Saturday, December 11, 2010

Call Senators to vote YES on the DREAM Act

From the Asian American Justice Center:

Tell the Senate to Vote "Yes" on DREAM Act!

After the House passed the DREAM Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to bring the bill to a vote before the lame-duck session ends.We need everyone to call the Senate and urge passage of this important legislation! We are closer than ever to realizing the dream.

With a DREAM Act vote possible next week, we need your continued help to remind the Senate that we should give talented youth a chance to contribute to this country.


An estimated 65,000 students graduate from high school every year without legal immigration status, including many young Asian Americans. Watch "A DREAM A Part" to hear their stories and learn how they are fighting for the DREAM Act -

If the DREAM Act becomes law, young people who were brought to this country as children and remained in school or joined the military would be allowed to work toward citizenship. Passage of the DREAM Act would not only enable these young people - who grew up here and work hard - to capture the American Dream, but to contribute to the country they call "home."

Call your senators NOW and urge them to vote for the DREAM Act: 1-866-996-5161


December 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ninth Circuit Finds Constant Prolonged Harassment to Constitute Persecution

Javhlan v. Holder No. 06-71565

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 24710 (December 3, 2010)


Ms. Javhlan a native and citizen of Mongolia worked at the British and Indian embassies as well as the UN Development Program.  She was approached a number of times over several years by secret police agents who threatened to assault, imprison, rape or kill her if she did not agree to act as a spy for them.  In 1995 Ms. Javhlan was arrested and interrogated for four or five hours by the secret police.  In 2001, she developed paralysis on the left part of her face because of her duress.  In 2002, Ms. Javhlan’s husband was inexplicably fired from his job, and shortly thereafter she received a threatening call telling her that the next time she was arrested she would be raped.  Ms. Javhlan and her husband fled the country.  After they left, the secret police contacted Ms. Javhlan’s mother and brother demanding to know Ms. Javhlan’s whereabouts.  The relatives refused to answer.  A car belonging to Ms. Javhalan’s brother was blown up one day after he was visited by the secret police.  Ms. Javhlan was driven to contemplate suicide by her experiences.

The immigration judge ruled that Ms. Javhlan had not established neither past persecution nor the threat of future persecution and denied relief.  The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed without opinion. 

The Ninth Circuit reversed the BIA deciding that, “the cumulative effect of the constant threats by the secret police combined with the mental anguish and physical paralysis that Javhlan suffered as a result constitute persecution.”  The Ninth Circuit also refused to grant the government an opportunity on remand to provide proof regarding changed circumstances because the government had not made an argument before the IJ or the BIA concerning changed country conditions.  The Ninth Circuit concluded that Ms. Javhlan is eligible for asylum and withholding, and remanded the case to the BIA to exercise distraction as to whether to grant relief.



December 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CNN is Wrong: DREAM Act is NOT Dead

Click here for a nice piece from Project Economic Refugee.


December 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dolores Huerta and DREAMers at McCain's Office


MALDEF Supports Dolores Huerta, Arizona Students On Eleventh Day Of Fast In Support Of Dream Act Outside Senator McCain's Office
WASHINGTON, DC - For the past eleven days, student supporters of the DREAM Act have been fasting outside of Republican Senator John McCain’s Phoenix, Arizona district office in support of passage of the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act).

Dolores Huerta, civil rights icon and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, has recently joined the group’s water-only fast in support of the DREAM Act. She joined students Dulce Juarez and Celso Mireles, as well as the mother of a DREAM Act student Rosa Marta Soto. Together, the group hand delivered an open letter to Senator McCain, urging the Senator and other legislators to listen to the overwhelming will of the American public and vote Yes on the DREAM Act.
Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, calls on the public to read an open letter to Senator McCain written by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and on the Senate to pass the DREAM Act:

"Following the historic and courageous House vote to pass the urgently needed DREAM Act, the Senate has postponed its vote because there are an insufficient number of senators willing to permit a vote on DREAM. Any senators who lack the courage to do the right thing and allow a vote on this important legislation need look no further than the legendary Dolores Huerta, who together with many students across the country, is engaged in a fast to convince the Senate to pass the DREAM Act. There is ample bravery among these activists to close the courage deficit in Washington and pass the DREAM Act."


December 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Undocumented" Alien Terminology by Supreme Court

Mary Ann Zehr writes in Education Week:

In court this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. used the words "illegal aliens" to describe people who are living illegally in this country while Justice Sonia Sotomayor tended to refer to them as "undocumented aliens," Mark Walsh writes over at School Law blog. Read more...


December 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Risks, Including Deportation, Undocumented Immigrants Run by Driving

As Julia Preston and Robert Gebeloff of the N.Y. Times report, driver's license eligibility for undocumented immigrants can have tremendous practical consequences in the lives of undocumented immigrants.  Preston and Gebeloff write about how an ordinary fender-bender or a run-of-the-mill traffic ticket, can result in detention and removal proceedings for an undocumented immigrant.  As I wrote several years ago, the issue of driver's licenses eligibility for undocumented immigrants is not just about driving -- it is about the civil rights of millions of people living in the United States.


December 10, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Breaking News: Previous Immigrant of the Day (Salma Hayek) Once was an "Illegal"!

The Huffington Post reports that superstar actress Salma Hayek once allowed her nonimmigrant visa to expire on a visit to the United States, thereby rendering her an "illegal alien."  Born in Mexico and now a Los Angeleno (and U.S. citizen), Hayek previously was an ImmigrationProf Immigrant of the Day.  She is famous for her Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Frida Kahlo in the blockbuster film "Frida."


December 9, 2010 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Eight House Republicans Who Voted For The DREAM Act

The Wonk Room has an interesting discussion of the eight House Republicans who voted for the DREAM Act.  Bottom line:  Six are on their way out the door; two are Latinos.


December 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dream Act Stalled -- For Now

As previously reported, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed the DREAM Act. The Senate was scheduled to vote on their version of the measure today, but the Senate tabled the Senate version of the Act in order to preserve the opportunity for a successful vote on the House version later this session.

The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign:

“This morning the Senate began debate on the DREAM Act. But faced with the prospect of obstruction, Senator Reid preserved the path to victory by tabling the Senate’s version of the DREAM Act. This keeps the opportunity to bring it up again later in the lame duck session. Senate Republicans have offered a variety of process excuses for why we shouldn’t pass this historic bill. A postponed vote on DREAM will allow every single possible objection to be addressed. Then we will have arrived at a moment of truth for Republicans. What will they do when all of their excuses fall away? Several have promised to vote on DREAM if it appears as a stand-alone bill. They will get their wish. The fastest growing segment of the electorate is staring them in the eye, wondering what they will do. With our partners, we will make sure everyone remembers what happened when there is an actual vote in the next two weeks. This legislation has been debated for a decade. We don’t need even more partisan gridlock; we need strong leadership and Senators who will stand up and allow a vote before Congress adjourns for the year, on the future of America. For more than a year, the Reform Immigration FOR America has been urging, calling, emailing, faxing and pushing Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and yesterday alone we generated more than 40,000 calls to Congress. The DREAM Act is an integral part of comprehensive immigration reform and it has a real chance to become law. We urge every Senator to take a hard look at this bipartisan legislation and vote to approve it. “

For the CNN story on the latest developments, click here.


December 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dream Act would align immigration policy with U.S. legal culture

In this essay, which apprears in the Dec. 19 issue of OSV, I argue in favor of the Dream Act.


December 9, 2010 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NYIC Urges Senators to Vote YES on DREAM Act

From the New York Immigration Coalition:


(Wednesday December 8th, 2010) Following is a statement from Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:

"One down, one to go. With the House passage of the DREAM Act, we are one giant step closer to giving young people a chance to achieve their dreams, and leverage their full potential for the benefit of our nation. It is gratifying that the House came to its senses at the eleventh hour.  Kudos to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the President for moving this forward.  And shame on Reps. Arcuri (D-24),  Higgins (D-27), King (R-3), Lee (R-26), and Owens (D-23) for betraying New York State's proud tradition of honoring the contributions immigrants make to our state and country.  And now,  on to the Senate to bring the DREAM Act across the finish line."

Chung-Wha Hong
Executive Director
The New York Immigration Coalition

December 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sylvia Mendez to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom



President Obama has announced that, in early 20111, activist Sylvia Mendez (and here) will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.   At age eight, her parents attempted to enroll Mendez in a local school in Orange County, but were refused and told to take their daughter to the all-Mexican school.  Her parents, Gonzalo Mendez, who ran a successful agriculture business, and mother, Felicitas Mendez, sued.  The end result was the landmark decision in Mendez v. Westminster, 64 F.Supp. 544 (C.D. Cal. 1946), aff'd, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc), which found that the segregation of persons of Mexican ancestry violated the law.  Mendez served as one of the foundational cases leading up to the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Mendez eventually became a nurse, but retired after 30 years. Since then, she has lectured across the country on the importance of desegregation and educational equality.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom will be given out in early 2011. Mendez’s fellow honorees include, among others, former President George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Bill Russell, Stan Musial, Yo-Yo Ma, and Warren Buffet.

As the United States Senate considers the DREAM Act, we should keep in mind the historic struggle for educational equity in the United States and the pioneers like Sylvia Mendez.


December 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Call Senators to Pass the DREAM Act Today!


Call your two Senators TODAY and ask him or her to support the DREAM Act.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House passed the DREAM Act late on December 8, 2010, by a 216-to-198 vote. We are now in the final stretch. The U.S. Senate needs to hear from you as soon as possible, as Senate leaders are expected to take up the DREAM Act on December 9, 2010.
Please call your two Senators NOW.
Use this number: 1-888-254-5087 or 202-224-3121.
Briefly, the DREAM Act would give conditional legal status to immigrant young people who were brought here by their parents at a young age and who grew up here, went to school here, and now want to go to college or serve in our military. Simply put, they are American in every way except on paper. Passage of the DREAM Act by the Senate would put documentation all the more closer for many of these high-achieving and promising youth.
Why should your two Senators support the DREAM Act?
Because the public supports it -- 70%, according to a recent poll by First Focus.
Because the military needs it -- Secretary of Defense Bill Gates and Retired Gen. Colin Powell support the DREAM.
Because taxpayers deserve a return on their investment -- the Congressional Budget Office estimates the DREAM Act would reduce the deficit by $2.2 billion and UCLA estimates that successful DREAM Act-relief holders will generate $3.6 to $1.4 trillion of income (in current dollars) of the next four decades.
Call your two Senators TODAY and ask him or her to support the DREAM Act. Call 1-888-254-5087 or 202-224-3121.


December 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DREAM Act Passes the House; Now Onto the Senate

9:00pm ET: The DREAM Act has passed the House, 216-198. Nancy Pelosi announces the news with her signature grin and to bursts of cheers and applause. Tomorrow the DREAM Act will move on to the Senate for a vote at 11am ET.


December 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congress Debates the DREAM Act

Right now, watch live.


December 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Advance Parole Cannot be Revoked while Alien is Abroad

Samirah v. Holder No. 08-1889

United Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 24684 (December 3, 2010)

As one can never do justice to one of Judge Posner’s written opinions, I begin this case summary by quoting his own summary of the decision. He writes:

We'll see that an immigration regulation entitled the plaintiff, upon the revocation of his advance parole, to the restoration of his pre-parole status, that of an applicant to adjust his status from nonlawful resident to lawful resident. But to pursue his application, he had, by law, to be physically present in the United States. The government, in violation of the regulation, refused to let him return to the United States. He is entitled to a writ of mandamus directing the Attorney General to enable him to return. That is the case in a nutshell, but the complexity of immigration law will require an unavoidably tedious elaboration of our analysis. The issues presented by this appeal have not been briefed and argued as carefully as we would like, perhaps because of that complexity; but we think we can see our way clear to a sound result.

Factually, the case involved Mr. Sabri Samirah, a Jordanian a student visa overstay. Mr. Samirah completed his Ph.D., married, and has three U.S. citizen children. He has never been in removal or deportation proceedings. He unsuccessfully applied for adjustment of status twice. He applied for a third time. While his third application was pending he applied for, and was granted, advance parole (Form I-512L) to visit his ailing mother in Jordan. However, when he tried to return to the United States, travelling with the unexpired I-512L, the immigration service told him that his parole was revoked and that he was therefore inadmissible because he didn’t have an entry document.

The Seventh Circuit found the denial of entry to be legally unsound on various grounds. Form I-512L is a substitute for a visa because it was a promise to let Mr. Samirah back into the United States and resume his status as an adjustment applicant. Second, parole can be revoked "upon accomplishment of the purpose for which parole was authorized or when…neither humanitarian reasons nor public benefit warrants the continued presence of the alien in the United States." Since Mr. Samirah was not yet back in the United States, terminating his parole before his re-entry was premature. The Circuit acknowledged that the government could deny re-entry to someone who is inadmissible but no clear indication of inadmissibility was raised in the present case. Moreover, since someone returning on advance parole is not an arriving alien, the inadmissibility determination must be made by an immigration judge not an immigration officer at a checkpoint or port of entry.

In conclusion, the court remanded the case to the district court for the issuance of a mandamus commanding the Attorney General to,

…take whatever steps necessary to enable the plaintiff to reenter the United States for the limited purpose of reacquiring the status, with respect to his application for adjustment of status that he enjoyed when he left the United States pursuant to the grant of advance parole later revoked.


December 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Clinical Teaching Fellow for Immigrant Rights Clinic University of Baltimore School of Law

The University of Baltimore School of Law invites applications for an anticipated position as Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Immigrant Rights Clinic to start on or about June 1, 2011. This public interest fellowship program offers practicing attorneys exposure to law school clinical teaching. The application deadline is February 1, 2011. The Immigrant Rights Clinic represents clients in all stages of immigration proceedings. While the clinic has focused on asylum cases, the clinic also sometimes handles cases seeking relief for unaccompanied minors, victims of human trafficking, or battered immigrants. The IRC Fellow’s duties include direct supervision of clinic students representing clients and clinic classroom teaching in coordination with the clinic Director. Fellows are also given opportunities to pursue their professional goals, including time and support for scholarly writing. This Fellowship is particularly suitable for lawyers who want to embark on careers in law teaching. This position is a contractual appointment for up to two years and is potentially renewable for one additional year under certain circumstances. Qualifications: Excellent oral and written communication skills; at least two years of experience as a practicing lawyer, primarily in the area of immigration law; a strong academic record and/or other indicia of high performance ability; a commitment to work for low income clients; and a strong interest in teaching. Fellows must be members of a state bar before commencement of the fellowship. Salary: The current salary is $50,000 for the first year, and $53,000 for the second year. The position includes full benefits, including retirement annuities, health insurance, research support, and a travel allowance. To apply, submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae (including references), and writing sample, either by mail or electronically, to: Anjum Gupta Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic University of Baltimore School of Law 40 W. Chase Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201 Phone: 410-837-5706; Fax: 410-837-4776


December 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Transcript to Oral Argument in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting

Here is a link on SCOTUS Blog the transcript to the oral argument earlier today before the U.S. Supreme Court in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting. See Download Transcript  For information about this case, which involves a constitutional challenge to an Arizona immigration law, see here.

Here is Ruthann Robson's take on the oral argument.  Here is Lyle Denniston's.    My impression is that it will be a close decision and one that, at this point, is hard to call.


December 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Scholars United Behind DREAM Act

Today, more than fifty leading university professors urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, noting that both their academic research and their work as teachers compelled them to speak out on behalf of the undocumented students whose future hangs in the balance over today's vote. These scholars, who have dedicated their professional lives to studying migration-related issues, noted:

We, a group of university professors who study immigration and the circumstances confronting these young people, and who have many of these students in our classes, believe passing the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for our nation's immediate interests and for our long term security... After decades of research it is clear that, by punishing the children of undocumented immigrants, this country is creating a disenfranchised group of young people cut off from the very mechanisms that would allow them to contribute to our economy and society ... It is especially troubling and wasteful that some 2.1 million unauthorized children, American in spirit but not in law, are now enrolled in U.S. schools but will not be able to lawfully gain employment at the end of their education.

Over these last weeks and months we have seen our own students--those who are in our classrooms--struggle to meet school expenses, graduate from our universities, and then face uncertain futures and the constant risk of deportation. But we have also witnessed their incredible capacity to thrive despite debilitating circumstances. Gaby Pacheco, who, along with 3 others walked from Miami to Washington DC, holds three degrees from Miami Dade College. She dreams of practicing music therapy with autistic children... What is to be gained from limiting her opportunities?

[The DREAM Act] is an important step in fixing America's broken immigration system, and it should be passed. U.S. raised children, like Gaby Pacheco, who benefit from the Dream Act will see their hard work rewarded and, in turn, will contribute even more to the U.S., through higher earnings and taxes paid. And they will be our future teachers, community leaders, and professionals. As we think of students like Gaby Pacheco and the impact they are currently making, let us imagine the potential impact--and multiply it by 2.1 million. The America that we believe in, and that these idealistic youth believe in, would pass the Dream Act.


December 8, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

It's Time to DREAM

From the National Immigration Law Center:


For the first time since it was introduced in 2001, the House of Representatives will vote on the American Dream Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide undocumented youth, brought to the U.S. as young children, with a pathway to U.S. citizenship if they attend college or perform military service. 

Please call and ask your Representative to Support the American Dream Act.

Doing so would provide young men and women who grew up in this country with the legal documentation they need to serve the only country they know and love.

For more information about Dream Act, please click here and here.

To reach your Representative, call 866-957-2612, and you will be directly connected. Not sure who to call? Provide the operator with your zip code and she will direct you to the appropriate elected official.

Already called? Call again and forward this message to friends who believe in the American Dream.



December 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)