Saturday, October 11, 2008

Immigrant of the Day: Annie Moore (Ireland)

14annie190_1 NPR reports that Annie Moore was the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island, in 1892.  Today, she'll finally get a marker on her grave. The Irish immigrant made a new life in America but died poor.

Annie Moore is memorialized by bronze statues in New York Harbor and Ireland and cited in story and song as the first of 12 million immigrants to arrive at Ellis Island.

The myth is that Annie Moore went west with her family to fulfill the American dream — eventually reaching Texas, where she married a descendant of the Irish liberator Daniel O’Connell and then died accidentally under the wheels of a streetcar at the age of 46.  The truth: Annie Moore settled on the Lower East Side, married a bakery clerk and had 11 children. She lived a poor immigrant’s life, but her descendants multiplied and many prospered.  For more about Annie, click here.


October 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Review of Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law by Catherine Dauvergne

51ylff6r80l__sl500_bo2204203200_aa2 Here is a review by Michael Olivas (Houston) of Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law by Catherine Dauvergne (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of American Ethnic HistoryDownload Making_People_Illegal.doc

Here is another review of MAKING PEOPLE ILLEGAL by John SW Park (Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara).


October 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Somali Migrants Killed Off the Cost of Yemen

Another sad refugee story from the Associated Press:

Dozens of bodies washed ashore Friday in Yemen after smugglers threw nearly 150 Somali migrants overboard in shark-infested waters, the latest such tragedy in one of the most lawless stretches of ocean in the world.

The Gulf of Aden between Yemen and the Horn of Africa is notorious for Somali piracy.

The latest migrant deaths raised calls for NATO and U.S. ships to also act against human trafficking in the same waters off Somalia, a country where there is no government control and armed groups are rampant.

"It's essentially the same problems that allow piracy and smuggling," said Roger Middleton, an expert on East Africa at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Dire economic conditions and violence in Somalia drive the waves of migrants, while the general lawlessness that gives pirates a free hand also opens the door for smugglers.

About 32,000 migrants have made the hazardous sea journey to Yemen this year — 22,000 of them Somalis, according to figures from the Yemeni government and the U.N. refugee agency. Click here for the rest of the story.


October 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Violence Against Women in Mexico and Central America

An important conference:

Breaking the Silence: Violence against Women in Mexico and Central America

Violence against women has reached epidemic proportions in many countries in Latin America.  Gender-motivated killings of women -- referred to as "femicides" have become common not only in the highly publicized case of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  Equally alarming is the virtually total impunity enjoyed by those that beat, maim and kill women.  Notwithstanding this bleak reality, courageous women in many of the most violent countries have organized to develop strategies and actions to bring an end to the violence and impunity. 

Join us for a discussion on the issue of violence -- and courage in the face of violence. 

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 Time: Reception: 5:00 -5:30 PM  Program: 5:30 -7:00 PM


U.C. Hastings College of the Law, Alumni Reception Center
200 McAllister Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Please RSVP by visiting the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies’ homepage at:

Guest Speakers

Claudia Paz  - Director of the Guatemalan Institute for Comparative Studies in Criminal Science (ICCPG).  The ICCPG is committed to the effective protection of human rights through strengthening the rule of law. The ICCPG conducts investigations and publishes reports on pressing issues of criminal justice; one of its most recent publications is "Por Ser Mujer," an extensive study on the femicides in Guatemala.

Jayne Fleming - Pro Bono Counsel of Reed Smith LLP and leader of the firm's human rights team. Ms. Fleming has handled seventeen pro bono asylum matters herself and supervised over two dozen more. She has developed expertise in the area of gender-based persecution. She has represented torture survivors from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Russia, Kazakhstan, Eritrea, Syria, and Sri Lanka. This year, Ms. Fleming is launching a program on behalf of Central American children fleeing violence. Ms. Fleming frequently lectures and writes on human rights topics. She supervises partnerships between Reed Smith and the asylum clinics at Penn Law School and Boalt Hall School of Law.

Karen Musalo - Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at U.C. Hastings. Karen Musalo has been a pioneer in the area of "gender asylum," litigating landmark cases which establish refugee protection for women fleeing gender-related human rights violations such as female genital cutting. Prof. Musalo is attorney of record for the Guatemalan asylum seeker, Rodi Alvarado, whose case may well determine whether women who are victims of family violence qualify for protection under the U.S. Refugee Act. Prof. Musalo has led efforts to make connections between human rights violations in the home country, and the need for asylum protection, and her interest in this area has led to an initiative addressing the femicides in Latin America.

*Reed Smith LLP is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. Attendance at this program will earn 1.5 substantive credits.


October 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 10, 2008

SSI Extension for Refugees

From Dinah Wiley of the National Immigration Law Center:

Refugees and other humanitarian immigrants whose Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were available only during a seven-year time period, may receive SSI for at least two additional years.  Under a new law effective today, October 1, 2008, humanitarian immigrants whose SSI was cut off or who were denied SSI due to the expiration of this time period should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately to apply for the extension.  The new law provides a third year of benefits for humanitarian immigrants who have a naturalization application pending at the end of the two-year extension.  The extensions of SSI eligibility expire in the year 2011 under a sunset provision in H.R. 2608, "The SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act."  Advocates have developed a fact sheet about the new law, available [here].

SSI provides a lifeline of minimal income support for very low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.  Although humanitarian immigrants are among the few categories of immigrants eligible to receive SSI under the restrictive 1996 welfare law, their eligibility ends after a limited period.  Congress rationalized the time limits as providing an incentive for humanitarian immigrants to naturalize quickly; U.S. citizens are free from these arbitrary time limits.  However, citizenship is elusive for immigrants who are caught in the Department of Homeland Security's processing delays on applications for lawful permanent residence (LPR or green-card status, a prerequisite for a citizenship application) or naturalization (citizenship).  The new law recognizes that humanitarian immigrants face destitution while waiting for these applications to be processed.   

Humanitarian immigrants include refugees, asylees, persons granted withholding of deportation or removal, Cuban and Haitian Entrants, Amerasians, and victims of trafficking in persons.  Current or former SSI recipients who were granted any of these statuses may be eligible for the extension.  Those under 18 years old or 70 years of age or older are eligible.  Those who are over 18 or under 70 are eligible if: 

a)    they have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for less than six years; OR
b)    they applied to become a lawful permanent resident (get a green card) within four years after you started receiving SSI; OR
c)    they are or were granted status as a Cuban or Haitian Entrant OR
d)    they have been granted withholding of deportation or removal.

Humanitarian immigrants who have lost their SSI due to the time limits can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately to apply for the extended benefits by visiting their local office or by calling 1-800-772-1213.  The new law requires SSA to ask applicants to declare that they are "making a good faith effort to apply for citizenship" to the best of their physical and mental abilities.  Persons who lost SSI within the last 12 months should have their benefits reinstated the following month.  Those who lost SSI more than 12 months ago but who are 65 or older should also receive expedited receipt of monthly benefits. 

While the new law will help many very vulnerable immigrants, advocates will continue to seek legislation that repeals the time limits altogether.  Naturalization is unattainable for persons who cannot pass the citizenship test because of their age, disability or other factors.  The United States has invited refugees to come, and has offered safe haven to other humanitarian immigrants.  Our laws do not force indigent seniors or persons with disabilities who are citizens into destitution at the end of an arbitrary time period. Similarly, we should not cut off support from refugees who, because of factors beyond their control, have not been able to become citizens, despite their long presence in the U.S. 

For more information, please contact Dinah Wiley at


October 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Barack Hussein Obama and the Presidential Campaign

Obamabarack Sam Stein on the Huffington Post discusses the fact that "For the second time in three days, the speaker at a McCain campaign rally used Barack Obama's middle name "Hussein" in a demeaning fashion to ignite the crowd."  Why not just say Barack Muslim Obama, Barack Terrorist Obama, Barack Foreigner Obama, Barrack African American Obama, Barack Un-American Obama . . . . ?   You get the drift.

The Sacramento County Republican Party website sunk to new depths in attacking Senator Obama, with invocation of his full name relatively tame compared to the statement that he should be waterboarded.  The website was changed within hours of a reporter's inquiry.

For author Khalid Hosseini's observations on the invocation of Senator Obama's full name, click here.


October 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Election News: Latinos Flee McCain has an interesting story reporting that, despite once championing immigration reform, "John McCain is poised to lose the Hispanic vote by a landslide margin that is well below President George W. Bush's 2004 performance. Polls show Obama winning the broadest support from Latino voters of any Democrat in a decade, while McCain is struggling to reach 30 percent, closer to Senator Bob Dole's dismal 1996 result than to Bush's historic 40% four years ago."


October 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Immigration Books

Bacon, David, 1948- Illegal people : how globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants Boston, Mass. : Beacon Press, c2008

Dauvergne, Catherine Making people illegal : what globalization means for migration and law . Cambridge [U.K.] New York, N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, 2008

Davis, Jeffrey, 1967- Justice across borders : the struggle for human rights in U.S. courts Cambridge [U.K.] New York, N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, 2008

Hernández-León, Rubén Metropolitan migrants : the migration of urban Mexicans to the United States. Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c2008

Immigrant rights in the shadows of citizenship / edited by Rachel Ida Buff. New York, N.Y. : New York University Press, c2008


October 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One in Ten Latinos Asked for Papers for LWL: Living While Latino

Headshot Angela Kelley of the Immigration Policy Center has an interesting post on the Huffington Post on the current immigration climate's impact on Latina/os in the United States.  It begins: 

"The current climate of undeterred public immigrant-bashing along with an immigration policy of "attrition through enforcement" has cultivated unfettered hatred and bigotry against an entire ethnic population. A recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center shows its toll: half of all Latinos, immigrant and non-immigrant, say that their situation in this country is deteriorating and is worse now than it was a year ago. One in seven Latinos are reporting ethnic discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 10% said the same thing about housing. But the most stunning finding is that nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults--native-born US citizens and immigrants alike--report that, in the past year, the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status. One in ten Latinos were stopped and asked for "papers." What can that statistic represent other than a gross abuse of power by federal and local authorities?"  (emphasis added).


October 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Refugee Crisis in Pakistani War Zone

From the Associated Press:

Afghan refugees ordered out of a Pakistani war zone begged Tuesday for bus fares and flowed over the border into their homeland, worsening a humanitarian crisis resulting from an army offensive against Taliban militants, officials said.

Pakistan has told 50,000 Afghans to leave the Bajur tribal region, accusing them of links to militants that used the remote and impoverished area as a base for attacks on both sides of the frontier.

U.S. officials concerned about the escalating insurgency in Afghanistan have praised the military operation in a region that has been touted as a possible hiding place for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan's army claims to have killed more than 1,000 insurgents in two months of fighting. It has given no figure for civilian casualties, but acknowledges that many villages have been devastated by airstrikes, artillery fire and gunbattles.

Bacha Khan, a police official at the Toorwandi border post in Bajur, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that some refugees have crossed into Afghanistan and others moved to other parts of Pakistan.

He had no figures for how many Afghans have left since officials distributed leaflets in Bajur last week telling them to go.

However, he said an estimated 20,000 refugees had returned home in recent weeks. Thousands more went to other parts of Pakistan, he said.

An Afghan community leader in Khar, Bajur's main town, urged the government to provide transportation for the refugees. "We are poor people, and we don't have enough money to pay for the buses," Ghulam Jan told an AP reporter.

Authorities were threatening to deport those who resisted and to demolish their houses. Iqbal Khattak, a government official in Khar, said 45 Afghans had been detained by Tuesday and some Afghan-owned shops sealed.

Pakistani officials say the fighting in Bajur has displaced up to a half-million people — roughly half the region's population. Most are in nearby areas of Pakistan with relatives or in camps. Click here for the rest of the story.


October 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One "Illegal Alien" Story

Maria120pixel Here is a first hand account of the story of a former "illegal alien" frome Newsweek.  The title is telling:  "This (Illegal) American Life:  I may not look like an undocumented alien, but until the age of 18 that's just what I was."


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Fight for Latino Votes : Immigration Ad War in Spanish

Ed O'Keefe on The Trail reports that Senators John McCain and Barack Obama continue to fight over the issue of immigration but only in Spanish language ads. Spanish-speaking television viewers continue to see it mentioned in campaign ads. The most recent message, "Otra Vez Con Lo Mismo," comes from the Obama campaign and attacks McCain. "McCain is up to the same distortions and lies on the immigration issue," the new ad states in Spanish. "He wants to hide the fact that he's the one who turned his back on us." The ad then plays a clip from a CNN debate where McCain is asked about the immigration reform legislation and whether he would vote for it now. "No, no I would not," he says.  The ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico, according to Obama campaign spokesman Federico de Jesus.


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Raids, Raids, and More Raids

The immigration raids continue. The latest is a factory sweep in South Carolina, which resulte in the arrest of about 300 allegedly undocumented immigrants.  The L.A. Times sums it up nicely:

"Workplace raids such as the one at Columbia Farms have become increasingly common as the Bush administration draws near its end, especially since Congress last year failed to pass an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. Critics decry what they contend is the rough treatment of illegal immigrants, as well as the disruption to families."


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Second Presidential Debate: No Mention of Immigration

Obamabarack Mccain_context The latest Presidential debate last night between Senators McCain and Obama before a town hall audience did not see a question or answer about immigration, which as the economy has tanked has moved off of the national radar screen.  As I reiterated yesterday, it's the economy stupid.

For criticism of the failure to discuss immigration in the presidential debates, see Angela Kelly's post on the Huffington Post and this article.   


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Yoichiro Nambu (Japan)

225pxyoichironambu Yoichiro Nambu (born January 18, 1921) is a physicist, currently a professor at the University of Chicago. Known for his contributions to the field of theoretical physics, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008 (click here for the N.Y. Times story on the award) for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics.

Nambu was born in Japan in 1921. After graduating from high school, he studied physics at Tokyo Imperial University. He received his B.S. in 1942 and D.Sc. in 1952. In 1949 he was appointed to associate professor at the Osaka City University and promoted to professor the next year. In 1952 he was invited by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey to study. He moved to the University of Chicago and was promoted to professor in 1958. Nambu became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1970.

Nambu is famous for having proposed the "color charge" of quantum chromodynamics, for having done early work on spontaneous symmetry breaking in particle physics, and for having discovered that the dual resonance model could be explained as a quantum mechanical theory of strings. He is accounted as one of the founders of string theory. He has won numerous honors and awards including the J. Robert Oppenheimer Prize, the U.S.'s National Medal of Science, Japan's Order of Culture, the Planck Medal, the Wolf Prize, the Franklin Institute's Franklin Medal, the Dirac Medal and the Sakurai Prize.

After a 50-year career as a physics professor at the University of Chicago, Nambu is now its Henry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at its Department of Physics and Enrico Fermi Institute.


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Jerome Corsi Detained in Kenya for Immigration Violation

518rvzd1mol__sl160_pisitbdparrowtop Ben Smith on reports that Jerome Corsi, the author of a much-criticized book slamming Sen. Barack Obama (as well as the co-author, with Jim Gilchrist and 51hk9532b9l__sl500_bo2204203200_aa2 Tom Tancredo, of a book on the Minutemen), was recently detained in Kenya for an immigration violation as he arrived for a press conference to promote his latest book. Authorities in Kenya, where Obama's father was born, said Corsi had entered the country as a tourist and was not permitted to work here.


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Migration Miracle: Faith, Hope, and the Undocumented Journey

Here is a new book worth a look:Migration_miracle Jacqueline Hagan. 2008. Migration Miracle: Faith, Hope, and the Undocumented Journey.  Abstract:  Since the arrival of the Puritans, various religious groups, including Quakers, Jews, Catholics, and Protestant sects, have migrated to the United States. The role of religion in motivating their migration and shaping their settlement experiences has been well documented. What has not been recorded is the contemporary story of how migrants from Mexico and Central America rely on religion—their clergy, faith, cultural expressions, and everyday religious practices—to endure the undocumented journey. At a time when anti-immigrant feeling is rising among the American public and when immigration is often cast in economic or deviant terms, Migration Miracle humanizes the controversy by exploring the harsh realities of the migrants’ desperate journeys. Drawing on over 300 interviews with men, women, and children, Jacqueline Hagan focuses on an unexplored dimension of the migration undertaking—the role of religion and faith in surviving the journey. Each year hundreds of thousands of migrants risk their lives to cross the border into the United States, yet until now, few scholars have sought migrants’ own accounts of their experiences.


October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On Second Chances for Aggravated Felons

Among many aspects of immigration law and policy that are troubling, many of us have complained about the harshness of the 1996 amendments that preclude waivers to aggravated felons, even though they may have been longterm permanent residents who have been here lawfully since infancy. Those of us who have represented these individuals and who have practiced long enough to recall the possibility of 212(c) relief for such individuals prior to 1996 understand the importance of a second chance. Our clients made good on that relief, and thereafter led good, productive lives. Recidivism very seldom occurred after that.

The value of getting a second chance is something that we should embrace as human beings. Even cold-hearted Vice-President Dick Cheney recognized that in a 2002 speech he gave at Michigan State University upon receiving an honorary degree:

"One of the things I love most about our country is that we have such opportunities. There are places in the world where failure is final, and one early misstep will decide your fate forever. But America is still the country of the second chance. Most of us end up needing one. And when we've gone on to accomplish something, we can be that much more grateful." His entire speech is here.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


Last Wednesday, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of New Jersey, the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (Fried Frank) filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties, Inc., in order to protect the right to housing for Latinos and other immigrants and to thwart anti-immigrant efforts to compel landlords to enforce federal immigration law. The brief was filed on behalf of leading organizations and institutions that represent the interests of, and provide services to, immigrant communities in New Jersey, including: the New Jersey Institution for Social Justice, the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, CATA – The Farmworkers’ Support Committee, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (“amici”). The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) – an organization that has sponsored a series of anti-immigrant municipal housing ordinances throughout the country – alleges that by renting apartments to undocumented immigrants, landlords are in violation of federal statutes which impose criminal penalties for harboring undocumented persons. In effect, plaintiffs are seeking to have federal law interpreted in a manner that will compel landlords to screen and investigate the immigration status of prospective tenants. “If successful, plaintiffs’ suit would criminalize ordinary landlord-tenant relationships, and inevitably result in impermissible discrimination against all Latinos, including U.S. citizens and legal residents, in New Jersey and throughout the country,” stated Cynthia Valenzuela, MALDEF’s Director of Litigation. “Latinos and others – regardless of nationality or immigration status – will face additional scrutiny when attempting to secure or maintain housing because landlords will be hesitant to rent to individuals they perceive to be immigrants based solely on race or language ability. This is a dangerous and unlawful precedent that would ripple far beyond New Jersey and create a national climate of fear and racial profiling in the provision of housing,” she added. Local anti-immigrant municipal housing ordinances have been consistently struck down by courts that found them to be plainly discriminatory and preempted by federal law. Since efforts to displace immigrants through unconstitutional local ordinances have been unsuccessful, IRLI now brings this suit that threatens to destabilize local communities and vulnerable populations by inducing the wrongful denial of housing to Latinos and other immigrants, creating fear in immigrant communities, and otherwise, sanctioning the wrongful denial of civil rights. “New Jersey’s immigrant service providers are deeply troubled by this effort to deprive immigrant families of a roof over their heads,” said Bassina Farbenblum, an attorney at Seton Hall’s Center for Social Justice. “This lawsuit is yet another misguided attempt by anti-immigrant groups to end-run state and federal anti-discrimination laws and deny immigrant men, women and children their basic human right to shelter.” “It's a huge stretch to claim that RICO, a law aimed at dismantling organized crime, stops landlords from renting to people they are legally allowed to rent to,” said ACLU of New Jersey Legal Director Ed Barocas. “The first attempts to run immigrants out of town failed in Hazleton, Pa., and Riverside, N.J., and this new backdoor attempt is no better.” “Landlords are neither qualified nor authorized to act as de facto immigration agents,” said ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project attorney Eunice Lee. “They lack the skills and training to make immigration status determinations, and forcing them to do so will lead to wrongful denials of housing.” The amicus brief, filed by leading organizations on behalf of organizations that represent or provide services to immigrant communities, urges the court to reject the claims presented in this unprecedented case and argues that a determination in plaintiffs’ favor will impermissibly require landlords to engage in immigration status determinations, and will inevitably result in unlawful discrimination against immigrants (including U.S. citizens and lawful residents) in New Jersey and throughout the country.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Judge Orders Release of 18 Chinese Muslims Detained at Gitmo

"A federal judge has ordered the government to release a group of 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay into the United States, and to present them in his courtroom at 10 a.m. this Friday for a handover to local caretakers." For more, see SCOTUSBLOG.

UPDATE:  On Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit stayed the district court's order.  We will let you know what happens next. 


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)