Monday, November 30, 2009
Imaginary Lines Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented Immigration, 1882-1930 By Patrick Ettinger Although popularly conceived as a relatively recent phenomenon, patterns of immigrant smuggling and undocumented entry across American land borders first emerged in the late nineteenth century. Ingenious smugglers and immigrants, long and remote boundary lines, and strong push-and-pull factors created porous borders then, much as they do now. Historian Patrick Ettinger offers the first comprehensive historical study of evolving border enforcement efforts on American land borders at the turn of the twentieth century. He traces the origins of widespread immigrant smuggling and illicit entry on the northern and southern United States borders at a time when English, Irish, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Lebanese, Japanese, Greek, and, later, Mexican migrants created various "backdoors" into the United States. No other work looks so closely at the sweeping, if often ineffectual, innovations in federal border enforcement practices designed to stem these flows. From upstate Maine to Puget Sound, from San Diego to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, federal officials struggled to adapt national immigration policies to challenging local conditions, all the while battling wits with resourceful smugglers and determined immigrants. In effect, the period saw the simultaneous "drawing" and "erasing" of the official border, and its gradual articulation and elaboration in the midst of consistently successful efforts to undermine it. Patrick Ettinger is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento.
No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement By Cynthia E. Orozco. Founded by Mexican American men in 1929, the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) has usually been judged according to Chicano nationalist standards of the late 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on extensive archival research, including the personal papers of Alonso S. Perales and Adela Sloss-Vento, No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed presents the history of LULAC in a new light, restoring its early twentieth-century context. Cynthia Orozco also provides evidence that perceptions of LULAC as a petite bourgeoisie, assimilationist, conservative, anti-Mexican, anti-working class organization belie the realities of the group's early activism. Supplemented by oral history, this sweeping study probes LULAC's predecessors, such as the Order Sons of America, blending historiography and cultural studies. Against a backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, World War I, gender discrimination, and racial segregation, No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed recasts LULAC at the forefront of civil rights movements in America. Cynthia E. Orozco chairs the History and Humanities Department at Eastern New Mexico University in Ruidoso, where she teaches U.S. history, Western civilization, and world humanities.
“Post Racial” Civil Rights Law, Politics and Legal Education: New and Old Colorlines in the age of Obama
June 8 – 10, 2010 Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, New York, New York
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Susan Westerberg Prager, AALS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Devon Wayne Carbado, University of California, Los Angeles, Chair, Planning Committee for AALS Workshop on Race & the Law
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Plenary: The Legal (Re)production of Inequality
(Panelists will be asked to produce something (paper or answer questions) to be posted on workshop website)
Racial disparities persist across a number of sectors of American life—so much so, in fact, that they are part of our “common knowledge” about race. Most people agree, for example, that whites do better on standardized tests than blacks and Latinos and that blacks and Latinos are more vulnerable to incarceration than whites. While conservative arguments tend to explain these racial disparities in terms of agency and social responsibility, liberal or progressive arguments tend to invoke broader social structures. As between these two competing explanations, the conservative one has far more traction—politically and doctrinally. This makes it all the more important for proponents of the “social structures” approach to articulate precisely how such structures work.
From the standpoint of the social structures approach, law can play a role in reproducing inequality, even when no “racial classifications” are involved. It is the project of this plenary to demonstrate some of the distinctive mechanisms through which law reproduces racial inequality in areas including: criminal justice, healthcare, housing, education, employment, immigration, and constitutional law.
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(Audience discussion in groups for 30 minutes to develop questions for panelists; panelists response to questions)
12:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Racial Inequality Without Racists:
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Plenary: New Paradigms of Racialization?
Race, Citizenship, Indigeneity, Immigration (Post-Jim Crow)
Over the past two decades, the racial demographics of the United States have significantly changed. Not only has America become decidedly less white, but a new “majority minority” has emerged: Latinas/os. What this means for our pursuit of racial equality remains under-theorized. Calls to move beyond the black/white binary, without more, do little to help. At the same time, US foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East and concerns about national security have intensified the non-citizen and terrorist racialization of people perceived to be Arab/Muslim/Middle Eastern. While certainly not new, the social and ideological effects of this racialization are at least in part a function of the growing and more visible Muslim presence at home and the United States global ambitions abroad. Immigration law and social policy have become more salient than ever as immigrants demand the right to be more fully included in American society and people across the ideological spectrum push back by scapegoating undocumented people as a social and economic “drag” on society.
This plenary panel will explore whether these demographic changes—and social response to them--reflect new paradigms of racialization. How should we now count race? What are the frames in which we now talk about race? And what are the intersectional implications of these shifts in demographics and discourse? How do they affect our conception of whiteness? Do they have implications for relations of intimacy—shaping perceptions about childbearing and child care, or the social expression of sexuality? How do these new forms of racialization shape claims about citizenship and security?
What precisely is the relationship between immigration and racialization? Are sovereignty and racialization (or race and indigeniety) oppositional concepts? To what extent, if any, are blacks implicated in and affected by the racialization of undocumented people? What do the current racial demographics portend for anti-racist inter-racial coalitional politics? Have changes in American racial demographics and the racialization of immigration made us more aware of how race is operating on the global stage? Is America “exporting” its racial ideologies? Are there racial regimes outside of the United States that we should “import”? These are some of the questions this plenary will explore.
Counting Race in Changing Demographics
Race and Sovereignty
Immigration & Profiling
Race & Dependency
Race, Family & Sexuality
3:30 – 3:45 p.m.
3:45 – 5:00 p.m.
[Each will consists of three speakers and a moderator]
Counting Race in Changing Demographics
Race and Sovereignty
Immigration & Profiling
Race & Dependency
Race & Sexuality
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Film: Divided We Stand
Thursday, June 10, 2010
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Plenary: Race Across the Curriculum & Law School: Race Law 101 and Beyond
(post curricula/syllabi on website before workshop)
Most law schools in the United States offer a basic course in Race and the Law. Yet, race law scholars have had few opportunities to engage each other about the substantive content of this course. Is there a difference between a course on Race and the Law and Critical Race Theory? Do identity specific race law courses, such as Latinos and the Law or Asian American Jurisprudence, undermine a multi-racial understanding of race and the law? How, if at all, does one include class, gender and sexual orientation, among other social categories, in a course on race and the law? Significantly, concerns about race and legal education transcend the boundaries of race-specific courses. Professors of core courses in both the first and upper year curriculum (for example, contracts and tax) often struggle with the question of how best to incorporate race into their classrooms. At the same time, every year issues arise across American law schools that remind us that law schools are “racialized spaces”—that is, domains that structure racial interactions and experiences. This plenary will engage the foregoing issues. More specifically, in addition to providing both professors of race law courses and those who teach classes that are not explicitly marked in terms of race the opportunity to think hard about how productively to teach race across disparate doctrinal and substantive contexts, this plenary will take up the broader question of race and law school culture. Educating the next generation of lawyers that "race matters" is crucial not only to the future of legal education but to the future of law as well.
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Small Group Discussions: Race Across the Curriculum
Race and Contracts
Race and Torts
Race and Taxation
Race and the Law
Race and Criminal Law
Race Law Curriculum
Race and Law School Climate
12:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Holding the President Accountable: What the Obama Administration is Doing
2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Plenary: Interventions: The Possibilities of Law
Law has played a significant role effectuating social change in American society. Certainly this is true with respect to racial progress. This is not to say that law standing alone has performed this work. Indeed, even one of the most important anti-racist legal moments in American history—Brown v. Board of Education, a case that is often described as revolutionary—cannot be understood outside of the broader social forces of civil unrest and activism that made the case possible. To put the point slightly differently, while a clear legal vision drove the Brown litigation, the realization of that vision required more than a good legal argument; it required a social movement. This observation raises a crucial question for contemporary racial inequalities: What clear legal visions do we need to address ongoing racial inequities—and, more importantly, what political conditions are necessary to realize those visions? This plenary will explore this question across a number of disparate doctrinal terrains. From antidiscrimination law to immigration law to human rights to housing and criminal justice reforms, the panelists will explore the possibilities and limitations of law—working alongside large and small scale political organizing—to effectuate progressive racial change.
Criminal Process Reform
Housing Reform and Urban Renewal
Race & Democracy / Voting
Social Inclusion Programs
National Service (Military Service)
3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Structured in the form of a roundtable, this plenary will press the panelists to engage some of the most difficult and controversial questions about the future of race, law and civil rights? Some of the questions will explicitly draw from, though they will not be exhausted by, the themes around which the preceding plenaries are organized. Is Obama’s presidency likely to be more symbolic than substantive? Are there progressive terms upon which assimilationist projects can be articulated? Should whiteness be more explicitly engaged in our public and political discourses about race? How we should we theorize the notion of a black/white binary? Has civil rights advocacy failed meaningfully to engage class? How, if at all, should arguments based on hierarchies of oppression figure in civil rights advocacy? To what extent should our racial engagements be more globally-centered? What is role of international law in domestic civil rights reform? These are some of the questions this plenary will take up.
Alvaro Huerta Ph.D. Student, Dept. of City & Regional Planning (UC Berkeley) & Visiting Scholar, Chicano Studies Research Center (UCLA) , submitted this essay, which was published in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Nov. 23–29, 2009: 38.
“A Green Immigration”
The environmentalist movement in this country is no longer confined to a small group of so-called tree huggers and back-to-nature utopians. From Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, the greening of the urban landscape has become trendy.
This includes an array of environmentally friendly policies and practices at the federal, state and city levels. Throughout American cities we see a push toward renewable energy, improved public transportation systems, green buildings, smaller homes, more parks and trees, bicycle lanes and an improved culture of recycling our waste.
In addition to the sprouting of community gardens and farmers markets, which focus on the local production and consumption of organic foods, cities like New York and Los Angeles have launched ambitious green campaigns to plant 1 million trees and other policies to create greener cities.
While all of these efforts represent a breath of fresh air, especially after eight years of anti-environmental policies and practices under the Bush administration, what is missing from this green movement is the credit deserved for those responsible to making cities like Los Angeles a greener, cleaner and more beautiful city: Mexican immigrants.
More specifically, I’m referring to paid Mexican gardeners, or what I call green urban workers, who toil from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, mowing our lawns, creating attractive landscapes, planting our trees and controlling pests.
Through their daily labor and creativity, Mexican gardeners help reduce pollution in cities and suburbs. In a 2005 article in Environmental Management, researchers found that green turfs (which includes front lawns and parks) provide an array of ecological benefits, such as slower storm runoff, improved water infiltration and offset of what researchers refer to as the urban heat-island effect.
Moreover, by planting and maintaining urban trees, Mexican gardeners help reduce urban pollution. For example, apart from providing shade and beautifying the city, trees filter dust and pollutants, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and help with water runoff.
However, instead of receiving recognition for creating environmentally friendly and healthier places for the average American, Mexican gardeners and immigrants in general get little respect in this country. The popular portrayal of Mexican gardeners, for instance, frequently consists of negative stereotypes. This includes pejorative images and narratives found in Hollywood movies, newspapers, television, legislative bodies and academic arenas, depicting Mexican gardeners, like Latina domestic workers, as ignorant, second-class citizens, public nuisances and, overall, objects of ridicule.
From CNN’s recently departed Lou Dobbs to the late Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard, Mexican immigrants symbolize “social burdens” and “threats” to American society. Internalizing the prevailing negative stigma associated with so-called immigrant jobs, too often Latino actors complain about being typecast in “demeaning immigrant roles” as gardeners and domestic workers. Instead, Latino actors, along with civic leaders and others, should fight to have Hollywood create three-dimensional roles of hired gardeners and domestic workers as honest, hard-working individuals in this country, in lieu of the caricatures that we see on television and in movies.
We can also see the bashing of immigrants in this country during the current health care debate. In his recent speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama, when speaking about how undocumented immigrants will be excluded from his health care reform plan, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” for the world to hear.
What a shame!
Now, bashing immigrants is not new in this country, since Americans have commonly blamed others for their problems, especially during times of crises. What continues to baffle me, however, is that immigrants work in the most dangerous and lowest-paid jobs in America, yet receive the least protection when it comes to abuse in the workplace and work-related injuries.
In the case of Mexican gardeners, these workers not only put in long hours, but also work with dangerous machines and use chemicals that pose serious danger to their health. They also risk their lives when climbing trees without the proper tools and equipment commonly used by city workers. L.A. city workers, for example, can prune trees using an aerial lift found on city-owned trucks. Too many Mexican gardeners have died while trimming trees in Los Angeles and beyond so that we can breathe cleaner air.
It is time that we recognize these green urban workers for all of their positive contributions to making our cities greener, safer and more beautiful, by providing them with the training, equipment and health services that they require to do their jobs. While doing so, we need to recognize that when we speak about the greening of our cities, what we’re also talking about is the browning of American cities.
Thus, it’s time that we provide these honest, hard-working individuals with the respect, dignity and honor they deserve.
An undocumented immigrant arrested and allegedly assaulted by un-uniformed federal border patrol agents while he was waiting at a bus stop in a heavily Latino neighborhood in a Washington suburb, has settled his case for $48,000. See Valencia-Perez v. Schermerhorn et al. (W.D. Wash.). Download Valencia-Perez 30 11-12-09. For more on this story, which is filled with twists and turns, see here.
Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas with a focus on the five largest metro areas in the East
In the 25 largest metropolitan areas of the United States, immigrants are contributing to the economy in very close proportion to their share of the population, according to a report released by the Fiscal Policy Institute. The report looks at all immigrants - documented and undocumented, across the economic spectrum.
In the 25 largest metropolitan areas combined - comprising more than half of the country's Gross Domestic Product, and two thirds of all immigrants - foreign-born workers are responsible for 20 percent of economic output and make up 20 percent of the population. The same basic relationship holds true, with slight variation, for each of the 25 areas, from metro Pittsburgh, where immigrants represent 3 percent of population and 4 percent of GDP, to metro Miami, where immigrants make up 37 percent of the population and 38 percent of GDP. The report for the first time estimates immigrant share of Gross Domestic Product in metro areas, based on wage and salary earnings plus proprietors' income.
Metropolitan areas with the greatest rise in immigrant share of the labor force also experienced among the fastest economic growth, the report finds. Phoenix, Dallas, and Houston metro areas had the biggest growth in immigrant share of the labor force between 1990 and 2006, and also all had well above average metro area economic growth, while Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit metro areas experienced the slowest increase in immigrant share of the labor force and among the smallest economic growth.
The report shows that immigrants work in all sectors and in all kinds of jobs. In higher-wage occupations, they often have the same earnings as U.S.-born workers. In service occupations, earnings are low for both immigrants and U.S.-born workers. And, in blue-collar jobs, U.S.-born workers can have respectable earnings in the same occupations where immigrants earn substantially less.
To give the fullest picture of metro areas around the country, the report is based on the 2005-2007 American Community survey, and thus pre-dates the current recession. Analysis of 2008 data - the most recent available - shows the same basic relationship between immigrant share of population and immigrant share of GDP.
Metro Area-Specific Findings
* In metro New York, 54 percent of all guards, cleaning and building service workers, 60 percent of dental assistants, health and nursing aides and 54 percent of food service workers are immigrants.
* In metro Washington, D.C., both immigrants and U.S.-born workers in high-end jobs have earnings that are well above the median, though U.S.-born workers are doing considerably better than foreign-born workers.
* Between 1990 and 2006, metro Atlanta experienced the biggest growth in immigrants' share of the labor force and the fastest growth in its overall economy.
* Nearly half of the labor force in metro Miami is foreign-born, making it the most heavily immigrant workforce of the 25 largest metro areas in the United States.
* Of the five largest metro areas in the East, metro Philadelphia experienced the slowest economic growth and the slowest growth in immigrant workers.
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
A previous Immigrant of the Day, Alice McGrath, who was an activist who worked successfully for the release of the Sleepy Lagoon murder defendants who were tried for a murder that they did not commit in Los Angeles in 1942, has died at age 92. As the Los Angeles Times describes the case, "Attorney George Shibley was defending 22 Mexican Americans, ages 17 to 21, who were charged with killing a young Mexican farmworker near a swimming hole in southeast L.A. County known as Sleepy Lagoon. Shibley needed someone to write summaries of the daily proceedings of the trial, which would later become known as one of the most racist in local [Los Angeles] history." McGrath volunteered and became friends with the defendants, visiting them in jail until their convictions were thrown out on appeal. Her role was made famous in the Luis Valdez play that was later made into the movie "Zoot Suit."
McGrath later said that her work on the Sleepy Lagoon case was of the most important things that she had done in her life.
As ImmigrationProf previously annouunced, New York University Press has announced a new book series that addresses one of the major political and legal issues of the day: immigration. Citizenship and Migration in the Americas will publish innovative work exploring the legal, political, economic, social, and cultural issues that lie at the center of contemporary and historical conversations about the meaning of membership in the Americas. The series aims to aggressively expand traditional scholarship on immigration by embracing a broad, interdisciplinary definition of migration, including but not limited to the legal and illegal movement of people within and across domestic and international borders, and, importantly, how debates about the role of the modern nation-state, global citizenship, and human rights affect the lived experiences of migrants in the United States and its territories, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Canada.
The series editor and editorial advisory board seek theoretically sophisticated projects that broaden the parameters of immigration law and contribute to wider discussions of transnational citizenship in both domestic and international contexts. As such, future books published in the series might address the contours and parameters of labels such as national boundaries and legal membership. The series will also seek historical examinations that will add context and reference to contemporary issues such as the status of undocumented workers, the role of law enforcement, the relevance of international human rights, the interests of national security, free trade, economic development, and other topics that lie at the epicenter of immigration law and policy.
While individual titles will be quite diverse, the series editor will strive to ensure that all books published in Citizenship and Migration in the Americas consider the larger global themes of citizenship and migration. The series will publish a wide variety of books, including monographs, course texts, and general interest titles. Led by a group of academics that are highly respected scholars in the field, the series will publish provocative and timely works in an all-important public policy arena that has thus far not garnered the attention it merits.
Series Editor: Ediberto Román is a founding Professor of Law at Florida International University, where he served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2005-2007.
Editorial Advisory Board: Kif Augustine-Adams, Associate Dean and Charles E. Jones Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Bringham Young University Kevin Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Davis Stephen H. Legomsky, John S. Lehmann University Professor, Washington University School of Law Gerald Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Scholar, University of Iowa College of Law Victor Romero, Associate Dean and Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Penn State University College of Law Peter J. Spiro, Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair in Law, University of Texas, Austin.
Submission guidelines: Submissions should take the form of a 3-5 page proposal outlining the intent and scope of the project, its merits in comparison to existing texts, and the audience it is designed to reach. You should also include a detailed Table of Contents, 2-3 sample chapters or articles, and a current copy of your curriculum vitae. Please send submission materials to: Ediberto Román Professor of Law Florida International University University Park Miami, Fl. 33199.
For a flyer on the series, see Download Series Flyer-9-15-09.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Summer Intern Positions
About the Florence Project
The Florence Project is a nonprofit legal service organization that provides free legal services to men, women and children detained in Arizona by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although the government assists indigent criminal defendants and civil litigants through public defenders and legal aid attorneys, it does not provide attorneys for people facing deportation charges. As a result, 86 percent of detained people go unrepresented due to poverty. The Florence Project strives to address this inequity both locally and nationally.
The Florence Project is nationally known for its delivery of unique legal services. Interns will work directly with detained adults or unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings under the supervision of a staff attorney and/or the legal director. S/he will work directly with clients on a daily basis, conducting intake interviews, assisting with applications for relief including asylum and cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents, and drafting legal arguments for use in immigration court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal court. Law student interns may have the opportunity to represent individuals in bond hearings before an immigration judge and possibly represent individuals in final merits hearings.
The Florence Project typically hosts three law student interns for the duration of the summer. We are seeking interns who have a demonstrated commitment to immigration issues and public interest law and enjoy working in a collaborative, fast-paced and exciting work environment. Fluency in Spanish required. However, exceptions may be made for non-Spanish speaking individuals with demonstrated immigration experience who wish to focus primarily on appellate work. Prior advocacy or academic experience in immigration law would be helpful. While we prefer to host second year law students, first year students are welcome to apply.
Our summer internship positions are unpaid. The Project may provide subsidized housing in Florence if needed. Florence is located approximately one hour south of Phoenix and an hour and fifteen minutes north of Tucson in the middle of the Sonoran desert. Living in this area over the summer provides many opportunities for cultural and outdoor excursions in Arizona and the border region.
Please send a cover letter, resume and three references to Lindsay Marshall, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 654, Florence, AZ 85232. We prefer applications by e-mail.
The Florence Project recognizes the value of diversity in the workplace and strongly encourages applications from people of color, LGBT individuals, persons with disabilities and members of under-represented or disadvantaged communities to apply.
"My goal here is twofold: First, I wish to make a plea for the relevance of moral considerations in debates about immigration. Too often, immigration debates are conducted solely from the standpoint of "what is good for us," without regard for the justifiability of immigration policies to those excluded. Second, I wish to offer a standpoint that demonstrates why one should think of immigration as a moral problem that must be considered in the context of global justice. More specifically, I will argue that the earth belongs to humanity in common and that this matters for assessing immigration policy. The case I will be particularly interested in is immigration into the United States, where immigration policy continues to be a hotly debated topic. However, that discussion takes the form of a case study: the relevant considerations apply generally."
Ryan Pevnick and Philip J. Cafaro respond to the article and Risse responds to them.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
International Migrant's Day: December 18, 2009
Following another challenging year, the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR) invites you to close the year by organizing and supporting events to commemorate December 18 - International Migrants Day, and by reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all immigrants by joining us to call for an end to police collaboration with ICE, detentions and deportations, and for climate justice as well as immigration reform that recognizes the dignity and human rights of all immigrants.
About December 18, International Migrants Day
On December 18, 1990, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was approved by the United Nations General Assembly, after almost a decade of governmental negotiations and pressure from migrant rights advocates around the world. Following lobbying efforts by advocates and migrant groups including NNIRR, in December 2000 the United Nations proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants Day.
Since 2001, in solidarity with other migrant rights organizations around the world, NNIRR has commemorated this day with members and allies. Each year we assist growing numbers of local events and initiatives with widely-endorsed call-to-actions, educational and organizing materials, and commemorative posters and t-shirts.
Click here for more details about December 18.
For international events, visit www.migrantwatch.org and www.december18.net.
International Migrants Day 2009
2009 has been a challenging year in the struggle for immigrant rights, as heated debates around immigration reform coincided with ongoing attacks and abuses in immigrant communities.
In spite of a new Administration, we have continued to witness and experience the assault on the human rights of immigrants: families, workers and entire communities subjected to intense policing, hundreds of thousands detained, and due process rights blatantly violated and ignored. NNIRR's recently-released human rights report, "Guilty by Immigration Status", documents how inter-agency and local police collaboration around immigration law enforcement, especially through the 287g agreements and the Secure Communities Program, have undermined community safety and made immigrants even more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
The global economic crisis further burdened already vulnerable immigrant communities around the world, and those in the U.S. were no exception. For the first time in decades, immigrants were forced to reduce their remittances to their families abroad, who themselves faced increasing hardships as most countries in the Global South were not immune to the crippling effects of the crisis. Many immigrants also become subject to scapegoating, as xenophobic rhetoric blamed immigrants and clouded failed economic policies. Many ruthless employers also used the crisis to further exploit their immigrant workers.
As this year's International Migrants Day also falls during the pinnacle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Summit) in Copenhagen, we also recognize the estimated 25 million people around the world who have suffered from forced displacement from their homelands and communities due to the devastating effects of climate change, more than those displaced by war. This number is expected to go up to 250 million in less than 50 years. By 2100, more than 20 countries are expected to experience 30-60% of agricultural and food production loss, 2.3 billion people will be threatened by mega-droughts, and almost 90% of people in rural communities around the world will lose their livelihoods.
Also on December 18 this year, NNIRR will be part of an international coalition that will launch of a year-long international campaign to ratify the Migrant Workers Convention, to culminate on the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the campaign on December 18, 2010.
In recognition of the challenges ahead of us, NNIRR calls on organizations and individuals around the country to commemorate this year's International Migrants Day with a local event or action highlighting the following:
Real immigration reform that recognizes and respects the dignity and human rights of immigrants, regardless of status.
An end to immigration policing, raids, detentions and deportations. In particular, we call for immediate moratorium of all immigration enforcement measures through July to help ensure a safe, equitable, and thorough 2010 Census.
Protection and redress for communities displaced by the effects of climate changes, and an immediate halt and reversal of the levels of carbon emissions.
We also renew our call for the United States to ratify the 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of Rights All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
We encourage activities and messages that challenge the Administration and Congress to implement humanitarian policies and practices -- to decriminalize immigration status and protect the rights of all workers. We must continue to demand a fair and just immigration policy that is "de-linked" from national security, and which includes the demilitarization of our borders.
Especially on International Migrants Day, when we recognize and honor migrants throughout the world, we need to raise awareness about the need for policies that ameliorate involuntary displacement and forced migration, including climate justice, fair trade and sustainable community development, and fulfilling the need and access to healthcare, education, housing, jobs and safe, healthy environments.
* * * * * *
To spotlight these urgent petitions, NNIRR encourages you and your community to organize a local event on or around December 18, 2009. Coming at the year's end, these events can also serve to bring together your constituents, communities and allies for a moment of reflection, celebration, and/or protest - and to recommit to the challenges and opportunities we will have to fight for the human rights of all immigrants in the coming year. These can take place at any number of places and in various forms, including an afternoon action at a Federal Building, an evening gathering at a place of worship, a potluck dinner at a local community center, a film showing at a local community college etc. This year, we also encourage you to consider joining TIGRA (Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action) in one of their local events around the country from December 10-18 (contact: email@example.com).
We encourage you to publicize your activity in the media to call attention to the significance of the day. We also encourage groups to coordinate their efforts with others locally, and to reach out to allies through this event.
NNIRR will collect information on all these activities to publicize them nationally and internationally, to raise the collective power of grassroots community action. We will also circulate a national press release on December 15, 2009, highlighting your events, and post this information on our website.
Click here to share the details of your activity/event for International Migrants Day.
For more information, contact:
Colin Rajah, NNIRR
Friday, November 27, 2009
From Pamela Merchant:
I am delighted to share CJA's brand new website with you! We have greatly improved the site's layout to give you greater access to CJA and to our work.
As we grow, it is important to have a website that will grow with us. To that end, we have expanded our case content and included information about our policy work to give you an in-depth look at the many ways that CJA pursues its human rights mission. You will be able to download a wide range of resources including pleadings and trial transcripts. You will also be able to listen to oral arguments and watch video clips.
We hope our site will guide you to new facets of CJA's work and provide an entry point into the field of human rights law. Among our site's many new features, you'll notice...
Expanded pleadings section for each case with selected trial transcripts
Dedicated pages for each of CJA's amicus briefs with related documents
Coverage of CJA's policy work and transitional justice initiatives
Country background pages with historical information and human rights developments that place our legal and policy work in a broader context
A legal glossary
Please visit our new website now at www.cja.org !
All the best,
Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project had a guest post on the American Constitution Society blog on The Nexus Between Labor Law & Immigration Policy. "[T]he AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project released a report detailing how, in case after case, employers were able to use the immigration status of their workers as a bludgeon to avoid labor claims. Here's an example of how it works: An immigrant worker is injured on the job. He files a workers compensation claim - a perfectly legal action. His employer or insurance company then investigates and discovers his social security number isn't good. The worker is turned in to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and deported. No workers compensation benefits for the worker. No workers compensation bill for the employer."
Lawrence Downes of the N.Y. Times writes about a play called “What Killed Marcelo Lucero?,” about the horrible murder one year ago of an Ecudoran immigrant on Long Island. "[T]he play somehow succeeds where so many speeches and editorials fail. It points, at least, to where deeper understanding might lie and how people might get there together."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The Associated Press reports some good news for those who are hoping for immigration reform. "For the first time, pro-immigration forces are raising more political donations than their immigration-control counterparts." Immigrants' List and ImmigrationPAC have raised $100,000 combined this election cycle, more than the established groups that back enforcement-only policies.