Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The Hill has an interesting story about the likely challenges that the new Obama administration will face on immigration, including fashioning positions in two pending lawsuits challenging policies that are directed at employers. We soon shall see what the new administration does in these cases, as well on the issue of immigration reform generally.
"I will decide all cases based on the evidence of record after having read the file carefully and applied the immigration laws, regulations and agency policy memorandums in a spirit of fidelity to Congressional intent and just compassion for the people and businesses who will be affected by my decision."
This one seems fair enough to me, as well as something required by the Due Process Clause. All of the resoultions make for interesting -- and revealing -- reading.
From Eric Ward:
Since the weeks leading up to the most significant elections ever to take place in the United States, federal law enforcement agencies, the media and human rights organizations have paid close attention to threats made against Presidential-Elect Barack Obama. Some of these threats have been made by individuals with ties to the neo-Nazi movement in the United States.
. . .
Under the guise of "controlling immigration," the far right Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the most influential anti-immigrant group in the United States, has stated publicly that one of its top goals for the next federal legislative session is to restrict the 14th Amendment. The Federation for American Immigration Reform was founded by John Tanton, a conservationist and retired ophthalmologist. FAIR has received 1.2 million dollars (U.S.) from the "racial science" foundation the Pioneer Fund. FAIR has many associations with political extremists including white nationalists. Click here for the entire piece.
Dan Nowicki writes for The Arizona Republic
Jeff Flake is positioning himself as Arizona's Republican maverick for the future.
Once considered almost a novelty for his relentless one-man attack on House GOP spending practices and push for Cuba policy reform, many conservatives now are looking to the five-term congressman for guidance in rehabilitating the tarnished Republican brand.
And Flake, 45, recently laid the preliminary groundwork to follow two other Arizona Republican mavericks - John McCain and Barry Goldwater - into the Senate if McCain decides to retire instead of seeking re-election in 2010 or Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., chooses not to run again in 2012. In recent years, Flake has grown closer to McCain and is a loyal ally of the 2008 presidential candidate on priorities such as comprehensive immigration reform and in the battle against pork-barrel politics. He also hasn't ruled out a possible 2010 run for governor.
Flake is taking on a more prominent role in statewide politics, partly because he is dismayed by the single-minded obsession some of his fellow Republicans continue to have toward illegal immigration. Like McCain, Flake is a strong supporter of a comprehensive reform approach that would include a temporary-worker program and the legalization of undocumented workers already in the country. That stance has drawn Flake the enmity of GOP immigration restrictionists. Click here for the rest of the story.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The National Network on Ending Violence Against Immigrant Women has prepared a fact sheet to assist attorneys and immigration practitioners in summarizing the interim final rule on Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident for Aliens in T or U Nonimmigrant Status, issued on December 12, 2008 that becomes effective on January 12, 2009.
When the state's employer-sanctions law took effect nearly a year ago, it threatened to shut down businesses that hired illegal workers. But not a single employer has been taken to court in Arizona, mainly because the landmark law is too difficult to enforce, authorities say. In Maricopa County, where the law led to raids on a dozen businesses and the arrest of 159 workers and a manager, investigators have not been able to assemble enough evidence showing that employers actually knew the arrested workers were illegal, which the sanctions law requires. For the full story, click here.
Jim Blasingame of the Small Business Advocate Radio Show had an interesting interview with Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute about immigration and immigration reform. Jacoby, an immigration expert, offers insights into the immigration team of the Obama Administration nd the possible plans for 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Jorge Castaneda contributed an op-ed to the NY Times yesterday:
There are myriad claims to Barack Obama’s attention, and the list will only grow before Jan. 20. But immigration reform and, more immediately, putting an end to the outgoing administration’s unfortunate and inhuman immigration enforcement policy should be high on the president-elect’s list.
But even without comprehensive reform, Mr. Obama can make a huge difference in the lives of millions of undocumented migrants in the United States today. Since late 2006, the Bush administration has been carrying out the “tough love” side of immigration reform without the generous and open-arms side, which would mean legalization for those in the United States today, and a migrant worker program for those it will need tomorrow.
It has pursued a humiliating and hostile policy of persecution and harassment of illegal Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans and many others. It changed the rules of the game without any warning or empathy, nor with the traditional understanding the United States has shown, more often than not over the past century, in regard to those who cross its borders without papers. Click here for the entire piece.
The Huffington Post has a story on child maid trafficking (actually enslavement) in the United States, focusing on a 10 year old from Egypt brought to Irvine, California to live as a servant in the garage of a large home. Such trafficking has been on the rise over the last decade despite increased border enforcement.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Focusing on the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island, the New York Times looks at the immigrant detention industry and its various abuses, shortcomings, etc. Immigrant detention has skyrocketed since Congress passed immigration reform legislation in 1996. America's secret prisons, as portrayed vividly in the move The Visitor, have long been criticized. So the Times story is not really "news" but remains important nonetheless.
NPR has a story on "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, the subject of a Fox reality show. Clint Bolick (UC Davis Law alum)at The Goldwater Institute , described by NPR as a "conservative-libertarian outfit," just released a report titled: "Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office." Bolick's report notes the violent crime rate in Maricopa County is up, far higher than in Phoenix. The response time for 911 calls is twice that of Phoenix. The sheriff's jails recently lost accreditation for not providing adequate health care to inmates. Bolick says that the sheriff's highly publicized immigrant sweeps have not netted a single major smuggler. "If you've got limited resources, who do you go after -– the guy who is here to work, or the guy who is making millions of dollars bringing in thousands of illegal immigrants?" Bolick says. "Certainly the latter."
Friday, December 26, 2008
There have been lots of stories suggesting that Mexican immigrants may be returning to Mexico in large part due to the economic recession that has resulted in increased unemployment. (Here and here.). Today, also linking immigration to the domestic labor market, a N.Y. Times op/ed expresses some optimism about reform to the current immigration system and observes that:
"In simplest terms, what [Hilda Solis, nominated by Senator Obama for Secretary of Labor] and Mr. Obama seem to know in their gut is this: If you uphold workers’ rights, even for those here illegally, you uphold them for all working Americans. If you ignore and undercut the rights of illegal immigrants, you encourage the exploitation that erodes working conditions and job security everywhere. In a time of economic darkness, the stability and dignity of the work force are especially vital."
For successful immigration reform, we must realize that immigration (and undocumented immigration) is directly related to the labor market. The United States need sensible immigration laws that address labor market needs; the most likely alternative is an undocumented population that, as we see today, fulfills labor market needs.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
In her initimable style, Michelle Malkin rips President Bush for pardoning a South Texas rancher convicted for hiring undocumented workers to harvest watermelons 16 years ago. The rancher had paid a fine and served two years of probation after his conviction.
Conservative bloggers like Malkin are especially critical because the President's latest pardons do not include Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are in prison for shooting a fleeing drug smuggler.
Dan Kowalski jiokes that President Bush should pardon those indocumented workers convicted after the Postville raid.
For more information about President Bush's pardon of the rancher, click here.
Pamela Constable writes for the Washington Post:
A year ago, Yunis Sandivar's travel agency in Arlington County was doing a brisk business in round-trip holiday tickets to Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador. This season, she says, those ticket sales have fallen by 40 percent compared with last December, and a surprising number of customers are buying one-way tickets home -- temporarily giving up on the U.S. economy after years of legal residency.
"Normally at this time, we are full of people, but just look around. The office is empty. We would not survive except for the one-way tickets," Sandivar said. "Our community is facing a very crude reality right now. People have lost their houses, their jobs, their businesses. They are not going home to see their families -- they are going home until the situation here improves. It is going to be a very sad Christmas."
Among the estimated half-million Latin American immigrants in the Washington region, Christmas has long been a season of sentimental and physical reconnection. Extended families are separated by relatively short distances, united by Christian traditions and accustomed to exchanging gifts -- shipped by Hispanic-owned courier services -- including electric appliances and children's party clothes.
This year, however, the area's Latino communities have been hit hard by the national economic slump, with the construction trade devastated by the financial crisis, service industries laying off workers and immigrant small-businesses owners hurt because their customers are without work. Click here for the rest of the story.
For a great Christmas story from New America Media, click here. Activists organized a toy drive for children detained along with their immigrant parents behind the concrete walls and barbed wire fences of the infamous T. Don Hutto Detention Center. Santa Claus was only able to deliver the gifts after litigation and many protests.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Anna Gorman writes for the Los Angeles Times:
Consular officials in Los Angeles are urging Salvadorans to renew their immigration papers by a Dec. 30 deadline to avoid risking deportation.
About 229,000 Salvadorans are eligible for temporary protected status, but only about 39%, or 90,340, have submitted applications, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
El Salvador's consul general in Los Angeles, Hector Hugo Herrera, said Tuesday he believed many haven't completed the paperwork because they cannot afford the $80 fee for the fingerprints and the $340 fee for the work permit.
"They are leaving it to the last moment because they don't have sufficient money," he said, adding that many have lost jobs or hours because of the declining economy. Click here for the rest of the story.
I ran aceoss an interesting blog that readers might find of interest, Feet in 2 Worlds: Telling the Story's of Today's Immigrants. Check out some recent stories:
- Online revolt against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
- Obama’s Latino Problem: Disappointment over cabinet picks
- Turned Away at the Border: Poles shocked at treatment at NY airports
- Recession not pushing migrants back to Mexico after all.
States Without Nations has a story about David Lopez (a pseudonym), a U.S. citizen, was detained by ICE and subject to a removal order to Mexico, even though the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has no jurisdiction over U.S. citizens.