Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eleventh Circuit to Hear Arguments in Alabama, Georgia Immigration Enforcement Cases

Tomorrow,the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit will hear oral arguments in the appeal of the district court ruling upholding most of Alabama's immigration enforcement law and a ruling striking down most of Georgia's immigration enforcement law.  For details, see here and here.

The Eleventh Circuit panel that will arguments includes Judge Charles Wilson, nominated by President Clinton, Judge Beverly Martin, nominated by President Obama, and visiting Judge Richard Voorhees, nominated by President Reagan.


February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Another Section of Arizona's SB 1070 Blocked

JACQUES BILLEAUD of Associated Press reports that a federal judge blocked police in Arizona from enforcing a section of the state's 2010 immigration enforcement law that prohibited people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor services on streets. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Wednesday that groups seeking to overturn the law will likely prevail in their claim that the day labor rules violate the First Amendment. The ban was among a handful of provisions in the law that were allowed to take effect after a July 2010 decision by Bolton halted enforcement of other, more controversial elements of the law. The Ninth Circuit affirmance of that order is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.


February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Commentary on ACUS Report on Removal Proceedings

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) draft report prepared by Lenni Benson and Russell Wheeler provides many recommendations for increasing the efficiency and quality of removal proceedings.

Here are comments:

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Human Rights First

American Immigration Council


February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Workers Want to be Paid by Mumbai Chopstix Restaurant

From Centro Presente:

Latino immigrant workers unite to demand the payment of wages from Newbury Street restaurant Mumbai Chopstix

Media Contact: Patricia Montes Centro Presente (617) 959 3108

What: Press Conference to demand payment of wages from Newbury Street restaurant,  Mumbai Chopstix

Where: Centro Presente, 17 Inner Belt Road, Somerville, MA

When: Friday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m.

BOSTON, MA -- A group of Latino immigrant workers and members of Centro Presente have united and are organizing a grassroots campaign to defend their labor rights. The workers were employed by Mumbai Chopstix located on Newbury Street in Boston. The restaurant is part of Amrik S. Pabla's One World Cuisine restaurant group which includes restaurants in Jamaica Plain, Somerville and other locales. The workers are going to file complaints to the Attorney General's office alleging nonpayment of wages and overtime. If the workers had been paid in accordance with the law, they have calculated that the wages they are owed would total more than $40,000. The workers are holding regular meetings in order to define a strategy to recover their wages, to learn about their labor rights, and to educate the general public about labor exploitation.     

"We worked hard for this restaurant, we know that it is our right to receive the full payment for the time that we worked," said Yovani Guardado, one of the affected workers.    

"It is important to recognize that the violation of labor rights is a systemic problem affecting all workers in this country and immigrant workers are even more vulnerable to this exploitation. We must also highlight that the enormous movement of immigrants to the U.S. is the result of a global economic system that exploits the rights of workers in their own countries," said Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente

"We hope the Attorney General's office will prioritize an investigation into the employment practices of the restaurants in the One World Cuisine restaurant group. It's important to remember that the wage laws apply to the immigrant labor force. We need to organize in order to stop employers from exploiting workers who came to this country to work and support their families," said Edic Herrera, board member of Centro Presente. 


February 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience

Sponsored by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library, the Website In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience provides interactive pages with summaries of the African-American migration patterns from the 1400s to present. The website is replete with detailed stories of African-American history coupled with references to the source documents used to recount this history.


February 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A View from the Immigration Bench by Judge Dana Leigh Marks

Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks has written a very honest reflection on being an immigration judge in the Federal Lawyer. I had the privilege of co-counseling INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987), with her before her appointment to the bench. She has now served on the immigration bench for almost 25 years. Click here for her article.


February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

USCIS Self Check Employment Eligibility

From Jack Jaggers - Community Engagement Officer

USCIS Texas Service Center

Dear Stakeholder,

This is a reminder that the USCIS Office of Public Engagement (OPE) invites you to participate in a Spanish-language engagement (Enlace), addressing the nationwide expansion of “Self-Check.” Self-Check is a voluntary, fast, free and simple online service that allows an individual to check his or her employment eligibility status.

The Enlace will be held on Thursday, March 1, 2012, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m (EST), as part of USCIS’s ongoing series of quarterly Spanish-language public engagements. Each Enlace session focuses on a specific immigration-related topic and includes a Q&A session with USCIS officials.

The event will be broadcast live from USCIS Headquarters, and stakeholders may participate via teleconference or live Web stream. During the event, a panel of representatives from USCIS’s Verification division will be available to answer questions and facilitate the discussion.

For more information or to download a flyer for this engagement please go to or click here.

To participate in the call via telephone:

Please dial: 1-888-989-4980 (password: Enlace)

Note: On the day of the engagement we recommend dialing in 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the call.

To participate via live Web stream go to:

For further information: Please contact the Office of Public Engagement at: and reference the following in the subject line of your email: March 1st - ENLACE. Please include your full name, email address, and the organization you represent.

Kind regards,

Office of Public Engagement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)


February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Governor Jerry Brown Urges Investment in Mexico and the DREAM Act

California Governor Jerry Brown and Arizona Governor Janet Brewer were on Meet the Press this past Sunday discussing a range of things, including immigration:

Gov Brown: "So I know there's a lot of controversy in that [the CA Dream Act], but you can't round up 12 million people and ship them back across the border.  That's a disaster."

More below. (About half-way down)

MR. GREGORY:  Let me, let me move to a really important issue in Arizona and in this fall campaign and that's the issue of immigration.  As I mentioned, Governor Brown, 34 years ago to the day, you were on MEET THE PRESS and we couldn't actually find the tape for it, but we have something that you said about immigration which I want to put up on the screen.  You said, "I do believe that the Mexican-American has been too invisible in California and throughout the Southwest.  It is imperative that we in this country, and particularly in the Southwest, open our hearts and our minds to this culture and that we try to accelerate the melting pot and the assimilation process so that we can live together in harmony." Here's Time magazine this week and on the cover it is "yo decidito"--"yo decido," which is that I'm going to decide. Hispanic-Americans are going to decide who the next president is if you look at the percentage that they occupy the voting bloc.  And they are certainly not very happy with the Republican Party.  Do you believe even more strongly today what you said 34 years ago?

GOV. BROWN:  Very much so.  And I was willing--I think--I may be the only governor, but I know I'm the one who signed the Dream, Dream Act in California...

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

GOV. BROWN:  ...that will enable undocumented students who do well in high school to go to college, pay in-state tuition and even get a scholarship.  So I know there's a lot of controversy in that, but you can't round up 12 million people and ship them back across the border.  That's a disaster.  We have to certainly secure the border, but we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  And I think Obama would--supports that and I certainly do.

MR. GREGORY:  Governor Brewer, the view within the Republican Party is that demographically, these candidates don't get the fact that what they say about immigration and also the policy positions toward immigration, where your state is really the flash point of it because of your very tough immigration law, is a big part of the problem.

GOV. BREWER:  Well, let me remind you, David, that you're talk about Arizona's very tough immigration law.  It mirrors federal law.  And we, of course, all know that we are a nation of laws and we believe in rule of law. And Arizona...

MR. GREGORY:  But there was a federal injunction into a portion of the law which allowed reasonable--a question of whether there was reasonable suspicion that somebody was illegal and they could ask for their papers.  Supreme Court's got to decide that piece of it.

GOV. BREWER:  Absolutely and that'll be decided in April.

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

GOV. BREWER:  And we're looking forward to that, that determination because--but the bottom line is we do need our border secured because we understand that Mexico is in terrible unrest and they're--that the whole state of Mexico is being controlled by drug cartels and all of that crime is coming across our border and Arizona is the gateway.  Texas has done a very good job of securing their borders with the help of the federal government.  California has done a good job.  But we are the gateway and we are the recipients of our citizens being threatened by the drug cartels, living in fear, having to protect their property and their families, drop houses being in normally stable neighborhoods, prostitution, and the extortion of those illegal people that are coming that maybe possibly are coming to work, their families are being extorted.

MR. GREGORY:  But you talk about...

GOV. BREWER:  And they're being tortured.  Why we can secure borders, David, everywhere, why can't we secure our border?

MR. GREGORY:  But how do you deal--you talk about securing the border, is this is an area where you think the president has fallen down, Governor?

GOV. BROWN:  No.  Every president has tried to secure the border.  The fact is these drugs generate billions of dollars in profit, guns from America go down to Mexico, the dope comes up, the billions of dollars go down.  It takes a collaborative work, Mexico and the U.S., we've got to invest in Mexico, we've got to give them all the tools that we can and work together to get rid of the cartels but build up Mexico so the employment can be there instead of forcing people across the border.

MR. GREGORY:  Why not--but Governor, why not testify on Capitol Hill? Senator Schumer's committee asked you to testify about the...(unintelligible). You decided against it.

GOV. BREWER:  You took me in a different direction, there.  Well, I think that it's ridiculous that he would invite me to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The bottom line is is why didn't he ask me two years ago when all of this was on the forefront?  Wait until the day before...

MR. GREGORY:  You don't think its on the forefront now?

GOV. BREWER:  Well, but I mean, the day before that it's heard by the Supreme Court?  I mean, they are ultimately going to make that decision, whether Senate Bill 1070 is going to be upheld or not.  I believe that it will be. But let me tell you when we talk about the Obama administration and securing our borders.  No, they don't want to secure our borders or they would secure our borders.  They secure borders everywhere else, they could secure them on the Arizona border.  And instead what do they do?  They send guns, fast and furious, they're sending guns down there to the cartel and then they don't track them.  And then noble people like border patrol agent Brian Terry gets murdered.  People--47,000 Mexican citizens have been killed south of the border and we just ignore that?  Mexico is Arizona's largest trading partner. Why doesn't the administration step up and do something to help Mexico?  We help all these other countries.  They do nothing.  They don't secure our borders, they send guns down there, they sue the state of Arizona and me personally for doing the job that they should do.  It's frustrating, David.

MR. GREGORY:  I want you--and the frustration has obviously bubbled over in your interactions with President Obama, too.  This picture now well known during his last visit to Arizona when you met him on the tarmac and appeared to have a confrontation with him over some things that were in your book that he didn't quite like.  You've been invited, as part of the National Governors Conference, to have a dinner at the White House.  You've declined to go.

GOV. BREWER:  I have.

MR. GREGORY:  Are you showing disrespect for the office of the president?

GOV. BREWER:  Well, I, I hope that it isn't disrespect.  I would not disrespect the president of the United States.  I have other commitments and I'm going to be at the White House on Monday morning.  I said that, you know, this event was a social thing.  You know, I am a governor, I've got priorities and I will be there Monday when we all meet and, and discuss policy.


February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Democrats bash Romney as ‘the most extreme presidential nominee of our time on immigration’

Read more.


February 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "The Challenges of Facilitating Effective Legal Defense in Deportation Proceedings: Allowing Nonlawyer Practice of Law Through Accredited Representatives in Removals"

"The Challenges of Facilitating Effective Legal Defense in Deportation Proceedings: Allowing Nonlawyer Practice of Law Through Accredited Representatives in Removals" South Texas Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 3, 2012 M. ISABEL MEDINA, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

ABSTRACT: Numerous scholars have written about the problems that lack of access to attorneys pose in the criminal and civil justice system, including in the context of proceedings to remove noncitizens from the United States. In response, many “access to justice” activists and scholars have advocated facilitating nonlawyer legal assistance. In immigration administrative practice federal regulations already facilitate nonlawyer practice of law. This essay suggests that nonlawyer practice of law is not the solution to the problem of lack of access to counsel in the context of removal proceedings. The current federal administrative structure not only fails to provide effective legal representation in removal cases brought against persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney, but also fails to adequately monitor and supervise those nonlawyers authorized by regulation to represent persons in removal proceedings. Further, the current regulatory structure may make it easier for nonlawyers to disguise themselves as lawyers, by blurring the line for immigrants between attorneys and non-attorneys. In addition, nonlawyers’ lack of expertise and exposure to legal methodology, practice and the adversarial system, is more likely to exacerbate the problem posed by persons facing deportation without an attorney, than to solve it.


February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Higher-Ed Research Assn. Moves 2013 Meeting From Atlanta Over Immigration Legislation

The American Educational Research Association has announced that its 2013 annual meeting would be held in San Francisco instead of Atlanta because of an Arizona-style immigration enforcement law that Georgia adopted last year. The law adopts new rules for many Georgia businesses to make sure new hires are eligible to work in the country and gives the police new powers to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects. Opponents of the law raised concerns that it would lead to racial profiling of Georgia’s Hispanic population, which nearly doubled, to 9 percent, from 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census data. Some members feared that, under the law, participants from Mexico, Haiti, and other countries could be racially profiled and harassed.


February 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blog by Alison Barjaktarovich: Volunteer Organizations for Attorneys

From Alison Barjaktarovich:

5 Great Volunteer Organizations for Attorneys

The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that all licensed attorneys partake in 50 hours of “pro bono” (volunteer) work each year, and many state bar associations require their members to complete additional pro bono hours. There are an infinite number of ways in which attorneys can log these hours, from performing research for a local legal aid office to drafting wills for public service employees at weekend clinics.  Below are 5 great organizations that offer nationwide volunteer opportunities for lawyers.

National Center for Refugee & Immigrant Children (NCRIC)

The NCRIC recruits attorney volunteers of all experience levels and backgrounds to represent children – who are often seeking protection from situations including abuse, neglect or trafficking - in legal proceedings before the U.S. Department of Justice’s Immigrant Court or in their state’s juvenile court. Extensive training and support is provided to all volunteers. In addition to child representatives, the NCRIC also recruits attorneys who are willing to act as mentors to other lawyers.

Although for all intents and purposes attorneys are required to partake in pro bono service, the sheer number of pro bono opportunities available should make it easy for lawyers to dedicate their time and talents to an organization that they have an interest in, and a cause they truly believe in.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Over 75,000 CASA volunteers in nearly 1,000 programs across the country act as court appointed “Guardians Ad LItem” to children within the foster care system. These screened and trained advocates are assigned to the case of a child (or sibling group) who have been removed from their home due to allegations of abuse or neglect. CASAs research and investigate the case and make recommendations to the court based on the best interest of the child (or children) involved. Although CASA volunteers aren’t required to be attorneys, lawyers may find the work particularly interesting and rewarding and their legal knowledge and skills to be extremely beneficial.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA)

The Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts offer several opportunities for attorneys to use their skills to benefit the creative arts community. VLA runs workshops, panels, and other events designed to educate artists, art professionals, educators, and the general public of the legal issues relating to creative work. VLA also provides mediation services for art-related disputes through their MediateArt program.

National Organization of Veteran’s Advocates (NOVA) & Public Counsel’s Center for Veteran’s Advancement (CVA) Advocate Pro Bono Program

According to the NOVA, there are over 154,000 homeless veterans on our streets. These former servicemen and women often have trouble obtaining the veterans benefits to which they’re entitled, often causing them extreme hardship. This alliance of two veterans advocacy organizations aims to fight veteran homelessness through providing pro bono legal representation to veterans seeking benefits through the Veteran’s Administration (VA).  Attorneys with previous experience in VA law are needed to advocate for veterans both at both VA agency level as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for veterans claims. 

The Innocence Project/The Innocence Network

The Innocence Project’s website describes the organization as  “a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.” Although The Innocence Project is based in New York City, a list of affiliated organizations across the U.S. is available on The Innocence Network’s website.  In 2011, 21 innocent prisoners were exonerated due to the efforts of The Innocence Network’s member organizations, and these groups use attorney volunteers for various aspects of their work.

Bio: Alison Barjaktarovich is an experienced paralegal and writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a career resource site providing a directory of schools that offer a paralegal degree and criminal justice career interviews.


February 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Only in America? Because U.S. Erred in ’90, Bronx Resident Becomes a Man Without a Country

Here is an American story for you. Abdo Hizam, born in 1980 in a small village in Yemen to a Yemeni-American father, received an American passport as a child of Americans. He gave up his Yemeni citizenship. He graduated from high school and earned a business degree at a local college. He worked for years at a restaurant, and he opened a small grocery store. But last year, the State Department told him that he had received his citizenship in 1990 due to a bureaucratic blunder by the government. They revoked his passport and effectively stripped Mr. Hizam of his nationality.

Hizam, who is living in the Bronx, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, demanding that it affirm his citizenship and reissue his passport. He is being represented by the Immigant Rights Clinic at the New York University School of Law. Hizam’s lawyer, Nancy Morawetz, a professor of clinical law at N.Y.U., said Mr. Hizam appeared to have been a victim of an inflexible immigration bureaucracy.


February 27, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anti-Immigrant Legislation in Mississippi Moves Forward

From Southern Echo:

Anti-immigrant HB 488 passes House Committee Judiciary B; sent to House Education Committee

Good People,

On Friday, Feb. 24, after two hours of discussion, debate and defeat of 3 of the 4 proposed amendments, the House Judiciary B Committee voted 15-6 to adopt House Bill 488, Committee Substitute, entitled the Mississippi Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, a draconian Mississippi missive to human beings without “papers” that they are not wanted here.

Jud B Chair Andy Gipson, of Braxton, introduced the bill by stating that every person, whether undocumented or not, is a human being under the eye of God on the same basis as every other human being.  Further, Gipson contended, the bill was not intended to harm anyone or deprive them of the necessities of life and that the bill had been cleansed of those provisions that had been enjoined by the federal court in the litigation against the infamous Alabama statute, HB 56. 

However, contrary to the chair’s declaration of good will, the bill as adopted will do great harm, as I try to illustrate below. 

Here are some samples about what the bill actually does:

·         Mandates that every time a police officer make a lawful stop, detention or arrest the officer must determine the citizenship status of the individual or individuals involved.  If a person, including any citizen, does not have appropriate “papers” with them, then the officer is required to “presume” that the individual is in the State of Mississippi illegally.  The officer is authorized to detain the person in the Pearl facility, or one in Louisiana, for 48 hours to determine the legal status of the person.  If the person cannot verify that they are here in compliance with US and state law, then the person is to be turned over to ICE, the anti-immigrant federal militia. 
·         So – don’t go out of your house without a driver license or other form of identification, no matter who you are.  Driving is one way, but not the only way to get stopped.  If you are walking and an officer thinks you are in the “wrong neighborhood”, or someone calls to complain that you look “suspicious”, or you are intoxicated while walking on a public way, or are leaning up against a lamp post in an area suspected or known to be a “drug market” … and the police officer wants to stop you to inquire or to investigate … a form of pre-emptive intervention, so to speak … then you can be asked to prove you are a citizen or an immigrant with legal status because the “stop” or “inquiry” was a reasonable act within the duties of the officer.
·         The bill immunizes the officer against any civil or criminal liability in connection with these stops, detentions and arrests so long as the officer is acting reasonably and in good faith.  But, even if you are being repeatedly harassed by the officer, or are clearly the wrong target for their abusive conduct, a slew of recent US Supreme Court decisions make it virtually impossible to bring a court action to demonstrate that an officer is acting without good faith, so long as the officer is acting within the officer’s official duties.
·         The bill makes it illegal for any state or local governmental entity to engage in any business transaction with an undocumented person.  Although the provision focuses on driver and business licenses, and other forms of licenses, the provision expressly states, “… or any other business transaction.”  That language is broad, comprehensive and without any implication that there are exceptions.  The Chair said he did not think that was meant to include medical and utility transactions.  Rep. David Baria, of Bay St. Louis and Rep. Adrienne Wooten, of Jackson, worked hard to amend the bill to clarify this point by bringing an amendment to specify that this portion of the bill would not apply to medical treatment or to the provision of water, gas and other utilities, and therefore, would not prevent the provision of these basis services to undocumented families.

However, the Chair asked if the Baria amendment would implicate the expenditure of state funds if an undocumented family went to a state or county hospital.  As soon as Rep. Gipson asked that question you knew that meant the amendment would be defeated.  Of course treatment at a public hospital would involve state funds.  The proposed amendment was defeated on a voice vote.

So – under this bill as written it will be illegal for a state or county medical facility to provide necessary medical treatment to a person who cannot show valid documentation, whether adult or child, and regardless as to whether the situation is urgent, an emergency or is life-threatening.

That is cold!  This bill does not merely deny an undocumented person the ability to work or to engage in a business to support a family.  This bill threatens the health, safety and welfare of that family.  This bill is a fundamental disrespect, dishonor and degradation to the humanity of every individual, whether citizen, immigrant with legal status, or undocumented.

What has happened to the moral center in this legislature?

Since the bill was double-referred, the next stop for the bill is in the House Education Committee. [likely this wednesday]

I hope this is helpful.

Southern Echo


February 26, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Protect the DREAM Act--Say No to GOP Candidates

From America's Voice:

Mitt Romney flat-out said he would veto the DREAM Act, and Newt Gingrich says he’ll weaken it. By doing so, they would both deny the dreams of so many young undocumented immigrants who want to give back to the country they call home.

Here’s the bottom line: there is only ONE DREAM Act and it includes the right to an education -- and the only politicians we know that want to veto or change it are anti-immigrant.

In the Romney/Gingrich mutilated version of the bill, young undocumented Americans can only give back to their country by enlisting in the military.

Help us fight back against this nonsense. Please sign our petition here:


February 25, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "Rebellious State Crimmigration Enforcement and the Foreign Affairs Power"

"Rebellious State Crimmigration Enforcement and the Foreign Affairs Power" Washington University Law Review, MARY FAN, University of Washington - School of Law.

ABSTRACT: The propriety of a new breed of state laws interfering in immigration enforcement is pending before the Supreme Court and the lower courts. These laws typically incorporate federal standards defining unlawful alienage and immigration-related criminalization but diverge aggressively from federal enforcement policy. Enacting states argue that the legislation is merely a species of “cooperative federalism” that does not trespass upon the federal power over foreign affairs, foreign commerce and nationality rules since the laws mirror federal standards. This article challenges the formalist mirror theory assumptions behind the new laws and argues that inconsistent state crimmigration enforcement policy and resulting foreign affairs complications render the new spate of immigration policing laws infirm. The article argues for the need to give due weight to statements of interest by the executive on the foreign affairs implications of rebellious state crimmigration enforcement. The article contends that the caste-carving approach of the multi-front “attrition through enforcement” attack strategy behind the laws contravenes national immigration enforcement policy and strains foreign relations. The analysis provides a basis for distinguishing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting upholding the Legal Arizona Workers Act from the current spate of legislation pending in the courts. The analysis in the crimmigration context also enriches our understanding of what cooperative -- and uncooperative -- federalism enforcement means and the dangers of the phenomenon in areas of special national concern fraught with localized animosity.


February 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: Nadia Jones, "Backdoor amnesty" or democratic humanism? Obama administration seeks to rejoin immigrant families of US citizens

Last month, to the outrage of Republicans, the Obama administration proposed an amendment to a long-standing immigration rule that until now has kept illegal immigrant spouses and children separated from their citizen families.

Though they can request to waive the three- to 10-year ban on returning to the US, most immigrants are deported back to their homeland before they are given the opportunity to do so. Once deported, the term of the ban is decided in accordance with the duration of their illegal residency in America.

Had they been given the chance at a waiver request, many immigrants could have returned home after only a few days or weeks, rather than years, once they had finished the visa process abroad. Instead, the families remained separated sometimes for a decade, barred from reuniting by bureaucratic delays.

In response to this situation, the Obama administration proposed that the rule should be changed to give these immigrants audience with the government about their waiver request decision before they are removed.

Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Alejandro Mayorkas said "it currently takes about six months for the government to issue a waiver," a time the new rule hopes to shorten.

Altruistic as the rule change proposal may be, one has to wonder whether change like this will stick, especially with the Republican party so vehemently opposed to immigration reform. Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, for example, accused Obama of "putting the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of those of Americans," and many Congressional Republicans describe Obama's call for immigration policy change without congressional action as giving immigrants "backdoor amnesty."

Whether or not circumventing congressional action was unsanctioned, it clearly has many Americans riled up. Policy often is more forward-thinking than the constituency it governs is ready to accept; still, one can't help but think that the Republicans are just throwing a tantrum because they didn't have a say in a change that is humanistic and clearly in alignment with American values.

All that said, times like these do act as a kind of litmus test for the readiness of the American psyche, and sadly, it seems that immigration reform continues to be a hotly contested, and all-too-frequently neglected topic.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at

February 25, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alleged Rwandan Genocide Participant Could be Stripped of Citizenship and Deported

From WMUR:

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are describing the federal trial of a Rwandan woman as, "A case about lies."

Beatrice Munyenyezi, 41, is accused of lying about her role in the Rwandan genocide while applying to become a U.S. citizen.

Munyenyezi wiped back a few tears as she sat and awaited the start of the trial that could end with her stripped of her citizenship and deported back to Rwanda.

In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin told the jury that the defendant lied about her past and then repeated those lies to gain entry to the United States.

Capin said prosecutors will prove that Munyenyezi took part in the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994 and that she "encouraged killers to kill, rapists to rape."

He said there was a roadblock set up at a hotel owned by Munyenyezi's husband's family and that the purpose of the roadblock was to separate ethnic Tutsis for slaughter. Capin said Munyenyezi took part in singling people out to be killed and decided, in some cases, who would be killed or taken to a rape room. Read more....


February 24, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Salvadoran War Criminal Ordered Deported

Julia Preston writes for the NY Times:

An immigration judge in Florida has cleared the way for the deportation from the United States of Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, a former defense minister of El Salvador, finding that he assisted in acts of torture and murder committed by soldiers under his command during the civil war there, including several notorious killings of Americans.

The decision by Judge James Grim of immigration court in Orlando is the first time that federal immigration prosecutors have established that a top-ranking foreign military commander can be deported based on human rights violations under a law passed in 2004, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, intended to bar human rights violators from coming to or living in the United States.

Judge Grim found that General Vides assisted in the killings of four American churchwomen on a rural road in El Salvador in 1980, a crime that caused shock there and in Washington and presaged the bloody violence that would engulf the Central American nation for the next decade. The immigration judge’s ruling is the first time General Vides has been held responsible for those deaths in a court of law. Read more...


February 24, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


Silent raids

David Bacon on Truthout reports that two hundred immigrant workers, their families, and hundreds of supporters marched through downtown Berkeley February 17, protesting their firing from Pacific Steel Castings. The company is one of the city's biggest employers.  Two hundred fourteen workers were fired in December and January, as a result of a so-called silent raid, in which the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security inspected the company's records to find workers who don't have legal immigration status. ICE then demanded that the company fire them.


February 24, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)