Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DHS Report on Lawful Permanent Residents

New Releases from DHS:

Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2007  (PDF, 4 pages – 184 KB ) This report provides estimates of the legal permanent resident population and population eligible to naturalize as of January 2007.
The Foreign-born Component of the Uninsured Population (PDF, 2 pages - 102 KB)
This report provides information on the trends in the population without health insurance coverage by nativity and citizenship status.
Characteristics of Major Metropolitan Destinations of Immigrants (PDF, 2 pages - 189 KB)
The report provides information on leading metropolitan destinations of immigrants ranked by immigrant population growth rates and selected economic and social indicators.

bh

February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Family Unity Campaign

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has announced a national listening tour to hear testimony from families impacted by the nation's broken immigration system. In cooperation with the faith-based community, the listening tour will take Members of the CHC to various churches and community centers nationwide, including; Providence, RI; Norcross, GA; San Francisco, CA; Dallas, TX; Joliet, IL; Miami, FL; and Philadelphia, PA. "As we prepared for this campaign, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I held a community meeting in New York City to hear from those who feared they could be separated from a family member, friend or loved one," said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Chair of the CHC. "Many of the people we met relayed their stories and frustrations of dealing with a broken immigration system. We can no longer wait to take action that will help keep families in our communities together, and ensure a safe and secure nation." This tour, called the "Family Unity" campaign, will consist of community meetings, prayer vigils and rallies for thousands of U.S. citizens, include wives and children, whose families have been or risk being torn apart by a broken immigration system. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-04), Chair of the CHC's Immigration Task Force, will take part in all but one of these sessions, joining Members of the CHC and other invited Members of Congress. "As a nation —as citizens— we cannot wait any longer for fair and20just immigration reform," said Congressman Gutierrez. "Across America, parents and children, husbands and wives are being torn apart by a system that values quotas over family values and which undermines our economic security in a time of crisis. It is for this reason that U.S. citizens in each of these cities are joining this campaign and standing up for real, lasting change." Congressman Joe Baca (CA-43) added, "America's immigration system is broken, and we are all witness to the disastrous results and tragedy this has caused for too many families. By focusing on the very real human impact of this issue, the CHC's Family Unity events can continue our work towards a comprehensive immigration reform that respects the laws of the land, but also respects our American values of family and hard work."

Photos available - http://www.flickr.com/photos/25269883@N04/sets/72157614310221827/

When & Where: February 27, Providence, RI February 28, Atlanta, GA March 1, Albuquerque, NM March 7, Ontario, CA March 7, San Francisco, CA March 8, Phoenix, AZ March 13 El Paso, TX March 13, Los Angeles, CA* March 14, Dallas, TX March 15, Mission, TX March 21, Chicago, IL March 21, Joliet, IL March 22, Milwaukee, WI March 27, Las Vegas, NV March 28, Orlando, FL March 29, Miami, FL April 4, Philadelphia, PA

*The event in Los Angeles will not be attended by Rep. Gutierrez. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, and Rep. Linda Sanchez will attend.

KJ

February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Where's the DREAM Act?

From Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week:

An Undocumented Student at Georgetown, and One at Harvard, Too

One issue concerning immigration and education that has received a great deal of media coverage is whether students who are brought to the United States illegally by their parents and graduate from U.S. high schools should have a path to legalization, if they attend college or serve in the military.

The Washington Post Magazine ran a profile over the weekend of one of these students, Columbian native Juan Gomez, a 20-year-old finance student at Georgetown University. New America Media recently reported that Harvard University has an engineering student, Juan Hernandez-Campos, who is also undocumented.

When he was running for president, Barack Obama spoke out in favor of the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act, or DREAM Act, which would provide a way for these students to become legal. The act stalled in Congress in November 2007. We haven't heard any word from President Obama about whether he will try to get Congress to pass the law. Click here for the entire piece.

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February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DHS Report on Undocumented Population

DHS has announced the publication of a new report.

This report provides estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States as of January 2008 by period of entry, region and country of origin, state of residence, age and gender. The estimates were obtained using the “residual” methodology employed for estimates of the unauthorized population in 2007 (see Hoefer, Rytina and Baker, 2008). The unauthorized resident population is the remainder or “residual” after estimates of the legally resident foreign-born population – legal permanent residents (LPRs), asylees, refugees, and nonimmigrants – are subtracted from estimates of the total foreign-born population. Data to estimate the legally resident population were obtained primarily from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) while the American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census Bureau was the source for estimates of the total foreign-born population.

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February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Outsider

For a story of Juan Gomez, a Georgetown undergraduate who faces possible deportation to Colombia, click here.  Juan came to the United States when he was 2 and does not know Colombia.  His parents and grandmother have been deported.  is Juan next?  Does it make any sense to depoirt him?

KJ

February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to Respond to President Obama

225pxbobby_jindal Previously spotlighted on ImmigrationProf as the child of immigrants from India, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been tapped to give the GOP response to President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress.   Given the disarray for the GOP left by Election 2008, is the son of immigrants now a prominent part of the future of the Republican party?

KJ

February 24, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Former Salvadoran Official Charged with Immigration Fraud

From the Center for Justice and Accountability:

Dear Friends of CJA,

CJA is pleased to report that today, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Jose Guillermo García, the former Minister of Defense of El Salvador, with two counts of immigration fraud.  If convicted, García faces up to ten years in prison for using a passport procured illegally and up to five years for making a materially false statement to a federal officer.  It is also possible that Garcia will be deported.

This indictment should be viewed in the context of the larger struggle to bring General García to justice.  As many of you know, it was ten years ago that CJA along with pro bono co-counsel from Morrison & Foerster and James Green filed a human rights case against Generals García and Vides Casanova on behalf of our courageous clients Neris Gonzalez, Carlos Mauricio and Dr. Juan Romagoza.  After a jury trial, the Generals were ordered to pay $54.6 million to our clients for their role in their torture.  The verdict was upheld by the Eleventh Circuit in 2006.

While the immigration charges do not fit the severity of García's human rights crimes, this indictment is an extraordinarily important step for accountability for those who suffered unspeakable atrocities committed by government and paramilitary forces in El Salvador.  It is also an important step in our country's efforts to combat immunity for human rights abusers who seek safe haven here.  It is also worth noting that Al Capone was ultimately convicted on tax fraud charges.

To our knowledge, General García is the highest ranking perpetrator to be charged by the U.S. government to date.  García was in charge of the military forces responsible for the infamous El Mozote and Sumpul River massacres where over 1367 civilians were killed.  He was also the Minister of Defense when Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated and blocked any attempts at an investigation.

We continue to work in solidarity with our allies in El Salvador for justice and for the repeal of the amnesty laws that prevent in-country prosecutions for civil war-era abuses.  We also continue to work with U.S. law enforcement on accountability for other high level perpetrators in the U.S. such as General Vides Casanova and Vice Minister of Defense Carranza.

In addition to Neris, Carlos and Juan, I would like to thank all of you who have worked with CJA on the "Generals Case" including Patty Blum, Shawn Roberts, Josh Sondheimer, Terry Karl, Beth Van Schaack, Jim Green, Peter Stern, Michael McClintock, Argentine Colonel Jose Garcia, Ambassador Robert White, Roberto Alvarez, Father Paul Schindler, Lauren Gilbert, Bob Kerrigan, Ken Hurwitz, Glenn Caddy, Matt Eisenbrandt, Almudena Bernabeu, Sandy Coliver, Chris McKenna, Morrison & Foerster, the International Human Rights Clinic at Boalt Hall School of Law, and the late Margaret Popkin.  Apologies if I missed anyone.

We would also like to thank Senator Richard Durbin and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law for their efforts to encourage the prosecution of General García and other human rights abusers in the U.S.

Please click here for more information on CJA's case against General García.

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

JOHN MORTON TO LEAD IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; ESTHER OLAVARRIA AS DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POLICY

Here is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security press release:

President Obama announced today his intention to nominate John Morton to be the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [ImmigrationProf previously reported a rumor of Morton's appointment] , and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano named Esther Olavarria as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy. “John Morton and Esther Olavarria are tremendous additions to our Homeland Security team. Both have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service and both will be able and effective partners as we tackle the very complex issues surrounding immigration and securing of our borders,” Secretary Napolitano said.

John Morton is a career official at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with lengthy experience in immigration enforcement and criminal prosecution. He began his career as a trial attorney in the honors program in 1994 and now serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. From September 2007 until last month, he was Acting Chief of the Domestic Security Section and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, and prior to that, he was Deputy Chief of the Domestic Security Section. In these roles, he was responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases and the development of DOJ policy in the areas of immigration crime, particularly human smuggling and complex passport and visa frauds; human rights offenses, particularly torture, war crimes, genocide, and the use of child soldiers; and international violent crime, particularly violent crime under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. From 1999 to 2006, he was as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes and Terrorism Units of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to that, he served for two and a half years as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, focusing primarily on immigration matters.

Esther Olavarria brings nearly 20 years of experience on immigration policy to her new job at the Department of Homeland Security. Most recently, she was a Senior Fellow and Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she was responsible for planning, developing and administering the organization’s work on immigration issues, with a principal focus on policy and advocacy strategies on comprehensive immigration reform; planning and convening roundtables and other venues for discussion, and conducting research and write on immigration issues. Prior to that, for nearly ten years, she was Counsel to Sen. Edward Kennedy and the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees. In that capacity, she served as Senator Kennedy’s chief counsel on immigration, border security, refugee and nationality matters, working on myriad immigration proposals, including comprehensive immigration reform. She has also served as the Managing Attorney of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Directing Attorney of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Project, and staff attorney at the Haitian Refugee Center, all based in Miami, Florida.

KJ

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nominations for the Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law being accepted

LexisNexis Matthew Bender announces the Eighth Annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law to be presented at the 2009 AILA Conference in Las Vegas, NV. A member of the Editorial Board of Bender's Immigration Bulletin, Daniel Levy died at the age of 48 on September 14, 2001, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Levy was a prolific author, litigator, and scholar, and was widely known and loved by many in the immigration bar. With this annual award LexisNexis Matthew Bender seeks to honor an individual who emulates the values that informed Mr. Levy's life and work: enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients; deep scholarship in immigration law; and an expansive vision of justice. We welcome nominations of all persons (not only attorneys), who have been working on the local and/or state level, as well as those who are known on the national level, and those who have been quietly toiling on behalf of immigrants, wherever they may be located. Readers are encouraged to forward nominations to Ellen Flynn at ellen.m.flynn@lexisnexis.com by April 15, 2009.

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Brookings Institute Video on undocumented immigrants in the courts

The Brookings Institution hosted a panel of judges, scholars, and immigration officials to discuss how suspected undocumented immigrants encounter state and federal courts. ra

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

on H1B restrictions on Stimulus Package

The law utlimately defeated an amendment to ban H1B altogether from banks that received stimulus money; still, the requirement to hire US workers first may effectively work as a ban, an editorial on Daily News concludes.

ra

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supremes Grant Cert in Padilla v. Kentucky: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for Failure to Advise of Immigration Consequences of Criminal Plea

The Supreme Court granted cert today in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky.  See SCOTUSBLOG for information and links about the case.

The issue in the case is whether the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of effective assistance of counsel requires a criminal defense attorney to advise a noncitizen client that pleading guilty to an aggravated felony will trigger mandatory, automatic deportation, and if misadvice about deportation can that misadvice amount to ineffective assistance of counsel.

Click the link above for links to the the opinion below in theSupreme Court of Kentucky, Petition for certiorari, Petitioner’s Reply Brief, and an amicus curiae of Criminal and Immigration Law Professors, et al. (in support of petitioner).

KJ

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

abUSed - The Postville Raid

Director Luis Argueta, along with co-producer Vivian Rivas, are in the post-production stage of abUSed - The Postville Raid, a full-length documentary that tells the story of one of the largest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the history of the United States. By weaving together the personal stories of the individuals, the families, and the town directly affected by the events of May 12, 2008, the film presents the human face of the issue of immigration reform and serves as a cautionary tale against abuses of constitutional human rights. abUSed - The Postville Raid Archives is an audio-visual collection of the interviews recorded in the making of the documentary that will preserve the voices of the victims and witnesses of the events of May 12, 2008.

Click the link above for an 8 minute trailer.   It is sobering what we as a nation did in Postville.  Will we do it again?

KJ

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

El Piolín Interviews President Obama

160pxobamabarack A previous Immigrant of the Day, LA radio DJ EDDIE “PIOLÍN” (Tweety Bird) SOTELO Piolin_black_shirt_3 last week interviewed none other than President Barack Obama.  As he was on several occasions during the campaugn, Obama was a guest on “El Piolín por la manana,” one of the nation’s popular radio shows with an enormous Latino following. Obama renewed his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform.  Check out  the interview here.

Sotelo is on Spanish language radio in Los Angeles and, according to press accounts, helped bring out folks for teh march 2006 immigration marches in los Angeles.

Hat tip to Robert Gittleson for this story!

KJ

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Researching Forced Migration: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources

Researching Forced Migration:  A Guide to Reference and Information Sources

Forced migration is a largely undefined academic field of study that is rapidly producing significant quantities of literature in need of organization. Designed and maintained by Elisa Mason, the Forced Migration Guide does an excellent job of sorting, arranging and providing access to extensive materials pertaining to refugees and displaced persons throughout the world. The Guide is funded through a Carnegie-Whitney grant from the American Library Association and is directed at a wide range of individuals seeking reliable and extensive sources of information for reference and research purposes. Drawing on her experience as an independent information specialist with a background that includes working for both the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC and Geneva and for the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, she highlights multiple types of materials for her readers, including online sources, books, journal articles and other print materials, thereby providing multiple options for retrieving full-text sources. The guide is organized in two major parts. The first part provides a starting point for those seeking an understanding of forced migration, including an introduction to the various aspects of the concept of forced migration. The second part provides a helpful research structure by discussing research concepts and principles, identifying starting points, and discussing ways to expand and support one’s research. A well-functioning search feature is also available on the site. In selecting which materials to include in her guide, Ms. Mason uses the following definition of forced migration from the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM): “‘Forced migration’ is a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (those displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects.” With credit to the Refugee Studies Centre, she further clarifies that “those who study this phenomenon tend to focus on ‘the causes and consequences of forced migration with an emphasis on understanding the experiences of those affected’ … the ‘affected’ can include refugees, asylum-seekers, conflict-displaced, development-displaced, and disaster-displaced persons; and trafficked people.” Her guide does not attempt to delineate academic boundaries within which resources must fall, but rather, on a selected basis, allows for natural overlap with other fields of study that impact or are impacted by forced migration. A small sampling of the types of resources that are identified in the guide include bibliographies, books, journal databases, encyclopedias, and people. Only two significant criteria limit her selection of individual titles: date (titles extend from 1990 to the present) and language (English is the only language, although other language versions are noted in the annotations when available, and she also provides a language index to facilitate retrieval of non-English resources). The guide is well maintained through new additions and monthly checks to verify the functioning of URLs. Researchers may also create an account to participate in the wiki and contribute comments.

Hat tip to Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr and the Cornell Law Library!

KJ

February 23, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Film Gran Torino: An Immigrant Story?

180pxeastwoodtux2 Check out Gran Torino if you want to see a "light" movie touching on some immigration issues.  Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, an unabashedly racist Korean War vet (and retired Detroit auto worker) who reluctantly bonds with an immigrant Asian neighbor over a classic car, his 1972 Gran Torino.  No group eludes Kowalski's venom, from Latinos to African Americans to Asian Americans (whose different nationalities are well beyond him).  The movie will be seen as over-the-top to some and controversial to others but raises some deeply troubling issues that U.S. society must grapple with.

Here is a critical review of the film that touches on some of the movie's serious themes.  The film was the subject of a panel at the University of Minnesota on Friday.  Here is a news story about that panel and talking with some of the Hmong actors in the film.

KJ

February 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Symposium Issue, New Directions in Clinical Legal Education--law for the people

Here is a symposium that blog readers might find of interest,  28 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF LAW & POLICY, PP. 1-480 (2008). Peter Joy offers an introduction to "New Directions in Clinical Legal Education--law for the people" symposium. 

Hughes, Emily. Taking first-year students to court: disorienting moments as catalysts for change. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 11-36 (2008).

Sedillo Lopez, Antoinette. Making and breaking habits: teaching (and learning) cultural context, self-awareness, and intercultural communication through case supervision in a client-service legal clinic. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 37-68 (2008).

Rand, Spencer. Creating my client's image: is case theory value neutral in public benefits cases? 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 69-110 (2008).

Bloch, Frank S. Access to justice and the global clinical movement. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 111-139 (2008).

Juergens, Ann and Angela McCaffrey. Roleplays as rehearsals for "doing the right thing"--adding practice in professional values to Moldovan and United States legal education. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 141-194 (2008).

Barry, Margaret Martin, Martin Geer, Catherine F. Klein and Ved Kumari. Justice education and the evaluation process: crossing borders. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 195-240 (2008).

Perlin, Michael L. "I might need a good lawyer, could be your funeral, my trial": global clinical legal education and the right to counsel in civil commitment cases. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 241-264 (2008).

IMMIGRATIONPROF BLOGGER Hing, Bill Ong. Legal services support centers and rebellious advocacy: a case study of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 265-358 (2008).

Tokarz, Karen, Nancy L. Cook, Susan Brooks and Brenda Bratton Blom. Conversations on "community lawyering": the newest (oldest) wave in clinical legal education. 28 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 359-402 (2008).

KJ

February 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conference on U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Poster 230pxjohn_paul_stevens2c_scotus_pho Justice John Paul Stevens wrote one of the most important immigration and asylum decisions (INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987), since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.  (My colleague and partner in blogging, Bill Hing, participated in the briefing in that case.).

As part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the dedication of Martin Luther King Jr., Hall, home to the University of California, Davis, School of Law, the 2009 UC Davis Law Review Symposium on March 6 will examine the career of Justice Stevens.  Justice Stevens has crafted a rich jurisprudence on matters involving core values of liberty, equality, and security. Legal experts from academia, journalism, and the practice, many of whom served as law clerks to the Justice, will analyze his work on topics including counterterrorism, criminal justice, abortion, affirmative action, and environmental protection.

My colleague and IntlawGrrl founder Diane Marie Amann, who clerked for Justice Stevens, took the lead on orgnizing this event, which will include Justice Steven's appearance on video.  Symposium participants include David F. Levi (Dean, Duke University School of Law), Jeffrey L. Fisher (Stanford Law School), Jamal Greene (Columbia Law School ), Linda Greenhouse (Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Senior Fellow in Law, Yale Law School; Former Supreme Court correspondent, New York Times). Elisabeth Semel (University of California, Berkeley), Cruz Reynoso (UC Davis), Diane Marie Amann (Professor and Director, California International Law Center at King Hall, UC Davis), Teresa Wynn Roseborough (Chief Litigation Counsel, MetLife, New York; Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General), Andrew Siegel (Seattle), Kenneth Manaster (Santa Clara), Daniel A. Farber (UC Berkeley), Eugene R. Fidell (President, National Institute of Military Justice Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School), Deborah N. Pearlstein (Associate Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School for Public & International Affairs, Princeton University; Former Director, Law & Security Program, Human Rights First ), and Kathryn Watts (University of Washington).

For further details, click here.

KJ

February 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: John Duddy (Northern Ireland)

200pxirelands_john_duddy John Francis Duddy (born June 19, 1979, Derry, Northern Ireland) is a middleweight boxer. Duddy currently boxes out of New York City as Ireland's John Duddy or The Derry Destroyer.  For a short documentary about Duddy, click here.

Duddy has won all of his professional bouts, 17 by knockout with 9 of those knockouts in the first round.  Last night, Duddy won a unanimous decision over rugged Matt Vanda in a fight at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto/Michael Jennings main event.

Commited to the Irish community, Duddy has been involved with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), which has a website that on its froont page states that "Under the current immigration system, neither Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy's Irish ancestors or relatives could come to America legally today."

Duddy once posed a question on immigration to Arizona Senator John McCain, a former navy boxer, at a group rally.  Duddy entered the ring in a March 16, 2006 fight wearing an ILIR t-shirt.

in Derry, Northern Ireland, John Francis Duddy's uncle, John Francis "Jackie" Duddy (after whom the boxer is named), was killed on Bloody Sunday (January 30, 1972). 

KJ

February 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old News: U.S. Immigration Courts “Overburdened, Under-Resourced” -- Is Help on the Way?

Statue_of_liberty_160_2 200pxericholderagnominee Talk Radio News Service ran a story that is not very surprising given what has been reported about immigration adjudication for years.  But it is not an issue that seems to be getting much attention from the new Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder (who heads the U.S. Department of Justice, the home of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (and the Board of Immigration Appeals and the immigration courts)).

The TRNS reports that the Brookings Institution held a meeting on Friday to discuss immigration and the U.S. court system. The focus was on the many issues in the current system and what needs to be done to improve it. Juan Osuna, Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals, began the meeting by saying, “I think that the most significant issue is basically the lack of resources. There are simply too many cases and too few judges to hear them.” He pointed out that the average judge in an immigration court hears about 1200 cases every year, compared to an average 480 case load per year for district judges."

In addition, Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit emphasized that "the issue is not only with the lack of judges, but with the poor quality of representation. “The problem of quality of representation is a severe problem in the courts… There are many fine immigration lawyers but all too often I see cases where the immigrants representation is substandard.” Additionally, he pointed out that only about 35% of immigrants have representation when they go to court. Katzmann believes improving the quality of representation is a critical issue to improve the immigration court system as a whole.

KJ

February 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)