Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arizona DA Prosecutes Immigration Protesters, Sheriff Joe Goes Undeterred for Terrorizing Immigrants

The fallout from Arizona's SB 1070 continues -- as does Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's conterversial law-enforcement and immigration stances. AP reports that, on Friday, the president of a national religious organization and five others went on trial for protesting SB 1070 and Sheifff Arapaio's immigration sweeps. Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association, is charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to obey an order. Also on trial is Salvador Reza, head of a local immigrant rights group, a UCLA graduate student, a security guard at a local music venue, and a labor union official. All protested Arapio's immigration sweeps, which some claim are racially discriminatory.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating Arpaio's office since March 2009 for allegations of discrimination and other civil rights violations. A grand jury in Phoenix is examining allegations that Arpaio's office abused its powers, including trying to intimidate county officials.

Aren't there more serious case that the District Attorney's office in Phoenix should be pursuing? Just a thought. Who warrants punishment under the rule of law, the protesters or the Maricopa County Sheriff's office?


July 31, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

LGBT Immigrants and Asylum Applicants

Emerging Issues for LGBT Immigrants, Asylees and Refugee Seekers CLE
Monday, August 8 · 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: Room 3211 at Golden Gate University in San Francisco
By National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
2 Hours California MCLE credit will be provided.
$40 for nonmembers; $20 for members (No one turned away for lack of funds). Free for non-credit seekers.
Register Online: here.

About the CLE: Speakers will present on a multitude of issues regarding LGBT immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, including the progress made in adjudicating claims by same-sex bi-national couples, the impact of DOMA litigation or repeal of DOMA on LGBT immigrants. Speakers will also present on how LGBTI asylum cases would be handled in a variety of the jurisdictions outside the U.S. context and on the UNHCR refugee status determination process.


Zachary M. Nightingale is partner at Partner at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano and Nightingale. His practice focuses on deportation defense and federal court litigation, with an emphasis on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Other specialties include asylum, naturalization, and family-based adjustment of status. A significant part of his practice includes advising non-citizens and their attorneys as to the immigration consequences of pending criminal charges, and how to minimize those consequences.

Emily E. Arnold-Fernández, Esq., the founder and executive director of Asylum Access, is a lawyer who has advocated nationally and internationally for the human rights of women, children, and other vulnerable individuals, Emily first became involved in refugee rights in 2002, when she represented refugees in United Nations proceedings in Cairo, Egypt. Emily’s legal advocacy won her client protection and safety in Egypt until his eventual resettlement in the U.S. Recognizing that refugees throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America – some of whom flee with nothing more than the clothes on their backs – were almost always unequipped to go into a legal proceeding in a foreign country, alone, and explain why they should not be deported, Emily founded Asylum Access to advocate on behalf of refugees seeking to assert their rights.

Chelsea Haley-Nelson is the EOIR liaison at American Immigration Lawyers Association of Northern California, a Co-Chair at BALIF and a Co-Chair with the Immigration Committee at National Lawyer’s Guild-San Francisco Chapter.


July 31, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Correcting the Record on U.S. Citizenship

From Margaret Stock:

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has been known for coming out with some odd reports over the years—but their latest is notable for its factual and legal flaws—and for argument that we should expand several different government bureaucracies to chase down the dozen or so children born in the U.S. each year to diplomats with immunity. The CIS report, “Birthright Citizenship for the Children of Diplomats?,” is about the one group of people that everyone agrees is exempted from birthright citizenship—the children born to foreign diplomats. It claims that, even though these people are not U.S. citizens, they are de facto citizens because they are able to receive Social Security numbers. If you look at the facts, their argument doesn’t hold water.

Let’s start by correcting the most glaring error in the report. Contrary to what CIS implies, a person is not a U.S. citizen merely because he or she possesses a Social Security number. Social Security numbers (SSNs) were first issued during the Roosevelt Administration to people who were participating in the newly-created Social Security system. At that time, citizenship or immigration status was irrelevant to the issuance of the numbers. Over the years, the requirements to obtain a SSN have tightened as the number has slowly morphed into a “de facto” national identity number—but even today, the Social Security Administration does not have the power to confer U.S. citizenship on anyone merely by issuing a number. Many non-citizens are entitled to SSNs—and a U.S. citizen is not required to have a SSN unless the citizen seeks to work for a U.S. employer, pay U.S. taxes, or apply for certain government benefits.
Even today, there are U.S. citizens who don’t have SSNs because they were born and live outside the U.S.. There are even a few U.S. citizens born inside the U.S. who don’t have SSNs because they have chosen to live “off the grid.” Their lack of a SSN does not stop them from being U.S. citizens, any more than having a SSN turns a non-citizen into a U.S. citizen.  Finally, any immigration lawyer can tell you that many undocumented immigrants have SSNs, mostly because they came to the U.S. decades ago when the Social Security Administration had a practice of issuing a number to anyone who asked for one.  So let’s put the myth to rest—having a SSN does not make one a U.S. citizen. Read more...


July 31, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (NYU Press)

12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World during the Middle Passage. While just over 11.0 million survived the arduous journey, only about 450,000 of them arrived in the United States. The rest—over ten and a half million—were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America. This astonishing fact changes our entire picture of the history of slavery in the Western hemisphere, and of its lasting cultural impact. These millions of Africans created new and vibrant cultures, magnificently compelling syntheses of various African, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish influences.

Despite their great numbers, the cultural and social worlds that they created remain largely unknown to most Americans, except for certain popular, cross-over musical forms. So Henry Louis Gates, Jr. set out on a quest to discover how Latin Americans of African descent live now, and how the countries of their acknowledge—or deny—their African past; how the fact of race and African ancestry play themselves out in the multicultural worlds of the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting with the slave experience and extending to the present, Gates unveils the history of the African presence in six Latin American countries—Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru—through art, music, cuisine, dance, politics, and religion, but also the very palpable presence of anti-black racism that has sometimes sought to keep the black cultural presence from view.

In Brazil, he delves behind the façade of Carnaval to discover how this "rainbow nation" is waking up to its legacy as the world’s largest slave economy. In Cuba, he finds out how the culture, religion, politics and music of this island is inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce its enormously profitable 19th century sugar industry, and how race and racism have fared since Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution in 1959. In Haiti, he tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves’s hard fought liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword. In Mexico and Peru, he explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people—far greater than the number brought to the United States—brought to these countries as early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.

Professor Gates’ journey becomes ours as we are introduced to the faces and voices of the descendants of the Africans who created these worlds. He shows both the similarities and distinctions between these cultures, and how the New World manifestations are rooted in, but distinct from, their African antecedents. “Black in Latin America” is the third instalment of Gates’s documentary trilogy on the Black Experience in Africa, the United States, and in Latin America. In America Behind the Color Line, Professor Gates examined the fortunes of the black population of modern-day America. In Wonders of the African World, he embarked upon a series of journeys to reveal the history of African culture. Now, he brings that quest full-circle in an effort to discover how Africa and Europe combined to create the vibrant cultures of Latin America, with a rich legacy of thoughtful, articulate subjects whose stories are astonishingly moving and irresistibly compelling.

For an interview with Professor Gates about Black in Latin America, click here. PBS and Professor Gates did a series on Black in Latin America.


July 31, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ugandan team denied U.S. visas

Little league 
ESPN reports
that  a Little League baseball team from Uganda has lost its bid to become the first team from Africa to play in the Little League World Series had the State Department denied its players visas because of discrepancies over players' ages.  For the official response of Little League baseball, click here.


July 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Improving Mexican Economy Leads to Fewer Undocumented Immigrants

Stephen Magagnini writes for the Sacramento Bee:

There are fewer undocumented immigrants in California – and the Sacramento region – because many are now finding the American dream south of the border.

"It's now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico," Sacramento's Mexican consul general, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said Wednesday. "We have become a middle-class country."

Mexico's unemployment rate is now 4.9 percent, compared with 9.4 percent joblessness in the United States.

An estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants have left California since 2008, though the remaining 2.6 million still make up 7 percent of the population and 9 percent of the labor force, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Read more...

For some time it's been clear that if folks are really concerned about undocumented migration from Mexico, then we should be working on helping to improve Mexico's economy. Click here and here.


July 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The ICEman Cometh: ICE Raids University of Northern Virginia

MSNBC reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided offices at the University of Northern Virginia's Annandale campus on Thursday. It apparently relates to a problem with foreign students. The UNV Chancellor issued a statement trying to calm concerns.

UPDATE: (Aug. 1): Here is ICE's statement on teh enforcement action.


July 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

How Long Do Immigrants “Wait in Line?” Sometimes Decades

No news to readers of this blog.  Cllick here.


July 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


On Immigration Impact, TERRY GODDARD, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ARIZONA, writes on the latest immigration scam:

"Over the years, Arizona has seen an exceptional number of frauds, consumer scams and rip offs. Maybe the heat stimulates the flimflam artists, but the sad fact is they come here and discover new and creative ways to take other peoples’ money. As Arizona’s Attorney General for the past eight years, I was dedicated to exposing and prosecuting scams, large and small. Unfortunately, the latest ploy is perpetrated by one of Arizona’s own politicians, state senator Steve Smith, who has developed a new scheme for taking money from well-meaning Americans—building the border fence."  (emphasis added).

The heat may explain a lot.



July 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

State of U.S./Mexico Border Security

From the Center for American Progress:

The State of US/Mexico Border Security
Assessing the Past, Present and Future From the Early Build Up to Today and Beyond
August 4, 2011, 12:00pm – 1:30pm

RSVP to Attend
Watch Live Online

Featured panelists:
Alan Bersin, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Moderated by:
Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at Center For American Progress

Immigration reform opponents persist in leveling sensational—and often patently false—claims meant to scare the public about border violence and insecurity. The reality, however, is that surges in manpower, technology, and physical infrastructure have fundamentally enhanced the Border Patrol’s ability to prevent and intercept unauthorized migrants and smugglers.

Illegal immigration flows at our southern border have slowed dramatically and recent reports highlight that violent crime rates along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years and that border cities of all sizes have maintained crime rates below the national average.

This panel of distinguished experts and officials will help separate fact from fiction in the debate over border security. The participants will discuss how far we’ve come since the border buildup began 18 years ago and what additional steps we need to take to enhance the integrity and safety of our border.

WATCH this event via live video on our website
*Video available LIVE and after the event has occurred.

To attend in person, RSVP is required.


July 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "The Impact of Recessionary Politics on Latino-American and Immigrant Families: SCHIP Success and DREAM Act Failure" by MARIELA OLIVARES

"The Impact of Recessionary Politics on Latino-American and Immigrant Families: SCHIP Success and DREAM Act Failure" MARIELA OLIVARES, Howard University School of Law.

ABSTRACT: The current financial crisis affects Americans of all backgrounds. Research shows, however, that the hardest hit families are the same families that struggle to make ends meet even in good times - and many of the most impoverished families in the United States are Black, Latino Americans and immigrants. The U.S. government has responded with only mixed success to meet the needs of these families. As budgets are slashed, the needs of the poor - in particular, the voiceless poor - are often ignored. The resulting policies put additional stress on American families and immigrant families - forcing them to make difficult decisions and sometimes breaking families apart. This essay will examine two government programs that have been targeted in the American recession and comment on how such programs have affected the fabric of Latino and immigrant families living in the United States. First, this essay will discuss the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and note how Obama’s 2009 reauthorization of the federal program thwarted the years-long efforts to diminish and extinguish this health insurance coverage for children and their families. Second, this essay will consider the demise of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (or DREAM) Act, a law that would have provided a path to citizenship for immigrants who were illegally brought to this country as children and succeeded academically and/or through service in the United States military. Through this discussion, this essay will examine how these two federal programs have affected Latino-American and immigrant families in the United States.


July 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Sohail Mohammed (India)

Sohail Mohammed, a lawyer who defended Muslims detained after the Sept. 11 attacks, was sworn in as a New Jersey Superior Court judge earlier this week. His appointment angered some "who said they were concerned about the influence of Sharia law, an Islamic code of law. [Governor Chris] Christie defended Mr. Mohammed, who is Muslim, calling him an extraordinary American and an outstanding lawyer who helped strengthen ties between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Muslim community after the 2001 attacks." For more on the controversy, click here.

Mohammed, who is New Jersey's first Indian-American judge, immigrated to the United States from India and is a naturlizaed U.S. citizen. He was an engineer and attended law school at night at Seton Hall. As a lawyer, he was an immigration attorney.


July 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Me thinks that this New Yorker story is likely to rile folks up about "asylum abuse." However, although at first one might think that the article is describing rampant asylum abuse by educated and relatively well-heeled and sophisticated immigrants, it in fact indicts the U.S. asylum system for having unreasonable requirements even for bona fide refugees.

UPDATE For a response to the article on IntLawGrrls, click here.


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

Appointed Counsel for Immigrants?

Mark Noferi
(Brooklyn) has a recent op-ed in the New York Law Journal interesting for the ImmProf Blog. The op-ed argues that the recent U.S. Supreme Court case Turner v. Rogers, which considered the right to appointed counsel in civil cases where incarceration is at issue, supports a right to appointed counsel for immigrant detainees in the future.

Is appointed counsel the next step to protect immigrants facing removal after the Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky?


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

Immigration Court Decision Times Lengthen

During the first six months of FY 2011, decision times continued to climb in cases disposed of by the Immigration Courts, according to timely government enforcement data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The increasingly long average wait reached 302 days -- up 7.5 percent in the last six months, and almost 30 percent higher than the average disposition time during FY 2009. Average times varied, depending upon the nature of the court's decision, from 141 days for removal orders up to 714 days for grants of relief.

Accompanying this special report is TRAC's Immigration Court Outcomes Tool, now updated through March 2011. This application provides a way to view the numbers of completed cases and outcome decision times for each state, court, hearing location and nationality. This information is also available separately for removals, voluntary departures, relief granted, and terminations.


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

Apprehensions by the U.S. Border Patrol: 2005 - 2010

From DHS:

This fact sheet provides information on recent trends in U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions and the gender, age, country of nationality, and geographic location of persons apprehended between 2005 and 2010. For example, in 2010 almost 40 percent were under age 24; 86 percent were male; and 97 percent were apprehended in the Southwest.

To access the report, click here.


July 28, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Microsoft General Counsel at Congressional Hearings on The Economic Imperative for Immigration Reform

On Microsoft on thr Issues, Brad Smith, General Counsel & Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft summarized his testimony on the need for education and high-skilled immigration reform on Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security at a hearing on “The Economic Imperative for Immigration Reform.” He said that "The essence of my testimony is that while we undoubtedly have a jobs problem in this country, closer analysis shows it is also a talent and skills problem. In a world where jobs follow talent, we need to increase the skills of the American workforce if we are to succeed economically."

For a report on the hearings, click here and here.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: "What We Know About Unauthorized Migration" by KATHARINE M. DONATO AMADA ARMENTA

"What We Know About Unauthorized Migration" Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 37, pp. 529-543, 2011 KATHARINE M. DONATO, Vanderbilt University and AMADA ARMENTA, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

ABSTRACT: Unauthorized migration has been an important issue for decades. Because much has changed about this type of migration in the past two decades, this review takes stock of recent scholarship. These studies reveal a new complexity in the unauthorized migration in the early twenty-first century. First, compared with the past, unauthorized migration is more diverse. Whether based on gender, age, or how people enter, there is considerable heterogeneity in the unauthorized migrant population. Second, nation-states approach the issue of unauthorized migration differently than in the past, a fact that has increased the size and prominence of the unauthorized population and is related to the emergence of scholarship emphasizing the social construction of immigrant legal status.


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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Immigration Reform Champion Arrested in Protest


Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a champion of immigration reform, and 10 other immigration reform supporters were arrested in front of the White House on Tuesday for protesting against the Obama administration's deportation of young people and families.  See the Huffingtpn Post report, with a video.

Who will stand with the good Congressman?


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

How Islamaphobic Bloggers in the US Contributed to the Nightmare in Norway

In this interview on The Take Away, Wajahat Ali talks about Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian charged with mass murder, claimed to be saving Norway from Muslim domination. Breivik, an anti-Muslim extremist, was heavily influenced by American bloggers. As Bill Hing previously reported, Breivek also opposed Norway'ss immigration policies. Ali is a journalist who is currently researching Islamophobia in America for the Center for American Progress.

Here is a snippet from thr interview:

" He was ideologically inspired, I think we can safely say that, by the what I would call the hateful anti-Muslim writings and opinions of several notorious American Islamaphobes whom he cites many, many times over again in the memo who have a history of working together to profit off of the creation and promotion of misinformation, fear and bigotry against Muslims."

UPDATE  For an article about how Breivik's views are shared by others in Norway, click here.


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