Monday, January 31, 2011
Michigan State University Press recently published the book Latinos in the Midwest, edited by Rubén O. Martínez. Over the past twenty years, the Latino population in the Midwest has grown rapidly, both in urban and rural areas. As elsewhere in the country, shifting demographics in the region have given rise to controversy and mixed reception. Where some communities have greeted Latinos openly, others have been more guarded. Despite their increasing presence, Latinos remain the most marginalized major population group in the country. In coming years, the projected growth of this population will require greater attention from policymakers concerned with helping to incorporate them into the nation’s core institutions. This eye-opening collection of essays examines the many ways in which an increase in the Latino population has impacted the Midwest — culturally, economically, educationally, and politically. Drawing on studies, personal histories, legal rulings, and other sources, this book takes an interdisciplinary approach to an increasingly important topic in American society and offers a glimpse into the nation’s demographic future.
Contributors include David A. Badillo, Lydia Buki, Jennifer Tello Buntin, Ana Campos-Holland, Frank Dunn, Antonio Castro Escobar, Jan L. Flora, Sandra Gonzales, Hannah Lewis, Donald T. Hutcherson, Linda Majka, Theo Majka, Rubén O. Martinez, Jennifer Mayfield, Claudia Cesar Montalvo, Prado-Meza, Rogelio Saenz, Maria Josef Santos, Tia Stevens, Mike Tapia, George Vargas, and Arturo Vega.
One tragic crime and murder of a young girl in Arizona in the summer of 2009 is not getting much attention. Julianne Hing on ColorLines reports on the trial of three alleged killers began last week in Arizona. "First to be tried is 42-year-old Shawna Forde, the ringleader who allegedly paid drug dealers to go attack a competitor’s home. . . . The plan, the LA Times reported, was to raid people’s homes for cash and jewelry which would fund Forde’s border vigilante group the Minutemen."
Watch Reason.tv's interview with Sam Quinones. Author of books and articles about Mexico, Quinones covers immigration, drug trafficking, and gangs as a reporter for the LA times. Reason.tv's Paul Feine recently sat down with Quinones to talk about popsicle kings, drag queens, cults, corruption, migration, and the future of Mexico.
With the widespread reports of violence on the streets, it is no surprise that the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning for Egypt and "recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest. On January 30, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees. Violent demonstrations have occurred in several areas of Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country, disrupting road travel between city centers and airports."
Nancy Cambria writes for St. Louis Today:
An international custody battle between a Guatemalan mother and a Missouri couple who adopted her son while she was detained after an immigration raid will go back to a lower court to be resolved.
In a decision released Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously agreed that Encarnacion Romero's legal rights as a parent were unfairly terminated when a lower court failed to take proper legal steps.
The "manifest injustice" resulted in the adoption of the child to Seth and Melinda Moser, of Carthage, Mo., who have cared for the boy since he was an infant, the court said.
But the court was passionately split 4-3 on how to resolve who should get custody of the boy and when.
Most of the judges ruled that a lower court should rehear the case with new evidence before weighing whether to remove the child from the only parents he has known for most of his life. Read more...
States Without Nations reports on a American University Washington College of Law clinic representing David Johnson before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a case involving derivative citizenship. The UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, with the supervising attorney Erin Louise Palmer, the Clinic director, Ali Beydoun, and several students have fought the effort to deport Johnson.
Climate change has become a major concern for the international community. Among its consequences, its impact on migration is the object of increasing attention from both policy-makers and researchers. Yet, knowledge in this field remains limited and fragmented. Published by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), in cooperation with UNESCO, this working paper provides an overview of the climate change-migration nexus: on the basis of available empirical findings, it investigates the key issues at stake, including the social and political context in which the topic emerged; states’ policy responses and the views of different institutional actors; critical perspectives on the actual relationship between the environment and migration; the concepts and notions most adequate to address this relationship; gender and human rights implications; as well as international law and policy orientations. Two major interconnected arguments arise. The first concerns the weight of environmental and climatic factors in migration and their relationship to other push or pull factors, whether of social, political or economic nature. The second is about the political framework in which such migration flows should take place and how to treat the people who move in connection with environmental factors. Download the Working Paper Download WP1079 Piguet-Pecoud-de Guchteneire_01. The French version is available for download [French, PDF] on University of Neuchâtel’s Working Papers website.
The section 287(g) program, which delegates federal immigration enforcement powers to state and local officers in 72 U.S. jurisdictions, is not targeted primarily at serious offenders, a major new analysis of the program finds. Despite public statements by Obama administration officials that the program is primarily targeted at identifying and removing “dangerous criminals,” Migration Policy Institute (MPI) researchers found that about half of 287(g) activity involves non-citizens (chiefly unauthorized immigrants but also removable legal immigrants) arrested for misdemeanor or traffic offenses. The MPI report, Delegation and Divergence: A Study of 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement, is based on in-depth, on-site interviews with federal, state and local law enforcement, elected officials, immigrant- and civil-rights groups and others in seven 287(g) jurisdictions (Los Angeles, CA; the state of Colorado; Cobb and Gwinnett counties in metro Atlanta, GA; Frederick County, MD; Las Vegas, NV; and Prince William County, VA). The report also analyzes 2010 data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the seriousness of criminal offenses committed by non-citizens detained through 287(g) activity nationwide; and provides data for each 287(g) jurisdiction. The report assesses outcomes of the three different 287(g) models – screening of immigration status in jails, by task forces operating in the field and hybrid models that combine jail screening and field operations – as well as program costs and community impacts. It also examines the implementation of the Obama administration's 2009 formal program changes emphasizing that 287(g) activities should focus first and foremost on non-citizens who have committed felonies and other serious crimes. Among the report’s top findings:
• Contrary to public perception, 287(g) is almost entirely a jail program, with the 19 jail models accounting for 90 percent of the 48,000 detainers issued in fiscal 2010 to hold people on immigration charges. Task force models, which have been controversial in Maricopa County, AZ and elsewhere, accounted for just 2 percent of 287(g) activity.
• Some jurisdictions operate highly “targeted” versions of the program, aimed primarily at identifying serious criminal offenders, while others pursue more “universal” enforcement strategies designed to detain and remove as many unauthorized immigrants as possible. The universal versions of the program are particularly concentrated in the Southeast, which accounts for the 10 jurisdictions with the largest share of detainers placed on traffic violators.
• The Obama administration's 2009 formal program changes and requirement that partner agencies re-negotiate their agreements have not substantially changed program priorities, operations, outcomes or community impacts.
• ICE closely supervises 287(g) officers in the seven study sites, but allows state and local partner agencies to set their own enforcement priorities. Use of the program varied substantially among the sites, with Las Vegas placing more than half of its detainers in 2010 on Level 1 offenders arrested for violent or major drug crimes while traffic offenders accounted for more than 60 percent of detainers in Cobb and Frederick counties.
These findings have implications for the Secure Communities program, which ICE intends to expand to every state prison and local jail by 2013. Secure Communities permits ICE officers to remotely determine inmates’ immigration status by screening their fingerprints against federal databases.
The MPI report found more significant negative impacts in communities where 287(g) is implemented in universal fashion and traffic offenders comprise a large share of program activity.
Among the other recommendations:
That 287(g) officers place detainers only after conviction for serious offenses or prior immigration violations; and that ICE discontinue 287(g) agreements with jurisdictions where evidence of racial profiling or other civil-rights violations emerge.
Here is the 4th in a series. Click here for the last installment.
Migrant Education is a product of the civil rights and farm worker movements of the 1960s. California's Migrant Education Program was established in 1967, two years into the five-year historic grape strike by the United Farm Workers. That strike, and the farm workers movement that it helped to ignite, gave migrant workers and their allies the political power necessary to get the state's educational system to respond to their needs. Today migrant education programs are one of the most important ways that farm worker families can win social equality and a future for their children beyond the fields.
The Pajaro Valley district includes thousands of students who travel with their families every year because their parents are migrant farm workers. The demographics of farm labor have changed radically over the last three decades. Today a large percentage of families come from Oaxaca and the states of southern Mexico. Many come from communities where people speak indigenous languages that were old when Columbus arrived in the Americas. The most common language among Watsonville students is Mixteco, although a few students speak Triqui or Zapoteco.
Families qualify as migrants because the parents work in farm labor, and have moved at least once in the last few years. In addition to education programs, children also get help with medical and dental care. The program has a very active parents group, with large meetings every month during the work season. Watsonville is close to the campus of the University of California in Santa Cruz, and university students help farm worker kids begin to think about the possibility of going to college.
Photographs: Children of migrant farm workers, many of them from indigenous Mixtec families from Oaxaca, are part of the Migrant Education program at Ohlone Elementary School. Ofelia Lopez is a Mixteco-speaking student in Jenny Doud's class. Doud helps students learn the words to a song. In another classroom, students hold hands, jump and dance. Natalia Gracida-Cruz is a tutor who speaks Mixteco with students for whom it is their primary language. Gabriela Diaz and Ruth Espinoza practice the sounds of the letters of the alphabet. Then Gracida-Cruz helps the two girls and Hector Cruz with recognizing letters and sounds. In another classroom she helps Victor Mendoza. Outside, older students get ready to practice a Mixteco song, including Romualdo Ortiz, Elizabeth Espinoza, Ezequiel Espinoza and Luis Lopez. Then Gracida-Cruz and migrant education instructor Casimira Salazar lead the four students, plus Claudia Salvador, in a song honoring Mexico's first indigenous president, Benito Juarez.
For more articles and images, see http://dbacon.igc.org
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Dan Bilefsky writes for the NY Times:
Romulo Castro considered attending his asylum interview in Rosedale, Queens, dressed as Fidela Castro, a towering drag queen in six-inch stilettos, a bright green poodle skirt and a mane of strawberry blond hair. In the end, Mr. Castro, 34, opted for what he described as understatement: pink eye shadow, a bright pink V-neck shirt and intermittent outbursts of tears.
After years of trying to conceal his sexual orientation back home in Brazil (where Fidela never made an appearance), Mr. Castro had been advised by his immigration lawyer that flaunting it was now his best weapon against deportation.
“I was persecuted for being fruity, a boy-girl, a fatso, a faggot — I felt like a monster,” said Mr. Castro, who reported being raped by an uncle at age 12, sexually abused by two police officers, and hounded and beaten by his peers before fleeing to the United States in 2000. “Here, being gay was my salvation. So I knew I had to put on the performance of my life.”
Amid international outcry over news of the Czech Republic’s testing the veracity of claims of purportedly gay asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their arousal while they watched pornography, some gay refugees and their advocates in New York are complaining that they can be penalized for not outwardly expressing their sexuality. While asylum-seekers and rights groups here expressed relief that use of the so-called erotic lie detector is impossible to imagine in the United States, some lamented in recent interviews that here too, homosexuals seeking asylum may risk being dismissed as not being gay enough. Read more....
ImmigrationProf reported last April that Mexican actress Fernanda Romero had been charged with marriage fraud and trying to gain legal residency and a work permit by marrying a U.S. citizen. A much-publicized trial, with testimony from former boyfriends, musicians, photographers, and a husband? about the alleged criminal conduct, was held last summer and ended in a mistrial. Earlier this week, Romero pleaded guilty to lying on an immigration document and issued a public apology. Sentencing will be in April. LA Weekly has a more detailed -- and, yes, juicy -- story.
The Obama administration promises to take on comprehensive immigration reform in 2010, setting policymakers to work on legislation that might give the approximately eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States a path to legalization of status. Commentators have been quick to observe that any such proposal will face intense opposition. Few issues have so divided the country in recent years as immigration. Immigrants and the Right to Stay brings the debate into the realm of public reason. Political theorist Joseph Carens argues that although states have a right to control their borders, the right to deport those who violate immigration laws is not absolute. With time, immigrants develop a moral claim to stay. Emphasizing the moral importance of social membership, and drawing on principles widely recognized in liberal democracies, Carens calls for a rolling amnesty that gives unauthorized migrants a path to regularize their status once they have been settled for a significant period of time. After Carens makes his case, six experts from across the political spectrum respond. Some protest that he goes too far; others say he does not go far enough in protecting the rights of migrants. Several raise competing moral claims and others help us understand how the immigration problem became so large. Carens agrees that no moral claim is absolute, and that, on any complex public issue, principled debate involves weighing competing concerns. But for him the balance falls clearly on the side of amnesty. Responses from T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Linda Bosniak, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Douglas S. Massey, Mae Ngai, and Carol M. Swain.
Joseph Carens is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
For a video discussion of the book by Carens and Carol Swain (Vanderbilt) and Jennifer Hochschild (Harvard) at MIT, click here.
Carens in effect proposes a statute of limitations on deportation and contends that the constant threat of deportation does more harm than the act of illegally crossing the border.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
From the Central American Resources Center:
CARECEN turns 25 -- Romero Vive Event honoring Father Jon Sobrino, Eric Quezada & Maria Gallo!
Estimados Colegas y Amigos/Dear Colleagues and Friends!
I am writing to share with you the exciting news that this year CARECEN turns 25! We are now a young adult full of possibility and past the challenging teen years –thank you all who have contributed to our success! To celebrate and honor our legacy, the Romero Vive Event Committee has selected 3 exemplary leaders to be honored at our second annual event March 31st. Our goal this year is to raise enough money to hire a new immigration attorney. Did you know that the whole Latino community only has 4 immigration lawyers between all 4 non-profit organizations that do legal immigration work? -- A shame given that Latino immigrants are overwhelmingly the targets of the wave of detention and deportation we have been facing the last few years.
As centroamericanos, we are very grateful to the diverse communities that opened their arms and welcomed us in our time of greatest need. We are also proud that we have worked hard to create our own institutions, do for ourselves and work on behalf of our community. The three people the event organizing committee and CARECEN board selected to receive the Romero Vive Award are exemplary individuals: FATHER JON SOBRINO, ERIC QUEZADA AND MARIA E. GALLO – all have been advocating and leading on behalf of Latinos and immigrants in our city and fighting for the dignity of poor people in El Salvador and Central America. It is important to us that we showcase leadership on behalf of social justice in different realms of the work.
I am also writing to invite you to come celebrate with us on March 31, 2011, from 6 – 9 p.m. in the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. The event will celebrate the life and work of Monsignor Óscar Romero. Assassinated by the Salvadoran military in 1980, Monsignor Romero was a staunch defender of human rights and advocate of social justice. The Romero Vive Celebration will honor the work of three individuals who embody his legacy.
A Jesuit priest and theologian, Father Sobrino is well-respected for his contributions to liberation theology and dedication to the Salvadoran people’s struggle for justice. In 1989 he narrowly escaped assassination by the Salvadoran military for his outspoken work to bring about a resolution to the brutal Salvadoran civil war. He currently resides in El Salvador. Father Sobrino has an amazing following and many of you have already requested individual meetings with him. Unfortunately, because of his health he will spend most of his time resting and his only appearance in San Francisco will be at our event.
Born in San Francisco of Guatemalan parents, Eric Quezada is a long-time community activist. He is currently executive director of the Dolores Street Community Center, and has worked at the Mission Housing Development Corporation and the Mission Economic Development Agency. He serves on a number of community agency boards, as well as acting as vice-chair of San Francisco’s Democratic Central Committee.
Originally from Modesto, Maria Gallo is a senior vice president with the Corporate Social Responsibility Group of Union Bank. Her passionate advocacy on behalf of Latinas and Latinos has won her awards from such organizations as the California Latino Civil Rights Network and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. She’s presently a board member of the Latino Community Foundation and an advisory member of Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
CARECEN continues to hold the vision that cost the lives of so many in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and here in the US -- including Mons. Romero –“It is not God’s will that some have everything and others have nothing.” So we work hard to build collaboration across sectors, race, neighborhoods – to make sure the poor are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to succeed in our country and in Central America. PLEASE JOIN US IN SAYING – THE POOR DESERVE DIGNITY, MONS.ROMERO, PRESENTE!
We sent out the hold the date card on email last week. I have attached it for you to forward to your community to make sure they are represented. We are sending the formal invitation to the printer early next week.
I am humbled by your commitment and hard work to assure that Latino, immigrant, poor and disenfranchised communities thrive and have the political power we deserve!
Ana C. Perez
A Pitch to My Republican Colleagues: Immigration Reform Now
by Congressman Mike Honda
[Article written for Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network]
House Speaker John Boehner’s pick of Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) over Rep Steve King (R-IA) to chair the Judiciary immigration subcommittee is one step closer to the kind of reform for which past administrations, from President Obama to Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, have long called. While both Representatives may be opposed to the kind of reform for which House Democrats are calling, Gallegly may be inclined to take the path more reasoned, especially if Democrats message effectively on the economic advantages to reform. There are many.
Immigration brings with it formidable fiscal implications. Keeping immigrants here or sending them home can save or cost taxpayers dearly, depending on what course is chosen. Just count the ways that reform, which puts our undocumented immigrations on the path to legalization, could foot our country’s finances.
First, any deportation plan of America's undocumented immigrants would cost our country's gross domestic product a whopping $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years, according to a study by UCLA professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda. Conversely, if we embrace comprehensive immigration reform, we add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next 10 years. Hinojosa-Ojeda also projected that the economy would benefit from a temporary worker program, which would raise the GDP by $792 billion.
Second, immigrants who become citizens consistently pursue higher-paying jobs and higher education, spend more and provide higher tax revenue. Just imagine what 12 million newly documented Americans could do for the economy. The legalization process also brings economic benefits like the retention of remittances. Reform will reunite families separated by our immigration system and keep monies in the U.S., instead of having workers send substantial portions of their salary to their family members abroad. As an example of the potential, U.S. remittances to Latin America alone totaled almost $46 billion in 2008. Of that, Mexico received almost $24 billion. Reducing remittances offers obvious cash infusion for our economy, as billions of dollars currently being sent overseas would instead be spent in American shops and restaurants, creating jobs and helping to get our economy going.
Third, by affording 2.1 million American students the opportunity to pursue higher education or military service, our government could collect $3.6 trillion over the next 40 years. The DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate last month but remains bipartisan, offers a conditional six-year path to legal permanent U.S. residence for immigrant youth brought here as children who demonstrate good moral character and complete at least two years of higher education or U.S. military service. Without the DREAM Act, about 65,000 students a year –honor-roll students, star athletes, talented artists and aspiring teachers – will graduate high school and then hit a roadblock. Instead of entering college or the military, and gaining upward mobility and higher education, they are forced to live in the shadows and work low-paying jobs.
Fourth, the Reuniting Families Act, which I will reintroduce in this Congress, will allow all Americans to be reunited with their families, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender permanent partners. The economic benefits of this policy also cannot be overstated: American workers with their families by their side are happier, healthier and more able to succeed than those living apart from loved ones for years on end. By pooling resources, families can do together what they can't do alone -- start family businesses, provide care for the young and old, create American jobs and contribute more to this country's welfare. The healthier the community, the more expendable income is available and the lower the burden on government social services. This correlation is well researched and well substantiated, but it is up to us to make it a reality.
We understand that during tough economic times, the natural reaction is to close the borders and look inward. Yet, the irony of anti-immigration sentiment, which fears a loss of jobs for Americans if more immigrant workers enter the United States, is that it is fiscally more prudent to legalize, insure, employ, reunite and educate our immigrants than to keep families apart.
This is a time when we must use every available resource to stimulate our economy and control government spending. To my fiscally conservative Republican colleagues, the onus is on you. Left to future Congresses, the number of undocumented immigrants will only increase and the visa waits will only get longer. Meanwhile, we lose an opportunity to do what's right economically. The fiscal case is clear: Reform now.
Friday, January 28, 2011
An unfortunate story from CHANGE.ORG:
"Jonathan Chavez, an honors student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, was on his way home to visit his parents when immigration authorities nabbed him on a bus and hauled him to a private detention facility in Florida. His crime? Despite the fact that his parents have legal status in the United States, Jonathan does not possess legal status because his naturalization process was stalled when he turned 18."
When John Kavanagh introduced his bill attacking birthright citizenship, he had some choice words:
Julianne Hing writes for Colorlines:
True to its word, Arizona dropped its long-promised anti-immigration bills attacking birthright citizenship. Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh filed two bills [yesterday] in the Arizona House, and State Sen. Ron Gould was also expected to file his own.
“Those two companion bills have one purpose,” Kavanagh told Colorlines. “We want to trigger a Supreme Court review of the phrase ‘subject to jurisdiction thereof’ which is contained in the 14th Amendment.”
Kavanagh said he believed that statements from the 14th Amendment’s authors and initial Supreme Court decisions reveal that the amendment was never intended to grant citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.
“We believe the current interpretation is wrong,” he said. . . .
“If we get the correct court decision…we will not be dispensing citizenship like a door prize,” Kavanagh said. “Especially not for those whose parents snuck into this country illegally through the back door.” Read more...
Photo Courtesy of Latino Politics Blog
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a jury verdict in the case of an alleged police coverup of the hate killing of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in rural Shenandoah, Pennsylvania in July 2008:
"One of three former Shenandoah police officers accused of obstructing an FBI investigation into the beating death . . . was convicted Thursday of the most serious charge against him. Former Police Chief Matthew Nestor and subordinates William Moyer and Jason Hayes were accused of helping a group of white high school football players cover up their roles in the July 2008 attack on 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. A federal jury deliberated 14 hours over two days before reaching a split verdict. The jury acquitted the defendants of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation. Nestor was found guilty of falsifying his police report, a charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. Moyer, who had faced five counts, was found guilty of lying to the FBI and acquitted of the others. Hayes was acquitted of both charges against him."
For a summary of the protracted legal history of the Shenandoah case, which included an acquital of the teens who beat Luis Ramirez to death on criminal charges in state court followed by their convictions of hate crimes in federal court, click here. In the federal prosecution, the jury found that two former high school football players in the small town of Shenandoah violated Ramirez's civil rights in a violent assault. A key issue in the case was "the mindset of a quartet of belligerent teens who called Ramirez a `spic,' told him to go back to Mexico and assaulted the immigrant with their fists and feet."
Shenandoah is not far from Hazelton, PA, a town that over the last few years has seen much anti-immigrant activity and, last fall, had its immigration law ruled to be unconstitutional by a federal court of appeals.
Here are some new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network:
"Lessons Learned, Lessons Lost: Immigration Enforcement’s Failed Experiment with Penal Severity" Fordham Urban Law Journal, Forthcoming TERESA A. MILLER, State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. ABSTRACT: This article traces the evolution of “get tough” sentencing and corrections policies that were touted as the solution to a criminal justice system widely viewed as “broken” in the mid-1970s. It draws parallels to the adoption some twenty years later of harsh, punitive policies in the immigration enforcement system to address perceptions that it is similarly “broken,” policies that have embraced the theories, objectives and tools of criminal punishment, and caused the two systems to converge. In discussing the myriad of harms that have resulted from the convergence of these two systems, and the criminal justice system’s recent shift away from severity and toward harm reduction, this article suggests that the criminal justice system has been more proactive in compensating for its excesses than the immigration enforcement system and discusses the reasons why. BLOGGER'S NOTE: PROFESSOR MILLER'S CRIMMIGRATION SCHOLARSHIP IS ALWAYS FIRST-RATE!
"Because You're Mine I Walk the Line: The Trials and Tribulations of the Family Visa Program" Fordham Urban Law Journal, 2010 EVELYN HAYDEE CRUZ, Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. ABSTRACT: The current backlog of over 3.5 million immigration visas places strains on mixed immigration status families and exacerbates the undocumented population problem. Families who choose to wait for a visa to become available before reunifying may strain the family unit. Those who reunify in the United States without first obtaining legal status face deportation and inadmissibility because of their unlawful residence in the United States. Congress has made some attempts to alleviate these strains. Unfortunately, the broad intent of these statutory changes has run up against narrow administrative interpretation. Nonetheless, in the present political climate, administrative solutions that seek to solve inadequacies in the current system are more politically expedient than installing a completely new family visa program. Therefore, immigration reform efforts must focus on expansive statutory interpretation of these and other existing statutes. In this essay I outline the social costs of an inadequate family visa program and offer some suggestions for administrative improvements to the program that do not necessitate legislative action. However, the inadequacies of the current family petition system must eventually be addressed through a congressional overhaul of the process. Therefore, I visit the history of narrow administrative interpretation of immigration legislative action to highlight how important agency interpretation is in the drafting of immigration legislation. I conclude the essay by discussing the elements I believe should be included in family visa petition reform. BLOGGER'S NOTE: IMMIGRATIONPROF BLOGGER CRUZ ALWAYS IS PROVOCATIVE, INTERESTING, AND ON-POINT. AND WHO CAN PASS ON AN ARTICLE WITH A TITLE BASED ON A JOHNNY CASH SONG!
"Who Belongs? Immigrants and the Law in American History" BLACKWELL COMPANION TO AMERICAN LEGAL HISTORY, Alfredy Brophy, Sally Hadden, eds., Wiley-Blackwell, 2012 ALLISON BROWNELL TIRRES, DePaul University College of Law. ABSTRAT: This essay will appear in the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to American Legal History. The essay explores the major works and themes in the history of U.S. immigration law, including attention to the histories of immigrants themselves. One of the challenges, and opportunities, of studying immigrants and the history of immigration law is grappling with the contradictions and inconsistencies of this politically-charged category. Immigration law is a window onto American perceptions of national identity. According to the classic formulation, the U.S. is a "nation of immigrants," its past and future tied inextricably to the waves of migrants who came, and continue to come, to its shores seeking the mythical "American Dream." Yet alongside that mythical, constitutive story of inclusion is an equally strong story of exclusion, more often than not along lines of race, class, and political ideology. Law has played a pivotal role in both these stories, serving alternately as a mechanism for drawing in immigrants and as a tool for excluding and marginalizing them. Law has been, and continues to be, central in shaping and defining the immigrant experience in the United States. This essay seeks both to explain the general trends over time in immigration law as well as to introduce the reader to the seminal texts in the field. It is divided into four main sections which proceed in rough chronological order, each exploring the major secondary literature and themes for that particular time period. BLOGGER'S NOTE: I NEVER CAN GET ENOUGH IMMIGRATION HISTORY!