Wednesday, February 24, 2010
March for America, the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign’s rally to demand immigration reform, comes to the nation’s capital March 21. Join tens of thousands of people urging Congress to deliver comprehensive immigration reform now. Labor, religious and community leaders are uniting to demand change; and they need your action.
March in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Our economy cannot truly recover without real immigration reform. Fixing the broken immigration system is fundamental to fixing our economy. Comprehensive immigration reform will put our economy back on a stable footing by providing a vital boost for recovery and increasing wages for all workers. Congress must address the economic crisis immediately, create jobs, and get our country moving again. Immigration reform is vital to this strategy. We must gather in Washington March 21st to demand congressional leadership. We want our legislators to break the political gridlock and deliver on their promise to fix our broken immigration system.
Don’t let Congress ignore immigration— it is time for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to mobilize as others have and let Congress know we demand comprehensive immigration reform.
VOTE WITH YOUR FEET. MARCH FOR AMERICA.
An immigration system that reunites families, restores fairness to our labor markets, recognizes the contributions of immigrant workers and families, helps get our economy back on track and ensures that we stay true to our values as a nation is vital for AAPIs.
Our leaders are uniting and mobilizing to change history and finally fix our broken immigration system, but they need your help.
To learn about this effort, visit www.WeMarchForAmerica.org.
MARCH FOR AMERICA
Inter-faith Service at 1:00 p.m., March at 2:00 p.m.
Rebecca Poswolsky and Dave M. write for Imagine2050.net:
The anti-immigrant movement has long capitalized on environmental concerns to attack America’s immigrant communities. This tactic was on full display at the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend in Washington D.C.
While most people were listening to Newt Gingrich speak on Saturday, about 75 people assembled in one of the smaller rooms to hear a discussion entitled “Immigration: The Defining Issue for the Republican Party,” sponsored by American Council for Immigration Reform. The panel’s four speakers included: Robert E. Rector, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS); James G. Gimpel, Professor of Government, University of Maryland; and Rep. Steve King from Iowa. Each speaker had 20 minutes to speak, followed by a question and answer session. The audience boasted a whole host of anti-immigrant individuals including Chad McDonald from NumbersUSA; Wayne Lutton, editor of The Social Contract; Howard Wooldridge, younger brother of anti-immigrant activist Frosty Wooldridge; and James Russell of Catholics for a Moral Immigration Policy.
A number of alarming comments were made by the panelists throughout the session. Rep. Steve King stated that he “sympathized” with the man who crashed his plane into the IRS building in Texas this past weekend. When asked later in the Q&A session about his comments, King did not take them back and instead launched into a rant against the IRS for targeting him in his pre-political days.
Mark Krikorian, a man known for his outlandish comments, stated that immigrants are “19th century rural peasant workers” who are coming to 21st century America.
The discussion’s most alarming comment came during the Q&A session when a young man asked Mark Krikorian why CIS published articles that supported the theory of global warming on its website. The man also asked Krikorian to explain his and CIS’s connections to John Tanton whom he referred to as a man that “favors population control.”
Krikorian nonchalantly answered the first question by stating that CIS publishes articles that are in favor of global warming to force a wedge between different people on the Left. Krikorian argued that people on the Left cannot be in favor of both open borders and taking care of the environment. Click here for the rest of the story.
The Supreme Court today heard oral argument in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. The questions presented by the case, which might well have consequences on the interpretation of similar provisions in the immigration laws, is (1) whether 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1), which prohibits the knowing provision of “any *** service, *** training, [or] expert advice or assistance,” to a designated foreign terrorist organization, is unconstitutionally vague; and (2) whether the criminal prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) on the provision of “expert advice or assistance” “derived from scientific [or] technical … knowledge” and “personnel” are unconstitutional with respect to speech that furthers only lawful, nonviolent activities of proscribed organizations.
For opposing arguments from Peter Margulies (Roger Williams) (for Petitioners) and David Cole (Georgetown) (for respondents) on podcast on SCOTUSblog, click here. See Lyle Denniston's analysis of the oral argument and recounting of the Court's apparent skepticism about the breadth of the statute.
Here is a N.Y. Times list of jails and detention centers where Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds, or has held, noncitizens the government wants to deport.. The list includes the results of annual inspections, with a number of detention facil;ities classified as "deficient."
Nancy Morawetz (NYU) blogged on a new group composed of lawyers from leading immigration advocacy organizations (including the American Immigration Lawyers Association amicus committee) known as the Supreme Court Immigration Law Working Group. The purpose of the group is to assist lawyers who receive calls from firms offering to handle Supreme Court cases, to develop a coherent strategy for Supreme Court intervention in immigration cases, and to plan strategies for effective presentation of relevant issues when a case is taken up by the Supreme Court. This new working group is much-needed. As any knowledgeable immigration practitioner knows, immigration cases in the Supreme Court are nothing less than risky business.
Here are a few new immigration-related articles from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com):
"Pulling the Trigger: Separation Violence as a Basis for Refugee Protection for Battered Women" American University Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 2, p. 337, 2009 MARISA SILENZI CIANCIARULO, Chapman University - School of Law CLAUDIA DAVID, affiliation not provided to SSRN. ABSTRACT: For over a decade, women seeking asylum from persecution inflicted by their abusive husbands and partners have found little protection in the United States. During that time, domestic violence-based asylum cases have languished in limbo, been denied, or occasionally been granted in unpublished opinions that have not provided a much-needed adjudicative standard. The main case setting forth the pre-Obama approach to domestic violence-based asylum is rife with misunderstanding of the nature of domestic violence and minimization of the role that society plays in the proliferation of domestic violence. Fortunately, however, a recent Obama-administration legal brief indicates that women fleeing countries where governments are unable or unwilling to protect them from their abusive husbands finally may be able to avail themselves of U.S. asylum law. This article proposes a workable standard for adjudicating such claims. Based in part on psychological research on the dynamics of abusive relationships, particularly the phenomenon known as “separation violence,” this article formulates a particular social group that satisfies the various legal elements for political asylum: “women who have left severely abusive relationships.” This social group is based on research demonstrating that abusers strike out with increased violence when their partners leave the relationships, in many cases even killing them. This article explores the dynamics of abusive relationships, the failure of U.S. adjudicators to understand those dynamics, and the application of international human rights law to domestic violence survivors. [Professor Cianciarulo's work is always first-rate.]
"Taking Prevention Seriously: Developing a Comprehensive Response to Child Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation" Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2010. JONATHAN TODRES, Georgia State University College of Law. ABSTRACT: Millions of children are victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation each year. Governments have responded with a range of measures, focusing primarily on seeking to prosecute perpetrators of these abuses and offering assistance to select victims. These efforts, while important, have done little to reduce the incidence of these forms of child exploitation. This Article asserts that a central reason why efforts to date may not be as effective as hoped is that governments have not oriented their approaches properly toward prioritizing prevention - the ultimate goal - and addressing these problems in a comprehensive and systematic manner. Instead, efforts to date have been piecemeal and oriented toward dealing with exploitation of children after the harm occurs. This Article argues for refocusing efforts toward the development of a comprehensive, prevention-oriented strategy that addresses the root causes of these problems. The Article discusses how certain critical issues - (1) research/data; (2) program design; (3) the dominant principle guiding state responses; (4) stakeholder coordination; and (5) the interrelationship among rights - have been largely ignored in developing responses to child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The Article suggests that, by focusing greater attention on these issues, governments and child advocates can develop more effective responses to the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and increase the likelihood that responses to these problems will help prevent such abuse of children. [This article obviously touches on topical and important issues.].
"Human Security and the Rights of Refugees: Transcending Territorial and Disciplinary Borders" Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 763-807, 2009 ALICE EDWARDS. ABSTRACT:The human security paradigm focuses directly and specifically on people and their right to live in safety and dignity and to earn a livelihood, rather than on the State and its security and sovereignty. Human security treats security, rights, and development as mutually reinforcing goals and is oriented as much toward the protection of individuals as toward their empowerment. It also reinforces the view that no matter how vigorously a State defends its national borders, today’s global threats, such as environmental degradation, international terrorism, poverty, and infectious diseases do not respect them. It also challenges us to revisit notions of territory and sovereignty as far as they inhibit global action in the face of transnational threats to our shared security and humanity. However, the idea of human security has met considerable criticism. One of the main concerns of the human security framework is that it may undermine hard-won human rights guarantees or otherwise displace law-based systems of protection. This concern has raised many questions about the discourse on human security. Is it intended to or likely to re-place or undermine human rights? Does it threaten these hard-won legal gains? These questions are addressed in this article. A second level of inquiry in this article interrogates what the “human security/human rights” dialogue means for the protection of refugees, who have typically been outside the remit of States’ national interests, except insofar as they are seen as threats to a State’s security or some geopolitical pawns in the realist security paradigms of the Cold War and its bipolar politics. As non-citizens who are on the perimeters of the citizen-state protection system, refugees have been reliant largely on specific legal regimes, supported by humanitarian goodwill, for their protection. However, these legal regimes have been increasingly eroded by state noncompliance and exploitation of legal loopholes. This article asks whether the framework of human security may offer a complementary source of protection in the face of eroding refugee rights. [Human security is the hot new topic in international law.]
"Regulating Immigration Legal Service Providers: Inadequate Representation and Notario Fraud" Fordham Law Review Vol. 78, No. 2 CAREEN SHANNON. ABSTRACT: Immigrants are often easy prey for bogus or incompetent attorneys, "notarios," scam artists, and other bad actors who take advantage of immigrants’ limited knowledge of U.S. law, lack of English fluency, and lack of cultural knowledge to charge exorbitant fees for wild promises of green cards and citizenship that the bad actors cannot - or in some cases never intended to - deliver. Such exploitation is merely a symptom, however, of the larger problem of inadequate access to competent legal counsel by foreign nationals seeking to navigate our labyrinthine scheme of immigration laws, regulations, and policies. Contrary to popular belief, not all of these foreign nationals are "illegal aliens" who slipped over our southern border; many are entitled to obtain lawful immigration status, if only they had adequate guidance from qualified counsel to help them seek it. Unfortunately, there is no constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel in immigration proceedings (even in cases where deportation is at stake), and competent private and nonprofit resources are limited. After illustrating the nature of the problem with some real-life stories of immigrants who have been victimized by fraudulent service providers, and discussing the current state of the law with respect to what constitutes the inadequate practice of immigration law and who is legally permitted to represent immigrants in immigration matters, this report proposes changes to local, state, and federal law and policy that would help to combat fraudulent activities by unscrupulous non-lawyers and inadequately trained lawyers alike. These and other proposals are put forth in an attempt to help lay the groundwork for ensuring that immigrants in need of competent legal counsel can access the help to which they should be entitled. [Careen Shannon is an excellent immigration attorney who is writing on the exploitation of immigranbts by notarios.].
"How Did the 2008 Economic Crisis Affect Social and Political Solidarity in Europe?" Transit, Forthcoming JENNIFER HOCHSCHILD, Harvard University. ABSTRACT: One possible outcome of the economic crash of 2008 was that the majority or mainstream members of a society would direct their anger and fear against the minority or marginal members of their society. The result would be not only a deteriorating national and international economy but also increased hostility and fear among racial, ethnic, or nationality groups in a country. Social solidarity would decline, perhaps irrevocably. Another possible outcome of the 2008 economic crash was that both mainstream and marginal members of society would lose faith in their governments, or even in democratic governance more generally. Political solidarity would decline, perhaps irrevocably. To provide one type of evidence on whether these fears were warranted, I compared results for questions asked in both 2006 and late 2008-2009 on the European Social Survey for thirteen western European countries. The results show that Europeans did lose faith in their national economies over those two years, but did not lose faith in their national governments or in the practice of democracy. Similarly, in the majority of these thirteen countries, respondents did not lose more faith in parliaments, the legal system, or politicians between 2006 and 2008. Finally, views did not change a great deal with regard to the impacts of immigration on one’s country or the desirability of permitting more immigrants of various kinds. That result holds for those who do, and those who do not, feel discriminated against. In sum, so far as public opinion surveys can demonstrate, the economic crisis of 2008 did not undermine social or political solidarity in western Europe, [Hochschild's scholarship is always insightful.]
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Josh Rogin on The Cable reports that singer Shakira met with President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House today. " And Shakira isn't confining her advocacy to education; she also wants Obama to push forward on immigration reform. White House officials told Shakira that they hope to reach an agreement this year with the Republican Party to legalize undocumented immigrants, her representative said."
Here is a video of Shakira's performance at halftime of the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.
Ryan Gabrielson writes for the NY Times:
Sobriety checkpoints have increasingly become profitable operations that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed — and often undocumented immigrant — motorists, than to catch drunken drivers.
An examination by the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that in 2009, impoundments at checkpoints generated an estimated $40 million in towing fees and police fines statewide. Cities like Oakland, San Jose, San Rafael, Hayward and Redwood City divide the revenue with towing companies.
While there is an economic benefit for strapped cities, it comes at a cost to taxpayers. In the last fiscal year, $30 million was authorized to pay overtime for officers working on the drunken-driving crackdowns. That money came from federal taxpayers through the California Office of Traffic Safety, which contracts with the University of California, Berkeley, to help distribute the money.
While the checkpoints do catch some drunken drivers, the police manning them are also leaving sober but unlicensed drivers, like Bernardino, on the side of the road, with no hope of regaining their vehicle for at least a month. Once vehicles are impounded, California law requires towing companies to hold them for 30 days. That can mean storage fees and fines that run from $1,000 to $4,000, municipal finance records show. Unlicensed motorists rarely challenge the impoundments.
Often the owners lack the money to recover their cars. Tow companies do not require vehicle owners to have a driver’s license, but they must bring a legal driver with them to the tow lot.
Perry Shusta, vice president of the California Tow Truck Association and owner of Arrowhead Towing in Antioch, said two-thirds or more of the impounded vehicles were never reclaimed and were sold at lien sales.
The proceeds go primarily to the towing companies.
The Investigative Reporting Program reviewed hundreds of pages of city financial records and police reports, and analyzed data from sobriety checkpoints during the past two years. The data revealed that police departments across the state are seizing a growing number of vehicles from unlicensed drivers. In the last fiscal year, the police seized approximately 24,000 such cars at sobriety checkpoints, up from 17,900 in 2008 and 15,700 in 2007.
Law enforcement officials say demographics play no role in determining where the police establish checkpoints. But records show that cities where Hispanics make up a majority of the population are seizing cars at three times the rate of cities with small minority populations. Click here for the rest of the story.
Shelia Byrd writes for the Associated Press:
A Mexican immigrant walked out of the Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday holding the daughter who had been taken from her by state officials in 2008, when advocates say she was accused of being an unfit mother because she doesn't speak English.
Cirila Balthazar Cruz and her 1-year-old child, Ruby, were surrounded by Southern Poverty Law Center officials as they left the court. None of them would discuss details of the case, citing the confidentiality of Youth Court proceedings.
Because the records in the case are sealed, it is unclear what rationale the state used to take custody of the child. However, immigrant advocates have said the child was taken because Cruz was an illegal immigrant and did not speak English.
"This is a very happy day for us," SPLC legal director Mary Bauer told The Associated Press. "That is her baby."
Friday's proceeding before Special Judge Billy Bridges may not be the end of the case, which has led to a memorandum of understanding between Mississippi and the Mexican government and drawn the attention of immigration advocates nationwide.
"This is a fight that we are willing to take on beyond today, but we are absolutely not permitted to talk to you and no one thinks that's a shame more than we do," said Bauer. "This is certainly not the end of that."
The main issue appears to be whether Mississippi acted appropriately when it took custody of Ruby.
When Cruz showed up at Singing River Hospital in Jackson County to give birth in November 2008, she didn't speak English or Spanish. The only language she knew was Chatino, a dialect indigenous to Oaxaca in rural Mexico.
Cruz was interviewed by an interpreter at the hospital who spoke Spanish, but not Chatino. The Mississippi Department of Human Services was contacted and the agency took custody of Cruz' newborn after determining she lacked the means to take care of the child.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/world/Mexican-immigrant-gets-baby-back-from-state-84819692.html#ixzz0gNaxAsxN
CNN reports that "In the name of improved security a hacker showed how a biometric passport issued in the name of long-dead rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley could be cleared through an automated passport scanning system being tested at an international airport. Using a doctored passport at a self-serve passport machine, the hacker was cleared for travel after just a few seconds and a picture of the King himself appeared on the monitor's display."
The King died in 1977.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The Problem with State and Local Involvement in Federal Immigration Enforcement: Immigrants unwilling to assist Houston police?
Historically, state and local police departments have been wholly uninvolved in enforcement of the federal immigration laws. This is not because they want to be "sanctuary" cities of any kind; rather, they want to ensure that local police have the trust of immigrant communities. The city of Houston, Texas appears to be learning that lesson the hard way. According to the Houston Chronicle,
"immigrant advocates say the relationship between the Houston Police Department and the city's immigrant communities has suffered recently amid confusion and misinformation about an immigration screening program in the city's jails. HPD officials said last week that they have tried to clarify through public outreach campaigns that officers and detectives do not act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and are considering turning to foreign-language media for help with their message."
The L.A. Times reports that "[a]n ambitious, multibillion-dollar project to hot-wire the new Southwest border fence with high-tech radar, cameras and satellite signals has been plagued with serious system failures and repeated delays and will probably not be completed for another seven years -- if it is finished at all."
Are the millions worth it?
No Place to Hide: Gang, State, and Clandestine Violence in El Salvador, by Laura Pedraza Fariña, Spring Miller, and James L. Cavallaro. This is the most recent publication from the Human Rights Program Practice Series. Books in this series are designed to further interdisciplinary scholarship and practical understanding of leading human rights issues. Please note that this link will expire on Monday, March 1, 2010.
NEW AMERICANS IN THE SUNFLOWER STATE Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are Growing Economic and Political Force in Kansas
The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an important part of Kansas's economy, labor force, and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of the Sunflower State. Highlights from Kansas include:
• Immigrants made up 6.0% (or 167,085 people) of Kansas's population in 2007.
• 31.2% of immigrants in 2007 (or 52,095 people) in Kansas were naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.
• Latinos accounted for 8.7% (or 241,512) and Asians 2.2% (or 61,072) of Kansans in 2007.
• The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $5.2 billion and Asian buying power totaled $2.1 billion in Kansas in 2009.
• If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Kansas, the state could lose $1.8 billion in expenditures, $807.2 million in economic output, and approximately 11,879 jobs.
There is no denying the contributions immigrants, Latinos, and Asians make in Kansas and the important role they will play in the state's political and economic future.
Steve Chapman writes in the Chicago Tribune:
Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, who has focused his research on Chicago neighborhoods, documents that felonious behavior is less common among Mexican-Americans, who constitute the biggest share of Latinos, than among whites. Second- and third-generation Latinos, contrary to what you might expect, fall into more crime than immigrants. But Sampson says that overall, "Mexican-American rates of violence are very similar to whites. Click here for the rest of the piece.
What is it like to do the back-breaking work of immigrants? To find out, Gabriel Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. He stooped over lettuce fields in Arizona and worked the graveyard shift at a chicken slaughterhouse in rural Alabama. He dodged taxis, not always successfully, as a bicycle delivery "boy" for an upscale Manhattan restaurant, and he was fired from a flower shop by a boss who, he quickly realized, was nuts. As one coworked explained, "These jobs make you old quick." Back spasms occasionally keep Thompson in bed, where he suffers recurring nightmares involving iceberg lettuce and chicken carcasses. Combining personal narrative with investigative reporting, Thompson shines a bright light on the underside of the American economy, exposing harsh working conditions, union busting, and lax government enforcement—while telling the stories of workers, undocumented immigrants, and desperate US citizens alike, forced to live with chronic pain in the pursuit of $8 an hour.
"Latino Lives in America is a book we desperately needed. The authors explore almost all the issues affecting Latinos—education, discrimination, inter-group relations—and more (e.g., their discussion of intra-group relations among Latinos). Bravo to the authors for a job well done!." —Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor of Sociology, Duke University
Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, with increased levels of political mobilization and influence. In the timely and thoroughgoing Latino Lives in America, six prominent Latino scholars explore the profound implications of Latinos’ population growth and geographic dispersion for American politics and society, tracking key changes and continuities in Latinos' attitudes, behavior, and social experiences. Utilizing a unique set of "narratives" from focus group interviews, supplemented with quantitative findings from the 2006 Latino National Survey, the authors provide a snapshot of Latino life in America. The Latinos interviewed provide their thoughts regarding their sense of belonging and group identification, assimilation and transnationalism, housing, education, civic engagement, and perceptions of discrimination, as well as their experiences in new destinations, where they are trying to realize the “Americano” dream. Latino Lives in America uses these conversations and the survey data to offer both a micro and macro look at how Latinos are transforming various aspects of American politics, culture, and life and how their experiences in the United States are changing them and their families.
Peter Wallsten of the Wall Street Journal that "Some high-profile Republicans are adopting a softer vocabulary on immigration and trying to recruit more Hispanic candidates, a response to the party's soul-searching about tactics that many strategists believe have alienated the country's fastest-growing voter bloc"
Sunday, February 21, 2010
William Fisher on Truthout criticizes the latest Department of Homeland Security program ostensibly directed at "dangerous criminal aliens" known as "Secure Communities." The costly program has resulted in constitutional violations, including racial profiling, and cases of mistaken identity, in part because of reliance on inaccurate databases.