Friday, May 27, 2011

2010 Census Shows Nation's Hispanic Population Grew Four Times Faster Than Total U.S. Population

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a 2010 Census brief on the nation's Hispanic population, which shows the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate. The Hispanic Population: 2010 brief looks at an important part of our nation's changing ethnic diversity with a particular focus on Hispanic origin groups, such as Mexican, Dominican and Cuban.

One interesting note.  Salvadorans have surpassed Dominicans as the fourth (behind Mexicans, Pureto Ricans, and Cubans) largest group of Latinos in the United States.  The nation's 31.8 million Mexican-Americans continue to outnumber all other Latino groups, at 63 percent of the total Latino population. Following them are roughly 4.6 million Puerto Ricans, 1.8 million Cubans, 1.6 million Salvadorans and 1 million Guatemalans.


May 27, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Economics vs. enforcement: The long-running Vidalia onion saga

Leslie Berenstein Rojas 
brings the immigration debare to something all of us who cook much can relate to -- Vidalia onions!

By the way, I was on talk radio in Vidalia, Georgia a few years ago and was impressed with the listeners' understanding of the basic economics of immigration in the local onion industry.


May 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace

Akram book 

International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace Edited by Susan M. Akram, Michael Dumper, Michael Lynk, Iain Scobbie Published December 21st 2010 by Routledge – 342 pages

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been intertwined with, and has had a profound influence on, the principles of modern international law. Placing a rights-based approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the centre of discussions over its peaceful resolution, this book provides detailed consideration of international law and its application to political issues. Through the lens of international law and justice, the book debunks the myth that law is not useful to its resolution, illustrating through both theory and practice how international law points the way to a just and durable solution to the conflict in the Middle East. Contributions from leading scholars in their respective fields give an in-depth analysis of key issues that have been marginalized in most mainstream discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: •Palestinian refugees •Jerusalem •security •legal and political frameworks •the future of Palestine. Written in a style highly accessible to the non-specialist, this book is an important addition to the existing literature on the subject. The findings of this book will not only be of interest to students and scholars of Middle Eastern politics, International Law, International Relations and conflict resolution, but will be an invaluable resource for human rights researchers, NGO employees, and embassy personnel, policy staffers and negotiators.


May 26, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Maid’s Daughter Living Inside and Outside the American Dream by Mary Romero

Mary romero 
The Maid’s Daughter Living Inside and Outside the American Dream
by Mary Romero 288 pages September, 2011.  ABSTRACT:  At a very young age, Olivia left her family and traditions in Mexico to live with her mother, Carmen, in one of Los Angeles’s most exclusive and nearly all-white gated communities. Based on over twenty years of research, noted scholar Mary Romero brings Olivia’s remarkable story to life. We watch as she struggles through adolescence, declares her independence and eventually goes off to college and becomes a successful professional. Much of her extraordinary story is told in Olivia’s voice and we hear of both her triumphs and her setbacks. In The Maid’s Daughter, Mary Romero explores this complex story about belonging, identity, and resistance, illustrating Olivia’s challenge to establish her sense of identity, and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion in her life. Romero points to the hidden costs of paid domestic labor that are transferred to the families of private household workers and nannies, and shows how everyday routines are important in maintaining and assuring that various forms of privilege are passed on from one generation to another. Through Olivia’s story, Romero shows how mythologies of meritocracy, the land of opportunity, and the American dream remain firmly in place while simultaneously erasing injustices and the struggles of the working poor.


May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)



The Supreme Court today affirmed the Ninth Circuit's decision in CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL. v. WHITING.  The Court, in an opinion written by the Chief Justice, held that the Arizona law stripping buiness that employers of undocumented immigrants of licenses, is not to be preempted by federal immigration law.   Download Chamber of commerce  

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority, joined by Justices Scalia, Kenedy, Alito, and, for the most part, Thomas.  Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Ginsburg, dissented.  Justice Sotomayor dissented separately.  Justice Kagan did not take part in the consideration or decision in the case.

My initial reading of the decision is that it is relatively narrow in scope on the question of federal premption of state regulation of immigration (and thus should not be read too broadly with respect to the prospects of other state laws, including Arizona's S.B. 1070).  The Immigration Reform and Control Act (8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(2)) expressly preempts

"any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit, or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens." (emphasis added).

The Court held that the Arizona Legal Arizona Workers Act provision that penalized employers of undocumented immigrants with up to loss of a business license, fell withing the language of the savings clause and thus was not prempted by federal law.  A majority also found that there was nothing in federal law that barred a state, as Arizona did, from making use of the federal E-Verify system mandatory.

Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal noted that

"A word search of Roberts’ majority opinion reveals he did not use the term `illegal immigrants' or `illegal aliens,' except when quoting other sources. Instead he opted for the more politically correct terms `unauthorized aliens' and `unauthorized workers.' At oral arguments, word choice became something of an issue when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice who shunned the `illegal immigrants` terminology, referring instead to `undocumented immigrants.'"

It is noteworthy that Justice Sotomayor in her first opinion on the Court had thd opportunity to address this immigration terminological question. 

One could say that the Chief Justice was using, as a lawyer should, the more technically accurate term rather than the "poolitically correct" one.

Lyle Denniston's analysis of the opinion appears on SCOTUSblog.


May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article (and Title) of the Day: The Wonderful World of Disney Visas by KIT JOHNSON

"The Wonderful World of Disney Visas" Florida Law Review, Vol. 63, p. 1, 2011 KIT JOHNSON, University of North Dakota School of Law.  Abstract:   International workers play an important role in perpetuating the carefully crafted fantasy that to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is to be transported to far-off destinations around the globe. This Article examines how Disney has filled its need for these workers in two ways. For one, Disney has used a blend of chutzpah and ingenuity to forge new federal law establishing the Q visa. Additionally, Disney has dexterously used the existing J visa, along with an on-resort academic program, to bring international workers to Florida as students. An examination of Disney’s immigration practices offers insight into the larger questions of who designs and benefits from immigration laws. These questions are particularly worthy of attention given the current call for federal immigration reform. I proceed by detailing the history of the Q visa law, which was designed by Disney for its own needs - namely, to authorize “cultural representatives” to travel to the United States for short durations and to work in jobs where they share aspects of their home countries with the American public. This present study is the first historical treatment of the Q visa in the literature. I then discuss what Disney has appropriated from its custom-designed immigration program. Next, I look at the J visa and how Disney has exploited it by analyzing the history of the J visa, which was created during the Cold War to cultivate an appreciation for and familiarity with American society. I then look at Disney’s International College Program, which is intended to provide compliance with the J visa law while ensuring a ready stream of available labor for Disney’s mammoth Florida resort operations. A thorough exploration of the facts shows that Disney’s International College Program is not consistent with the original statutory intent. Scrutiny of Disney’s Q and J visa programs highlights weaknesses in our current immigration system and illustrates how those flaws might affect future immigration reforms.

In this article, Professor Johnson continues her research on visas used by employers that had not previously received much attention.  

May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Symposium of the Day: Symposium on Federalism at Work: State Criminal Law, Noncitizens and Immigration Related Activity

"Symposium on Federalism at Work: State Criminal Law, Noncitizens and Immigration Related Activity - An Introduction" M. ISABEL MEDINA, Loyola University New Orleans - School of Law.  ABSTRACT: Over the course of the last few decades states have become much more aggressive about undertaking state regulation of undocumented migration. To some extent, states have pursued these efforts because of the perception that the federal government has not done enough to discourage or prevent undocumented migration. The federal government, however, since the early 1990s, has been devoting greater resources and attention to addressing the problem of undocumented migration. Notwithstanding the federal focus on immigration enforcement, in the past decade, states have sought to play a more active role in immigration enforcement and, in particular, in deterring or punishing undocumented or unauthorized migration. To some extent, federal immigration law facilitates cooperative state initiatives in law enforcement undertaken under federal supervision. Many state legislatures or municipalities unsatisfied with federal efforts, however, have gone further and enacted statutes that regulate immigration related activities or the status of being an undocumented or unauthorized non-citizen. One example is the ordinance adopted by the City of Hazleton, which among other things prohibited landlords from knowingly letting, leasing or renting a dwelling unit to an "illegal alien" and prohibited employment of undocumented aliens. Courts have enjoined the ordinance as preempted by federal law. More recently, states have enacted statutes that impose criminal sanctions on a variety of immigration related activity. Perhaps the most famous of these initiatives is Arizona’s SB 1070. A similar bill was introduced before the Louisiana legislature recently. That bill was unsuccessful but "at least one Louisiana legislator has promised to introduce a similar statute for adoption in Louisiana." This symposium at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law examined the role that state criminal law has or should have in the context of immigration, immigration related activities and unauthorized or undocumented migration.

The symposium had a great line-up and I look forward to the published symposium issue.


May 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What about an Immig-Corps?

Professor Stacy Caplow
(Brooklyn) in the National Law Journal  contends that the nation needs a structured program for recent law graduates to provide legal services to poor, unrepresented immigrants while developing skills and knowledge to improve the level of competency of the immigration bar for the long haul.  Sounds like an idea!! To paraphrase Professor Caplow, everyone benefits — the immigrants who find it difficult to obtain competent counsel, the courts that are teeming with time-consuming cases of unrepresented immigrants, and "the bar itself as new, well-trained lawyers enter the field raising the level of competence in general."


May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Can the Winnipeg Model Save Detroit?


An interesting article from New Geography sees immigration and immigrants as the answer for the devastated economy, failing infrastructure, and depopulating Detroit.  The moder:  Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, a former rusty industrial city that has been revived economically and otherwise through immigration and immigrants.


May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

An Irish View of U.S. Immigration Reform

Jim Dee of the Belfast Telegraph
offered an Irish perspective on U.S. immigration reform.  The occasion was President Obama's much-publicized visit to Ireland, where he visited family and emphasized the importance of "diaspora communities." Ireland, of course, has sent an immigrant or two to the United States and immigration remains a salient issue to many Irish-Americans today.


May 26, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rocket Lawyer Podcast: Let's Talk Immigration

From Rocket Lawyer:

Other than similar taste in ties, you might not think these men have much in common. Turns out, as far as immigration is concerned, they certainly do.

Legally Easy Episode 25: Let’s Talk Immigration

Immigration has long been a divisive issue in American politics. Policy reform seems to come every generation and most everyone on both sides of the aisle has strong opinions about what that reform should look like. Should we be more open with our borders? More closed? And how do we as a nation deal with the over ten million folks here illegally? On this edition of the Legally Easy Podcast, we examine those issues and more with immigration expert and professor Bill Ong Hing. Click here for the podcast.


May 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sheriff Joe and the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff's Office in the News


Here is some breaking news from Arizona

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday afternoon that one of his deputies and two of his detention officers were part of a drug and human trafficking operation.

The deputy and detention officers were arrested today along with nine other people."

Known as "America's Toughest Sheriff," Sheriff Arpaio often is in the ImmigrationProf news, often for alleged civil rights violations in his efforts to fight crime and illegal immigration.

A tip of the hat to Cappy White!


May 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mental Health and Deportation

Advocates Hail Deportation Rule

Shawn Zeller, writes for Congressional Quarterly:

Advocates for immigrants have long complained about the Justice Department’s system for evaluating the claims of those threatened with deportation. Unlike in regular criminal proceedings, immigrants have no right to a court-appointed lawyer if they can’t afford one. Those with mental health problems have it particularly tough when they are not capable of defending themselves.
So the advocates were heartened, although cautious, earlier this month by a decision from Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals that will set some minimum standards to guide the department’s immigration judges in determining how to proceed in such cases.

Specifically, the case dealt with a Jamaican citizen and lawful permanent resident of the United States who’d been convicted of drug dealing. Removing criminal aliens is a major priority of the Obama administration. But in this instance, the appeals board sent the case back to an immigration judge on the grounds that the court needed to evaluate the man’s mental health thoroughly before ordering him deported. The immigration judge who initially heard the case had found that the man was not capable of answering basic questions but had not determined if he was mentally impaired.

“This means that if there is good cause to believe an immigrant lacks sufficient competency, the immigration judge has to implement appropriate safeguards to ensure a fair hearing,” says Melissa Crow, director of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center.

The board also established procedures to evaluate an immigrant’s mental health by examining whether the immigrant understands the nature and object of the proceedings; can consult with an attorney or representative (if there is one); and has a reasonable opportunity to examine adverse evidence, present favorable evidence and cross-examine government witnesses.

The board said nothing about the right to an attorney, but Crow says she hopes the board will add that requirement.

See my views on this at Systemic Failure: Mental Illness, Detention, and Deportation, 16 U.C. Davis J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 341 (2010)


May 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ola Kaso: Dreamer Gets Deferred Action



Yup, that's right!  Ola was originally told to appear at ICE on June 8th, there she was going to be told the exact date and time she, along with her mother, would be deported back to Albania.  Knowing that it is wrong for even one DREAMer to be deported we joined others to help Ola and her family launch a campaign to stay here. Just over 10,000 of you responded and took action.  In the end your calls and emails really put the pressure on ICE, just yesterday Ola and her mom were granted deferred action!

Support us so we can fight for more DREAMers like Ola and her mom.

Ola wanted us to convey her gratitude to each of you, since she was young it was her dream to go to the University of Michigan.  With her deportation looming, despite having been accepted, she had almost given up on that dream but now thanks to each and everyone of you she can live it out.

All of the work we do for families facing deportation is free, if you can, please make a $5 donation support our efforts.  If you know of DREAM-eligible youth in the same boat as Ola please respond to this email with a quick summary and we'll see what we can do.

Thank you for all you do,

Mohammad Abdollahi
co-founder of


May 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Expressing Regret for Chinese Exclusion

Reps. Chu & Biggert to Announce Resolution of Regret for Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Washington D.C. – U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) and U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-13) will announce the introduction of a resolution calling on Congress to formally acknowledge and express regret for the passage of several laws between 1882 and 1904 that violated the fundamental civil rights of Chinese-American settlers. Chu and Biggert will introduce the measure on Thursday in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which celebrates the historical contributions of Asian Americans.
In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which imposed a ten-year moratorium on Chinese immigration and naturalization of Chinese settlers. The law was later expanded several times to apply to all persons of Chinese descent and to impose increasingly harsh restrictions on immigration. These laws were repealed in 1943, after China became an ally of the U.S in WWII, but have never been formally acknowledged by Congress as incompatible with America’s founding principles.
Who: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Judy Biggert, community advocates and national supporters
What: Announcement of resolution to acknowledge and express regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act
Where: 2261 Rayburn House Office Building
When: Thursday, May 26, 1:45 p.m.
Austin Vevurka
Press Secretary
Rep. Judy Chu - CA 32
1520 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

For a history of the Chinese exclusion act, other Asian exclusion laws, and their effects, see Making and Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy (Stanford Press 1993).



May 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law

Frustrated by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, many immigrant advocates, from grassroots community organizers to Members of Congress, have begun calling on President Obama to take action on immigration. They want the President and his Administration to use the power of the executive branch to prevent or defer removals, to revisit current policies and priorities, and to interpret the law as compassionately as possible.

Like all government officials from the local traffic cop to the Attorney General of the United States, immigration officials must make decisions every day about how they exercise their power. It is within the discretion of immigration authorities to determine whom to target for removal. For instance, by prioritizing “criminal aliens” over “non-criminal aliens,” the Department of Homeland Security exercises its authority to enforce the law against some people but not others. These decisions are exercises of prosecutorial discretion.

For those unfamiliar with the idea of prosecutorial discretion—or with the way immigration laws are actually enforced—it can be confusing to identify and understand what is at stake when advocates call for more prosecutorial discretion.

Consequently, the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council has produced the following brief introduction to the concept of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and answers the following questions:

• What is Prosecutorial Discretion?

• When is Prosecutorial Discretion Used in Immigration Enforcement?

• Who Exercises Prosecutorial Discretion?

• Is Prosecutorial Discretion Always Case by Case?

• What Factors Lead to an Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion?

• Is Prosecutorial Discretion a New Idea in Immigration Enforcement?

• Is Prosecutorial Discretion the only authority the Executive Branch has to affect the immigration laws?

• Do Members of Congress Recognize Prosecutorial Discretion as An Executive Branch Authority?

Here is the fact sheet Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law (IPC Fact Check, May, 2011).


May 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Death on the Border Chapter 1001: No More Deaths: The Crisis on the U.S.- Mexico Border in Arizona

Ted Hesson on the Huffington Post
reminds us of the continuing deaths along the U.S/Mexico border resulting from increased border enforcement:  "Since 1994, there have been more than 6,000 confirmed deaths on the border. . . . . The number of confirmed migrant deaths along the border since 1994 is roughly the same as the combined number of U.S.-soldier fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan."

1994 is the year that the Clinton administration, in response to California's Proposition 187, began to implement border operations -- or, as some might put it, militarizing the U.S./Mexico border, beginning with Operation Gatekeeper south of San Diego.


May 25, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shades of Arizona: Immigration law prompts call for Porsche to pull out of Georgia

220px-Porsche_Traktor_Diesel_Super Porsche Diesel Super

News from Georgia
:  "Somos Republicans,an Arizona-based organization aimed at increasing the number of Latinos voting for Republican candidates, sent a letter to the CEO of Porsche Cars North America, asking the company to reconsider the choice of Georgia as the site of a new headquarters facility because of the newly-enacted legislation."


May 24, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not Sure What this Means But . . . Border Apprehensions at a 10 Year Low!


Here is data on border apprehensions from 1999-2010 (Download Border Patrol Apprehensions):

Fiscal year                Apprehensions           # of Border Patrol Officers

1999                        1,579,010

2000                        1,676,438 HIGH               8,580

2001                        1,266,213

2002                         955,310

2003                         931,557

2004                        1,160,395

2005                        1,189,075

2006                        1,089,092

2007                          876,704

2008                          723,825   

2009                          556,041

2010                          483,382 LOW                  20,745 (2011)

Although interesting, I am not sure what this data really means.  It does show that border apprehensions last year were at a 10 year low and only about one-third of what they were in fiscal year 1999.  From 2000 to 2011, the number of Border Patrol officers more than doubled from roughly 8,500 to more than 20,700.  Although apprehensions were at a low in FY 2010, deportations in the same fiscal year were at an all time high of nearly 400,000.  (By the way, another relevant statistic that might be worth including in this table is the rising death toll of migrants in the U.S./Mexico border region).

Let me hazard a sketch of an explanation.  What likely is occurring is that programs like the much-criticized (see, e.g., here, here and here) Secure Communities are facilitating the removal of small time criminal violators who had been residing in the country and this were not "apprehended" at the border by the Border Patrol.

Ultimately, whatever the number of apprehensions and removals, it is only the recession that put much of a dent in the undocumented population, decreasing it from a high of about 12 million in 2009 to roughly 11.1 million today.  Without as strong a magnet of jobs, the number of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States has declined, once again proving that labor migration is what fuels undocumented -- as well as lawful -- migration to the United States.



May 24, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BLACK ALLIANCE FOR JUST iMMIGRATION Fifth Anniversary Dinner & Awards Ceremony


BAJI Fifth Anniversary Dinner & Awards Ceremony Islamic Center of Northern California Oakland, CA Join us in celebrating the Black Alliance for Just Immigration's five years of "Kuumba", a Swahili word meaning creativity--Creating Community, Inspiring Alliances, Building a Movement.

We are also honoring these community leaders and organizations:

- Rev. Phillip Lawson & Rev. Kelvin Sauls - Founders Awards

- Priority Africa Network- Ally Award

- Catherine Tactaquin,National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights - Community Activist Award

- Pierre Laboissiere, Co-founder, Haiti Action Committee - Community Activist Award

- R.I.S.E. immigration Research Team, Berkeley High School, Young Leaders Award

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Reception and Silent Auction

6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Dinner and Program


May 24, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)