Saturday, February 28, 2009

ICE Gets Plenty in Administration's Budget

Alice Lipowicz reports for Federal Computer Week:

The Obama administration has requested a 6.5 percent increase for the Homeland Security Department in fiscal 2010, which would raise the department’s discretionary budget to $42.7 billion.

That is $2.6 billion more than the fiscal 2009 level of $40.1 billion, as outlined in the president’s 142-page budget highlights document, titled “ A New Era of Responsibility.” The Office of Management and Budget released the document today. The funding is in addition to the $2.8 billion for DHS in the recent economic stimulus law.

Highlights of the DHS spending plan include $1.4 billion for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s efforts to identify and deport illegal aliens who have committed crimes.

The administration would spend $368 million for existing border patrol agents at the Customs and Border Protection agency, $355 million to secure and enhance public and private cyber infrastructures, $260 million for the existing Homeland Security Grant Program to improve information sharing and analysis by funding thousands more intelligence analysts at the state and local level.

The administration also requested $110 million to continue expanding the E-Verify system, which employers use to check workers’ Social Security numbers and immigration status. Click here for the rest of the story.


February 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ghosts of Bush's Enforcment Era Haunt the Obama Administration

Immigration Impact analyzes the fallout for the Obama administration of the immigration raid earlier this week in Bellingham, Washington.  It sees the events as "making a strong case for the Administration to review its immigration enforcement strategies and priorities."  Sounds right on point to this blogger.


February 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hate Crime Murder of Latino Students in Florida

From the DailyKos:

In one of the most heinous HATE Crimes against Latinos in U.S. history, two young Latino students were brutally murdered yesterday by Republican activist and Christian Conservative Minister Donnie Ray Baker (60). When Deputies arrived at the murder-site, they found innocent, legal (from Chile), Latino students: Nicolas Pablo Corp-Torres (23) and Racine Balbontin-Aragondona (22), deceased at the scene. Click here for the rest of the story.


February 27, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

REPORT Local Democracy on ICE: Why State and Local Governments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement

Democracy_on_ice_cover Justice Strategies issued a report entitled "Local Democracy on ICE: Why State and Local Governments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement."  The report begins:

"287(g) is a tiny provision in federal immigration law that allows Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take local police away from their mission of fighting crime, and pull them into the murky territory of targeting immigrants for arrest without suspicion of crime. ICE described the 287(g) program as a public safety measure to target “criminal illegal aliens,” but its largest impact has been on law-abiding immigrant communities. Rather than focusing on serious crime, police resources are spent targeting day-laborers, corn-vendors and people with broken tail-lights. This report details findings from a year-long investigation of 287(g) by Justice Strategies, and recommends that the ICE program be terminated."

For Anna Gorman's report on the study in the LA Times, click here.


February 27, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Immigration Policies Bring Global Shame on Us

On Huffington Post, Roberto Lovato writes about "U.S. Immigration Policies Bring Global Shame on Us."  the title is tealling.


February 27, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Immigration Law's Law's Organizing Principles

Cox The Social Science Research Network ( has posted "Immigration Law's Law's Organizing Principles" University of Pennsylvania Law Review, by ADAM B. COX, University of Chicago Law School, which is well worth reading as a a companion to "The Second-Order Structure of Immigration Law," 59 Stanford Law Review 809 (2007).  Abstract:Immigration law and scholarship are pervasively organized around the principle that rules for selecting immigrants are (and should be) fundamentally different from rules that regulate the lives of immigrants outside the selection context. Both courts and commentators generally conclude that the government should have considerably more leeway to adopt whatever selection rules it sees fit. Consequently, the selection/regulation dichotomy shapes the central debates in immigration law - including debates about the legality and legitimacy of guest worker programs, America's criminal deportation system, and restrictions on immigrant access to public benefits. This Article argues that this central organizing principle is misguided: legal rules cannot be classified as concerning either selection or regulation because every rule concerns both. Every rule that imposes duties on noncitizens imposes both selection pressure, potentially influencing noncitizens' decisions about whether to enter or depart the United States, and regulatory pressure, potentially influencing the way in which noncitizens who choose to stay live their lives. Moreover, even if it were possible to overcome a century of radical disagreement about which rules are "really" about selection rather than regulation, there would still be little reason to ascribe constitutional or moral significance to the distinction between the two. As the Article shows, selection and regulation are simply two alternative mechanisms that a state may use to achieve a particular end. There is no a priori reason to prefer one mechanism over the other. These central conclusions have a number of important implications for immigration law and institutional design.


February 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants Vital to California's Economy

From the Immigration Policy Center:

New Americans Vital to Golden State Economy:
California's Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a Political and Economic Powerhouse

Washington D.C.- California's $42 billion deficit has led to a lot of misplaced blame on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities that comprise the state's economic backbone.  Yet immigrant, Latino, and Asian workers and entrepreneurs are integral to rebuilding California's economy and tax base.  The state may be facing hard economic times, but the California dream is anything but over - immigrants and their families are part of the very engine that keeps California's future alive.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center released compiled research, a blog post, and a press release which show that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a political and economic powerhouse in the state of California and an electoral force with which all politicians must contend.  To learn more about the contribution of immigrants to the California economy read:

IPC Fact Check:
New Americans Vital to Golden State Economy

IPC Blog Post:
New Americans: A Springboard for California's Economy
IPC Press Release:
California's Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a Political and Economic Powerhouse


February 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Napolitano Orders Review of Washington ICE Raid

Yesterday, we reported on the raid that took place at a worksite in Washington State. Apparently, the ICE raid on Tuesday was news to DHS Secretary Napolitano.

Manuel Valdes reports for the Associated Press:

Immigration agents this week conducted their first work-site raid since President Barack Obama took office, but it was news to their boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who on Wednesday ordered a review of the action.

Workplace raids involving the arrests of hundreds of illegal immigrants at a time became almost routine in the last years of the Bush administration, but Napolitano's response to Tuesday's raid at a Bellingham, Wash., manufacturing plant highlighted the Obama administration's much different approach to a hot-button issue.

Napolitano told lawmakers during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that she did not know about the raid before it happened and was briefed on it early Wednesday morning. She has asked U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which arrested 28 illegal immigrants in the raid, for answers.

"I want to get to the bottom of this as well," she said. She said work-site enforcement needs to be focused on the employers.

The raid at the Yamato Engine Specialists was the first work-site action ICE has taken since Obama took office, said Sean Smith, a spokesman at Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. Click here for the rest of the story.


February 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Identity-Theft Law in Immigration Cases

A case pending before the Supreme Court, Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., allows the Court the opportunity to spell out the proof that federal prosecutors must offer in order to obtain a conviction for criminal identity theft under federal law. The Bush administration had increased the use of the identity fraud criminal charges in immigraton enforcement, such as in the raid on the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa in May 2008. Federal appellate courts are divided over the government's burden of proof in aggravated identity theft cases. Specifdically what is at issue is whether prosecutors must prove that defendants knew that fraudulent Social Security numbers or other documents they used belonged to a real person as opposed to being fabricated. The Justice Department argues that prosecutors do not have to prove knowledge, and three appellate courts have agreed with that position. Three others, however, have ruled otherwise.

NY Times reporters Adam Liptak and Julia Preston report on the oral argument yesterday in Flores-Figueroa v. U.S..  Their read:  "Several justices appeared persuaded on Wednesday that the identity-theft law was at least ambiguous enough that the `rule of lenity' ought to apply. That rule, as Justice Antonin Scalia summarized it from the bench, is that `the tie goes to the defendant.'”

For more details about Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., click here.  The transcript to the oral argument is available on SCOTUSblog.  A N.Y. Times editorial offers an opinion about the case.


February 26, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Napolitano to Meet with Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Immigration Reform Likely to Be Discussed

225pxjanetnapolitanoiraqThe Hill reports that Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will have her first private meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Thursday. Immigration reform is the top priority for the CHC, and members of the Caucus have a number of questions about Napolitano's commitment to enacting quick changes to strict immigration enforcement policies put in place under the Bush administration.

UPDATE  For one report on the meeting, which is critical of the generous treatment of the DHS Secretary by the Caucus, click here.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Here is the U.S. Department of State, 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Feb. 25, 2009).


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe

Are climate fears driving 'ecomigration'?  See an interesting story on the subject by Shankar Vedantam in the Washington Post.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Raid in Washington State Denounced

From America's Voice:

Yesterday’s Immigration Raid in Washington is Inconsistent with the President’s Vision for Reform

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is the Only Solution

Immigration in the 2008 Democratic National Platform

“We are committed to pursuing tough, practical, and humane immigration reform in the first year of the next administration….  [W]e need to crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It’s a problem when we only enforce our laws against the immigrants themselves, with raids that are ineffective, tear apart families, and leave people detained without adequate access to counsel. . . .  For the millions living here illegally but otherwise playing by the rules, we must require them to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.  We support a system that requires undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.  They are our neighbors, and we can help them become full tax-paying, law-abiding, productive members of society.” 

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the first major worksite raid under the Obama Administration.  According to reports from Bellingham, Washington, dozens of armed ICE agents stormed engine remanufacturing plant Yamato Engine Specialists and arrested 28 individuals, mostly from Mexico and Central America, on suspicion that they are in the country without legal immigration documents.  Below is a statement from America’s Voice:

“As recently as last week, President Obama reiterated his commitment to moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform this year.  His statements echoed the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, which promised to shift enforcement priorities to unscrupulous employers and pursue enactment of a comprehensive reform bill in the first year of the current administration. 

“The raid yesterday in Washington stands in stark contrast to the President’s vision for common sense immigration policies that target the truly bad actors, keep American families together, and put hard-working undocumented workers on a path to becoming full Americans.  Immigration raids targeting non-criminal, undocumented workers will not fix our broken immigration system and they will not make our country safer. 

“While President Obama has articulated a commitment to moving forward on real, comprehensive immigration reform, his immigration enforcement agency is continuing the same failed strategies of the past.  Our country desperately needs President Obama and his Administration to make good on their promise to reform our broken immigration laws and adopt effective enforcement strategies that target the truly bad actors.  We urge the new Administration to reject Bush era policies in favor of common sense solutions and real reform.”

From the National Council of La Raza:


Washington, DC—On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a workplace in Bellingham, Washington, reportedly arresting 28 people.  This is the first major workplace raid since President Obama took office.  The following is a statement by Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

“We are better than this, and our nation deserves better than the continuation of a failed immigration policy that contradicts American values and civil liberties.  Our community understands the federal government's pursuit of hardened, dangerous criminals and our country’s need to protect its borders.  But the systematic demonization, detention, and deportation of peaceful immigrant workers and parents under the pretense of homeland security is an assault on our values as a country.  At a time when messages of change and hope abound, we are left to wonder how change will come to these failed policies.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and we are indeed a nation of laws, yet when our government engages in practices that violate the very laws we hold dear, it is a clear indication that we must evaluate the course.  The zeal with which federal and local law enforcement agencies have applied these policies has violated the rights and civil liberties of many in various communities, including legal residents and U.S. citizens.  Latinos specifically have been racially profiled, arrested without warrant, detained without counsel, and in some cases even deported out of the country although legally present.  Such policy is an abrogation of civil rights, common decency, and human dignity.

“Escalating immigration raids and local police crackdowns over the past eight years have spread indiscriminate terror among millions of people who pose no threat to the United States and who have lived peacefully and productively within our borders for years.  Most have worked hard, paid taxes, lived productive lives, and been good neighbors.  Many have children and spouses who are U.S. citizens.  Many have served in our nation's defense.  Yet over the past eight years, U.S. policies have sought to criminalize this population, raid their homes and workplaces, suspend their civil liberties, put them in chains, and ultimately deport them.  In the process, families are torn apart and children are separated from their parents, despite the fact that under U.S. law, immigration violations are a civil offense. 

“Billions of dollars have been allocated over the last decade to such ill-conceived tactics, yet the undocumented population has continued to grow.  While some may claim that these techniques have staunched unauthorized migration, the reality is that the most powerful factor in that equation has been a slowing economy.  Restoring the rule of law to our immigration system requires systematic change and smart enforcement strategies that do not blur the line between innocent workers and those who mean us harm.  An urgent response is needed, and it should include a thorough examination of Department of Homeland Security practices and policies to provide a cost-benefit analysis in terms of the effectiveness, security, resource efficiency, and ethics of these operations. We also need clarification from the administration as to its plan to reform our immigration system in a manner that protects families, workers, and our nation’s ideals.

“Let us not forget that how we resolve the status of the undocumented will say much about who we are as a country.  We would do better to listen to the better angels of our nature.”

More from the National Network:

BACKGROUND: ICE Raid & Immigrant Protest Brutal Treatment in Detention

ICE Raid in Bellingham, WA

Yesterday morning, the Department of Homeland Security sent some 75 agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Yamato Engine Specialist plant in Bellingham Washington. With a typical overwhelming show of force, the ICE agents arrived in SUVs accompanied by buses and a hovering helicopter.

The ICE agents, dressed in riot gear and heavily armed, invaded the plant and terrorized all. ICE agents interviewed all the workers and arrested 28 for immigration status. ICE agents handcuffed the immigrant workers and chained together at the ankles before boarding them on buses. The immigrant workers are now in detention.

Immigrant Prisoners Rebel against Inhumane Treatment and Abuses

Also, in January, immigrants serving sentences for being undocumented or deportable in the Reeves County Detention Facility Complex, in Pecos, Texas, began a protest after prison officials refused to take a gravely ill prisoner out of solitary confinement to the hospital.

The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility’s authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored.

After the detainees began a spontaneous protest, a melee ensued. A fire broke out during the protest and guards immediately left the premises, locking in the prisoners behind. Some prisoners broke windows to get to other detainees who were choking and fainting, overcome by the smoke.

Then the guards got into SWAT vehicles (or some type of armored vehicle described as a “tortuga,” a turtle, by an inmate) and began firing teargas and rubber bullets at the prisoners who had been abandoned in the facility that was on fire.

Afterwards, the prison guards forced the immigrant inmates to stay outdoors in the prison facility yard on Saturday night. Since then, they have only been fed once a day; they have little or no water and have only three restroom facilities for almost 3,000 prisoners.

The prison authorities only let the inmates back into the facilities after a week. But the prisoners are being forced back into a smoke-damaged building contaminated with carbon monoxide from the fire. The facility now has little or no ventilation since windows have been boarded up.

The Geo Group already has more than 2,800 prisoners in a facility meant to hold 2,400 in Pecos.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Song Remains the Same? ICE Raid in Washington, DHS Secretary Napolitano

ICE conducted an immigration raid, arresting 28 immigrants at a manufacturing plant in Bellingham, Washington.  Click here.  This was the first major immigration raid during the Obama administration and has sparked protest from immigrant rights advocates.  Rumors have been percolating on the internet for a week or so on a possible ICE raid in Minnesota.

Change we can believe in?


CITIZEN ORANGE reports that, during Congressional testimony on Wednesday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) about the ICE raid in Washington. Napolitano said she had not heard about the raid in advance and was surprised to find out about it that morning. (What a morning for the Secretary!)  In her testimony, she said enforcement should target employers and felonious criminals. not target workers.  Napolitano has ordered a review of the Washingon raid.  For a full AP report, click here.

This is shaping up as a test for the new Obama administration on immigration law and enforcement.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

President Obama: Please Don't Delay on Immigration "Reform"

Immigration Daily has an interesting article The Path Less Taken: Is There An Alternative To Waiting For Comprehensive Immigration Reform? by Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta.  It contends that the Obama administration should not wait for Congress to act on immigration reform but that the Executive Branch can do much under the current immigration laws to improve matters on the immigration front.  As ImmigrationProf has said time and again, Attorney General Holder and DHS Secretary Napolitano can do much now to improve the administration of the immigration laws and their enforcement.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Colin Powell On Immigration Reform

225pxcolin_powell_official_secretar Click here listen to former Secretary of State Colin Powell talk about “balanced immigration reform” at City University of New York and offer inspirational stories of immigration reform.  Powell told a policy conference that “study after study . . . confirm that our economy utterly depends on the contribution of immigrants, documented and otherwise.” At the same time, the retired Army general and son of Jamaican emigres said, balanced reform must include “reasonable proposals to make our borders less porous, whether by increased security forces or by a fence that would limit illegal crossings.” Powell, a CUNY alum, was the keynote speaker at “National Concern, Local Action: Immigration Integration in New York,” hosted by the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies, which he founded.

Hat tip to Robert Gittelson!


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Program on the Representation of Immigrants

Fordham Law School is holding a program on the representation of immigrants in deportation proceedings. The program is moderated by Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the Second Circuit and includes Juan Osuna, Chair of the Board of Immigration Appeals and Sarah Burr, Assistant Chief immigration Judge.  Date: March 11, 4-8 p.m., Fordham Law School in New York City. The full program can be found here .  The Fordham Law Review will be publishing papers relating to the subject.


February 25, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Brown Towns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Romerotom Tom Romero's recent article, No Brown Towns: Anti-Immigrant Ordinances and  Equality of Educational Opportunity for Latina/os, should be of interest. Here is an abstract:

  In 1972, the United States Supreme Court in Spencer v. Kugler affirmed New Jersey's statutory scheme compelling school district boundaries to coincide with those of the State's political subdivisions. In writing a dissent to the Court's affirmation of the lower court opinion that such segregation was "de-facto" and not subject to a constitutional violation, Justice William O. Douglas highlighted the pernicious influence of local government boundaries in creating unequal and inferior education for the nation's Black, Latino, Asian American, and American communities. As Justice Douglas dissent suggested, the tremendous ability of local municipalities to control the racial and ethnic composition of their local and sub-local communities through seemingly neutral and "de-facto" means put into question the Supreme Court's post-Brown v. Board of Education condemnation of the inferior education received by a large majority of the nation's increasingly multiracial student body.

Over 30 years after Justice Douglas's dissent in Kugler, over one-hundred local municipalities across the country have enacted so-called "anti-illegal immigration" ordinances to prevent largely Latin America migrants in the United States from moving into, settling, and living in their communities. Through the prohibition in the leasing or sale of real property to an undocumented immigrants, sanctions for employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and or English-only provisions in the provision of municipal services; such ordinances have racialized municipal, and by extension school boundaries in profound ways. As one Mayor of a Wisconsin community fundamentally transformed by Mexican migration made clear: "I would like to inform you of what is coming. If you employ illegal immigrants or rent or house illegal immigrants, there will be consequences. They are not welcome here."

Accordingly, this article explores the impact of such ordinances on the racialized reproduction, concentration, and ultimate exclusion of Latino students from equal educational opportunities in public schools. As my article explores, the desire for "better" and more "exclusive" schools animates much of the political will behind the enactment of such ordinances. Though such ordinances have been carefully crafted not to run afoul such decisions as Brown v. Board of Education or Plyler v. Doe, I suggest that the time is ripe to revisit the "de jure"/"de facto" distinction in American constitutional and educational jurisprudence. Indeed, disturbingly akin to many of the "sundown" ordinances enacted by many American communities in the first-half of the 20th century in response to an African American diaspora from the American South, today's "anti-Immigration" ordinances promise to render more impermeable and more pernicious residential segregation and educational inequity in an increasingly "brown" America.


February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Only in LA: Kimchi Goes With Tacos

The N.Y. Times reports on a new fad from the Latino Metropolis.  The food at Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go, the taco vendor that has overtaken Los Angeles, is some kind of Korean Mexican. The truck is a hit in Los Angeles.

Isn't America a great country?


February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Closed Door Politics: How a hardline position on immigration hurt the Republicans in Election 2008

It is hard not to bask in the victory of Election 2008 for sensible minds on immigration.  But see Richard Nadler's article in the American Spectator if you want to do some more basking.  Here is the beginning of the article:

The election of 2008 proved catastrophic for opponents of comprehensive immigration reform. Republicans lost seven Senate seats -- eight if the courts sustain Al Franken's lead in Minnesota. On June 28, 2007, each of the eight previous office-holders (Republicans, all) voted to block the Bush administration's immigration bill. Replacing these eight immigration hardliners are five new senators clearly favorable to a comprehensive approach -- six, counting Franken -- and two whose positions are unclear. All, of course, are Democrats.

Hat tip to radio (KDVS) DJ Ron Glick!


February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)