Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Spencer S. Hsu writes for the Washington Post:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has delayed a series of proposed immigration raids and other enforcement actions at U.S. workplaces in recent weeks, asking agents in her department to apply more scrutiny to the selection and investigation of targets as well as the timing of raids, federal officials said.
A senior department official said the delays signal a pending change in whom agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement choose to prosecute -- increasing the focus on businesses and executives instead of ordinary workers.
"ICE is now scrutinizing these cases more thoroughly to ensure that [targets] are being taken down when they should be taken down, and that the employer is being targeted and the surveillance and the investigation is being done how it should be done," said the official, discussing Napolitano's views about sensitive law enforcement matters on the condition of anonymity. Click here for the rest of the story.
Josh Meyer and Anna Gorman Report in the LA Times:
Stepping into the political minefield of immigration reform, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano soon will direct federal agents to focus more on arresting and prosecuting American employers than the illegal laborers who sneak into the country to work for them, department officials said Monday.
The shift in emphasis will be outlined in revamped field guidelines issued to agents of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, as early as this week, several officials familiar with the change said.
The policy is in line with comments that President Obama made during last year's campaign, when he said enforcement efforts had failed because they focused on illegal immigrants rather than on the companies that hired them.
"There is a supply side and a demand side," one Homeland Security official said. "Like other law enforcement philosophies, there is a belief that by focusing more on the demand side, you cut off the supply."
Another department official said the changes were the result of a broad review of all immigration and border security programs and policies that Napolitano began in her first days in office. Click here for the rest of this story.
NAFSA: Association of International Educators today issued the following statement on H-1B visas:
Tomorrow, employers may begin filing applications for the 65,000 H-1B visas that are available for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins October 1. Those that are successful will be able to hire skilled foreigners—many of whom are graduating from U.S. universities with degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering—to help their companies remain cutting-edge and create jobs for Americans. If history is a guide, these visas will be snapped up within days, and many highly qualified individuals from other countries will be forced to take their skills, their drive, and their entrepreneurial spirit elsewhere.
As America and the world fall deeper into recession, it is important to break free of the rhetoric of the political debate and refocus on the fundamentals. One fundamental is that talent is always a scarce resource. There is not enough of it to go around, and every country needs more of it. Talent is also, in today’s world, highly mobile. Our economy is part of a global economy, and our job market is part of a global job market. In such a market, employers look for the talent they need wherever they can find it, and students and skilled workers look for the places to study and work that offer them the most opportunity.
To turn away individuals with skills that we need, who want to live and work in America, under the illusion that by doing so we are protecting our economy, is to deny ourselves a resource that we need to help pull us out of the recession and put our economy on a sound footing for the future. It will cost jobs, not save them.
This association is dedicated to promoting the mobility of students and scholars across borders. The advantages of attracting these individuals to our country are well known: they are a key part of the pipeline of skilled talent from outside our borders that fuels our economy; they help our universities prepare the next generation of American college graduates for the jobs of tomorrow; and they connect us to leadership and innovation around the world. Yet we cannot be successful in the competition for these students and scholars if they know that the only way they will be able to accept jobs after graduation—with employers who need them and want to hire them—is to win the H-1B lottery.
People the world over—people with big dreams and the entrepreneurial spirit to pursue them—want to come to the United States because they know it is here that they can realize their dreams. So it has been since the first Pilgrims sailed—and so it must continue to be. Skilled immigrants fuel innovation in America. The H-1B visa system is one path for them to get here; that path needs to be open. Yes, H-1B visas are sometimes abused, and where abuses exist, they must be stopped. No one supports measures to protect the program’s integrity more strongly than its proponents. But a cap on talent is self-defeating.
We call on the 111th Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Such reform should include the removal or adjustment of unrealistic caps on temporary and permanent employment-based visa categories, which include H-1B visas and green cards. If Congress chooses not to address immigration reform comprehensively, these measures must be enacted separately. Unclogging the path to permanent residency for skilled immigrants will relieve the pressure on H-1B visas. However, these visas will still be necessary for those for whom temporary status is appropriate. Either way, America wins.
ADC & Penn State's Center for Immigrants' Rights Report Finds Special Registration Program Counterproductive and Discriminatory Washington,
The Center for Immigrants' Rights at Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will release today a white paper titled "NSEERS: The Consequences of America's efforts to Secure Its Borders." The paper was previewed yesterday to government officials, legal practitioners and nongovernmental organizations at the offices of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Washington, DC.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program was implemented as a counterterrorism tool in the wake of September 11, 2001. The white paper provides a legal and policy analysis of NSEERS, and recommendations to the Obama administration. According to the white paper, although many courts have found that the NSEERS program did not violate the Constitution, "the Executive's policy moving forward should not rest on the bare constitutional minimum. The United States government has an important decision to make about what kind of America it wants to be." "More than seven years after its implementation, the ongoing impact of NSEERS on individuals and families is striking" said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, director of the Center for Immigrants' Rights at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. "The special registration program has raised a number of public policy questions. Public outcry, governmental criticism of the program and judicial challenges demonstrate that the program has not necessarily benefited the United States domestic and foreign policy." "The explicit targeting of the Arab and Muslim communities is un-American and has proven to be counterproductive," said Kareem Shora, ADC national executive director. "Using immigration law as a counterterrorism tool with racial profiling tactics has failed in the past, and continues to fail." "Despite repeated assurances from the Department of Homeland Security that such policies are no longer used, the Arab and Muslim communities continue to be profiled to this very day; the most recent example being Operation Frontline which targeted Arabs and Muslims during the 2004 presidential elections. Once again, we call on the Obama administration for a serious re-examination and overhaul of such policies. It is past due for DHS to implement real change on this issue."
Alvaro Huerta has a guest post on La Bloga ("Seeing How the Other Half Lives") that is well worth reading. He analyzes a good question -- why are corporate bailouts and help fpor the middle class supported by government without stigma attached while any public benefits for the poor are intentionally stigmatizing to the hilt? A good question if you ask me.
Monday, March 30, 2009
For the latest on the impossible DREAM (Act) and related issues, see Michael A. Olivas, Undocumented College Students, Taxation, and Financial Aid: A Technical Note, 32 Review of Higher Education, 407-416 (2009). Download Undocumented College Students, Taxation, and Financial Aid_A Technical Note_Michael Olivas_Review of Higher Edu_Spring 2009_Vol 32 No 3 407_416 Professor Olivas has been writing important scholarship on this subject for years but other scholars and policy-makers have only begun to listen.
The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality Advancing Justice through Knowledge and Advocacy Mission
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law. The center is named after Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American who challenged internment during WWII all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The launch will be celebrated with an all-day event on Saturday, April 18. Download Korematsu center launch invitation. More specific information about the event can be found here through our website or the Center’s facebook page.
The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality Advancing Justice through Knowledge and Advocacy Mission
The Center’s mission is to advance social justice by fostering critical thinking about discrimination in U.S. society and through targeted advocacy to foster equality and freedom. Its research unit will focus on understanding the relationship between law and categories of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, age, and religion, especially with regard to their intersections. It will bring together scholars from various disciplines and will support interdisciplinary scholarship. Its advocacy unit will apply this understanding to combat discrimination through targeted advocacy efforts. Its education unit will help train the next generation of scholar/teacher/activists through post-graduate teaching and advocacy fellowships.
What the Center Will Do
The work will be divided into three units: (1) research, (2) advocacy, and (3) and education projects.
1. Research Unit.
We will host workshops and conferences that will lead to edited collections of original work to be published in book form, eventually producing one book each year. Our first book project is denoted the “After Race” project. We will be doing a call for papers shortly. The first book will be edited by Robert Chang, Richard Delgado, and Jean Stefancic. Contributors will be designated Non-resident Korematsu Faculty Fellows for a three-year period during which they will be in conversation with each other and will meet for occasional workshops culminating in a conference at the end of the three-year period. A new three-year cycle will begin each spring. The second book project will begin in Spring 2010 and will include a guest editor, Greg Robinson, a historian based in Canada. It will look at group cooperation and conflict, historical perspectives and contemporary issues.
2. Advocacy Unit.
We will engage in an array of advocacy efforts to foster the goals of the Center. This will include developing a civil rights amicus practice. This year, we signed onto amicus briefs before the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court in the areas of marriage equality, voting rights, language access in education, employment discrimination, and immigration. We are developing a two-semester amicus clinic that will begin in Fall 2010. It will have a classroom component in the fall focusing on civil rights litigation strategy followed by an amicus clinic where students will be supervised by faculty members and will work in coordination with lawyers to draft amicus briefs in litigation matters that further the Korematsu Center’s mission. This course will eventually be taught by a clinical teaching fellow, currently scheduled to begin in 2012, earlier if resources permit.
3. Education Unit.
The Center will broaden its reach through education and pipeline projects. With regard to our J.D. students, the Center will work to enhance course offerings in the area of Law and Equality. We will also engage in projects to enhance the diversity in legal academia. The primary projects here are creating teaching and advocacy fellowships in the area of law and equality and to host on a biennial basis a conference to promote diversity in law school deanships. The Korematsu Center will be hosting, with the Society of American Law Teachers, a conference on Promoting Diversity in Law School Deanships in Fall 2009. We will be bringing in our first Korematsu Teaching Fellow in Fall 2010.
The Jerome McCristal Culp, Jr., Collection on Race, Gender and Sexuality in Law and Life
The Center will also have as a resource the Jerome McCristal Culp, Jr., Collection on Race, Gender and Sexuality in Law and Life. Consisting primarily of the late Jerome Culp’s private collection, the approximately 4000 books will be housed in a special area in the Law Library at Seattle University School of Law.
Serious students of immigration law should look at this article: "The President and Immigration Law" Yale Law Journal by ADAM B. COX (Chiicago) and CRISTINA RODRIGUEZ (NYU)
Congress's plenary power to regulate immigration sharply limits the judiciary's involvement in immigration regulation. Since the plenary power doctrine was first formulated, the Supreme Court has emphasized that immigration represents an issue best left to the political branches. The resulting extended focus by scholars on the implications of this distribution of power between courts and the political branches has obscured a second important separation-of-powers issue: the question of how immigration authority is distributed between the political branches themselves. The Court's immigration jurisprudence has shed little light on this question, often treating the political branches as something of a singular entity. Surprisingly little scholarly commentary has addressed the inter-relationship between the two branches or attempted to discern whether consistent power-sharing patterns have emerged over time. In this Article, we explore how the allocation of power between the political branches to screen immigrants has been understood both as a matter of constitutional history and as a matter of actual practice, with a view to better understanding the structure of American immigration law. We present a long-overlooked constitutional history according to which the executive has claimed inherent authority to screen and admit immigrants, But we demonstrate how this use of authority has been slowly domesticated by the rise of the administrative state and its associated jurisprudence, with the consequence that most executive policy making in the immigration arena proceeds today through delegated authority. But this delegation has not always operated in obvious ways. We show that the explosion of a detailed, rule-bound immigration code has had the counter intuitive consequence of delegating tremendous authority to the President to decide the most basic questions about which types of non citizens, and how many, should reside in the United States. But this delegation has been asymmetric: the President has considerable authority to screen immigrants at the back end of the system through its enforcement decisions, but little control over screening at the front end, before immigrants enter the United States. We argue that this asymmetric delegation has pathological consequences in certain circumstances, and we suggest two possible solutions: either formally delegating to the President the power to adjust the quotas and admissions criteria at the heart of immigration law, or seriously restricting the prosecutorial discretion of the President in the immigration arena.
Migration Expert reports that the Australian government has announced changes to the Immigration Act, in order to eliminate any discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. These changes will result in same-sex couples receiving the same treatment as opposite-sex de facto couples, both as partners and parents.
At a press conference this morning, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine unveiled the results of his Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration Policy, which included recommendations for the establishment of an Office on New Americans to help integrate immigrant families into the state’s culture and work force. Policy experts at the Progressive States Network (PSN) were quick to praise the panel’s recommendations, which they placed within an emerging trend among state lawmakers to include working immigrant families into plans for shared economic growth. According to PSN Interim Executive Director Nathan Newman, who authored a comprehensive 50-state analysis of state immigration policy last September, “The story that states are rushing out to punish undocumented immigrants is really a smoke screen. When you look at the facts, you see that more and more states are finding ways to integrate immigrants into a growing workforce and thriving small business community. States like New Jersey realize that there is a far better economic future in working together than there is in dividing the population against itself.” According to the report, entitled “The Anti-immigrant Movement that Failed,” only 11 percent of the nation’s undocumented immigrant population lives in states with “punitive” or “somewhat punitive” policies. States like New Jersey, which are accustomed to large immigrant populations, tend to have the most inclusive policies, while states with smaller or newer immigrant populations tend to resort to punitive measures out of a lack of experience or knowledge of better options. Said Newman, “The only states that are rushing to implement punitive policies are the ones who don’t know what to do with recent influxes of newcomers into their states. States like New Jersey, Illinois, and California, who have lived with immigrant families for a long time, recognize that integrating immigrants into their workforce is the only viable option to ensure their long term economic prosperity and moral dignity.” PSN Immgration and Workers’ Rights Policy Specialist Caroline Fan cited New Jersey’s combination of large immigrant population and comparative economic prosperity as proof that immigrant families are necessary to a robust economy. At 21 percent, New Jersey has the fifth highest immigrant population in the nation. It also has the second-highest per capita income and the second highest median household income. While Fan said that almost all of the policy recommendations would enhance New Jersey’s economic competitiveness, she singled out a few recommendations for particular praise. According to Fan, provisions to reorganize government agencies to provide language access and culturally competent services through a New Americans Office, to extend in-state college tuition to all immigrant children, and to enforce wage and hour laws and payroll taxes for employers who exploit immigrant and US-born workers will put New Jersey in a strong position to build a work force capable of driving the state’s economic recovery. She also noted that these are budget-friendly changes that other states can also implement to retain and attract businesses seeking the most qualified and diversified workforce. “Immigrant families work incredibly hard to ensure the success of their children and their communities. In particular, in-state tuition can help keep talented New Jersey students in the state, increase school revenues, and stem the loss of $1.5 billion of tuition by students who leave the state for college elsewhere. By giving them the opportunity to achieve the benefits of higher education, there’s really no limit to the contributions that they can make to our society.” Fan continued, “Immigrants have long been and will long continue to be the backbone of New Jersey’s economy and the economy of the entire country. If we give these hard working families the tools they need to excel, we’ve got a bright future ahead of us.”
Editorial from the Washington Post:
Haiti was already an island of unimaginable suffering, a country ravaged by war and roving gangs where four out of five residents lived in extreme poverty. Then, in less than a month last year, four vicious storms lashed it, killing up to 800 people, leaving as many as 1 million homeless and inflicting at least $1 billion in damage -- 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The State Department cautions visitors that there are no "safe areas" in Haiti, and that "kidnapping, death threats, murders, drug-related shootouts, armed robberies, break-ins and carjackings are common." Yet, it is U.S. policy to deport the estimated 30,000 Haitians in this country back to this hotbed of violence and squalor. The United States grants temporary protected status (TPS) to immigrants from countries with extreme economic or political conditions; Haitian immigrants more than qualify.
Haitians in the United States are one of the few sources of stability for their home country, sending back remittances that total an estimated one-fourth of the Haiti's GDP. Deporting Haitians, and thereby diminishing millions of dollars in what is essentially foreign aid, would devastate a country that can ill afford to take more economic hits. A surge of deportees, who would arrive without either homes or jobs, would also place an impossible burden on Haiti's skeletal social services.
Mr. Obama recently issued an order that allowed Liberian immigrants to stay temporarily in the United States. Immigrants from Somalia, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras have also been granted TPS in recent years. Why are immigrants from a disaster-wracked country that is the poorest in the hemisphere less deserving? Click here for the rest of the piece.
Editorial from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"Earlier this month, an estimated 400,000 people jammed the streets of downtown Cleveland for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Some, maybe most, were there for the party. Others simply wanted to escape their cocoons on Northeast Ohio's most beautiful day in months. Still others were there to celebrate their Irish heritage, an annual ritual that often begins in the Catholic churches where their families have worshipped for decades.
Let's focus on that last group, because it's time for Cleveland to think about St. Patrick's Day as symbolic of something far more meaningful than dance groups, bagpipes and green beer. The Irish immigrants who poured into Cleveland during the 19th century were just one of many waves of newcomers whose energy, ambition and sheer numbers made this one of America's most prosperous cities. Click here for the rest of the piece.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
This weekend, the 15th annual Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty was held at the University of California, Davis School of Law. Organized on the UC Davis end by Professor Anupam Chander, the conference brought Asian American and other professors from across the United States to the Central Valley of California.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Asian-Americans: Linking Asia to America.” Plenary sessions considered the relationships between Asia and the West, sometimes through a comparative law approach, at other times through a transnational law approach, or through understandings of diasporic identities or the law of immigration. Here are my welcoming remarks. Download CAPALF welcome
ImmigrationProf Blogger Bill Hing gave an extraordinary keynote on Friday evening on "The Human Face of Immigration Policy" and Madhavi Sunder offered another powerful talk on Saturday night Other panelists and keynotes included Steven Bender (Oregon), Francisca Montoya (Cesar Chavez Foundation), John Tehranian (Chapman), Rose Villazor (SMU), Wendy Duong (Denver), Anna Han (Santa Clara), Anil Kalhan (Drexel), Holning Lau (Hofstra), Rick Su (Buffalo), Peter Yu (Drake), Jonathan Kang (Washington), Srividhya Ragavan (Oklahoma), Raha Jorjani (UC Davis) Jeff Redding (St. Louis), Jarrod Wong (McGeorge), Mary Wong (Franklin Pierce), Tom Joo (UC Davis), Anupam Chander (UC Davis), Afra Afsharipour (UC Davis), Madhavi Sunder (UC Davis), Angela Chan (Asian Law Caucus), Raja Raghunath (Denver), Lisa Ikemoto (UC Davis), Bob Chang (Seattle), and Neil Gotanda (Western State).
On Friday, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate John Trasviña for Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John has devoted his legal career to public service in civil rights and immigration policy. In the 1980s and 90s, he served as Chairman Paul Simon’s General Counsel & Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Thereafter, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs in 1993. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Trasviña as Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices. As Special Counsel, he led the only federal government office devoted solely to immigrant workplace rights and was the highest ranking Latino attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. After returning to California, he taught immigration law at Stanford Law School. In 2006, he was named President & General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF). A native of San Francisco, Trasviña is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. In recent years, he was a member of the San Francisco Elections Commission, president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco, and a board member of the La Raza Lawyers Association, CORO of Northern California, Lowell High School Alumni Association, League of Women Voters and Pacific Coast Immigration Museum. He serves on the boards of the Latino Issues Forum and Campaign for College Opportunity and recently served as Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.
Kudos to the Obama administration for appointing someone so committed to civil rights for all!.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
From Jean-Luc Renault:
My name is Jean-Luc Renault and I’m with the public radio show Marketplace. I just wanted to point out a post on our new blog, Scratch Pad, that addresses immigration. Since we’re a business show, it’s definitely got a business angle, but I just thought you might be interested.
Thanks so much.
261 S. Figueroa St., Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 621-3577
Fax: (213) 621-3506
Friday, March 27, 2009
A new report, released on Thursday by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner, said USCIS lacked adequate baseline data to measure performance, failed to oversee or document lessons from pilot programs and other initiatives being executed by field offices, and lacked a formal agreement with the State Department to ensure timely processing of immigration benefits. Click here for a copy of the report.
As more Americans lose their jobs, the U.S. government is actively discouraging the recruitment of foreign workers, from dude ranchers and fruit pickers to lifeguards and computer programmers. At least three avenues of legal immigration have seen roadblocks erected.
(1) Companies receiving federal bailout money now face extra hurdles before they can hire highly skilled guest workers on an H-1B visa.
(2) On Friday, the Labor Department will close a public-comment period for a proposal to suspend an agricultural guest-worker program, known as the H-2A.
(3) The State Department is asking some sponsors of the J-1 visa -- seasonal employers such as hotels, golf resorts and summer camps -- to reduce dependence on foreign labor.
For the full story in the Wall Street Journal, click here.
Dennis Blair, the National Intelligence Director said that the Mexican government is not on the verge of collapse, the top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday, seeking to tamp down increasing alarm over the powerful and violent drug cartels operating in the country that is the United States' southern neighbor. Echoing the assessment of Mexico's leaders, Blair said the dramatic increase in killings in Mexico is a result of that government's crackdown on drug cartels.A U.S. military planning report issued in January warned that the escalating violence is dangerously destabilizing Mexico and warned its government could collapse. But Blair said there is no danger of that. For the full story in the Washington Times, click here.
The Washington Times reports that, according to US officials, Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say. Click here for the full story.
From Kyle de Beausset:
I just wrote the following post with 5 Actions You Can Take for the DREAM Act:
I would appreciate it if everyone could take the following actions, and get others to see them as well by digging, stumbling, redditing, mixxing, my post:
Give it a thumbs up on StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon) too!
1. CALL - The National Council of La Raza has a page to help you call your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
2. FAX - America's Voice has a page to help you fax your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
3. EMAIL - Change.org has a page to help you email your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
4. PETITION - Dreamactivist.org has the official petition in support of the DREAM Act.
5. TEXT - Text "Justice" ("Justicia" for Spanish) to 69866 to be the first to know when the DREAM Act is introduced. FIRM's Mobile Action Network is an excellent way to stay connected and have maximum impact at just the right moment.