Thursday, July 18, 2013

Filipino Immigrants in the United States

Sierra Stoney and Jeanne Batalova for Migration Information Source reports that, over the past 50 years, the share of immigrants from the Philippines in the United States has grown modestly from just over 1 percent of the overall US foreign-born population in 1960 to more than 4 percent in 2011. Filipinos now represent the fourth largest immigrant group in the United States by country of origin behind Mexico, China, and India.

As a group, immigrants from the Philippines are better educated, more likely to have strong English language skills, more likely to be naturalized citizens, less likely to enter the United States as refugees or asylum seekers, and less likely to live below the federal poverty line than the overall foreign-born population. Working Filipino-born men and women are more likely to be employed in the healthcare sector than foreign-born workers overall.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BIA: DOMA No Bar to Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages Under Immigration Laws

Same-sex marriage is in the immigration news today.  In Matter of Oleg B. Zeleniak, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Pub. L. No. 104 199, 110 Stat. 2419, 2419 (1996), is no longer an impediment to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses under the Immigration and Nationality Act if the marriage is valid under the laws of the State where it was celebrated. Chair Neal wrote the decision.


July 18, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Alberto Gonzales & David Strange's Op-Ed on DOMA and Immigration Benefits

Former White House counsel, Alberto Gonzalez, who is now a law professor at Belmont University Law School, co-wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with immigration lawyer and adjunct professor, David Strange, today arguing that United States v. Windsor should not be interpreted to allow the conferral of federal immigration benefits to same-sex binational couples.

The opinion relies on the plenary power of Congress over immigration law to make its point. They wrote, "[u]nder the Constitution, as the decisions in Windsor and Adams recognize, Congress has almost total power over immigration, and its decisions in this realm are subject to limited judicial review. Where there is only a rational basis for Congress’s exercise of power, whether articulate or not, courts must uphold the immigration laws that Congress enacts."

Notably, the authors contended that Windsor did not overrule Adams v. Howerton, a case in which the Ninth Circuit held that under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term "spouse" does not refer to a same-sex partner. Windsor's impact with respect to federal immigration benefits, according to the authors, should be limited to same-sex marriages entered in the 13 states that currently allow them. 

Here's the link to the op-ed.



July 18, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Protests of "Border Surge" in More than 10 Cities


What do you think of the "border surge," the controverial late amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill?  We have posted about the benefits to military contractors of the bill, as well as the increased deaths, destruction of families, and racial profiling in immigration enforcement.

The Border Network for Human Rights,, Detention Watch Network, the Southern Borders Communities Coalition, and border residents and communities across the country are participating in a National Day of Action Against Border Militarization TODAY. Residents and community organizations in 10 cities will protest the “border surge” component -- the Senate's Corker-Hoeven amendment -- of CIR.

The bi-partisan Corker-Hoeven amendment in the Senate proposes increasing the number of border patrol agents by 20,000 while adding 700 miles of additional border wall. Increased spending of billions of tax dollars on unnecessary surveillance and other wasteful technology at a border that has been certified as safe by the FBI and other sources is also included. Over the next 10 years, the bi-partisan “border surge” in S.744 would further militarize border zones in the southern United States, transforming peaceful communities into some of the most militarized regions in the world.

Already, more than 7 million U.S. citizens, residents and families that live in border communities are subjected to the “100-mile rule," which the ACLU and other groups denounce as a “Constitution Free Zone” stretching from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas.

LOCATIONS: El Paso, Texas: Where: Downtown El Paso When: 10 a.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: Border Network for Human Rights

Washington, D.C. Where: Meet in front of the White House to march together to CBP Headquarters (1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 20004) When: 8:00 a.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: Detention Watch Network and School of the Americas Watch

Tucson, AZ Where: Meet at the Federal Building on Congress and Granada to march to Sen. John McCain’s office for a Muerte-In (“Die-In”) When: 3:30 p.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: Coalicion de Derechos Humanos AZ

San Francisco, CA Where: 275 Battery Street, San Francisco , in front of SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) When: 12 Noon- 1pm Where: Corner or Montgomery and Market Streets in San Francisco, CA When: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: On Facebook

Houston, TX Where: in front of Allen Center, 1200 Smith Street downtown Houston When: Noon, Wednesday July 17 Contact: Houston United

Las Vegas, NV Where: New York – New York Hotel and Casino at 3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109 When: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: Immigration Reform For Nevada

San Benito, TX Where: 1390 W. Expressway 83 San Benito, TX 78586 When: 10 a.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: La Union del Pueblo Entero – LUPE and Movimiento Del Valle Por Los Derechos Humanos Austin, TX Where: Congress & 11 Street- Front Steps of the Capitol When: Action at 4 p.m., Vigil at 5 p.m. Contact: Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition

Milwaukee, WI Where: The Milwaukee office of Customs & Border Patrol at 4015 S. Howell Ave. When: 11:00 am, Wednesday July 17 Contact: Voces de la Frontera

San Diego, CA Where: The Office of Representative Darrel Issa When: 4 p.m., Wednesday July 17 Contact: Convened by the San Diego Human Rights Network: Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Bi-Nacionales, Oceanside Human Rights Network, Comité de Derechos Humanos de Escondido, San Diego Immigrant Youth Collective, Fallbrook Human Rights Committee, Comité de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa, Comité de Derechos Humanos de El Cajon, Association of Raza Educators, Unión del Barrio, Comité de Servicios de los Amigos.

July 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Blogging from Prague #6

In comparing the immigration and refugee policies from various countries, there are always interesting tidbits that stand out to those of us who regularly view these issues through a United States lens.

In Greece, 11 percent of the total population is immigrant. More than half come from Albania, followed by Bulgarians. The main objective of an immigration law enacted in early 1990s was concerned with restricting migration—to prevent the entrance of undocumented immigrants and facilitate the expulsion of those already present in Greek territory, by means of simplifying the expulsion procedures. The law gave a certain degree of autonomy to local police and judiciary authorities and also penalizing undocumented alien stay in the country.  Some changes in the past decade favor employment visas. Employer who are interesting in hiring a foreign worker can apply to their local prefecture who can issue a work invitation to a specific foreign citizen to obtain a visa. Also a stay permit for a person who makes a financial investment of at least 300,000 euros (about $400,000) is possible. An important feature of Greek migration policy has been the distinction between immigrants of Greek descent and others. Those of Greek descent (e.g., many Albanians) receive preference.

I’ve written extensively about Ireland for comparative purposes in my book Ethical Borders -- NAFTA, Globalization, and Mexican Migration. However, here’s a few noteworthy items. Ireland became an immigrant receiving country after it’s membership in the EU became official. The two main groups driving many recent changes are refugees (because of Refugee Convention obligations) and labor migrants (primarily from other parts of the EU). Until 2005, a child who was born in Ireland was automatically an Irish citizen, and his/her parents were granted residency as well. Now, In order to become an Irish citizen at birth, one of the parents must have been legally resident in Ireland for three years.

In Portugal, the largest immigrant group is from Cape Verde. But interestingly, the migration of Brazilians to Portugal has created interesting actions. The penetration of the Brazilian culture in Portugal, especially through TV programs and soap operas, has played a role in the relative knowledger of the Brazilian way of life. This has contributed, together with the reasonable level of education shared by the average Brazilian national in Portugal, to a phenomenon of mixed integration-assimilation in the Portuguese society. The dark side is the increase in women trafficking reaching Portugal. But prostitution is not defined as a crime in Portugal. Brazilian immigrants with at least three years of legal residence in Portugal may request the “status of equality,” which includes either plain civil rights and duties or political rights.


July 17, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Yoenis Cespedes is home run champ

A Cuban immigrant previous featured on the ImmigrationProf blog, Oakland A's star Yoenis Cespedes won the won the Home Run Derby held in connection with the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.  Cespedes became the first non-All Star to win the home run derby   



July 17, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Migration and Global Environmental Change: Future Challenges and Opportunities


A new report entitled Migration and Global Environmental Change:  Future Challenges and Opportunities has been released.  Here is the Executive Summary:

The challenges of migration in the context of environmental change require a new strategic approach to policy. Policy makers will need to take action to reduce the impact of environmental change on communities yet must simultaneously plan for migration. Critical improvements to the lives of millions are more likely to be achieved where migration is seen as offering opportunities as well as challenges.

●● Measures that prevent harmful environmental changes, reduce their impact, and build resilience in communities will diminish the influence of environmental change on migration but are unlikely to fully prevent it.

●● Migration can represent a ‘transformational’ adaptation to environmental change, and in many cases will be an extremely effective way to build long-term resilience. International policy should aim to ensure that migration occurs in a way which maximises benefits to the individual, and both source and destination communities.

●● Cities in low-income countries are a particular concern, and are faced with a ‘double jeopardy’ future. Cities are likely to grow in size, partly because of rural–urban migration trends, whilst also being increasingly threatened by global environmental change. These future threats will add to existing fragilities, whilst new urban migrants are, and will continue to be, particularly vulnerable. Yet this report argues against trying to prevent rural–urban migration, as this could lead to graver outcomes for those who are trapped in vulnerable rural areas.

In summary, the key message of this report is that migration in the face of global environmental change may not be just part of the ‘problem’ but can also be part of the solution. In particular, planned and facilitated approaches to human migration can ease people out of situations of vulnerability. In light of this, international policy makers should consider the detailed evidence from this report in a range of areas, with the following of particular priority:

1. Many of the funding mechanisms for adaptation to environmental change are currently under discussion. It is imperative that these mechanisms are not developed in isolation from migration issues and, furthermore, that the transformational opportunities of migration is recognised.

2. Whilst the twin challenges of population growth and environmental change will pose an increasing threat to urban areas in the future, cities in many countries are already failing their citizens. Action is required before the situation becomes irreversible, to build urban infrastructure that is sustainable, flexible and inclusive. The cost of inaction is likely to be higher than the costs of measures discussed in this report, especially if they reduce the likelihood of problematic displacement. Giving urgent policy attention to migration in the context of environmental change now will prevent a much worse and more costly situation in the future.


July 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taking the Wall to Senator McCain--Tucson Action

From the Border Action Network:

Tucson will take part in the National Day of Action Against Border Militarization on Wednesday, July 17th, beginning at 3:30 pm in front of the Federal Building on the northeast corner of Congress and Granada (300 W. Congress).

On this day, we will be one of many groups across the country taking a stand against the militarization of our borders.  Tucson’s action will include “taking the Wall to Senator McCain” and holding a “die-in”/”muerte-in” in front of the Wall to protest the militarization of our border and its devastating effect on our communities.

Come join us on Wednesday, be part of the action and the voice of Arizona, and show Senator McCain that we object to the militarization of our borderlands..


July 16, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Professor Margaret Montoya Honored by HNBF


Each year the Hispanic National Bar Foundation acknowledges the outstanding achievements and contributions of Latinos in the legal profession at its Awards Dinner & Celebrationy. 2013 Annual Awards Dinner honrees include Margaret E. Montoya, Professor of Law Emerita University of New Mexico School of Law & Visiting Professor Department of Family & Community Medicine,UNM Health Sciences Center, who will receive the HNBF Lifetime Achievement Award.


July 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

George Zimmerman and Me

From Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society:

Eva Paterson shares her thoughts on the verdict

George Zimmerman and Me

Mendocino County, California
Early Saturday Evening
July 13, 2013

The twelve members of my Black women's reading group had just sat down to dinner outside at the end of a beautiful day. We were on a weekend retreat in Mendocino County, and a feast had been prepared for us.

We were thanking Chef Cheryl when the phone rang. Our friend Stephanie took the call and reported that George Zimmerman had been found "not guilty."

We twelve - Black women lawyers, psychologists, an architect, and an editor - all sat in stunned silence. We had talked about what we thought the jury would do. Some of us were sure that George Zimmerman would be convicted on manslaughter.

The more jaded among us thought he would walk, but that karma would catch up with him because in his heart of hearts - despite telling Sean Hannity that young Trayvon's murder was God's will - Zimmerman knew he had done wrong.

We felt that this monstrous thing he had done would weigh on him, and even if found "innocent," Zimmerman would find no peace. No justice. No peace.

An eternal optimist (one has to have that approach as a civil rights attorney), I felt badly but not devastated. I had expected that he would walk.

Once I realized that the witnesses for the prosecution were providing evidence that commentators felt helped the defense, I concluded that all was lost, so the verdict did not surprise me. Attorneys I respect felt that he would be convicted on involuntary manslaughter so I held out hope that justice might be done.

Things Will Be Alright

Later that evening, I saw an email from my buddy Lei-Chala Wilson telling us that the NAACP was calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the possibility of a criminal civil rights challenge to the profiling and stalking of an innocent Black teenager. I shared this with my friends and felt a little better.

The next morning at breakfast, one of my friends told me that despite being a sound sleeper, she dreamed of white men raping Black women with no negative consequences to the rapists. I realized that the acquittal had struck a nerve, but I still felt that justice would eventually prevail.

Fear and Anger Around White People

On my way back home, I stopped in Cloverdale, a town about 90 minutes north of San Francisco. It was here that more complex feelings started to surface.

I stopped at a gas station to pick up some snacks. The shop connected to the gas station was filled with white people and one Latina. I thought: "Wow. All these people have heard the verdict. Do they now think that I am fair game? Will someone hurt me now that they know that Zimmerman walked?"

On the drive home from Cloverdale, I listened to radio commentary on the verdict. I thought of all my friends with Black sons and how fearful they must be. I heard my buddy Ben Jealous, head of the NAACP, breaking it down for Candy Crowley on CNN.

I then arrived in Berkeley to buy a new journal. As I walked, I felt the twin emotions of vulnerability and rage. I never had any particularly negative feeling about white people. "Some of my best friends are white," but I was filled with rage at every white face that I saw.

I thought to myself: "Why did you white people allow this to happen?" This was clearly an irrational thought but my emotions were raw. As matter of fact, I am sure that white folks in Berkeley were as outraged about the verdict as I was. But I was still filled with fury, as well as no longer feeling safe in my Black skin.

I also understand viscerally the notion of white privilege. The white mothers I saw who have white sons will never have to worry that some George Zimmerman type of vigilante will profile and murder their sons. Of course, white mothers with bi-racial sons do not have the benefits of this skin privilege.

Bakke. Reagan. Rodney King Trial.
2000 Presidential Coup.

I have had these profound feelings of being a vulnerable Black person at a few other moments in our history. When the Bakke decision was announced, I felt that society did not really want educated Black people. When Ronald Reagan was elected, I felt that someone was going to come to my door and take me away. When the Simi Valley jury acquitted the police officers who beat Rodney King, I felt that my life as a Black person was not valued by society. When Black voters were stripped from the Florida voting rolls in 2000 resulting in a stolen election, I felt vulnerable.

Those old bad feelings were back again. I saw a Black man standing across the street on College Avenue where people line up every day to buy ice cream cones. I wondered what he was thinking. I wondered if he has a son. I wondered how vulnerable he felt.

Whole Foods

After I bought my new journal, I called Carolyn, our hostess in Mendocino County, and shared the fact that after leaving the warm cocoon of sisterhood and re-entering the real world, I was feeling rage and wanted to write about it.

She felt that sharing my feelings in a public way might help people understand how some Black folks are feeling today. As I walked through Whole Foods, I was wondering if the cool people of Berkeley were feeling badly about the verdict. A white woman cut in front of me where the yogurt was and I felt full of rage. As I checked out, the cashier asked me how I was and I told him that the verdict has upset me. He agreed. My anger level came down because this young white man shared my feelings about this injustice.

Am I Next?

I got back in my car feeling safe as I drove home. I had one final errand to run near 98th Avenue and International Avenue in East Oakland. A Black minister said that his young son asked, "Am I next?" This made me cry.


It's Monday and I feel less vulnerable. People all over the country have expressed their anger at the verdict and at the fact that young Black men appear to be fair game. My three white friends from college spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday in grief about this situation. My compañera Claudia Pena wrote the following:

"At the rally I attended yesterday, two posters caught my eye. One black woman had a sign that said 'are my sons next?' One white man had a sign that said 'nobody follows me anywhere.' "

I think that pretty much sums it up.

I was with the group of protesters who took over a freeway. That group was probably the most racially diverse group I've ever marched with, including two elderly white people who had signs that said "Zimmerman is guilty." In fact, the first person to get arrested for breaching the police line was a white man.

Black people are not alone fighting against this racist system that attempts to devalue Black life. We were all there. There were signs that read "Greeks for Justice for Trayvon" and "Dignidad y Justicia para Trayvon," as well as "Asians Against Racism," and "I am White and I Stand for Trayvon."

Something about knowing we were all in it together made it just a little bit easier last night.


Well, I am back at it. Working with great folks - white, Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American. We are all in this together. This weekend felt raw, but wounds heal and forward progress will be made.

After re-reading this, I was not sure that I should share it. I have concluded that it might be helpful for us to share our true feelings with each other.

We are not always filled with notions that "we will overcome." We sometimes feel beaten down. I no longer feel that way, but I surely felt miserable yesterday. The good thing is that everyone reading this felt the same way. I know that now.

Be well. Stay strong. Keep on.



July 16, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Weekly Address: Strengthening our Economy by Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform


Weekly Address: Strengthening our Economy by Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform


July 16, 2013 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blogging from Prague #5

An interesting deportation case from South Africa from more than a decade ago raises interesting issues related to deportation, extradition, and terrorism. We may recall Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed who was tried in a New York federal court house for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 7, 1998. Mohamed, who at times was a double agent for the CIA and for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, eventually pled guilty to conspiracy, avoiding the death penalty and getting sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

What’s often overlooked is that Mohamed was apprehended in South Africa in a joint effort by the FBI and South African law enforcement. He was not warned about self-incrimination, the right to remain silent, nor the right to legal representation. His deportation was facilitated by allowing the U.S. to fly him out on a special U.S. – supplied airplane.

His legal representatives continued his fight, however, in South Africa. On May 29, 2001, the high Constitutional Court for the country ruled that his deportation was a grievous error because his removal essential amounted to an extradition. The Court wrote “The rights in issue here are the right to human dignity, the right to life and the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. According to the argument the Constitution not only enjoins the South African government to promote and protect these rights but precludes it from imposing cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. The Constitution also forbids it knowingly to participate, directly or indirectly, in any way in imposing or facilitating the imposition of such punishment. In particular, this strikes at the imposition of a sentence of death. Therefore, even if it were permissible to deport Mohamed to a destination to which he had consented and even if he had given his informed consent to such removal, the government would have been under a duty to secure an undertaking from the United States authorities that a sentence of death would not be imposed on him, before permitting his removal to that country.”

Part of the Court’s order was that the South African government must “cause the full text of this judgment to be drawn to the attention of and to be delivered to the Director or equivalent administrative head of the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York as a mater of urgency.”

Importantly, the Court notes, this “is a serious finding. South Africa is a young democracy still finding its way to full compliance with the values and ideals enshrined in the Constitution. It is therefore important that the state lead by example. This principle cannot be put better than in the celebrated words of Justice Brandeis in Olmstead et al v United States:

“ In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously . . . Government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example . . . If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

The South African case is Mohamed and Another v. President of the RSA and Others, 2001 SACLR LEXIS 37.


July 15, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Latina Law Professor’s Personal Perspective after the Zimmerman Trial Verdict by Professor Maritza Reyes

Maritza reyes

When Dean Kevin Johnson invited me to submit this blog posting with my reaction to the Zimmerman case, I initially told him I would have to think about it. As a lawyer, I have been trained to be objective when looking at a case and to narrow my assessment to the evidence as presented pursuant to the evidentiary rules, but it is hard for me to do that in this case. I hesitated to speak out because this case is personal to me. After reflection though, I concluded that I must share my personal perspective. Legal scholars have a duty to lend our voices on issues that impact law and society, including on those issues that are personal. As a law professor, a Latina, a mother, a resident of Florida, and a person who loves this country, there is no way for me to avoid feeling the personal aspect of this tragedy. Further, my hope is that as more of us see the personal in racial injustice and oppression, we as a country will move closer to equality.

The child who was killed, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, could have been my son or my brother. Trayvon lived in an area of Miami where I grew up. In fact, Trayvon attended the same high school in Miami as my two sons; and, during one of those years, he attended at the same time as my youngest son. Like my sons and me, Trayvon was a Miami Heat fan. Trayvon’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, the last person to speak with Trayvon, attends the same high school that my brother and I attended years ago. I also know Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks, the lawyers who represent Trayvon’s mother and father. One of my former students, Shayan Modarres, has also assisted in the representation of Trayvon’s family.

But even if the personal circumstances that I have described were not present, this case would still be personal to me. A child left home to get some snacks and did not return home because he was killed; this is a parent’s nightmare. There are pictures of Trayvon where he reminds me of my brother when he was around his age. President Obama made a similar familial association last year when he voiced his condolences to the family and stated that if he had had a son he would have looked like Trayvon. I also see similarities between Trayvon’s facial expressions and my sons’ facial expressions in pictures beginning in the preschool years. The mother in me aches for the loss of a teenager who wore clothes similar to what my oldest son wore when he was a young teenager like Trayvon.

It is personally frustrating for many of us when it often takes this type of tragic incident to open a conversation about the legacy of race and racism as it continues to morph among people of all races in today’s United States. Many Americans want to obviate the obvious—race matters in our daily interactions and in institutional systems. When I first saw the news report of Trayvon’s shooting, the facts of the case caught my attention: an African-American teenage boy from South Florida was shot and killed in Central Florida by a White man who was following him while the teenager was walking home from the store with Skittles and an iced tea in hand. Police documents and 911 witness accounts initially described the shooter, George Michael Zimmerman, as White. After accusations of racism began to emerge, some media outlets reported that Zimmerman has a White father and a Latina mother (an immigrant from Peru). The phrase “White Latino” began to permeate media coverage. After the accusations of racism continued, Zimmerman’s family also disclosed that he has African ancestry on his mother’s side of the family.

Whether Zimmerman is considered to be White or White Latino, the elephant of race has been in the room since the beginning of the events that led to the Zimmerman prosecution, but many actors in the institutional systems have been afraid to tackle the subject in a straight-forward, aware, educated and informative manner. Here I am not labeling Zimmerman a racist because I do not know enough about him to make such a judgment. But I am recognizing that the reactions of some Americans to this incident, including the sadness that many are feeling after the verdict and the lack of criminal punishment, are more than reasonable when judged against the background of the history of race and racism in the United States. This evolving history includes the current trends in our criminal justice system which investigates, charges, prosecutes and punishes nonwhites more harshly than Whites. Further, history, as outlined in case law, suggests that the lives of nonwhites are valued less in the legal system and in society than the lives of Whites.

The case is personal as I know too well about racial profiling. My son was sometimes profiled while walking and while driving in our own neighborhood. I remember warning my son that his Latino appearance and his urban streetwear clothing may cause some people to make negative assumptions about him, even though he was a straight “A” student who earned admission to and graduated from an Ivy League university. I feel the pain of every mother who must issue these warnings to her children. Other family members and I have been profiled as potential criminals or “illegal aliens.” This is why I understand the reaction of those Americans who identified racial profiling as the reason why Zimmerman chose to follow Trayvon. Racial profiling personally impacts and harms, so we must be able to discuss and remedy it as a society. Sometimes these conversations are halted when others have knee jerk reactions to claims of racial oppression in America and seek to silence this reality. But we must overcome this fear of talking about race and racism because silencing the dialogue will not make real problems go away.

I hope that one of the legacies of Trayvon’s life will be that we will ask ourselves what we can do individually to foster racial equality. We should personally explore whether there are explicit and implicit racial biases that cause us to act and react in one way or another, depending on another person’s race, in our interactions. We should also analyze whether we spend our lives voluntarily segregated within our own racial groups without getting to know, really getting to know, people of other races. Sure, we may be forced to interact with people of different races in workplaces, but these interactions are not voluntary, are often superficial, and may even cause opportunities for acting on conscious and unconscious biases. Then, when we go home, to church, or to school, statistics show that voluntary segregation within our own racial groups is the norm for a majority of Americans. This was not the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let’s make racial equality and racial justice personal. Our communities, including schools, churches and work environments are places where we can combat racism and racial stereotypes. We can begin by welcoming and establishing meaningful, personal connections with people of all races. Admittedly, it may be easier to feel comfortable interacting beyond our racial groups for those of us who grew up playing and forming bonds with people of different races since we were children. However, it is never too late, even as adults, to open ourselves to genuine and deeper interactions with people of different races. I grew up in a diverse community in Miami and attended public schools where children of different races shared our daily lives at school and in our homes, became lifelong friends and even formed family-like bonds. I learned early on that I share a common humanity with people beyond socially constructed races and that people of all races have the same propensities for good and evil. Therefore, race should not be the measure for assumptions or suspicions about people. And when racial assumptions create oppression, all of us should take it personally.

I pray that communities across the nation will come together to share and understand our particular and similar struggles, histories and perspectives. In order to personally see ourselves in the pains and wrongful oppressions of others of different races, we need to get to know each other and care about each other regardless of our races. Racial equality must be embraced as an American project that requires solidarity between people of all racial groups. Solidarity should not be limited to our own racial group; otherwise, such a limitation becomes an impediment to the accomplishment of Dr. King’s dream. We need to move toward human solidarity. And this could be a part of Trayvon’s legacy. I send my prayers and sympathy to Trayvon’s parents, his brother, other family members and friends.

Maritza Reyes is Associate Professor of Law at the Florida A&M University College of Law.

July 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

One Woman Made a Difference on Immigration Reform

Harry reid

Read this touching story about how one woman, Astrid Silva, taught Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) valuable lessons about about the challenges of living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant.


July 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)


National Basketball Association player Luc Mbah a Moute was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Raised in Yaoundé, a metropolitan city, Luc and his family had close ties to the village of Bafia, where his father was a chieftain, and by extension, Luc was a prince. Growing up in Cameroon, Luc – like most boys in his country – played soccer, but as a teenager, he took up basketball.

Mbah a Mouté played college basketball for UCLA and led the Pac-10 Champion Bruins in rebounding as a freshman. He scored the winning layup at the end of a comeback win over Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Mbah a Mouté also posted 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist in a Final Four victory over LSU. He became something of a cult phenomenon among the UCLA faithful. Along with fellow Cameroonian Alfred Aboya, the dynamic duo sparked the "Cameroon Crazies" (a take-off of Duke's "Cameron Crazies" fans) section, along with an enormously popular t-shirt which read "Moute Kicks Boute."    During the 2008 season, his team had a record of 35–4 and won their third-straight Pac-10 title and third-straight NCAA Final Four.

Mbah a Moute became the first player to start in three straight Final Fours at UCLA in thirty-four years. Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes, and Greg Lee (1972–74) were the last players at UCLA to do so.

Mbah a Moute was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2008 NBA draft.  He got off to a quick start with the Milwaukee Bucks and became a fan favorite. On July 12, 2013, Mbah a Moute was traded to the Sacramento Kings.





July 15, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immaigrant Article of the Day: Urban Politics and the Assimilation of Immigrant Voters by Rick Su



Urban Politics and the Assimilation of Immigrant Voters by Rick Su SUNY Buffalo Law School December 1, 2012 William & Mary Bill of Rights, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2012

Abstract: Despite the growing strength of immigrant voters in the U.S., immigrants continue to participate at the polls in much lower rates than not only native voters, but also immigrants in the past. What accounts for this disparity? Looking beyond the characteristics of the immigrants themselves, this essay argues that a major reason lies in the different political structure that immigrants face upon their arrival, especially at the local level. Tracing the evolution of big city politics alongside, and in response to, the three major waves of foreign immigration to the U.S., this essay outlines three competing models of immigrant political assimilation. Each of these models corresponds with a specific era of urban politics: (1) the machine cities of the mid- to late-nineteenth century, (2) the reform cities of the early twentieth century, and (3) the fragmented cities of today. Not only are these models useful for understanding the political behavior of immigrants in different eras of American history, they also shed light on contemporary debates on citizenship, immigration policymaking, and conditions for political participation.


July 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NYC Bar Association Voices Support for Immigration Reform, Appointed Counsel


Carey Dunne, President of the New York City Bar Association with 24,000 members, voiced the bar association's support for immigration reform.  He also made a strong statement supporting appointed counsel in immigration proceedings:

“When you consider that Congress, with bipartisan support, has granted a right to counsel to sex offenders and Al Qaeda suspects in detention hearings, and that 76 percent of Americans support a right to counsel for immigrants facing deportation, it’s hard to see why appointed counsel is still denied to non-citizen residents facing detention and deportation.”


July 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rise in Unaccompanied Minors

From WBEZ in Chicago:

An often-forgotten fact in the immigration debate is that lately, surreptitious border crossings to the U.S. have stagnated. Except that’s not the case for one category of immigrants: unaccompanied children.  In just the last couple of years, the number of minors apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol has nearly tripled. Many of these kids come through Chicago, where agencies are scrambling to handle the load.

' ' 'Most unaccompanied youth are detained near the border, but many end up in Chicago -- one of the largest off-the-border hubs for unaccompanied minors in the U.S. In the last two years, the number of children brought to federal detention facilities here has exploded, from fewer than 400 in 2011 to nearly 1,300 a year later. The Chicago area used to have just one child detention facility; today, it has seven, in undisclosed locations.

The spike in Chicago mirrors a national trend. The Office of Refugee Resettlement expects to handle more than 23,000 children this year, triple what it saw two years ago.

“A lot of them are just fleeing violence or fleeing some sort of bad situation,” said Ellen Miller, an attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, which represents all unaccompanied children in federal custody in Chicago. Miller said most of the increase is coming from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

. . . “Right now kids are expected to find their own attorneys,” said Maria Woltjen, Director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago. Woltjen said non-government agencies try to find pro-bono attorneys for these kids, but sometimes they can’t.

“We expect these kids to walk into that federal building, to find the courtroom, to go into that courtroom and figure out what to do,” she said. “And there’s nobody there to receive them, there’s no one there to greet them.” According to Miller, some children that come to Chicago are as young as five years old, too short even to see above the bench in a courtroom.

Woltjen thinks there should be other changes, as well. She believes there should be a separate court system for immigrant minors, kind of like juvenile criminal court. Right now, kids are often on the same docket as adults. Read more...
Currently, federal regulations require DHS to refer children under the age of 18 to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within 72 hours of their apprehension. ORR is specifically tasked to work with unaccompanied immigrant children, placing the kids in a network of shelters offering mental and physical support, translators, recreational activities and family reunification services.

However, the DHS data shows more than 1,300 children were detained in adult facilities for more than three days. Across 13 states, approximately 390 undocumented immigrant minors were held for more than a month in county jails, detention centers and private prisons run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Of that number, 15 were held in adult detention facilities for more than three months, and four were detained for between 1,000 and 3,600 days.

. . . On average, ORR serves between 7,000 and 8,000 children annually. That number soared to 13,625 children in fiscal year 2012. By the end of this year, the office is expecting to have served 23,000 children.

And those are only the children referred to ORR by immigration authorities. The actual number may be much higher, as suggested by Customs and Border Patrol, which says its agents apprehended 31,029 juveniles in fiscal year 2012. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, another DHS branch, has not released its numbers. Read more....


July 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Steve Chen (Taiwan)



Born in August 1978 in Taipei, Taiwan, Steve Chen co-launched the video-sharing website YouTube in 2005. YouTube ranked as the 10th most popular website a year after its launch.

Chen, YouTube’s chief technology officer, was named to 2006’s “The 50 People Who Matter Now” list by Business 2.0 magazine. That same year, Google bought YouTube for $1.64 billion in stock.

Raised in Taiwan, Chen and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 15.After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chen worked at PayPal, where he met Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. In 2005, the three founded YouTube, which quickly became one of the web's fastest-growing sites and was ranked as the 10th most popular website just a year after its launch.


July 14, 2013 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Current TV: Jason Johnson on Immigration and George Zimmerman Trial, Zimmerman a "white Hispanic"?






The aquittal of George Zimmerman in the deaath of Trayvon Martin is all over the news.  I found this analysis of immigration reform and the Zimmerman trial (before the verdict) to be insightful.

By the way, until a verdict was reached, discussion continued over the racial identity of Zimmerman, whose mother is Peruvian.   CNN referred to Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic," which drew considerable criticism.


July 14, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)