Tuesday, November 30, 2010
From the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project:
Support the DREAM Act
Did you know that many individuals who were brought to the United States at an early age and have lived here most of their lives, but lack immigration status, are not eligible to apply for a green card?
Most people are surprised to learn this. It's often an even bigger surprise for these immigrant youth who may not even know they are without status. Some don't learn they aren't United States citizens until it's time to apply for college and they ask their parents for their social security number, only to learn that they don't have one.
That's why what's going on in Congress right now is so important: Congress is considering changing this situation through a proposal called the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would open a pathway to eventual U.S. citizenship to young men and women who came to this country before they were sixteen years old, have lived here for more than five years and meet other requirements. NWIRP believes that the DREAM Act is an important aspect of common-sense immigration reform. We urge you to contact your representatives to ask them to support this important piece of legislation.
What to do:
Contact your Senators by calling the Senate Switchboard toll-free at 866-996-5161. Tell them:
Passing the DREAM Act (S. 729) will put up to a million youth on a path toward freedom and higher education and is an important step forward in immigration reform. Thank you for supporting this important bill and working toward its passage.
Contact your Representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard through 866-967-6018. Let them know:
Passing the DREAM Act (H.R. 1751) will put up to a million youth on a path toward freedom and higher education and is an important step forward in iImmigration reform. Thank you for supporting this important bill and working toward its passage.
Thank you so much for joining us in your support of immigrant youth!
Jorge L. Baron, Executive Director
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
From the San Antonio Express-News:
Fifteen college students and activists, including former City Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal and a Methodist minister, were arrested on criminal trespass charges Monday night at the local offices of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison after they refused to leave.
The demonstrators supporting the DREAM Act wanted to speak to the senator and get her support for the bill that would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors if they complete two years of college or military service.
They camped out inside the office for more than nine hours, refusing to budge and singing, “We shall not be moved.” Read more...
From the Economist editorial page:
IT WAS always meant to have been one of Barack Obama’s big priorities. But along with saving the planet from global warming and closing down the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, immigration reform has slithered down the White House’s to-do list as health care turned from triumph to liability. With the House of Representatives due to pass into Republican control at the beginning of next year and the Democrats’ majority in the Senate due to be slashed at the same time, Mr Obama looks set to end his second year in office without having brought forward a plan for immigration reform, let alone getting one enacted. Even climate-change legislation has fared better than that.
. . .
Even a little bravery on this subject would be welcome. And a suitable, if small, proposal does exist, in the shape of the DREAM Act, which a bipartisan group of humane and sensible senators have been trying to get passed for a decade. It provides for young illegals to earn their citizenship by either service in the armed forces (they can sometimes do this already, but it is tricky), or by spending at least two years in higher education, both coupled with an extended period of blameless law-abiding. It is a testament to just how nasty the immigration debate has become that a measure that would bring the fearful out of the shadows, encourage tertiary education in a section of the workforce that needs more of it and supply the undermanned army with recruits has gone nowhere. House Democrats still have the votes to push the bill through their chamber before the outgoing Congress retires at the end of the year, and then dare the Republicans to block it in the Senate. If only they have the courage to say gracias. Click here for the entire piece.
Our Immigrant of the Day, Michael Misiewicz, born Vannak Khem, is in the news because when the destroyer USS Mustin docks in Cambodia next week, he will return to his country of birth for the first time in 37 years. Misiewicz, who is the ship's commander, was sent away from Cambodia by his family because of the civil war with the Khmer Rouge.
According to a news story, "The 43-year-old was a small boy in the early 1970s when Cambodia was engulfed in a civil war between government troops and communist Khmer Rouge fighters. In 1973, his father arranged for him to be adopted by an American woman who worked at the US embassy and was preparing to leave the increasingly dangerous country. The move meant Misiewicz avoided one of the most brutal chapters of 20th century history -- the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime that caused the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, overwork and execution."
Michael Misiewicz graduated from high school in Illinois and joined the Navy. He attended the US Naval Academy.
Misiewicz later was reunited with his mother and four siblings who had come to the United States. His father, however, had been executed by the Khmer Rouge in 1977.
In DREAM ACT STUDENTS DEFY DEPORTATIONS, TELL CONGRESS TO VOTE, David Bacon gives us the latest on the growing political activism on college campuses and elsewhere on the DREAM Act, which may be considered in Congress this week. "For seven years they've marched, sat-in, written letters and mastered every civil rights tactic in the book to get their bill onto the Washington DC agenda."
For photographs and stories by David Bacon, click here.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Hector Tobar writes in the LA Times:
Ever since he was 8 years old, Luis Perez has dedicated his life to becoming an American.
In grade school, days after his arrival from Mexico, he studied hard to master English — it quickly displaced Spanish as his dominant language.
As a teenager he woke up every morning at 5:30 a.m. for a long bus trip across the San Fernando Valley, away from a neighborhood with a bad gang problem, to a high school where being a studious young man didn't make him a social outcast.
When he eventually made it to college, it was the U.S. Constitution that grabbed hold of him, especially the Bill of Rights. And this year, his study of American institutions culminated with his graduation from UCLA School of Law.
Today, at age 29, Luis Perez has the right to call himself a juris doctor. But he can't yet call himself an American. In fact, because he's an undocumented immigrant, it will take an act of Congress to change that. But that hasn't stopped him from trying.
"People used to tell me, 'Why go to college if you can't get a real job when you graduate,'" he said. With no right to work for a large company or law firm, it seemed that only jobs in construction and or yardwork awaited him, no matter how educated he was.
"If I had listened to those people, I wouldn't have done anything with my life," he told me.
Perez is the first undocumented immigrant to graduate from UCLA's law school. He's taking the bar exam in January. "I'm spending my Christmas with the books," he told me.
If he passes that test, with its questions about contracts, property, torts, criminal law and many other topics, Perez will have completed a most unlikely journey.
His story is at once inspiring and also maddening, because it's a reminder of just how broken our immigration system is. Among other things, its failed policies have given us hundreds of thousands of people like Perez who are Americans, culturally speaking, but who don't have the legal right to live here. Read more...
Our Immigrant of the Day, Giorgio Tavecchio, is a junior place kicker on the University of California footballl team. Born in Milan, Italy, Tavecchio kicked two field goals in Cal's last-second loss to the University of Wahington. This is a redemption of sorts for Tavecchio. A few weeks ago, he missed a relatively short field goal that would have put Cal ahead in the final minutes against number 1 Oregon.
The American Bar Association created ProBAR more than two decades ago to assist asylum-seekers detained in South Texas. UC Davis law school alum Meredith Linsky, director of the ABA’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project. For more about ProBar, click here.
The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) is a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the U.S. The project recruits, trains and coordinates the activities of volunteer attorneys, law students and legal assistants. ProBAR is a joint project of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The Texas Access to Justice Foundation provides support to this project.
Every year, hundreds of asylum seekers are detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Texas. They have fled civil war, ethnic fighting and religious and political persecution. Most have little, if any, money by the time they arrive in the United States and are not able to hire counsel or post the substantial immigration bonds required for release. Having language barriers, little understanding of U.S. law and court procedures, and few financial resources, they face almost insurmountable obstacles to proving their asylum claims. As a result, many risk being deported back to places where they may face persecution and even death based upon their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The responsibility has fallen on the private bar to offer legal assistance to these individuals. ProBAR provides the means by which the legal community can respond.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The CQ Press recently published its annual list of of most dangerous and least dangerous cities in the United States. With the uproar over the supposed link between immigration and violence, especially on our southern border, one would expect that the most violent cities in the U.S. would be on the border and/or cities with high foreign born popolutions. But, some of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. have small foreign born populations, incuding Detroit (4.8% foreign born), Baltimore (4.6%), Memphis (12.6%), D.C. 12.6%), Atlanta (8.7%). And, some of the least dangerous cities have high foreign born populations, including El Paso, Texas (26.1%) and San Diego, Ca. (25.7%). According to CQ Press, the border cities of Brownsville, El Paso, and McAllen, Texas are safer than Columbia, Missouri, Lawrence, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska.
HT: Mark Shea
cross posted on Mirror of Justice
In recent days, as Congress considers acting on the law, there has been lots of commentary on the DREAM Act. Here are some thoughts from Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center as well as yours truly The following is an excerpt:
"We all benefit by ensuring that the DREAMers can live the American dream. The DREAM Act would allow us to take a first, important step toward modernizing the U.S. immigration laws by allowing those who call this country home to be permitted to fully contribute economically to the nation's well-being.
For Californians, the DREAM Act holds the promise of improving a sputtering economy. More than 500,000 DREAMers live in California. With a college education or military training, these young people have the skills and education to jump-start the economy and create a more prosperous work force.
Moreover, common sense dictates that college-educated workers – workers whom Californians invested in by providing a K-12 education – earn more and contribute more in taxes than those without such an education. It is irrational not to capitalize on the state's investment in the DREAMers as well as to deny California's employers, and tax coffers, this valuable asset. In enacting Assembly Bill 540, the California Legislature reached a similar conclusion and ensured that all graduates of California high schools would be eligible for in-state resident fees at California's public colleges and universities, a law that the California Supreme Court recently upheld.
Some argue that Congress should wait to pass a more comprehensive solution to fix the nation's broken immigration system. We firmly believe that it unquestionably is the case that the nation must eventually create a system that meets the societal and economic needs of the United States. However, to paraphrase Voltaire, the "perfect" should not be the enemy of the "good." In our estimation, the DREAM Act would be a "good," even if not a "perfect," first step toward some kind of lasting, meaningful and practical immigration reform.
Californians face many difficult decisions in putting their economic house in order. By passing the DREAM Act, Congress can help provide a cost-neutral economic stimulus that will help the Golden State's future entrepreneurs, engineers, Web designers and community leaders to contribute fully to California's economy."
From the headlines: "Country music superstar Willie Nelson was arrested Friday morning for allegedly having about 6 ounces of marijuana after his tour bus was stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, about 85 miles east of El Paso. He posted bond and was released shortly after."
Here is Nelson singing "On the Road Again."
Man Without A Country How immigration reform--and a Texan from Bangladesh--got caught in the deportation dragnet
Saturday, November 27, 2010
From the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights:
Faith leaders across the country support the DREAM Act that provides the opportunity for students who grew up in the United States to earn legal status. The urge us all to call Congress (1-866-220-0044) to urge our representatives to vote yes on the DREAM Act. Click here for more information.
Several years ago, Prince William County's began to pursue a crusade against undocumented immigrants, which, according to the Washington Post, "has confirmed the county's reputation as a national symbol of intolerance." A study "has exposed just what was achieved, and wasn't, when Virginia's second-largest locality undertook its campaign against undocumented workers."
Friday, November 26, 2010
European Immigration and Asylum Law A Commentary Edited by Kay Hailbronner The EU has usurped essential parts of the national laws of immigration and asylum. Hence, European Directives and Regulations have become more important for the immigration departments and administrative tribunals. From German Courts alone, more than five referrals on the interpretation of Directives, especially in the area of the so-called Qualification-Directive (criteria for the recognition as a refugee,) have been made to the European Court of Justice. The immigration departments, too, are obliged to interpret national law, according to European Directives and Regulations. Accordingly, in most of the European member states numerous courts are required to decide on the basis of the European law in the field of immigration and asylum. For example, the following pieces of European legislation have been dealt with in detail: Directive on the qualification and status of refugees Directive on asylum procedure Directive on the admission of students Directive on the admission of researchers Family reunion Directive Blue Card Directive Directive on the return of third-country nationals Dublin Regulation, including Dublin Implementation Regulation and Eurodac.
Professor Hailbronner is Director of the Center for International and European Immigration and Asylum Law at the University of Konstanz. Contributors: Professor Astrid Epiney, University of Fribourg Ryszard Cholewinski, International Organisation for Migration in Geneva Dr Martin Schieffer, European Commission Professor Achilles Skordas, University of Bristol Professor Thomas Spijkerboer, VU University, Amsterdam.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
Our Immigrant of the Day is Luis Perez, a 2010 law graduate from UCLA School of Law, who hails from Guadalajara, Mexico. Click the link above to read Hector Tobar's column about Luis. "Perez is the first undocumented immigrant to graduate from UCLA's law school. He's taking the bar exam in January." He earned his B.A. in political science at UCLA before going to law school.
Immigration news from the Middle East:
"Israel's Cabinet, hoping to stanch the illegal flow of Africans through the country's porous southern border with Egypt, is scheduled to vote Sunday on a proposal to build a massive detention centre to hold the migrants. Some of the Africans seek political asylum, but officials say most come looking for work and have become absorbed into the country's sizable illegal work force. The centre is meant to make infiltration a less attractive prospect, and will be voted on just days after Israel began building a barrier along the border."