security. These linguistic expressions are anything but neutral. Each framing defines the problem in its own way, and hence constrains the solutions needed to address that problem. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we will analyze the framing used in the public debate. Second, we suggest some alternative framing to highlight important concerns left out of the current debate. Our point is to show that the relevant issues go far beyond what is being discussed, and that acceptance of the current framing impoverishes the discussion. For the full essay, click here. Courtesy of the Rockridge Institute.


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Refugees Return to Iraq

Mike Nizza reports in the NY Times:

Was it the success of the surge, or the urge to make a living? The motivations of Iraqi refugees returning home from Syria came into focus on Tuesday, when 20 busloads of them set out for Baghdad, though not before a sampling were interviewed by staff members of the United Nations refugee agency:
Some of the refugees heading back to Iraq said they were convinced that it was now safer. “I want to leave because the security situation in Iraq is much better and the atmosphere is less dangerous,” Abu Ali, a refugee from Baghdad, said as he waited to board a bus with his three children.
But many of the refugees said financial considerations, rather than security concerns, were the deciding factor in their decision to return. “The money is finished and my visa has expired,” said Ahmed Hussein from Baghdad’s Sadr City district. “Of course I want to stay here, but I can’t,” he said.
That mixed bag of anecdotes has a much more dramatic bent in light of statistics cited by the agency. About 17 percent of returning Iraqis were in Abu Ali’s camp, voting for the war’s success with their feet, as some have concluded. Most of the rest — about 70 percent of respondents — were voting instead for their wallets, and for a return on their own terms: without visas, they said, the Syrian authorities could have sent them back at any moment. Click here for the full story.

November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Fireworks at GOP Debate; Romney and Guiliani as the "Newest Nativists"?

188pxromney1 195pxrudy_giuliani There were some immigration fireworks last night at the CNN/YouTube GOP presidential debate last night in St. Petersburg, Florida. Unlike previous debates in which the candidates focused their attacks on Hillary Clinton, Wednesday night saw the candidates attack each other. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney traded jabs over immigration, which they have been arguing about on the campaign trail. As CNN described it,

"Romney attacked Giuliani's record, saying that as mayor, he promoted illegal immigration. And Giuliani shot back, accusing Romney of having a "sanctuary mansion" at his own home. "In his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them. There was a sanctuary mansion -- at his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed," Giuliani said.

Romney denied Giuliani's allegation, and the two raised their voices as they tried to talk over each other.

In his quest to appeal to the hard-line immigration wing of the party, Romney also turned some of his fire on the same topic toward former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been rising in the polls. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has anchored his candidacy on securing the borders and cracking down on illegal immigration, seemed delighted with the give and take, saying the other candidates were trying to "out-Tancredo" him."

For the YouTube question and the heated Romney/Guliani exchange on immigration, click here.


The immigration discussion at the debate has brought forth much commentary.  NPR's "All things Considered" interviewed Susan Gzesh (University of Chicago) on some of the legal and ethical issues facing homeowners (or mansionowners) hiring workers.  The Washington Post comments on the Romney/Guiliani immigration tiff and refers to them as the "newest nativists," while offering some kind words to Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee.


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

On Immigrant Assimilation

I have been interviewed on the radio several times in recent weeks about my new book. A question that often comes up in some form is "why don't immigrants assimilate like my immigrant ancestors did?"  Samuel Huntington has made this argument in his book Who Are We?  Similar charges were leveled at past immigrant groups including the Germans, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, southern and eastern Europeans, etc., etc.  Well, there is much evidence that immigrants in fact do assimilate into American society (despite the scarcity of ESL programs and long naturalization backlogs).  The Pew Hispanic Center provides the lastest piece of evidence of immigrant assimilation.  According to its latest study, nearly all Hispanic adults born in the United States of immigrant parents report they are fluent in English. By contrast, only a small minority of their parents describe themselves as skilled English speakers. This finding of a dramatic increase in English-language ability from one generation of Hispanics to the next emerges from a new analysis of six Pew Hispanic Center surveys conducted from 2002 to 2006 among a total of more than 14,000 Latino adults. The analysis finds that fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English very well. However, fully 88% of their U.S.-born adult children report that they speak English very well. Among later generations of Hispanic adults, the figure rises to 94%. Reading ability in English shows a similar trend. The analysis also finds that English is spoken more commonly at work than at home. The report is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website,


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Duped by CIS?

I have heard reporters say repeatedly that they understood that one could not rely on the "reports'"of anti-immigrant groups such as the well-funded Center for Immigration Studies.  The unofficial paper of record seems to have missed that memo.  The N.Y. Times reports as news that

"Immigration over the past seven years was the highest for any seven-year period in American history, bringing 10.3 million new immigrants, more than half of them without legal status, according to an analysis of census data released today by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

One in eight people living in the United States is an immigrant, the survey found, for a total of 37.9 million people — the highest level since the 1920s. The survey was conducted by Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the center, which advocates reduced immigration." (emphasis added).

There is a blog -- There Krikorian Goes Again -- that is devoted to "[a] sampling of the more startling anti-immigrant things Mark Krikorian (Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies) has written or said."  Check it out.

Why rely on a report as news from an advocacy group whose last report that even could be loosely characterized as pro-immigration was published in the Dark Ages?


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Rufo Roman (Mexico)

Rufo Roman, currently of Spartanburg, South Carolina, is our Immigrant of the Day.  Roman, who owns the restaurant Mexico Lindo East with his wife, Rita, is being held in detention awaiting deportation. Rufo pled guilty to re-entry of a deported alien but had admitted his illegal status on immigration forms several years ago as part of the process to gain permanent residency status and paid a $1,000 fine, his wife said. 

Friends petitioned on his behalf, describing Roman as an otherwise law-abiding businessman trying to stay with his family through what he thought were the correct channels. "We tried to do it right to the best of our ability," said Rita, a native of Lebanon and a U.S. citizen. "The government never told us we did anything wrong until five years later. We paid the dues. We told them everything, to the best of our knowledge. "We're very sorry he entered the country illegally, but we tried to rectify it by making him legal."

The Romans were married in 2002 in the United States. Rita has one daughter, 11-year-old Nawal, whom Rufo, a Mexican national, helped raise since she was 3. He was head chef at the restaurant, which has hosted Spartanburg County Republican Party events, monthly chats with U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis and charity functions, including free dinners for the needy and fundraisers. County Democratic Party Chairwoman and former U.S. Rep. Liz Patterson, who lobbied on Rufo's behalf, called the way the case was handled unfortunate. "He's a successful businessman here in town and has been trying to get his green card for a number of years and did not realize he was in violation of the law," she said. Patterson said she was disturbed to learn immigration officials wouldn't allow the Roman family to pay for a flight to Mexico, where Rufo could begin application for residency, but rather are keeping him in custody at taxpayers' expense.

For more about Roman, click here.


November 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ninth Circuit has New Chief Judge

A previous Immigrant of the Day, Judge Alex Kozinski has become the new Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Click here for the press release.  the Ninth Circuit decides more immigration appeals than any other circuit in the country.

I have argued immigration cases before Judge Kozinski and have found him demanding but fair.  Judge Kozinski has authored numerous immigration opinions on the Ninth Circuit.  One of particular interest to readers of this blog is his concurrence in Rodriguez-Roman v. INS, 98 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 1996), an asylum case in which the applicant had fled Cuba.  in the concurrence, Judge Kozinski discusses the persecution at the hands of communist regimes, something that his family experienced first-hand in Romania.


November 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)