Monday, March 26, 2012
From the Center for American Progress:
Life as an Undocumented Immigrant--How Restrictive Local Immigration Policies Affect Daily Life
By Angela S. García, David G. Keyes
What happens to undocumented immigrants after the passage of anti-immigrant state laws such as Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and Alabama’s H.B. 56 or restrictive local ordinances such as those in Prince William County, Virginia, or Freemont, Nebraska? What is life like for unauthorized immigrants in these areas, and how do they mitigate the harshness of these ordinances? On the flip side, what happens to the larger communities—documented and not, immigrant and not—and how do these laws impact the ability of law enforcement professionals to keep our communities safe?
Many studies have focused on the fiscal and economic ramifications of anti-immigrant legislation, but little work has been done on the harmful effects these laws have on everyday life in our communities. This report is the second in CAP’s “Documenting the Undocumented” series where we pull the curtain back and look directly into the lives of the nation’s undocumented. This specific report studies immigrants’ responses to local restrictions and integration.
From Fox News Latino:
Georgia legislators are considering a proposal that would bar undocumented immigrants from receiving marriage licenses or access to water and sewage.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, has gotten a lot of attention because it would also bar undocumented immigrants from the state's public colleges, universities and technical schools. But another provision that's generated very little discussion removes foreign passports from a list of identification documents that government agencies can accept for certain transactions. To be acceptable, foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally. Read more...
Secretary Napolitano announced today the designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), based on deteriorating security conditions in Syria. The effective dates for the designation, as well as dates and procedures for the TPS registration process, will be detailed in a Federal Register notice that publishes next week. Applications should not be submitted until the designation becomes effective. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be hosting a stakeholder engagement next week to discuss the process for filing TPS applications and to address questions and concerns related to the TPS application process. We appreciate your assistance in helping to inform the Syrian community in the U.S. about the TPS designation and look forward to hearing your input during the engagement next week.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
From the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:
AALDEF, together with pro bono counsel Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, is representing 22 former workers of Chinatown's Jin Hua Restaurant, including waiters, waitresses, bussers, and dim sum workers, who had been denied minimum wage, overtime, and in some cases, their entire paycheck. But after Jin Hua closed, its corporate owner claimed it wasn't responsible – leaving the workers no recourse. AALDEF went to court, and the judge ruled for the workers: AALDEF can now seek over $100,000 in damages on their behalf.
Immigration Incarceration: The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, N.J.
NYU Law School's Immigrant Rights Clinic, in cooperation with New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, has released a report "Immigration Incarceration: The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, N.J." It was presented at an immigration detention conference on Friday at Rutgers-Newark law school.
This report takes a hard look at the outcome of detention expansion and “reform” of immigration detention in Essex County, New Jersey. Although immigration detention has always been justified as non-punitive, and the rhetoric from the Obama Administration has emphasized a reform of the civil immigration detention system, in recent years there has been an expansion of immigration detention even while detention facilities fail to meet the 2008 and 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS).
What is currently happening in Essex County is an example of what occurs when expansion of immigration detention fails to coincide with any meaningful review of the system currently in place. Every indicator of the conditions and treatment of immigrant detainees in Essex County shows a detention system that is failing to meet the bare minimum of humane treatment and due process. What’s more, the increase in the number of immigrants detained and the conditions of their detention are contrary to promises for reform and prosecutorial discretion at the national level, as well as assurances of oversight at the local level.
After providing a history of the rise of immigration detention in Essex County, this report will delve into the experiences of detainees who are held in the two facilities—the privately owned and operated Delaney Hall and the Essex County Correctional Facility (hereafter “ECCF”).
Part I of the report chronicles the expansion of detention in the United States, specifically the expansion of detention in Essex County, NJ, including information about the two immigration detention facilities in Essex County: Delaney Hall and ECCF.
Part II will focus on who is being detained in Delaney Hall and ECCF.
Part III will present information about the conditions in Delaney Hall and ECCF for immigrant detainees.
Part IV concerns access to legal services and due process for immigrant detainees in Essex County.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Earlier this week, the International Detention Coalition (IDC) released “Captured Childhood” in Geneva at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council. Over the past two years, the IDC has heard first-hand the stories of children and parents from all over the world who have experienced immigration detention. In total 70 children were interviewed and the IDC also listened to the experiences of 16 parents of children who had been detained. Consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this policy document conveys the stories of children who have been in immigration detention. Their experiences highlight the need for alternative approaches to managing the irregular migration of children. The report also introduces a new model to ensure the rights and liberty of refugee, asylum seeker and irregular migrant children affected by immigration detention.
North Carolina has become a hub of Latino migration to the South. While many think this migration came suddenly, North Carolina has, in fact, been welcoming and integrating Mexican and other Latino migrants for generations. Over the last three decades, the Latino population in North Carolina grew from less than a half percent of the total population to 8.4 percent—more than 800,000 people. North Carolina, which now has more agricultural guest workers than any other state in the nation, has contributed to a quickly growing national population of 50 million Latinos, now the largest minority group in the country. But much is at stake for Latinos, native and newly arrived, as the state and region experience demographic transformation. The polarized nature of the current immigration debate has made the steady growth of Latinos in North Carolina more noticeable and more politically charged. The role of Latinos in North Carolina, however—as workers and residents—is an important and over-looked story of how North Carolina continues to grow and evolve in a changing economy and world. In this Perspectives, the author finds that North Carolina has became an important barometer of contemporary immigration debates for the nation and especially for the Southeast, which has become a new frontier for Latin American migration to the United States. While Latinos in North Carolinia, as they do elsewhere in the United States, have much to contribute to regional identities and histories, aggressive anti-immigrant policies and the climate of reception that they threaten hundreds of thousands of people across the state.
From Human Agenda of Santa Clara County, California:
Please join us at our Action Meetings at the Human Agenda Office, 2175 The Alameda,Suite 103, San Jose 95126:
Strategic Initiatives Action Meeting: Saturday, March 31, 4 PM, contact Ana Maria Candela at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Vision Action Meeting: Saturday, April 7, 10 AM, contact Arianne Renée at email@example.com;
Food & Water Action Meeting: Contact Elizabeth Sarmiento at firstname.lastname@example.org .
A Strategic Weekend for Human Agenda
At the heart of Human Agenda’s vision for a healthy community and a better world are strategic initiatives to meet critical human needs. Nothing is more strategic for human beings than well-paying, sustainable jobs that allow people to have the security, the time, and the resources to meet their other critical needs. At the same time, food and water form the basis of our existence. Please join Human Agenda this weekend to support the San Jose Living Wage Campaign, World Water Day, and campaigns in support of low-income immigrant workers.
Collect Signatures for a Living Wage!
What: Collect Signatures for the San Jose Living Wage Initiative
When: Saturday, March 24, 9 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Meet at Human Agenda office, 2175 The Alameda, Suite 103, San Jose 95126
Who: Led by Board Members Ana Maria Candela, Cesar Juarez, & Richard Hobbs
Human Agenda just voted to contribute $500 to this important campaign to increase wages to $10 per hour in San Jose. We have supported the campaign from the beginning, and this is the last weekend to gather the signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot. Join us for a light breakfast and training to collect signatures. Rain or shine!
Canvass for World Water Day!
What: Walk and Poll for World Water Day
When: Sat., March 24, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Willow Glen Neighborhood
Who: Led by Board Members Elizabeth Sarmiento, Pat O’Connell, and Rodrigo Dioso
For World Water Day we will be doing a canvass using a poll to inform people about the state of water in the world, and to promote a Santa Clara Valley Water District program to replace lawns with drought resistant plants they will reimburse up to $2,000 in expenses. This is a tangible act people can take to reduce water use.
3:00 p.m. Meet at Elizabeth and Eric's home, 544 Snyder Ave., San José, CA 95125. Drink coffee or tea and have some coffee bread
3:15 p.m. Brief tour of gardens, native garden (front yard) editable garden (back yard)
3:30 p.m. Dos and don'ts about soliciting. Briefing of what we're doing and where we're walking - you'll get copies of the flyer and poll sheets with a clipboard.
5:00 p.m. Meet back at Elizabeth's place and share the results.
Support Low-Wage Immigrant Workers!
What: Panel Presentation and Action Steps to Support Low-Wage Immigrant Workers
When: Sunday, March 25, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: UFCW Local 5 Headquarters, Casa de Pueblo, 240 S. Market St., San Jose 95113
Who: Speakers include Aurelio Lopez, farmworker; Saul Gonzalez, the San Jose Living Wage Coalition; a representative from UniteHere! Local 19; Dr. Ann Lopez, the Center for Farmworker Families; and Richard Hobbs, Human Agenda. Sponsored by AACI, the Interfaith Council, and Human Agenda.
Explore the reality of low-wage immigrant workers and how a low-wage economy impacts us all! In Silicon Valley, immigrants fill the majority of our service, labor, and agricultural jobs. Hear personal testimonies from local immigrants working in low-wage industries and speakers on local and national policy issues, conditions of farmworkers, and environmental impacts. Find out how you can support the San Jose Minimum Wage Campaign and other local movements to improve wages and conditions for workers!
From the NY Immigration Coalition:
2012 IMMIGRANTS' DAY OF ACTION AT CITY HALL
TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012
11:00AM – 3:00PM
Schedule of the Day
Press Conference 11:00AM - 12:00PM
City Legislative Forum 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Legislative Visits (on your own)
Anytime during the week of April 16th
If you have any questions, please contact Silvia Gonzales at email@example.com
Thursday, March 22, 2012
This Article debunks the short, but maladroit statement that “illegals do NOT pay taxes.” It describes the depth and breadth of undocumented immigrants as a resource for tax payments made to government coffers across America. The depth and breadth is evinced by describing the myriad of different federal, state, and local taxes undocumented immigrants are subject to and pay. Most notably, this Article verifies that undocumented immigrants not only pay the same taxes that U.S. citizens and documented residents pay, but in addition that they are subject to and pay what is described as “the undocumented immigrant tax.” The undocumented immigrant tax is effectively an additional tax burden, a surtax or tariff on undocumented immigrants and their families. As a result, not only do undocumented immigrants pay taxes, but they bear a greater tax burden than similarly situated U.S. citizens and documented residents.
Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released a 2010 Census brief, The Asian Population: 2010], that shows the Asian population grew faster than any other race group over the last decade. The population that identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, while those who identified as Asian alone grew by 43.3 percent. Both populations grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010. Out of the total U.S. population, 14.7 million people, or 4.8 percent, were Asian alone.
In addition, 2.6 million people, or another 0.9 percent, reported Asian in combination with one or more other races. Together, these two groups totaled 17.3 million people. Thus, 5.6 percent of all people in the United States identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.
From the NY Immigration Coalition:
PLEASE KEEP CALLING!
Right now the most strategic opportunity for us to move DREAM forward is by having it included in the Governor's budget, which will be decided in the next week.
If you've made a call, please keep calling!
Urge the Governor to include DREAM—and specifically an expanded Tuition Assistance Program—in his budget!
CALL TO DREAM! PLEASE take 2 minutes to call the Governor by FRIDAY!!
Suggested script: "Hi I’m calling to urge Governor Cuomo to include DREAM, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) provision, in his budget so that DREAM becomes reality! My address and zip code is _________”
Please ALSO take a moment to call Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and ask them to support NYS DREAM legislation!
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: 518-455-3791
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos: 518-455-3171
PLEASE REPOST AND TWEET!
Students are the future of New York!
It is big boxing news that MARTIN MURRAY has been forced to withdraw from his WBC world middleweight title challenge against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr because he cannot obtain a U.S. visa in time. The undefeated challengers was set to challenge Chavez in El Paso, Texas on June 16. Murray spent time in prison when he was younger and has turned his life around in recent years. According to news reports, Murray cannot get the paperwork approved in time for a US and Mexican press tour later this month.
Given his campaign's Etch a Sketch view of politics, is there hope for Mitt Romney on immigration if he becomes the Republican nominee for President? Romney has beaten the drum of increased immigration enforcement increasingly as teh Republican campaign has gone on. If he returns to being a moderate on immigration, will Latinos forgive and believe him?
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY: EXPLAINING THE POST-1965 SURGE FROM LATIN AMERICA
A new article in “Population and Development Review” by Douglas S. Massey and and Karen A. Pren argues that the post-1965 surge in Mexican, Central American, and to a lesser extent South American immigration was not a direct result of policy reforms enacted in the mid-1960s but rather the unintended consequences that unfolded afterward.
First, prior to 1965 a thriving Bracero Program was in place in which roughly 450,000 persons entered the U.S. from Mexico each year on temporary work visas. These workers returned to Mexico regularly rather than staying in the U.S., thereby creating a circular flow of legal Mexican migrants. The program had a lot of problems, however, so immigration reformers with a civil rights agenda successfully shut it down. But while the program ended in 1965, the business need for this type of labor did not. The result was that Mexican workers continued to enter the country, although now without documentation.
Also in 1965, quantitative limits on immigration from the Western Hemisphere were established. Thus illegal immigration rose after 1965 not because there was a surge in Mexican migration, but because these immigration reforms rebranded legal migrants as undocumented workers and capped the number who could try to enter the country legally. No longer legal guest workers but illegal immigrants, the number apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border increased. This allowed a new narrative to develop: illegal immigration was a crisis and new policies were desperately needed to stem the flow of the “alien invasion.” The more this narrative was repeated by politicians, the more the populace supported increasingly stringent immigration and enforcement policies, setting off a chain reaction: increased apprehensions led to increased calls and better tools for enforcement; increased enforcement led to more apprehensions; and increased apprehensions solidified in the public’s mind that illegal immigration was a growing problem that needed drastic reform.
Moreover, increased enforcement did not really deter people from entering the U.S. from Mexico, but it certainly encouraged them to stay; the conversion from legal migrant to illegal immigrant was complete.
Second, the U.S. was involved in several Central American countries during the Cold War, which lead to further destabilization in the region and large scale migration north. While Nicaraguan émigrés were welcome as refugees (since the U.S. disagreed with the leftist government they were fleeing), others from Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras encountered the same restrictions for legal entry as Mexicans. After the 1990s, the threat of terrorism intensified border enforcement and brought about a sharp rise in deportations from the U.S. Deportations replaced border apprehensions as “proof” that a Latino threat loomed.
Third, Latin American legal immigration – led by Mexico -- was also on the rise after 1965, and particularly after 1986. Again, this was not a result of a conscious policy effort, but rather an unintended consequence of the various immigration reforms. Due to concerns about terrorism and a growing xenophobia, Congress began in the 1980s to strip civil, social, and economic rights away from legal immigrants. As it became increasingly problematic to be in the U.S. but not a citizen, the numbers seeking to naturalize increased. This happened just as millions of former undocumented migrants became eligible to naturalize after receiving permanent residence under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Adding to the numbers was a separate policy that exempted family members (spouses, minor children and parents) of U.S. citizens from country quotas as part of a family reunification effort.
The authors end the article noting the massive demographic transformation that has resulted from these unintended consequences – a rise in the Hispanic population from 9.6 million to 50.5 million. They offer a counterfactual scenario, in which the Bracero Program was improved, not abolished, and the U.S. stayed out of Central America; the result might have been a smaller illegal population and a less divided country when the terrorists attacked. More might have continued to cross the border legally and for temporary stays, resulting in fewer permanent immigrants, less undocumented migration, and slower population growth. Amazingly – almost despite ourselves -- we may actually be headed that way as both illegal and legal entries have fallen while temporary guest worker entry has risen. The next step is for the U.S. to find a way to deal with the remaining legacy of failed policies – undocumented residents who number 11 million. Of those, 3 million entered as children. The authors argue that they should receive amnesty – such as that would have been granted in the Dream Act -- while the adults should be able to participate in an earned legalization program. As the Massey/Pren paper shows, a large number of permanent undocumented people is not a good situation for the country -- and the next policy solution should aim to solve not create more problems.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld a lower court’s ruling that a Farmers Branch, Texas ordinance banning undocumented immigrants from renting in the city. The decision affirmed a lower court ruling that the power to control immigration rests only with the federal government — not states or cities. “This is a national problem, needing a national solution. And it impacts the nation’s relations with Mexico and other nations,” the decision said. The appeals court judges said that the ordinance was more than a housing regulation and was “designed to burden aliens, both documented and undocumented, in Farmers Branch. As such, the ordinance serves no legitimate city interest.” For more, click here.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The 2012 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is "Racism and Conflict." It highlighs the fact that racism and discrimination often are at the root of deadly conflict.
The theme was chosen to capture the often ignored yet mutually reinforcing relationship between racism and conflict. In many parts of the world, racism, prejudice and xenophobia create extreme tension and are used as powerful weapons to engender fear or hatred in times of conflict. Prejudice and xenophobia can even lead to genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.
This year's theme aims to raise awareness of these issues and to recall the plight of the victims who suffered or continue to suffer as a result of racism-related conflicts.
The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us of our collective responsibility for promoting and protecting this ideal.
From Detention Watch Network:
Detention Watch Network Urges Congress to Follow President’s Lead and Reduce Wasteful Spending on the Incarceration of Immigrants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Detention Watch Network is encouraged by the Obama Administration’s request for a reduction in immigration detention beds in the recent FY 2013 budget proposal. The President’s budget requests funding for 32,800 daily detention beds, which is a 1,200 bed reduction from FY 2012. In addition, the budget requests a $39 million increase in funding for Alternatives to Detention programs.
Also of note, the President’s request states that “the budget includes flexibility to transfer funding between jail detention and other forms of detention such as electronic monitoring and intensive supervision, commensurate with the level of risk a detainee presents.”
“This language seems to acknowledge that ICE’s intensive monitoring programs are themselves ‘forms of detention,’” said Andrea Black, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network. “Advocates have long argued that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should not be required to incarcerate any person whom it feels it can supervise through a less restrictive, more cost effective method.”
If Congress allows for flexibility in how ICE uses its detention money, the agency will have the authority to make determinations based on its programmatic needs rather than political dictates. ICE can exercise its discretion to move away from holding immigrants in prisons and jails while they determine their immigration status and prioritize the use of its Alternatives to Detention programs. Individuals who are subject to “mandatory detention” should be eligible for these less expensive and more humane programs if ICE deems it appropriate. Currently, more than 60% of people in detention are mandatorily detained without the right to a bond hearing.
Since 1996, the immigration detention system has grown rapidly, from 70,000 people detained annually to more than 360,000. The U.S. now maintains a sprawling network of detention facilities, comprised of more than 250 federal and private facilities, state prisons and county jails, at an annual cost of $1.7 billion to taxpayers. The expansion of the detention system has been accompanied by increasing levels of abuse, dire living conditions, and over 120 immigrant deaths since 2003. DWN calls upon Congress to follow the White House’s lead and reduce funding for the incarceration of immigrants.
“It may take time to dismantle this mismanaged and inhumane detention infrastructure,” said Black, “but a reduction in funding for detention beds, even a minor one, is a good first step.”
Today, Breakthrough president and CEO Mallika Dutt joins the We Belong Together delegation calling for an end to human rights abuses against women, children and families caused by federal immigration enforcement and by Alabama’s HB56. The group of nationally recognized women’s rights advocates and thought leaders arrive in Alabama this afternoon. Alabama's HB56, enacted last June, is considered the nation's strictest immigration enforcement law.
“Today’s escalating ‘war on women’ has — rightly — sparked broad outrage and urgent action to protect women’s rights in the United States. But the ‘war on immigrants’ is not merely a coincidental crisis. Both are elements of a sweeping and profound crusade against women’s fundamental human rights here at home,” said Breakthrough president and CEO Mallika Dutt.
“Laws like Alabama’s HB56 and federal enforcement measures like 287g devastate women, families, economies, and — it’s becoming clear — the soul of our nation. How can we stand by while women are denied basic reproductive care — and forced to give birth in shackles? While women are attacked for using birth control — and afraid to call the police to report an abuser? We must continue to fight, side by side, for the fundamental human rights of all women in the United States.”
Dutt noted the experiences of immigrant women including Juana Villegas, who was detained after a routine traffic stop and forced to give birth in shackles, and Shirley Tan, who lives in fear of being separated from her female partner of 10 years and their two children because she is undocumented and unable to marry legally.
Breakthrough is a global human rights organization that uses the power of media, arts, pop culture, and community-based action to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice. Working out of centers in the U.S. and India, Breakthrough addresses critical global issues including violence against women, HIV and sexuality, immigration and racial justice.
We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Asian Pacific American Womens Forum, and others, to bring attention to the ways in which unjust immigration laws affect women, children and families.
The Migration Policy Institute's online journal, the Migration Information Source, today published its annual compilation of some of the most up-to-date and frequently sought-after facts and statistics on U.S. immigration, including current and historical population shares, illegal migration flows, demographic and workforce characteristics and geographic distribution. Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States is a unique and comprehensive resource that brings together in one place data from the Census Bureau (decennial census, American Community Survey and Current Population Survey), Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, MPI, Mexican government and other sources.
The fact sheet provides the most recent top facts and figures on the nation's immigrant, non-immigrant, refugee and asylum-seeking populations as well as data on enforcement, naturalization and other topics. As such, it's a great resource for reporters and others needing quick access to relevant migration data.
The fact sheet reports that:
Between 2000 and 2010, the five states with the largest percent growth in the immigrant population were Alabama (92 percent), South Carolina (88 percent), Tennessee (82 percent), Arkansas (79 percent) and Kentucky (75 percent).
The nation's 40 million immigrants represented 13 percent of the total U.S. population in 2010 -- below the historical peak of just under 15 percent recorded in 1890 but well above the historical low of 5 percent recorded in 1970.
The emigration rate from Mexico dropped from 6.9 migrants per 1,000 residents of Mexico in 2008 to 3.3 per 1,000 in 2010.
More than 34 percent of the foreign-born population in the United States was uninsured in 2010, compared to 13 percent of the native-born population.
In 2010, nearly 17 million children under the age of 17 lived at home with at least one immigrant parent, accounting for 24 percent of the 70.6 million children in that age group in the United States.
The top five countries of birth for the approximately 1 million new green card holders in 2010 were Mexico (13 percent), China (7 percent), India (7 percent), the Philippines (6 percent) and the Dominican Republic (5 percent).