Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tony Leys from the Des Moines Register has put together a fascinating piece on some of the Agriprocessors workers who were returned to Guatemala. He interviews several and tracks their conversations with others in Guatemala and reports on their living conditions there. It offers a picture of the human consequences of immigration raids. There are also videos and related articles at the website.
Kingsley Guy writes for the South Florida Sentinel Sun:
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had some savvy advice for his Republican colleagues during the recent Republican Governors Association conference in Miami.
"You have to be inclusive," Crist said. "You have to work for a big tent. That's about as obvious as the nose on your face."
Yet, it's amazing how many Republicans can't tell their noses from their tightly shut eyes. Unless GOP leaders, across the board, open their eyes and work to broaden the GOP base, the party could find itself relegated to permanent minority status.
Among those whom the GOP must welcome into the tent are Hispanic voters. George W. Bush and his brother Jeb recognized this. Strong support among Hispanics, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, helped them win the governorships of Texas and Florida respectively, and for George W., the presidency.
Exit polls indicate that in the 2004 presidential race, President Bush may have won as much as 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2008, the Hispanic vote for GOP candidate John McCain nose-dived to about 31 percent.
The GOP should find the Hispanic defection in Florida particularly troubling. Historically, Republican presidential candidates have carried the Hispanic electorate, for years dominated by Cuban-Americans who supported the GOP's tough-on-Castro policies. Attitudes are changing, however.
In the 2004 presidential election, 56 percent of Florida's Hispanic voters chose Bush. This year, 57 percent went for Barack Obama.
The divisive immigration debate, more than anything, soured Hispanic voters on the GOP. Near the end of his first term, President Bush presented a plan for immigration reform that offered a road to legalized status for immigrants living illegally in the United States. Bush's plan recognized the legitimate labor needs of the country. Click here for the rest of the story.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The U.S. Department of Education launched U.S.A. Learns, a free Web site to help immigrants learn English. The Web site, which is located at www.USALearns.org, provides approximately 11 million adults who have low levels of English proficiency with accessible free English language training.
Measures like this to foster immigrant integration make a lot of sense, much more sense than efforts to build fences and what not.
Citizen Orange has a post about another restrictionist Congressman who is packing his bags. America's Voice offers analysis of how immigration restrictionists fared in Election 2008. Not so good, it appears. For ImmigrationProf's day-after-the-election analysis, click here.
The International Herald Tribune has a story on an interesting idea that apparently has been floating around for awhile. "Estate agents in the United States hope a new administration in Washington D.C. will kick start talks for a retirement visa, the so-called `silver card' which would allow foreigners to easily retire in the U.S." Why not?
Friday, November 28, 2008
Eric Palmer reports for the Kansas City Star
The MD-80 that took off Friday from Kansas City International Airport carried about 120 passengers. Some were headed for Mexico, others to Central and South America.Once off the ground, food and beverages would be served.
The flight was one of up to 180 flights flown each month by Kansas City’s only locally based airline. While most are to Central and South America, others are to such exotic locales as Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Palestine.
Yet most Kansas Citians will never get a seat on one of the flights — nor would want to.
The little-known Flight Operations Unit was established by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2006 to handle the repatriation of the surging number of illegal immigrants caught up in tougher enforcement. Click here for the rest of the story.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Thousands of civilians fleeing fighting in northeastern Congo streamed into Uganda on Thursday, most after walking several days.
The U.N. refugee agency said 13,000 refugees had crossed the border near Ishasha in 48 hours -- 10,000 on Thursday alone. Most were from villages in the Rutshuru district of the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province. Click here for the rest of the story.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Terrific news for the immigrant rights community:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26, 2008
Contact: Obama Transition Press Office, 202-540-3483
President-Elect Barack Obama Names Two New White House Staff Members
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama today announced two new members of the White House staff. Jonathan Favreau will serve as Director of Speechwriting, and Cecilia Muñoz will serve as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
“We’re continuing to build a White House team that can rise to the challenges facing this country – and I couldn’t be more excited to announce Jon and Cecilia. I’m confident that at a critical time in our history, this White House will restore openness and accountability to our Executive Branch and help to put government back in the hands of the people it serves.”
Jonathan Favreau, Director of Speechwriting
Jon Favreau served as Director of Speechwriting during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has worked for President-elect Obama since February 2005, when he joined Obama’s United States Senate office as Speechwriter. Previously, Favreau served as Deputy Director of Speechwriting on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. A resident of North Reading, Massachusetts, Favreau received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the College of the Holy Cross in 2003.
Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Cecilia Muñoz currently serves as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she supervises all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by NCLR policy staff. Muñoz is the Chair of the Board of Center for Community Change, and serves on the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Institute and the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Philanthropies. She is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia and was born in Detroit, Michigan. In June 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights.
CASA de Maryland filed suit Tuesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court, requesting the immediate release of information regarding the county's relationship with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the 287(g) program. For the full story, click here.
In a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund Justice contended that the Suffolk County Police Department, where the hate crime against Marcelo Lucero took place, discourages Latinos from reporting crimes. For the full story, click here.
A lawyer who is playing a key role in a California lawsuit urging officials to prevent the state's 55 Electoral College votes from being recorded for Barack Obama until questions about his citizenship are resolved says he's organizing plans to challenge, even after the inauguration, every order, every proposal, every piece of paperwork generated by Obama.
'We will file lawsuits on his actions, every time. As long as we have money , we will keep filing lawsuits until we get a decision as to his citizenship status,' Gary Kreep, chief of the United States Justice Foundation, told WND today. For the full story, click here.
The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division expressed doubt Tuesday that it could provide assistance following the Postville City Council's declaration of the town as a humanitarian and economic disaster area.
Disaster declarations are based on natural emergencies, 'so I don't know how that would qualify,' said division spokesman Bret Voorhees.
The resolution, passed unanimously by the council Monday night, was sent to state officials Tuesday in an effort to secure financial assistance for the community devastated after a May 12 federal immigration raid that led to the recent closing of town's leading employer, kosher meatpacker Agriprocessors Inc. For the full story, click here.
Kimberly Sanfeliz reports for the Boston Globe:
A new survey by the University of Massachusetts at Boston's Institute for Asian American Studies attempts to fill what the authors say is a gaping hole in the research on immigrants.
"There's been a lot of attention paid to immigration rights and policy," said the institute's director, Paul Watanabe, at the survey's unveiling last month. "But the fact is, there is virtually no [statistical data] based upon Asian immigrants and the Asian community."
The institute's study, "Interest and Action: Findings from a Survey of Asian American Attitudes on Immigrants, Immigration, and Activism," found that 80 percent of the 412 Asian-Americans surveyed pay either a great deal of attention or some attention to immigration issues.
It also found that 58 percent said they were very sympathetic or somewhat sympathetic to the Latino community's stance on immigration issues, and 52 percent support a legalization process for undocumented immigrants.
The survey also asked respondents about their likelihood of participating in activities supporting greater rights for immigrants. While 33 percent said they were very likely to sign a petition, only about 9 percent said they were very likely to work with others in an organization, or to participate in a march or demonst ration.
Edwin Argueta, an organizer for Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, was present at the survey's unveiling to discuss the implications of its findings. He said it is important for more politically active communities, specifically Latinos, to connect with immigrants from other countries to create a multilayered immigrant narrative and a stronger political force.
"It's not going to be done by Latinos only," Argueta said at the event. "It has to be done by the Asian community and the African community. We need to be a little more inclusive."
Federal Courts of Appeals judges, especially Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, have bveen critical of ther immigration bureuacracy's reasoning in removal cases. The Fourth Circuit, perhaps the most conservative circuit in the United States, in an opinion by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz adds to the "rising tide of criticism":
"An IJ cannot have it both ways, finding an applicant and his documents incredible for one purpose and yet relying on them for another. ... This sort of judicial sleight of hand constitutes the very definition of an abuse of discretion. ... Before concluding, we note that academic literature and court decisions have grown increasingly strident in their criticism of the immigration review process. Our finding today adds to this rising tide of criticism." (emphasis added).
Zhu v. Mukasey (4th Cir. Nov. 25, 2008).
The Supreme Court granted cert today in an immigration case. The case is Nken v. Mukasey (08-681). The Court has the opportunity to clear up a conflict on the standard for barring deporation pending judicial review of an alien’s plea for asylum or other relief from being deported. The specific question is whether a federal law barring courts from issuing binding orders to block deportation of an alien only applies to injunctions, or also applies to requests for postponement of removal pending court review.
The case involves Jean Marc Nken, a native of Cameroon who fears persecution from the regime that now governs his home country. His wife and son are U.S. citizens. His family has been active in political protests in his homeland. He had been denied a stay of a deportation order while he pursued review of the denial of his asylum claim. The Justices ordered expedited briefing in the case, and set it for oral argument at 1 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 21. In the meantime, the Court blocked his deportation “pending further order.” http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/08a413.htm
Issue: Whether the decision of a court of appeals to stay an alien's removal pending consideration of the alien's petition for review is governed by the standard set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1252(f)(2) or instead by the traditional test for stays and preliminary injunctive relief. * Application for stay pending appeal http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/08-681_stay.pdf
Response to application http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/08-681_opp.pdf
Reply of applicant http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/08-681_reply.pdf
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Earlier today, I posted a story about how immigrant entrepreneurs and workers have helped the economy of Pittsburgh. Now here's a story from the sports world about the first professional baseball players recruited from India!
Alan Robinson writes for the Associated Press:
The Pittsburgh Pirates hope Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel really do have million-dollar arms. The two 20-year-old pitchers, neither of whom had picked up a baseball until earlier this year, signed free-agent contracts Monday with the Pirates. They are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country.
Singh and Patel came to the United States six months ago after being the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the "Million Dollar Arm" that drew about 30,000 contestants. The show sought to find athletes who could throw strikes at 85 miles per hour or faster.
While neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, Singh made $100,000 from the contest and Patel made $2,500, plus his trip to the United States.
The contest was sponsored by a California sports management company that believed it could locate major league-worthy arms in a country of more than 1 billion. After working extensively with Southern California pitching coach Tom House since May, the pitchers staged a tryout in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 6 that was attended by 30 major league scouts.
"The Pirates are committed to creatively adding talent to our organization," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday. "By adding these two young men, the Pirates are pleased to not only add two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market. We are intrigued by Patel's arm strength and Singh's frame and potential.
Both threw the javelin in India, a country best known for producing cricket players, and neither the right-hander Patel nor the left-hander Singh had left his small village before coming to the United States. Singh was born in Bhadoni, Uttar Pradesh, and is the youngest of nine children. Patel is from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and has four brothers and sisters.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Patel hit 90 mph on the radar gun during his tryout, and the 6-2, 195-pound Singh topped out at 84 mph. Each has thrown harder during workout sessions that weren't attended by scouts. Click here for the rest of the story.
From Richard Herman:
Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page story on Pittsburgh's economic resurgence, which it attributed in part to Pittsburgh's growing ability to attract high-skill immigrant talent: students, researchers, workers, and entrepreneurs.
PIttsburgh has a long way to go on this front, but it has worked hard over the past few years at building a welcoming environment for immigrant talent, foreign-born entrepreneurs, and international capital.