Friday, August 31, 2012

Farmworker Children May Not Qualify for DREAMer Deferred Action

Grace Meng writes for USA Today:

Any American who has turned on the news lately could watch many young immigrants taking a first step toward the American dream. The Department of Homeland Security began taking applications on Aug. 15 for "deferred action for childhood arrivals," temporary relief from deportation for unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the USA as children.

But what you did not see in the stories of thousands lining up in Chicago or packing churches in New York were the many children who should benefit but won't. Deferred action is intended for children who are "American" in everything but legal status, but the program's idea of "American" is unlikely to include the children who picked the oranges for your juice or the tomatoes on your hamburgers.

It is common knowledge that the U.S. agricultural industry depends on immigrant labor. What is less well-known is that hundreds of thousands of children, often starting full-time at age 11 or 12, are working in the fields. Under federal law, children can legally work in agriculture at younger ages, for longer hours and under more hazardous conditions than other working children. Many of them are U.S. citizens, but there are also plenty of unauthorized migrant children.

We learned, for example, of Ingrid Perez, a 17-year-old migrant farmworker who is unlikely to benefit from deferred action. To be eligible, applicants must be in school, have graduated from high school or have a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran. But Ingrid, an honor roll student, dropped out of school to work. Children who move with their parents from state to state with planting and harvest change schools, on average, three times a year. They are also often under financial pressure to help support their families. As a result, child farmworkers drop out at four times the national average. Read more...


August 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DACA DREAMers Ineligible for Affordable Health Care

From the National Immigration Law Center:

For the past few months, the National Immigration Law Center has been proudly working with Dreamers to ensure the successful implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows approved individuals to remain in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. 

The Obama administration unfortunately detracted from this tremendous progress.  Rather than building off the two significant and bold achievements this past term - federal health care reform under the Affordable Care Act and DACA - the administration has decided to exclude DACA beneficiaries from affordable health coverage now and under the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to yesterday, existing federal eligibility rules would have allowed DACA individuals to be considered eligible for affordable health coverage, like any other individuals granted deferred action. Thus, in order to exclude DACA beneficiaries and treat them differently from others with deferred action, the administration quietly released the following two policy announcements on August 28, 2012, both of which take immediate effect.  The announcements include 1) an interim final rule that excludes DACA individuals from key features of the Affordable Care Act, and 2) guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that prevents children or pregnant women approved for DACA deferred action from enrolling in affordable, government health insurance under the Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

As a result of these two policy announcements, DACA beneficiaries will have the same access to health care as undocumented individuals have today:  very little, except emergency care, public health services, community health centers where available, and state-funded health programs.  In real terms, this means:
 A 15 year old boy, who is in school and wants to play sports, but has asthma will remain uninsured and without a regular doctor to visit. 
 A single, pregnant woman who becomes eligible for DACA is likely to remain without affordable and easy access to prenatal care and dental care, making it a challenge to see a regular doctor during her pregnancy to make sure her pregnancy is going well. 

Yesterday’s announcements not only erect barriers for DACA-eligible individuals to obtain health care, especially for those who may need it, but also creates a slippery-slope with far-reaching implications for the treatment of newly legalized immigrants at both the federal and state levels.  Also, it sets a dangerous precedent for future federal legalization proposals to create two classes of future citizens and sanction discrimination based on immigration status.  Moreover, the administration’s announcement is particularly troubling because it may give states hostile to immigrants the political cover to further restrict opportunities for DACA-eligible individuals for other basic rights.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has already declared that Arizona would attempt to deny DACA beneficiaries access to drivers’ licenses and other state benefits.  This led the way for similarly short-sighted statements by governors in Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas. 

We’re very disappointed that the administration decided to make these detrimental policy changes .  Because the bulk of the Affordable Care Act does not go into effect until 2014, we can’t help but question the timing of this decision, just two months before the election.  Yet history demonstrates that it is unlikely that the administration’s announcement will effectively appease and prevent attacks from anti-immigrant or anti-health reform opponents in the few months left before the election.


August 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

When It Comes to Children and the Immigration Debate, Words Matter

Mónica Novoa on ColorLines writes about the need to drop the "I" word when talking about undocumented immigrants.  She asks people to sign the pledge to Drop the I-Word at and, if you see a news outlet use it, call them out on it.


August 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The (Deportation) Beat Goes on


Boston College Law Prof (and prolific book author)  Dan Kanstroom in this N.Y. Times op/ed reminds us that the deportation beat goes on.


August 31, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Clint Eastwood to President Obama: Make My Day



Actor Clint Eastwood made a surprise speech at the Republican National Convention last night.  It was memorable, ending with Eastwood leading the crowd in a loud "Make My Day" shout. 

What precisely was Clint telling the President with the reference to that iconic movie line?  The videos above show a scene in which Eastwood's character, Detective "Dirty" Harry Callahan, uses the "Make My Day" line.  One video just shows the line.  The other video is a lengthier clip and shows the African American man that Callahan is pointing the gun at.  One comment to the second video states:  "i like how all the people he shoots are black."

Is the Eastwood reference a more subtle reference to the point that the Facebook "ROPE" posting with a picture of the President?


August 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Framing Cultural Difference: Immigrant Women and Discourses of Tradition by Leti Volpp


Framing Cultural Difference: Immigrant Women and Discourses of Tradition by Leti Volpp, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law, Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1: 90-110

Abstract: This article shows how depictions of immigrant culture can limit the lives of immigrants to a problematic battle between “tradition and modernity.” As illustrated in the portrayal of a case in which immigrant parents murdered their teenaged daughter, Tina Isa, the discourse of tradition versus modernity renders certain important facts illegible, underemphasizing or ignoring the structures of power within which violence against women occurs. This simple story positions culture and feminism as opponents in a zero-sum game and presumes that women will be emancipated when they have overcome or abandoned their cultures. But immigrant women possess a complex subjectivity that is not reducible to cultural victimization. This is illustrated in this article through the work of Asian American domestic violence advocacy groups, navigating antiracist and antisexist practice, and by the expert testimony given in a case of attempted parent-child suicide by a Sikh immigrant. Rather than position the immigrant as the disorderly and strange bearer of archaic traditions, this article argues for greater recognition of the role of racism, state policies, and material concerns in shaping immigrants' experiences of culture.


August 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wolf Blitzer: Racist Attack On CNN Camerawoman At Republican National Convention Was 'Truly Shocking'

On Tuesday night, two attendees at the Republican National Convention threw nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and said, "this is how we feed the animals."


August 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Legalization of Undocumented Workers Proves Economically Advantageous in 7 States: Nevada, Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico

Today, while immigration reform and fiscal responsibility are under discussion at the Republican National Convention, the Center for American Progress released “The Consequences of Legalization Versus Mass Deportation,” outlining the economic and fiscal benefits of legalizing undocumented workers in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, and New Mexico. These findings highlight in concrete terms how devastating “self-deportation” policy proposals would be for these states. By contrast, unleashing these workers’ full potential by enabling them to earn legal status would dramatically grow state economies, increase tax revenues by billions of dollars, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.


August 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Condoleezza Rice: Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform

Condoleezza Rice at the Republican National Convention:

"More than at any other time in history –the ability to mobilize the creativity and ambition of human beings forms the foundation of greatness. We have always done that better than any country in the world. People have come here from all over because they believed in our creed – of opportunity and limitless horizons. They have come from the world’s most impoverished nations to make five dollars not fifty cents– and they have come from the world’s advanced societies – as engineers and scientists -- to help fuel the knowledge based revolution in the Silicon Valley of California; the research triangle of North Carolina; in Austin, Texas; along Route 128 in Massachusetts – and across our country.

We must continue to welcome the world’s most ambitious people to be a part of us. In that way we stay perpetually young and optimistic and determined. We need immigration laws that protect our borders; meet our economic needs; and yet show that we are a compassionate people." Read her entire speech here.


August 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article: Judicial Remands of Immigration Cases: Lessons in Administrative Discretion from INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca

Judicial Remands of Immigration Cases: Lessons in Administrative Discretion from INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca by Kevin R. Johnson (UC Davis) and Serena Faye Salinas.  Arizona State Law Journal Symposium issue. 

 Abstract: This article is a contribution to a symposium in the Arizona State Law Journal. The first remand symposium in the 2004 offered multiple insights into the nature of remands.  The second  symposium will no doubt offer novel observations from a diversity of perspectives about the operation and impacts of judicial remands.

Our contribution to this symposia considers the lessons that can be learned from the remand by a reviewing court of an immigration ruling by an administrative agency. We use as the cornerstone of our analysis the Supreme Court’s path-breaking decision in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, which affirmed a court of appeals’ reversal of a removal order by the Board of Immigration Appeals with instructions for the Board, on remand, to apply the proper legal standard to a claim for asylum. Asylum, the substantive issue at the core of INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, is a particularly high stakes claim under American law. The noncitizen claims that, if deported to his or her native land, he or she will suffer likely persecution — including possible imprisonment, torture, or even death — because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and related grounds. The decision in an asylum case determines as a legal matter whether the noncitizen will be allowed to remain in the United States or involuntarily returned to his or her homeland. Similar to a death penalty case, an asylum decision can literally have life or death consequences for the noncitizen.

After a quarter century, the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca remains at the heart of modern asylum and refugee law. It almost unquestionably is the leading American decision in the field. Most relevant to a symposium analyzing remands, Cardoza-Fonseca is a notable example of the U.S. government in effect abandoning a removal case upon remand by the highest court in the land. There are other prominent examples as well, suggesting that it is not an outlier.

Much scholarly commentary in recent years has been critical of the tightening relationship between criminal law and immigration law, both in criminalizing violations of the immigration laws and deporting noncitizens caught up in the American criminal justice system. Needless to say, the increasing use of the criminal law in the enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws has grabbed considerable scholarly attention. Indeed, a new genre of cutting-edge immigration law scholarship — “crimmigration” law — has emerged from these developments.

In this Article, we attempt to sketch out an important disjunction between immigration law and criminal law. A state criminal conviction that is vacated by a higher court is most likely to be retried on remand. The reason is painfully simple: a local district attorney is not inclined to allow a criminal case that has been reversed to languish on remand without further proceedings (and thus let a criminal suspect go free). Political pressures on prosecutors to punish a perceived criminal are likely to be at their strongest at the local level where the crime was committed. Local prosecutors’ offices are ordinarily headed by people who are directly politically accountable to local citizens, usually a district attorney or the equivalent who must run for office. Put simply, a local district attorney will be held accountable at the polls if perceived by the public as not zealously prosecuting serious criminal offenders. Especially with respect to serious crimes, a crime victim and family, as well as public opinion in the community, will tend to place great pressure on local prosecutors to prosecute the alleged offender both in the first instance and on remand. In contrast, the federal government, through Congress and the Executive Branch, regulates immigration on a national level. The political pressures on the system for removal of individual noncitizens from the United States in no way resemble the kind of direct, localized political pressure on local criminal prosecutors. There generally is no direct and specific political pressure, especially like that emerging from the community in which a crime was committed, in the structure of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy. Nor is there evidence, whatever administrative law theorists might claim generally, that a president, who oversees the operation of the modern administrative state, is generally elected based on the prosecution of individual removal cases. That is the case, even though the general enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws can be a hot-button political issue. Nor are the attorneys of the U.S. government who pursue removal cases subject to a direct check through the ballot box.

Part I of this Article considers the leading Supreme Court decision in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca and analyzes the failure of the U.S. government on remand to seek to remove the asylum-seeker from the United States. Part II identifies important distinctions between the treatment of removal and criminal cases on remand, and analyzes why there are significant differences about what might occur on remand in those two types of cases.


August 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rubio: Mitt Romney Would End Deferred Action for DREAMers

From George Stephanopoulos of ABC News:

Recent polls show that Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee for president, is struggling with Latino voters. Hispanics are a growing minority in the United States and a key demographic in Rubio’s home state of Florida, a crucial swing state in the presidential election. Romney has expressed views on immigration seen as being to the right of former President George W. Bush — who was for comprehensive immigration reform — while President Obama, who has much higher support among Latino voters, issued an executive order earlier this year that would allow some undocumented immigrants legal status.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) told me this morning that Romney would replace this policy.

“I think he’s going to replace it.  That’s what I think you can expect from the Romney presidency and I think the obligation of some of us in the Congress is to find that permanent solution,” Rubio, 41, said. “It was something I was working on, that I continue to work on, an alternative to the DREAM Act that allows us to continue to deal with that issue but not in a way that’s amnesty and not in a way that encourages illegal immigration in the future.”

Rubio, who is Cuban-American, is among several Hispanic Republicans who have prominent roles at the Republican National Convention this week. Rubio will introduce Romney Thursday night on the final night of the convention in Tampa, Fla., before the former Massachusetts governor formally accepts the GOP nomination for president. Read more...


August 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Republican Platform on Immigration: More Federal Enforcement, More State Enforcement, No Amnesty, No DREAM Act

Here is the 2012 Gop Platform 

The portion specifically pertaining to immigration reads as follows:

The Rule of Law: Legal Immigration

The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world. Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and crim-inal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, is to secure the rule of law both atour borders and at ports of entry.

We recognize that for most of those seeking entry into this country, the lack of respect for the rule of law in their homelands has meant economic exploitation and political oppression by corrupt elites.  In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than onemillion immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year. That is why we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally vioating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking. We support the mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program—an internet-based system that verifies the lawful presence of applicants—prior to the granting of any State or federal government entitlements or IRS refunds. We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program—an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees—must be made mandatory nation- wide. State enforcement effortsin the workplace must be welcomed, not attacked. When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace. In addition, it is why we demand tough penalties forthose who practice identity theft, deal in fraudulent documents, and traffic in human beings. It is why we support Republican legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security long-term detention authority to keep dangerous but undeportable aliens off our streets, expedite expulsion of criminal aliens, and make gang membership a deportable offense.

The current Administration’s approach to immigration has undermined the rule of law at every turn. It has lessened work-site enforcement—and even allows the illegal aliens it does uncover to walk down the street to the next employer—and challenged legitimate State efforts to keep communities safe, suing them for trying to enforce the law when the federal government refuses to do so. It has created a back-door amnesty program unrecognized in law, granting worker authorization to illegal aliens, and shown little regard for the life-and-death situations facing themen and women of the border patrol.

Perhaps worst of all, the current Administration has failed to enforce the legal means for workers or employers who want to operate within the law.

In contrast, a Republican Administration and Congress will partner with local governments through cooperative enforcement agreements in Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act to make communities safer for all and will consider, in light of both current needs and historic practice, the utility of a legal and reliable source of foreign labor where needed through a new guest worker program. We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily, while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas.

State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built. In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law.

We are grateful to the thousands of new immigrants, many of them not yet citizens, who are serving in the Armed Forces. Their patriotism should encourage us all to embrace the newcomers legally among us, assist their journey to full citizenship, and help their communities avoid isolation from the mainstream of society. To that end, while we encourage the retention and transmission of heritage tongues, we support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the educational and economic advancement of—not only immigrant communities—but also our nation as a whole. (emphasis in bold added).


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

Governor Nikki Haley Reminds Us that Today's Republican Party Stands Against Unions, Immigrants, Minorities


The Republican National Convention last night had a number of much anticipated prime time speeches, including ones by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (who referenced Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town even though the Boss refuses to talk with Christie because of their stark political differences) and Ann Romney.  Ann humanized Mitt.  Chris spoke of the need for leadership just like his leadership of New Jersey.  I watched their speeches with great interest. But I learned the most from a speech that I just happened to catch before the main events of the evening.    

A one-time Vice Presidential hopeful, a smiling South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley did not take long to rail on the Obama administration in her speech, sounding anti-union, anti-immigration, and anti-civil rights (and pro-voter ID) themes one-after-another in the tradition of the modern Republican Party.  Interestingly, the Republican nominee's father, George Romney, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and was an ardent defender of civil rights

Haley applauded the "non-union" employees at Boeing's South Carolina manufacturing plant and charged President Obama with answering to the "union bosses," reminding us of a time when many, including Representative Joe McCarthy, thought that unions were too powerful.  

Governor Haley criticized the Obama administration for suing to challenge the South Carolina immigration enforcement law, just as it challenged similar Arizona and Alabama laws.  Haley defended her state's law as a necessary response to the administration's alleged failure to enforce the U.S. immigration laws. Interestingly, Governor Haley is the daughter of immigrants from India.

Governor Haley's remarks, which provoked applause at various times -- especially in her defense of the state's voter identification law, reminded us of what the Republican Party of today stands for.



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

Kobach's Legal Challenge to DACA: The Bridge to Nowhere

ImmigrationProf reported last week that Kris Kobach had filed suit on behalf of ICE employees challenging the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The lawsuit has little chance of success for reasons outlined by Gary Endelmen and Cyrus Mehta on the Insightful Immigration blog.  In my estimation, it is just another Kris Kobach publicity stunt to draw attention to himself and his restrictionist cause.  This one just happened to be on the eve of the Republican National Convention, where a platform including some tough immigration stances will be considered and presumably ratified.  Kobach's political track record has proven to better than his record as a lawyer, with his losses in the courts (Arizona, Hazleton, Fremont, Farmer's Branch, etc.) mounting.


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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gov. Brewer's Position on DREAMers Will Hurt Arizona

From Ana Garcia of the Center for American Progress:

On August 15 the Department of Homeland Security started accepting requests for deferred action from DREAM Act-eligible youth, or DREAMers—undocumented students who were brought to this country at a young age, have been living here for more than five years, and meet certain other requirements. Those students who receive deferred action will be permitted to live and work in the country lawfully for a two-year period.
But on the very same day that a new world of opportunity opened up for these kids, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tried to steal the spotlight by issuing an executive order denying state benefits to the approximately 53,000 potential beneficiaries residing in the state.
While a close reading of Gov. Brewer’s order reveals that much of it is redundant to current law, it’s important to note that this mean-spirited initiative from America’s most famously anti-immigrant governor will likely further tarnish the image of the Canyon State as an unwelcoming hotbed of intolerance while harming its economy. Despite the governor’s claims, many Arizonans support DREAMers.
Let’s review the three ways in which Gov. Brewer’s political posturing will hurt Arizona.

1. Gov. Brewer’s executive order is on shaky legal ground
2. Gov. Brewer wants to keep people from getting to work and thereby limit economic growth
3. Gov. Brewer is not representing the people of Arizona

Read the analysis here.


August 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nepotism, Cronyism, Harassment at USCIS

From the Daily:

The Daily has learned that employees at a major branch of the nation’s immigration-visa-granting agency overwhelmingly feel that promotions there are based on nepotism, cronyism and — in some cases — willingness to provide sexual favors. The complaints come from a survey, exclusively obtained by The Daily, of employees of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s California Service Center, where officers make decisions on more than 1 million cases each year. The survey was conducted from August 2-23 by the AFL-CIO’s American Federation of Government Employees Local 1200, which represents USCIS employees in Southern California.
For the full story click here.


August 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Rubén Rumbaut on the Bracero Program



Harvest of Loneliness? Braceros in the American Past, the Politics of the Present, and Lessons for the Future by Rubén G. Rumbaut University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology 2012 In Cristina Gortázar, Carolina M. Parra, B. Segaert, and Christiane Timmerman, eds., European Migration and Asylum Policies: Coherence or Contradiction? Brussels, Belgium: Éditions Bruylant, 2012.

Abstract: Closing keynote to the Scribani International Conference in Madrid, and European premiere of the documentary “Harvest of Loneliness,” a critical reexamination of the bilateral US-Mexico contract labor program instituted in 1942 ostensibly to meet temporary labor shortages in the U.S. during World War II. But the program did not end when the war ended in 1945; at the behest of the corporate growers, it kept being extended by the U.S. Congress until 1964, becoming the largest such “guest worker” program of its kind to date—and one of the largest mass movements of workers in history. The program was presented to the public via newscasts, newspapers, journals and government publications as an ideal program that uplifted the economy of Mexico and satisfied the need for workers in the United States. The reality was much different. The Bracero Program was implemented to ensure accessible, cheap, controlled and disposable labor with little regard for the adverse and irreversible impact it had on Mexican families. During its 22 years no agricultural labor union succeeded in organizing or carrying out a strike—it was not until the end of the Bracero Program, which cut off of the supply of Mexican workers, that saw the emergence of the United Farm Workers. Still, after the Bracero Program ended formally in 1964 it was de facto maintained informally by growing streams of undocumented immigrant labor, leading to the present moment. Practically all of Mexico has been affected: fewer than 4% of Mexico’s 2,443 municipalities have no migrants living and working in the U.S. Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S. today number nearly 12 million; over half of them are undocumented. In the U.S. the political vacuum left by the failure of the federal government to pass “comprehensive immigration reform”—given the irreconcilable conflict between those who sought “enforcement” solutions to the presence of millions of migrant workers (from their criminalization and deportation to fencing the southern border) to those who sought to forge paths to their eventual legalization and integration (denigrated as “amnesty” by opponents)—has been filled by hundreds of attempts by state and local governments to assume federal immigration control functions in a growing climate of fear and enforced opprobrium. Yet it is not an American problem but a worldwide issue of vast consequence that will grow in magnitude in the years to come. In looking to the future it is wise to reexamine the experience and lessons of the past—especially given Europe’s parallel needs for manual laborers. These new braceros have been dubbed “outcasts of modernity,” “irregular” labor migrants, “illegal aliens”—terms which describe an unequal master status affecting every aspect of the life of a subclass of people without rights. They are products of a globalized political and economic system that creates illegality by displacing people and then denying them equal rights to do what they have to do to survive: move to find work. As migration pressures continue to mount as a result of global inequality, so will fear of the foreigner—the xenophobia of what has been called a “society of contempt.”


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Who are Refugees? by Matthew J. Lister

Who are Refugees? by Matthew J. Lister University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming

Abstract: Hundreds of millions of people around the world are unable to meet their needs on their own, and do not receive adequate protection or support from their home states. These people, if they are to be provided for, need assistance from the international community. If we are to meet our duties to these people, we must have ways of knowing who should be eligible for different forms of relief. One prominent proposal from scholars and activists has been to classify all who are unable to meet their basic needs on their own as 'refugees,' and to extend to them the sorts of protections established under the United Nations Refugee Convention. Such an approach would expand the traditional refugee definition significantly. Unlike most academic commentators discussing this issue, I reject calls for an expanded refugee definition, and instead defend the core elements of the definition set out in the 1967 Protocol to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Using the tools of moral and political philosophy, I explain in this article how the group picked out by this definition has particular characteristics that make refugee protection distinctly appropriate for it. While many people in need of assistance can be helped 'in place', in their home countries, or by providing a form of temporary protected status to them, this is not so, I show, of convention refugees. The group picked out by the UN refugee definition is a normatively distinct group to whom we owe particular duties, duties we can only meet by granting them refuge in a safe country. Additionally, there are further practical reasons why a broader refugee definition may lead to problems. Finally, I argue that rejecting the call for a broader definition of refugees will better help us meet our duties to those in need than would an expanded definition.


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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Immigration Article of the Day: Getting to Work: Why Nobody Cares About E-Verify (And Why They Should) by Juliet P. Stumpf


Getting to Work: Why Nobody Cares About E-Verify (And Why They Should) by Juliet P. Stumpf Lewis & Clark Law School.  2 UC Irvine Law Review 381 (2012) Ab

Abstract: Employment is traditionally conceptualized as a private contract between employer and employee. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which prohibited employers from knowingly hiring employees not authorized to work and required employers to request evidence of work authorization, introduced the government into this private relationship as an immigration enforcer and recast the employer as an immigration law gatekeeper. Today, comprehensive immigration reform initiatives propose to implement a nationwide system called E-Verify through which employers check employees’ work authorization via on-line government databases. E-Verify unveils how the employment verification laws establish U.S. employees as a class circumscribed by government authorization to work. More than IRCA, it increases the presence of government in the establishment of the employment relationship for all employees, regardless of citizenship status. E-Verify represents a contemporary example of a recurring phenomenon in U.S. immigration law: the imposition of immigration enforcement costs on the U.S. population as a whole. In pursuit of enforcement goals, E-Verify impacts significant individual interests. It does so by creating a very small risk per individual of a harmful error, but aggregates that risk across the working population. That small population-wide risk is paired with greater risks that the harmful error will fall on a minority of the population, unsettling the workplace’s potential for democratic integration.


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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

DOJ Opens for (Civil Rights) Business in Alabama


Alabama's immigration landmark H.B. 56 has caused quite a stir.  The Associated Press reports that the Justice Department is establishing its first civil rights unit in Alabama, a move that comes after the state’s crackdown on illegal immigration raised broader concerns about compliance with federal laws. Officials said it would examine issues related to immigrants and also matters involving fair housing laws, police brutality claims, compliance with federal disability laws and minority protection.

Despite Alabama's checkered civil rights history, replete with police attacks on peaceful civil rights protesters, KKK terrorism of African Americans, and Governor George Wallace's proclamation of "segregation now, Segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever," the Justice Department never has had an office in Alabama.  Civil rights head Thomas Perez has done a good job protecting the civil rights of Latinos and immigrants in these times of ferment. 


August 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)