Monday, October 31, 2011
CHILDREN IN NO MAN’S LAND is a documentary that uncovers the current plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States every year. This film gives this timely political debate about the U.S./Mexico border a human face by exploring the story of Maria de Jesus (13) and her cousin Rene (12) as they attempt to cross the U.S./Mexico border alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest.
Focusing on minors crossing through the Sonora Desert area in Nogales, Arizona, this film explores every detail of these children’s journey as well as the journeys of other children we meet on the way. We uncover in an intimate and personal way where they are coming from, what their journeys have been like, and how they’ve gone about making the United States of America their new home.
Nick Leiber writes for Bloomberg:
Two years ago the Asheville, N.C., rumor mill lit up with speculation that local flower wholesaler Van Wingerden International was hiring undocumented workers. To ensure that he take on only legal employees, co-owner Bert Lemkes enrolled the $20 million business in E-Verify, a federal program that matches data on new hires, such as Social Security numbers, with government records.
Lemkes says E-Verify has made it harder to find enough workers for his 37 acres of greenhouses, especially during spring growing season, when he employs up to 350 people. Though the U.S. unemployment rate is stalled above 9 percent, business owners such as Lemkes say few native-born workers are willing to do tough jobs, leading employers to hire immigrants. Read more...
Huffington Post hs a politically interesting story for Latinos who seek to bring about change. Cecilia Muñoz, formerly an officer of the Latino civil rights organization National Copuncil of La Raza and one of the highest-ranking Latino officials in the White House, has borne vociferous criticism for the Obama administration's policies on imigration, including the record numbers of removals.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
From Fox News Latino:
Sharing a border with Mexico and being flooded with boycotts does not make Arizona the poster state for the challenges of immigration laws in the United States. The four states that followed suit with their own immigration law enforcement aren't either.
No, the case that's likely to be the first sorted out by the U.S. Supreme Court comes from the Deep South state of Alabama, and Alabama's jump to the forefront says as much about the country's evolving demographics as it does the nation's collective memory of the state's sometimes violent path to desegregation.
With the failure of Congress in recent years to pass comprehensive federal immigration legislation, Arizona, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and Indiana have passed their own. But supporters and opponents alike agree none contained provisions as strict as those passed in Alabama, among them one that required schools to check students' immigration status. That provision, which has been temporarily blocked, would allow the Supreme Court to decide if a kindergarten to high school education must be provided to undocumented immigrants.
Its stature as the strictest in the U.S., along with the inevitable comparisons of today's Hispanics with African-Americans of the 1950s and `60s, makes it a near certainty the law will be a test case for the high court. Read more...
The Department of Justice has annoiunced that it is planning to amend its regulations to alter the process by which the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) forwards asylum applications for consideration by the Department of State (DOS). Currently, EOIR forwards to DOS all asylum applications that are submitted initially in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The proposed rule would amend the regulations to provide for sending asylum applications to DOS on a discretionary basis. For example, EOIR could forward an application in order to ascertain whether DOS has information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility for asylum.
State Department involvement in asylum adjudications has long been criticized. Critics contend that the Department's opinions are biased by U.S. foreiugn policy concerns that should not be part of asylum adjudications. Immigration court asylum decisions overwhelming concure with the State Department opinions.
The United States celebrated the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on Friday with the naturalization of 125 new citizens from 46 nations. Check out the new webcams on Lady Liberty!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Wendy Sefsaf writes for Immigration Impact:
This week, the head of the legal arm of one of the most notorious restrictionist groups in the nation boldly admitted his work on Alabama’s new anti-immigrant law aims to end public education for the children of immigrants. Michael Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), an offshoot of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), made no bones about being the author of the education provision in HB 56—which on its face requires public schools to determine the immigration status of enrolling students and their parents, but in reality chips away at children’s ability to get an education.
In fact, FAIR’s long-term vision to erode any and all rights afforded to the children of immigrants becomes increasingly clear with each new FAIR initiative—from attempts to repeal access to birth certificates at the state level through their state legislative arm (State Legislators for Legal Immigration) to IRLI’s litigation strategies in the courts that attempt to turn U.S. policy against immigrant children.
In defense of the education provision, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange assured a judge that the provision would require nothing more than data collection and that “no child will be denied an education based on unlawful status.” However Hethmon of IRLI admitted that HB 56’s education provision is just a first step. Read more...
Friday, October 28, 2011
From Huff Post Latino Voices:
The harsh stand on immigration by some GOP candidates surprises Lionel Sosa, a Republican ad man who calls the rising anti-immigrant rhetoric "grossly insensitive and irresponsible."
Sosa, who has crafted Latino-targeted campaigns for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and now Newt Gingrich, said the party's position on the highly contentious issue has taken a dramatic shift.
"The message has gone from immigration is something we should take care of under Ronald Reagan, to immigration is something we should fear," Sosa said..
He isn't the only one frustrated by new GOP perspective. Lauro Garza, head of the largest organization of Latino conservatives in Texas, abruptly quit the Republican Party last week, calling the party's anti-Latino position unbearable. And DeeDee Garcia Blase, the founder of the same organization, Somos Republicans, said she thinks the party has strayed from what she called "Reagan's unique compassion for immigrants." Read more....
A woman was recently sentenced to 140 years in prison after using two Nigerian immigrants as personal unpaid servants in her luxury home in Atlanta, Georgia. (See also the slavery conviction reported on ImmigrationProf earlier this week.). A few days later, two Ukrainian brothers were convicted of smuggling desperate villagers into the United States to work long hours, cleaning retail stores and office buildings at little or no pay. The prosecuting U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, Daniel Velez, said it was “modern-day slavery. It’s hiding in plain sight.” However, according to a woman who lived through the racial prejudice, segregation and slavery in post World War II Europe, the slavery crisis in the modern world is far greater than that.
“Anyone who thinks slavery died when America abolished it in the 1800s has a shock coming to them,” said Lucia Mann, whose mother was a sex slave and a WWII concentration camp survivor. Mann, a former journalist and author of Rented Silence a novel about slavery and racial prejudice based on her life experiences and those of other persecuted souls she witnessed says, “According to the United Nations, there are more than 27 million slaves worldwide, which are more than twice the number of those who were enslaved over the 400 years that transatlantic slavers trafficked humans to work in the Americas. Many are forced into prostitution while others are used as unpaid laborers used to manufacture goods many of us buy in the U.S. In fact, it’s almost impossible to buy clothes or goods anymore without inadvertently supporting the slave trade.” Mann said that the crisis extends far greater than in the African and Asian nations typically associated with slavery or indentured servitude.
“After the hurricane in Haiti, the economy was so devastated, with as many as 3,000 people sold into slavery right there in their own country,” she added. “It affects all racial groups and slaves come from every single continent on the planet. The irony is that there are more slaves now that slavery is illegal than there were when it was a legal part of international commerce. Moreover, because of its illegal nature, it’s practically impossible to track and contain. It’s not a matter of how to stop it. It’s a matter of how we even begin to address it.” One of the reasons Mann wrote her book was to establish an awareness of the problem, so that people could have a frame of reference for action. “The wrongs of the past as well as the present must continue to be exposed so that they can be righted in the present and future,” Mann added. “This means educating society about evil and injustice and motivating them to take steps to ease others’ pain and anguish. The key is to get people aware of it, and then let them know what they can do to end the practice. In America, the first thing we need to do is address our own consumer habits. To help, the United Nations has created an online and mobile phone application to help people track if what they buy is supporting slavers.” Mann said the awareness and concern of the American people are the first steps to ending slavery around the world. “If there is no money to be made from enslaving people, it will end,” she said. “Many innocent people become the victims of viciousness or the prey of prejudice. While fear and anger are filling the cells and souls of innocents, the rest of us can bolster their spirits and lighten their load by having the guts to fight their fight and the heart to bring hope to humanity. Courage and commitment are powerful weapons and we should not hesitate to use them against the dishonorable people of the world.”
Things are getting dicier for immigrants in Alabama. One library is requiring proof of legal immigration status for a library card. North Shelby Library in Birmingham sounds like a tough library and sends past due overdue book fines to a law firm for collections. Guess that undocumented immigrants were reading too many books.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), a not-for-profit agency founded in 1984 by Lee Iacocca and others which promotes immigration rights, supports diversity and religious tolerance, along with assisting partners in life-saving initiatives such as disaster relief and bringing healthcare to children in need, as well as maintaining the Ellis Island monument.
NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.
This Friday will mark the 24th anniversary of ‘Immigration Day’, today a little remembered proclamation signing by President Reagan in the 1980s. NECO is using this day to speak out on the positive impact immigrants have had on our country since its founding as well as sending a message to Wall Street that immigrant entrepreneurs can be a major force in our country’s economic reinvention.
Here is another reminder. Correspondent Christof Putzel travels to the U.S./Mexico border to investigate one of the most contentious issues in America today: immigration. Meeting with "coyotes," the hired smugglers who offer to take immigrants across the border for a fee, Putzel learns the methods used to evade border patrol and the dangers they face on the journey. Arrest and deportation are inherent risks, but the lack of water and scorching temperatures of the desert crossing are far more deadly. Those who do make it safely across the border face tightening immigration laws and an increasingly hostile public. Putzel ultimately crosses the border with a migrant and coyote. "Vanguard" is Current TV's no-limits documentary series whose award-winning correspondents put themselves in extraordinary situations to immerse viewers in global issues that have a large social significance. Unlike sound-bite driven reporting, the show's correspondents, Adam Yamaguchi, Christof Putzel and Mariana van Zeller, serve as trusted guides who take viewers on in-depth real life adventures in pursuit of some of the world's most important stories.
An important Case relating to the Freedom of Information Act:
A federal district court in San Jose, CA has determined that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) engaged in a longstanding pattern and practice of violating FOIA’s time-limit provisions and prejudiced immigration attorneys’ abilities to fairly represent their clients before the government. In a ruling on October 13, the Court granted plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief requiring USCIS to provide a copy of a requestor’s file within the twenty day time limit mandated by FOIA and give written notice if a ten day extension of time is needed due to “unusual circumstances”. The Court also determined that the government had a history of violating FOIA dating back to a previous FOIA lawsuit filed in 1985. That lawsuit ended in 1992 with a Settlement Agreement which provided for the establishment of a national policy on priority processing for FOIA requests. It included a provision for expedited processing of FOIA requests where the failure to process a request immediately would impair “substantial due process rights of the requestor”. The Court found that the two Plaintiffs could seek to enforce the Settlement Agreement. The case is now online at Hajro v. USCIS, 2011 WL 4854021.
From the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:
We are pleased to announce the release today of a ground-breaking new demographic report, A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States, 2011, co-authored by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian American Justice Center, members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. This is the first in a series of demographic reports to be released on the state of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the next few years.
With the 2012 elections upon us, Community of Contrasts comes at a most opportune time. The Asian American community has grown faster than any other racial group over the past decade: More than 46 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the report’s analysis of Census data. That means more Asian Americans then ever before are poised to influence next year’s presidential election, and we are ready to speak up and voice the issues that matter most to us. At the same time, our community needs citizenship assistance, voter registration and Get Out the Vote programs to ensure we reach our full potential.
Our population is also dispersing throughout the U.S. Texas now has more Asian Americans than Hawaii and a third of the states now have Asian populations greater than 225,000.
The report also found significant social and economic diversity among Asian American ethnic groups, with some enjoying prosperity and others experiencing hardship. For example, while Asian Americans have made considerable contributions to the U.S. economy over the past decade (e.g., Asian American businesses issued more than $80 billion in payroll), other data shows that certain ethnic groups like Hmong, Bangladeshi and Cambodian Americans are among the country’s poorest (e.g., nearly one in four Hmong Americans live below the poverty line). Limited fluency in English remains a significant barrier for many.
Copies of the report are available online at www.advancingjustice.org.
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Representing Juvenile Immigrants Webinar
November 3, 2011, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT (2.0 CA MCLE)
Click here to register
Using a hypothetical child's case, this webinar will cover immigration relief specific to children, as well as how to pursue more general forms of immigration relief in a child-centered way. It will address working with children detained by the federal government and the intersection of juvenile delinquency and immigration. This program is appropriate both for beginners and for people with substantial immigration experience who do not have significant training on working with children.
● Angie Junck, ILRC Staff Attorney and co-author of ILRC’s SIJS manual
● Kristen Jackson, Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights Project at Public Counsel and co-author of ILRC’s SIJS manual
● Hayley Upshaw, Staff Attorney, Legal Services of Children
A previous ImmigrationProf Immigrant of the Day, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Alex Kozinski will deliver the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment on "The First Amendment in the Age of Information Overload" at UC Davis School of Law later today.
Judge Kozinski was appointed United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit on November 7, 1985, and became Chief Judge on November 30, 2007. He graduated from UCLA, receiving an A.B. degree in 1972, and from UCLA Law School, receiving a J.D. degree in 1975. Prior to his appointment to the appellate bench, Judge Kozinski served as Chief Judge of the United States Claims Court, 1982-85; Special Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board, 1981-1982; Assistant Counsel, Office of Counsel to the President, 1981; Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of President-Elect Reagan, 1980-81; Attorney, Covington & Burling, 1979-81; Attorney, Forry Golbert Singer & Gelles, 1977-79; Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, 1976-77; and Law Clerk to Circuit Judge Anthony M. Kennedy, 1975-76.
The Central Valley Foundation and UC Davis School of Law have established the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture to promote discussion and understanding of First Amendment issues. The Central Valley Foundation (CVF) was established by the late James B. McClatchy, publisher of The McClatchy Company newspapers from 1987 to 2005.
Immigration Article of the Day: "Transporting Padilla to Deportation Proceedings: A Due Process Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel" by Stephen H. Legomsky
"Transporting Padilla to Deportation Proceedings: A Due Process Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel" St. Louis University Public Law Review, 2012 STEPHEN H. LEGOMSKY, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law.
ABSTRACT: The Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky interpreted the Sixth Amendment as requiring criminal defense counsel to advise a non-citizen defendant concerning the deportation consequences of a guilty plea. To reach its decision, the Court in Padilla had to revisit the longstanding judicial dogma that deportation is purely a ‘collateral’ consequence, distinguishable from the ‘direct’ consequence of a criminal sentence. The Court saw deportation as a kind of hybrid, a different animal that challenged the traditional dichotomy. Its reasoning had nothing to do with the inherent severity of a criminal conviction, and everything to do with the nature and severity of deportation. At the same time that Padilla continues to inspire rapid-fire changes in the duties of criminal defense counsel, similar drama has been unfolding in the other immigration arena in which the effectiveness of counsel is commonly contested - counsel’s performance in the deportation proceedings themselves. Attorney General Mukasey’s 2009 decision in Matter of Compean and Attorney General Holder’s vacating of that decision later the same year have left uncertainty as to whether there is a constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel in deportation proceedings. This article links these two lines of cases. It argues that the logic of Padilla, quite apart from its sweeping implications for the constitutional duties of criminal defense counsel, also reinforces the case for a constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel in the deportation proceedings themselves.