Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Plea from Asylum Access

Asylum Access is a start-up non-profit that helps refugees assert their rights to live safely, work, put kids in school and access healthcare and social services within their first countries of refuge. Through legal aid, strategic litigation, policy advocacy and community education, Asylum Access empowers refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America to assert their human rights. On paper, international law promises refugees a wide range of rights: access to legal assistance, protection from deportation, freedom from discrimination, liberty of movement, and the opportunity to seek employment, among others. These rights are not mere charity from more privileged individuals, organizations and governments; they are fundamental human rights to which all people are entitled. Unfortunately, these rights are not on-the-ground realities for most refugees. Without access to legal advocates, refugees are unlikely even to know their rights, much less have the power to assert them. Legal counsel and representation enable refugees to obtain asylum or other legal status, which in turn allows them to work, send their children to school, and begin rebuilding their lives. Not only is legal advocacy more efficient and cost-effective than handouts – it also puts dignity and power back in the hands of the refugees. Since starting its first direct legal services project in 2007, Asylum Access has been tremendously successful. With the help of Asylum Access attorneys, thousands of refugees in Ecuador and Thailand pursued their rights to asylum, employment, education and more. Asylum Access also successfully lobbied for the inclusion of refugee employment rights in the Ecuadorian constitution for the first time ever – giving 250,000 Colombian refugees who were formerly prohibited from working the opportunity to seek employment and provide for their families. In June 2009, Asylum Access opened an office in Tanzania. Asylum Access is striving to continuously expand its efforts and increase respect for refugees’ human rights around the globe. Asylum Access is funded by private contributions and government grants and owes its existence to the generosity of donors. If you would like to contribute, please visit http://www.asylumaccess.org/. Because Asylum Access is a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status (Tax ID 20-3642040), your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Briefs in Padilla v. Kentucky

We previously announced that the Supreme Court granted cert today in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky. 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. For analysis and briefs, click the links.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Anatomy of an Immigration Raid

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The Yale Daily News tells the detailed story (here and here) of a June 2007 immigration raid in New Haven, Connecticut.  It relays the raid's human impacts as well as the efforts of the immigration clinic at Yale Law School, led by Professor Michael Wishnie, to help the immigrants arrested and their families.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Another Unlawful Deportation

Dan Kowalski of Bender's Immigration Bulletin brought a Ninth Circuit decision to my attention that highlights some of the problems with our current immigration system:

"We hold that Aguilar’s conviction for violating Article 92 of the U.C.M.J. is not an aggravated felony. Aguilar is not, therefore, deportable as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony. Accordingly, we grant the petition for review and remand to the BIA with instructions to terminate the proceedings and order the government to release Aguilar."

Buried in footnote 5 is the following bombshell:  "While this appeal was pending and this court’s order staying removal was in place, the government mistakenly removed Aguilar to Honduras. To date, efforts by the government and Aguilar’s counsel to locate and return Aguilar to the United States have been unsuccessful."

I am left to ask -- what the heck?

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles

Cahan, Miriam R. Note. An impossible choice: denial of parent's derivative asylum claims based on their citizen daughter's risk of female genital mutilation. 8 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 545-565 (2009).

Edwards, Alice. Human security and the rights of refugees: transcending territorial and disciplinary borders. 30 Mich. J. Int'l L. 763-807 (2009).

Enriquez Andres, John. Note. The raiding of the pearl: the effects of trade liberalization on Philippine labor migration, and the Filipino migrant worker's experience. 10 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 523-581 (2009).

Fandl, Kevin J. Immigration posses: U.S. immigration law and local enforcement practices. 34 J. Legis. 16-37 (2008).

Junior, Simi N.A. Note. Many strands: immigration reform and the effect of Mexican migration on African American unemployment. 10 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 487-521 (2009).

Liebmann, Theo S. Keeping promises to immigrant youth. 29 Pace L. Rev. 511-521 (2009).

Shachar, Ayelet. The shifting border of immigration regulation. 30 Mich. J. Int'l L. 809-839 (2009).

Weiss, Adam. Transnational families in crisis: an analysis of the domestic violence rule in E.U. free movement law. 30 Mich. J. Int'l L. 841-879 (2009).

Yeh, Rick Fang-Chi. Today's immigration legal system: flaw and possible reforms. 10 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 441-467 (2009).

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Steve "King" of Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

From America's Voice:

This Time, Rep. Steve King Throws the Free Market Under the Bus, Along with Immigrants

Washington, DC – In the latest attempt to derail health care reform by blaming immigrants, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is up to the same old tricks – only this time, King wants to restrict access to the free market by individuals willing to pay for their own healthcare.

What set King off were two “Dear Colleague” letters circulating in the House of Representatives, where nearly two dozen Democrats made the case for allowing taxpaying, legal immigrants to access health care, and undocumented immigrants to purchase private health insurance in the “exchange” – with their own money, not taxpayer funds. 

As Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), one of the letters’ authors, stated: "Legal permanent residents should be able to purchase their plans, and they should also be eligible for subsidies if they need it.  Undocumented, if they can afford it, should be able to buy their own private plans. It keeps them out of the emergency room.” 

In typical fashion, Rep. King read the word “immigrant” and jumped on it, telling the Washington Times: "If anybody can, with a straight face, advocate that we should provide health insurance for people who broke into our country, broke our law and for the most part are criminals, I don't know where they ever would draw the line.”  Never mind the fact that no one was advocating taxpayer assistance to undocumented workers, but simply the right to purchase health insurance with their own money.  Since when were Republicans like King so opposed to the free market?  Oh right – when it involves undocumented immigrants, who “for the most part are criminals,” according to King.

Of course, the actual details matter little to Rep. King and his water carriers in the media, who pushed the story throughout the day yesterday.  According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “It doesn’t seem to matter that healthcare legislation states clearly and unequivocally that those in the U.S. without authorization will not be eligible for taxpayer funded health care.  It doesn’t seem to matter that the White House and the Senate Finance Committee have gone so far as to prohibit undocumented immigrants from using their own money to purchase private insurance via health exchanges.  It doesn’t seem to matter that there are stringent verification procedures in place and that expanding them only costs taxpayers and excludes citizens.  What seems to matter is that Republicans like Steve King and Joe Wilson cannot resist the siren call of nativism, and their bankrupt strategy of trying to distort the health care debate with shameless demagoguery.  When it comes choosing between trumpeting the virtues of the free market vs. trumping up fake issues and bashing immigrants, immigrant-bashing wins.”

bh

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latino Leaders Riled by Role of Immigration in Health Care Debate

Daphne Eviatar for the Washington Independent writes that "Latino lawmakers had long ago given up on the idea that illegal immigrants would receive any sort of subsidized health insurance under a health care reform bill, even if there are strong economic, public health and moral arguments to support the idea. But what they hadn’t expected – at least not before Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst earlier this month – was that immigrants would be so scapegoated in the health care debate that undocumented immigrants would be denied the opportunity even to purchase market-based private health insurance with their own money. That development, and other possible provisions of the Senate Finance Committee health care bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that may exclude even some legal immigrants from the benefits of a new health care system, threatens to undermine Latino support for Democratic lawmakers in the 2010 elections."

The need for health care for all U.S. residents is great.  A Pew Hispanic Center report released on September 25 found that six of ten Hispanic adults in the United States who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents lack health insurance.  Again, as we do with the issue of immigration enforcement, the nation faces the question -- Who are we as a nation?  What do we stand for as a people?  How will history record what we did here today?

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

2010 E Pluribus Unum Prizes

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The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has announced that the application period for the 2010 E Pluribus Unum Prizes opens tomorrow, October 1. The E Pluribus Unum Prizes national awards program provides four $50,000 awards annually to exceptionally successful immigrant integration initiatives. The awards recognize initiatives that have an outstanding record of helping immigrants and their children adapt, thrive, and contribute to the United States or that have successfully brought immigrants and native-born residents together to build stronger, more cohesive communities. The awards are open to individuals, nonprofit and community organizations, businesses, religious groups, and government entities, agencies, or officials operating in the United States. The deadline to apply is December 10, 2009 at 5 pm EST. Application rules and procedures and profiles of the 2009 winners can be found at www.integrationawards.org.

To join the U.S. Immigrant Integration Network go to: http://immigrant-integration.ning.com/?xgi=9yeX0n1 or to request an invitation to join send a message to marciga@migrationpolicy.org.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Over 40 Organizations Send Letter to DHS Inspector General Calling for NSEERS Audit

A couple of weeks ago, more than 40 organizations, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, submitted a letter to Richard L. Skinner, US Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, requesting an audit of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).  The negative impacts of NSEERS on the Arab-American, South Asian-American and Muslim-American communities continue, which has provoked the call for an audit.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AILA Names Crystal L. Williams as its New Executive Director

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has announced that Crystal L. Williams has been named as its new Executive Director. AILA is the national association of more than 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. Over the past four years, Williams has been serving AILA in the position of Deputy Director for Programs. Williams will be the third Executive Director of AILA since the formation of its national office in 1982.

Williams has been involved in immigration for more than 25 years: as a practicing immigration attorney, as a law publisher, as a pro bono program director, as a government official, and, for most of the past decade, as a program leader within the AILA national office. In the course of her years of practice, she served as chair of the Atlanta chapter, and on a variety of liaison, policy and program committees for the national association. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and the State University of New York at Oneonta.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Symposium Announcement: Law, Gender and Citizenship: Contemporary Issues for American Indians and American Immigrants

The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society has announced that its 2010 Symposium: Law, Gender and Citizenship: Contemporary Issues for American Indians and American Immigrantswill be on March 5, 2010 at the University of Wisconsin Law School.  The organizers are seeking original scholarship, from both scholars and practitioners, that addresses the intersections of law and gender in the daily lives of two populations, each of which occupies a unique space in American law: American Indians and Immigrants. Interested parties should send an abstract to WJLGS.Symposium@gmail.com by November 15, 2009. Those selected for the Symposium will be notified in early January 2010. The Journal’s Symposium issue will be published in Winter 2010. Questions can be addressed to Symposium Editor Dan Lewerenz, danlewerenz@gmail.com, or Deputy Symposium Editor Kate Frigo, kate.frigo@gmail.com.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Meaning of an "Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever" Policy

There is an interesting juxtaposition of immigration stories in the N.Y. Times today.  Julia Preston writes about the controversey surrounding the 1800 immigrants losing their jobs in Los Angeles at the American Apparel, a garment manufacturer.  Nina Bernstein in the N.Y. Times writes about the by-gone era of Chinese "paper sons," another time when migrants seeking to come to the United States attempted to evade the restrictive (and blatantly discriminatory) immigration laws.  Today, most observers admit that the Chinese exclusion laws were an incredible mistake and do not begrudge the paper sons for attempting to circumvent the law.

How will we view our treatment of undocumented immigrants a century from now?  It is noteworthy that a report released today documents the increase in border deaths, deaths that a direct result of increased U.S. border enforcement efforts.  The report, which is available here, was prepared by the American Civil Liberties of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the National Commission of Human Rights; it is entitled Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the US/Mexico Border.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Craig Ferguson (United Kingdom)

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Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Craig Ferguson (born May 17, 1962) is host of CBS's The Late Late Show, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination in 2006.  Before his career as a late-night talk-show host, Ferguson was best known in the United States for his role as the office boss, Nigel Wick, on The Drew Carey Show from 1996 to 2003. He is the author of the 2006 novel Between the Bridge and the River and his 2009 memoir American on Purpose. He both starred in and co-wrote three films, including The Big Tease (2000). Ferguson is a naturalized U.S. citizen and continues to also hold UK citizenship.

For a recent N.Y. Times story about Ferguson, click here.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Reform and Racial Tensions

Robert Gittelson has a posting on Standing Firm on Immigration Reform and Racial Tensions that is well worth reading.

KJ

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the Bookshelves: Jorge Castañeda, Ex Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants

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The New Press has announced the paperback publication of Ex Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants, an examination of the complex issues surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States from former Mexican foreign minister Jorge G. Castañeda. From the massive nationwide rally in support of immigrant rights in May 2006 to protests against the increasingly frequent immigration raids across the country, the public debate on immigration reform has largely centered on Mexican immigrants. Yet, in the United States, we rarely hear the Mexican perspective on the issue. In portraits that defy American stereotypes of who is a Mexican immigrant, Castañeda describes just who makes up the newest generation of immigrants from Mexico, why they have chosen to live in the United States, where they work, and what they ultimately hope to achieve. Drawing on his wide-ranging experience, Casteñeda examines the century-long historical background behind the labor exchange between Mexico and the United States, while offering an insider’s account of the official conversations and secret negotiations between the two countries in recent years. As the public debate on immigration reform continues, Ex Mex is essential reading for all who want to make sense of the complex issue from the Mexican perspective.

Jorge G. Castañeda is the author of several books, including Perpetuating Power, The Mexican Shock  and Utopia Unarmed. Having served as Mexico’s foreign minister from 2000 to 2003, he is currently Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American Studies at New York University. He divides his time between Mexico City and New York City.

KJ

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Fee Increases Contemplated

Teresa Watanabe and Anna Gorman write in the LA Times:

U.S. immigration officials are considering another possible round of fee increases and budget cuts next year, prompting concern among immigrant rights groups.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the new director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said during a visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday that "financial challenges" have caused the agency to consider potential fee increases but no decision has been made.

The agency is facing a $118-million revenue shortfall this year in part because applications for citizenship and skilled worker visas are below projections, according to officials.

Citizenship applications plunged to 58,000 last year from 254,000 the previous year in the Southern California district. Most experts blame the decline on a fee increase of 69% to $675 in 2007.

But immigration officials said the agency is required by law to be self-supporting and that the fee increase was required because a special congressional appropriation to help reduce application backlogs had run out.

To help close the shortfall, Mayorkas said, the agency has requested $206 million from Congress.

"It is financially responsible to examine all of the options that are available . . . as the agency confronts financial challenges," Mayorkas said.

Immigrant advocates said, however, that any additional fee increase would severely hamper legal immigrants from pursuing citizenship.

"Right now the high cost of citizenship is putting the dream of naturalization out of reach of low- and moderate-income legal permanent residents, and any future increase will just make the situation worse," said Rosalind Gold of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund in Los Angeles. Click here for the rest of the story. 

bh

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A few Democrats in Congress Make Feeble Demand for Health Care for Immigrants

A group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access. In two letters joined by about 20, Democrats argue that it is unfair to bar illegal immigrants from paying their own way in a government-sponsored exchange. Legal immigrants, they say, regardless of how long they've been in the United States, should be able to get government-subsidized health care if they meet the other eligibility requirements. The Democrats' letters, however, do not issue ultimatums or threaten to withhold support for the bills if their requests aren't met. Click here for the full story,

ra

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Miranda Warnings at Border?

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Influential federal judge Jack Weinstein denied a motion to suppress but acknowledged that "there is some force in the defendant's argument that because of increased criminal penalties and prosecutions arising out of post-9/11 border inquiries, Miranda warnings are appropriate when a person entering the country is questioned in a secondary inspection area." United States v. Lnu (E.D.N.Y.  Sept. 25, 2009).  Download Immig__and_date_geq__09_16_2[1]

KJ

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Second Circuit Naturalization Decision

Here (Download Decision) is a decision on naturalization from the Second Circuit. NYC immigration attorney Paul O'Dwyer states that "It agrees with the Fourth and Ninth Circuits [Etape v. Chertoff, 497 F.3d 379 (4th Cir. 2007) and United States v. Hovsepian, 359 F.3d 1144 (9th Cir. 2004) (en banc).] that the District Court has exclusive juridiction over a naturalization action filed pursuant to 8 USC Section 1447(b), and that USCIS lacks jurisdiction to deny a naturalization petition once a district court action has been commenced. USCIS routinely fails to timely render decisions within 120 days of a naturalization interview, as required by Secion 1447(b), instead, issuing a denial of the naturalization application after the applicant commences an action for naturalization in the District Court, and then moving to dismiss the District Court action for failure to administratively appeal the denial within USCIS. This decision holds that USCIS cannot do this type of end run around the judicial process."

KJ

September 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Navarette: Obama on Immigration

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Here is how Ruben Navarette Jr. summarizes what President Obama has done on immigration so far: "President Obama has placed the immigration reform community at the back of the bus."

As I have said before, all we have gotten from the President so far on immigration is enforcement now, enforecment forever.

KJ 

September 28, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)