Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

Clinton 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

The U.S. Department of State has released the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.  Here is a description of human trafficking in the United States, which is ranked in the top tier of nations addressing human trafficking, from the report:

 "The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, document servitude, and sex trafficking. Trafficking occurs for commercial sexual exploitation in street prostitution, massage parlors, and brothels, and for labor in domestic service, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, hotel services, hospitality industries, construction, health and elder care, and strip club dancing. Vulnerabilities are increasingly found in visa programs for legally documented students and temporary workers who typically fill labor needs in the hospitality, landscaping, construction, food service, and agricultural industries. There are allegations of domestic workers, foreign nationals on A-3 and G-5 visas, subjected to forced labor by foreign diplomatic or consular personnel posted to the United States. Combined federal and state human trafficking information indicates more sex trafficking than labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions, but law enforcement identified a comparatively higher number of labor trafficking victims as such cases uncovered recently have involved more victims. U.S. citizen victims, both adults and children, are predominantly found in sex trafficking; U.S. citizen child victims are often runaways, troubled, and homeless youth. Foreign victims are more often found in labor trafficking than sex trafficking. In 2010, the number of female foreign victims of labor trafficking served through victim services programs increased compared with 2009. The top countries of origin for foreign victims in FY 2010 were Thailand, India, Mexico, Philippines, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic. "

For the 2010 report, see here.

KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Enforcement Beat Goes On

The Obama administration's "enforcement now, enforcement forever" approach to immigration is having an impact -- especially on Latino immigrants.  The Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Report released this month finds that DHS made 517,000 apprehensions and removed 387,000 foreign nationals from the United States in fiscal year 2010.  Key findings in this report include the following:

• DHS apprehended 517,000 foreign nationals; 83 per-cent were natives of Mexico.

• ICE detained approximately 363,000 foreign nationals.

• DHS removed 387,000 foreign nationals from the United States. The leading countries of origin of those removed were Mexico (73 percent), Guatemala (8 percent), Honduras (6 percent), and El Salvador (5 percent).

• Reinstatements of final orders accounted for 131,000, or 34 percent, of all removals.

• Expedited removals accounted for 111,000, or 29 percent, of all removals.

• ICE removed 169,000 known "criminal aliens" from the United States.

• DHS returned 476,000 foreign nationals to their home countries without a removal order.

KJ 

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

E-Verify Devastates Georgia

From America's Voice:

Will Lamar Smith’s Mandatory E-Verify Bill Do for American Agriculture what it has done for Georgia’s Growers?

Washington, DC – As the House prepares to move mandatory E-Verify legislation this summer, growers and business owners in Georgia are speaking up about the serious problems they are grappling with due to their state’s version of the law.  As the drumbeat grows louder in Georgia, we wonder if the noise will reach Washington, where Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is proposing E-Verify as an economic cure-all and the cornerstone of the Republicans' jobs program.  Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, and as Georgia demonstrates, the burdens, costs, and consequences of E-Verify for small businesses, the agriculture industry, and ultimately, taxpayers and consumers, are astronomical. 

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Washington take note.  Judging by Lamar Smith's 'logic,' unemployed Americans by the thousands should be flocking to Georgia to line up in the fields to fill the labor void left by the experienced immigrant workforce that has fled due to the state's law.  Instead, Georgia is learning--through rotting food and higher prices--that short-sighted laws have consequences, that workers aren't interchangeable, and that yes, in fact, immigrant workers are the backbone of our nation’s agriculture industry.  As Georgia makes clear, mandatory E-Verify isn't a jobs program, it's an economic disaster of the highest order and a full-fledged assault on one of America’s prized industries." 

Will Washington listen to these grower voices from Georgia? 

Rotting Crops and Loss of Experienced Workers: 

·         "What we began hearing in mid- to late May was many of our migrant workers, they were not coming to Georgia.  Farmers are short on harvest labor 30 to 50 percent. You don't have a whole lot of window — that crop has to come out or it'll spoil."  - Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Grower's Association.

·         "For these guys picking peaches across the state of Georgia, that's their career. They do good work and you can't find that quality of work anywhere else." - Drew Echols, farm manager at Jaemor Farms in Alto, GA to the Gainseville Times.

·         "It's appalling, because they didn't think through the implications, at the farm level.  It's like a witch hunt that tells immigrants: 'we want you gone."  - Gary Paulk, sixth-generation blackberry farmer and former county chair of Gov. Nathan Deal's gubernatorial campaign to Time. 

Economic Damage to the State and Consumers: 

·         "Fruits and vegetables in Georgia were worth $1.1 billion. We could see a $200 (million) to $250 million loss, potentially.  The consumer may or may not see a difference in price." - Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Grower's Association.

·         "A state survey released this month reveals the scope of the farm industry’s problems: There are as many as 11,080 farming jobs open in Georgia now, or about 14 percent of the full-time positions that are filled in the industry annually. Farmers are warning this problem could reach metro Atlanta as the labor gap could boost prices in local grocery stores." - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting on the impact the law is already having on the state's ag industry.

Costs for Small Businesses

·         "In recent weeks, one-third of his 300 field workers have fled. His request for state temporary workers hasn't been answered.  Now, Paulk expects to abandon about 25% of his 125 acres, at a projected loss of $250,000 this season." - Recent impact of law on Gary Paulk, sixth-generation blackberry farmer and former county chair of Gov. Nathan Deal's gubernatorial campaign as characterized by Time.

·         "Many of our farmers don't have a human resources department ... there might be personnel costs and loss of productivity.  You have the person first, then you E-Verify. It's a three-week period. If you fire an employee (before the period is over) you could get a discrimination suit. It's not a good situation."  - Georgia Poultry Federation President, Mike Giles to the Gainesville Times.

bh

June 28, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Delta Story of Chinese Immigration

Locke 
The Sacramento Bee has an interesting immigration-related story from the small Sacramento Delta town of Locke.  California, and the Sacramento area, was the home of much Chinese immigration in the 1800s as well as much anti-Chinese agitation.  The infamous Chinese exclusion laws of the 1800s found strong in the Golden State, especially in the Central Valley. 

The controversy surrounds whether Locke, founded by Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century, discriminates against non-Chinese races who want to buy property in the town.  The Locke Management Association argues that some property recently bought by a white person should first have been offered to the descendants and ancestors of Chinese people who established the town.

The Bee article describes Locke's history as follows:

"Locke's history dates to the early 20th century, when Chinese immigrants who built levees and picked fruit and vegetables in the Delta struck an agreement with landowner George Locke. Chinese architects laid out the town, and people began opening shops and constructing homes. Locke was later recognized as the only preserved rural Chinese town in America, and once had a population of around 600 people. It now has about 80 residents, only a few of whom are Chinese."

The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency established the Locke Management Association to, among other things, protect the rights of Locke's Chinese founders. Its bylaws require that the association must receive prior notification of any land sale, and the group must give first crack at any property to some "400 Chinese ancestors and descendents" of those who founded the town.  Is this racial discrimination?  Redress for past wrongs?  Legitimate historical preservation?  All or none of the above?

KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dream Defenders Award to NLG Immigration Project

Congratulations to the NLG's Immigration Project!

From the National Lawyers Guild:

The National Immigration Project/NLG is truly humbled to learn that it will receive the Dream Defender’s Award from United We Dream www.unitedwedream.org for its “dedicated efforts in support of immigrant youth and for its partnership in making a positive difference for our immigrant communities.” 
 
Although this an organizational recognition, it reflects the tireless staff work of Paromita Shah, the work of board member Barbara Hines, and that of each member who is participating on our Dreamers referral list.  Thanks to all.
 
The awards presentation will be a part of United We Dream’s Education Not Deportation Mock Graduation on June 29 10:30am-12pm, in the Kennedy Caucus Room at the Russell Senate Building. The ceremony will be held at 11:15am immediately following a speech from Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented Pulitzer winner whose story has recently gained worldwide attention.

bh

June 28, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Battle in Georgia

Georgia, which until recent years saw relatively few immigrants from Mexico, is in the news when it comes to immigration.  The Daily looks at the ongoing battle over immigration in Georgia where "there are few battle lines hotter than a cucumber field in a secluded corner of rural Georgia."

   

 KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cert Petition of the Day

SCOTUSBlog's Petition of the Day is from an immigration case.  The petition concerns the retroactivity of the repeal of § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the role of reliance in retroactivity analysis. The case is Guerrero v. Holder (7th Cior. 2011).  Here are the questions presented:

(1) Whether and to what extent the repeal of Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which made discretionary relief available to certain permanent residents convicted of deportable crimes, is impermissibly retroactive; and

(2) what role reliance should play in in a retroactivity analysis.

KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Another One Bites the Dust? Court Enjoins Key Provisions of Georgia Immigration Law

125px-Flag_of_Georgia_(U_S__state)_svg 

States continue to pass immigration laws and courts keep enjoining themImmigrationProf reported on the injunction entered last week by a federal court barring the implementation of Indiana's immigration law.  Georgia is the latest state with an immigration law that has been enjoined.

As CNN (see also N.Y. Times article) reports, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction yesteday blocking the implementation of key provisions of a new Georgia immigration law.   Most of the law, known as HB 87, was scheduled to go into effect Friday.

The district court's ruling blocks enforcement of two of the most controversial sections of the Georgia law. One would require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of suspects without identification. The other would punish suspects who transport or house someone unlawfully in the United States.

Here is a copy of the court's order.  Expect attempts to enjoin the Alabama and South Carolina immigration laws to be brought before they go into effect.

KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Documenting the Undocumented: A Review of the United States' First Municipal ID Program"

"Documenting the Undocumented: A Review of the United States' First Municipal ID Program" RUTH K. DITLMANN, Yale University PAUL LAGUNES, Yale University - Department of Political Science BRIAN LEVIN, Yale University  ABSTRACT: There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and yet, for several years, the federal government has failed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform. This has led cities across the country to enact policies that either try to repel or integrate the undocumented in their midst. With the issuance of the Elm City Resident Card, New Haven, CT, sought to promote the assimilation of its migrants by becoming the first city in the country to provide them with a government-backed ID. This article uses qualitative and empirical strategies, including a rigorous field experiment, to test the policy’s effectiveness in one significant dimension. We found that Hispanics/Latinos are carded more frequently in common commercial interactions than Whites/Anglos. This shows that Hispanics/Latinos, regardless of their citizenship status, are in greater need of documentation. We also found that, because of weaknesses in the card’s design, New Haven’s ID was not always perceived as legitimate. When a Hispanic/Latino presented the Elm City Resident Card to a cashier, the municipal identification fared only as well as the non-government-backed ID it was tested against. Thus we conclude that the Elm City Resident Card’s marginal utility as a form of documentation is currently negligible.

KJ

June 28, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 27, 2011

South Carolina Governor Signs Immigration Bill into Law

Haley-Headshot 

The states can't stop passing get-tough-on-immigration lawsReuters reports that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, today signed into law a immigration law bill that adopts many of the tough provisions found in the controversial Alabama and Arizona immigration laws.  The South Carolina law goes into effect in January.

The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed draconian immigration legislation that is a waste of taxpayer funds, a grave mistake and a defiance of common sense.

It is apparent that these laws, no matter what the authors have said, are unable to withstand scrutiny from the federal judiciary. So far, drastic anti-immigrant measures have been signed into law in five states and have been blocked from implementation by federal judges in four states because they are preempted by federal law. Civil rights groups have pledged to file a lawsuit against Alabama’s immigration law and legal experts expect its law to be blocked in federal courts as well.

It is obvious that South Carolina’s new law will suffer the same fate and various organizations have already pledged to file suit. South Carolina law enforcement experts have argued that given the state’s budget crisis and shortage of law enforcement agents, the state simply cannot afford to divert scarce police resources away from fighting crime.

Meanwhile in Indiana, moments after a federal judge in that state issued her ruling, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (R-IN) said in a statement that the ruling represented “an indictment of the federal government … (that) underscores the challenge to Indiana and other state lawmakers who have tried to respond to Washington’s failure.” We agree, but Indiana taxpayers shouldn’t have been in this position in the first place. Hoosiers would have been better served if their legislature had demanded action on immigration reform from Indiana’s congressional delegation in Washington. The same is true in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah. A lasting solution must and can only come from the federal government.

State leaders who claim their legislation will magically solve the immigration crisis are being disingenuous. In fact, state-based measures, whether in Indiana or South Carolina, have only exacerbated the problem and led to more confusion, more wasted money, and more chaos. Only the federal government can solve this problem, and the sooner Congress gets to work on the problem the better.”

Expect a lawsuit before the South Carolina law goes into effect in January.

It should not be surprising that Governor Haley signed the South Carolina bill into law.  Here is a video of a press conference in May in which she rails on the Obama administration for hampering the states in enforcing the immigration laws:

  

KJ

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

Senate Hearing on DREAM Act Tomorrow

From America's Voice:

Common Sense Measure Should Win Broad Bipartisan Support

DREAM 
Washington - Tomorrow, Assistant Senate Majority Leader U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will chair the first-ever U.S. Senate hearing on the DREAM Act before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.  The DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001 by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is a common sense proposal that offers talented young people who came to the United States as minors a chance to earn legal status and a path to citizenship – if they meet a set of stringent criteria and attend college or enroll in the U.S. military.  In the 111th Congress, the DREAM Act fell just five votes short of becoming law, having passed the House with bipartisan support and winning 55 votes in the Senate.  In the 112th Congress, the DREAM Act has been introduced by a bi-partisan group of Representatives in the House and by Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

The DREAM Act has been introduced on a bipartisan basis for ten years and has consistently enjoyed overwhelming public support.  The bill is favored by nearly 70 percent of voters, according to a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for First Focus in June 2010.  A November 2010 poll from Lake Research Partners showed similarly high levels of support.  Not surprisingly, the issue is particularly salient with Latino voters.  According to a June 2011 poll of Latino voters by Latino Decisions and impreMedia immigration reform/DREAM Act comes in as their number one priority – ahead of economy/jobs.  The DREAM Act has been championed by religious, business, education and civil rights leaders, as well as military leaders and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who recognize the benefits of recruiting talented young people who are eager to serve. 

Although Republicans in the Senate led a filibuster last year that blocked the DREAM Act from becoming law, advocates and supporters are hopeful that enough Republicans will soon recognize the contributions and talents of this group of young people, and give them the opportunity to earn legal status in the only country they know as home.  

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said, “Millions of Latinos watched on live television last year as all but three Republican Senators voted against the Hispanic community’s best and brightest young people, further eroding their already dismal standing with this growing group of voters.  The DREAM Act was once championed by Congressional Republicans but you would hardly know it today.  With this hearing, Senator Durbin and his Democratic colleagues are once again laying out the many compelling reasons to support DREAM and presenting Republicans with yet another opportunity to come to their senses.  We sincerely hope enough of the 12 Republicans currently serving in the Senate who have voted for some version of the DREAM Act in the past come home and join with Democrats to make the DREAM Act a reality this year.”

bh

June 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Job Opening - Immigrant Legal Resource Center

ILRC 
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
 
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is seeking a full-time staff attorney to further our technical support and capacity building work on behalf of immigrants and the practitioners who defend their rights.  The ILRC is a national nonprofit legal support center located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1979, we specialize in immigration law, policy, and immigrants' rights.  The ILRC’s work concentrates on three main program areas: (1) building the capacity of attorneys, paralegals, organizers, service providers, immigrants, and others by providing legal technical assistance, trainings, and publications; (2) assisting immigrants with civic engagement projects to help expand immigrants’ rights and political power; and (3) conducting policy and advocacy work related to immigration law and immigrant rights.
 
The ILRC is a team-based organization that makes most of its decisions in a collaborative fashion that allows for significant staff input. 
 
Job Responsibilities: The staff attorney will be responsible for contributing to several concurrent programs including:
 
·        Responding to legal technical requests from public defenders, private practice attorneys, nonprofit agency staff, and pro bono attorneys who work with low-income immigrants on issues relating to family-based immigration, removal and deportation defense, VAWA, asylum, and other immigration law issues;
·        Writing manuals, practitioner advisories, and outreach and educational materials for attorneys, paralegals, community organizers, members of the immigrant community, and others;
·        Working with networks of other immigrant rights organizations and/or organizing with and presenting to groups on immigration law, policy and immigrant rights issues;
·        Engaging in policy and advocacy work on immigration law issues;
·        Writing grant proposals and reports to foundations and corporations, and representing the ILRC in meetings with funders and supporters; and
·        Traveling for trainings, funder visits, and other events in California and throughout the United States.
·        Helping immigrants lead and participate in civic engagement projects.
 
Qualifications: The successful applicant is required to have:
 
·        A minimum of five – seven years of experience representing clients in the practice of general immigration law before the BIA and the federal courts, especially in regards to more complicated family-based and removal cases;
·        Broad knowledge of family-based immigration law and removal cases including the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability; the intersection of criminal and immigration law and the rules governing BIA and judicial review;
·        Excellent writing, editing, legal analysis, and oral presentation skills; 
·        Exceptional time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines;
·        A strong work ethic, including the following qualities: organized, flexible, reliable, and dependable, with the ability to be an independent worker, and able to handle several projects simultaneously while thriving in a team-based collaborative decision-making environment;
·        A willingness to travel throughout California and the United States; and
·        A current Bar membership in good standing for any state in the United States or the District of Columbia.
 
It is a plus if the applicant has additional experience including:
 
·        More than seven years of experience representing low-income clients in the practice of general immigration law, especially family-based and removal cases, including experience representing clients before the BIA and the federal courts;
·        Writing and securing grants from foundations and corporations;
·        Technical writing whether for immigration or other purposes;
·        Training, teaching, or other public speaking experience;
·        Working in, leading, or forming coalitions;
·        Collaborating with immigrant communities;
·        Coordinating civic engagement projects or working as a community organizer:
·        Second language proficiency, preferably Spanish, Mandarin or Cantonese, within the range of conversational to fluent; and/or  
·        Business marketing and/or public relations experience utilizing both traditional and social media communication, such as preparation of media materials and website content, outreach to and interaction with media outlets, writing/sending press releases, prepping interview talking points, writing blog posts, articles or letters to the editor.
 
Salary/Benefits: Pay is commensurate with experience. The ILRC provides competitive salaries, excellent benefits including professional membership dues, health/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The ILRC sponsors a retirement plan option upon fulfillment of eligibility. 
 
Applications: This position will remain open until it is filled.  We will consider applications on an ongoing basis beginning immediately.  To ensure consideration of your application, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position and salary requirement, a resume, two writing samples – one sample that demonstrates immigration law knowledge and a second sample that shows business writing acumen -- and the names of three references as soon as possible to:
 
Staff Attorney Hiring Committee
ILRC
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco, CA  94103
Fax: (415)255-9792 (no calls, please)
Job_attorney@ilrc.org

bh

June 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Are U.S. Borders Secure? Why We Don't Know, and How to Find Out

Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Bryan Roberts, former assistant director of borders and immigration at the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation at the Department of Homeland Security have an article in Foreign Affairs that  argues that one reason that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been unable to persuade Congress and the American public that the border is more secure is that the Department fails to collect and publicize the data it needs to make its case:

"To move the debate on border security beyond politically driven speculation to a more serious consideration of how much enforcement is needed, and at what cost, the Obama administration must develop effective ways to measure progress on border security and then inform Congress and the public regularly about it."

KJ

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

The True Costs of E-Verify

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona immigration law that, among other things, required employers in Arizona to use the use the federal E-Verify system to check employee eligibility for employment.  The Center for American Progress has released a brief and fact sheet on the "True Costs of E-Verify."

The federal government’s Internet-based system that verifies work eligibility—is slated to become the epicenter of the legislative battles over immigration reform this summer. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Legal Workforce Act of 2011, H.R. 2164, on June 14, 2011, which would make E-Verify mandatory for all workers in the United States.

E-Verify is already in use by an estimated 4 percent of American employers, but expanding it for use by all U.S. businesses, from the mom-and-pop grocery store, to the biggest employers in the nation, presents onerous and expensive challenges. The inherent technical hurdles to scaling a system up from 4 percent to 100 percent of all employers include building the necessary infrastructure to process E-Verify requests and operating it without error.

The CAP brief seeks to arm policymakers and the public with a better understanding of the true costs of E-Verify. It explains the system’s known costs, such as lost tax revenue and monetary burdens on small businesses, and estimates the cost of additional fiscal burdens— to individuals verified through the system, to employers utilizing the system, and to the federal government in running the system—that have been absent from much of the dialogue surrounding it. In particular, CAP focuses on the added costs that do not get scored in government revenue estimates, such as the high legal costs to employers to defend their use of the program, the “jobs tax” that will be needlessly applied to American workers, and the increased burdens on federal agencies from new mandates. All of these numbers add up to one simple conclusion: Mandating E-Verify without legalizing all workers is too expensive, especially in these fragile economic times.

Among the costs of making E-Verify mandatory for all workers:

• 770,000 legally authorized Americans would lose their jobs because of errors in the system.

• Another 1.2 million to 3.5 million Americans would have to visit a Social Security Administration office to fix erroneous information to avoid losing their jobs. CAP estimates this will cost $190 in lost wages and transportation per person—a jobs tax on ordinary Americans.

• Naturalized citizens are 30 times more likely than the native born to receive an error from E-Verify.

KJ

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

Foster Children Opportunity Act

From First Focus:

Dear colleagues:

Congressman Pete Stark is planning to introduce the Foster Children Opportunity Act in mid-July. The bill seeks to ensure that abused and neglected immigrant children have an opportunity to obtain the legal immigrant status to which they are entitled prior to aging out of the foster care system. Immigrant children involved in the child welfare system are often eligible for special forms of immigration relief, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) but early identification is critical given that a child can lose SIJS eligibility once the court terminates jurisdiction over the youth. More often than not, court and child welfare officials are unaware of immigration relief options available, leaving these children at risk of deportation at any time and drastically limiting their educational and work opportunities when they “age out” of the system. 

Child welfare staff, judges, attorneys and other service providers play a critical role in the lives of these young people. It is essential that they are  knowledgeable about immigration issues and SIJS in particular, and has access to the training and resources necessary to fully protect all children in its care. The Foster Children Opportunity Act aims to ensure that all children in the foster care system are screened for SIJS and other immigration relief options. The bill provides needed technical assistance to child welfare agencies and resources to train judges, attorneys and other legal workers on this matter. It also provides recommendations to federal agencies to strengthen the SIJS program through the issuance of policy guidance.

We have drafted a letter of support and hope that your organization can sign on. Deadline for sign-on is COB, Friday, July 8. Please email Shadi Houshyar at shadih@firstfocus.net if your organization would like to sign on. Thanks!

bh

June 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mexican president demands action from U.S. in deadly border shooting

Watch this report (and here and here) on how Mexican President Felipe Calderon confronted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then took to Twitter, to demand justice for a migrant shot to death during a confrontation with Border Patrol. 

KJ

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

Immigration Kudos to ICE and USCIS

Angelo Paparelli on Nation of Immigrators gives credit where credit is due to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). He states that "Directors, Alejandro Mayorkas of USCIS and John Morton of ICE, as well as the President and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, must be commended for taking significant steps to improve the administration of immigration justice (and along the way help the economy)."  Click the link above to read the specifics.

KJ

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

As the States Are Passing Immigration Enforcement Laws at Record Levels, Will Congress Act on Immigration Reform?

Immigration developments at the state and local level are just about impossible to keep up with.  North Carolina's Governor signed a bill that week that will require employers to verify the immigration status of employees through the federal government's E-verify system, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently approved of in upholding Arizona's business licensing immigration law in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.  The U.S. Department of Justice, which filed its own -- and to this point successful -- challenge to Arizona's S.B. 1070, is reviewing Alabama's strict new immigration law and has scheduled a meeting next week to discuss it with state law enforcement officials. A lawsuit challenging the law may be in the air.  As ImmigrationProf reported, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking implementation of Indiana's new immigration law.  A coalition of immigrant rights and civil rights groups announced that they will file a lawsuit challenging South Carolina's immigration bill if Governor Nikki Haley signs it into law.

When will Congress start working on comprehensive immigration reform that might put an end to the divisive efforts of state and local governments to take the immigration laws into their own hands?

There is a bit of good news.   The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security entitled “The DREAM Act” for Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

KJ

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

NY's Recognition of Same Sex Marriages and UAFA

The state of New York is the latest state to recognize same sex marriages. It's time that President Obama and Congress do the same for immigration purposes and pass the Uniting American Families Act.

Here are my views on this topic from Huffington Post:

U.S. citizens and lawful residents with same-sex partners who have overstayed nonimmigrant visas or who are otherwise undocumented immigrants live in constant fear that their partner may be deported.

The way out of this inequity is the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA would allow U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration to the United States. In the last Congress, UAFA was introduced in the House by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Mike Honda (D-CA) and in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Over 120 co-sponsors signed on in House and more than 20 co-sponsors in the Senate.

UAFA would amend the immigration laws by simply adding the term "permanent partner" in sections where "spouse" appears, thus ensuring that a non-citizen permanent partner may receive the same immigration benefits that a non-citizen spouse now receives. Read more....

bh

June 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Deportation Breaks Up Family

From the Modesto Bee

Maria came to the United States 25 years ago, but fell victim to a fake immigration "attorney" several years later, which led to a deportation order. Subsequent attorneys took her money but didn't help her gain legal status, she said, so she had stopped pursuing the matter.

On that November day, she was put in a vehicle and taken to a detention center in Fresno. She wasn't allowed to call her husband, a legal resident from Mexico, or say goodbye to her two younger children, both native Californians and U.S. citizens. She asked to call an attorney, but said the officials ignored her. She said no one has told her why she, out of all the illegal immigrants in the state, was picked up. Read more....

bh

June 26, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)