Friday, January 31, 2014
From the Bookshelves: Sacrificing Families Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders by Leisy J. Abrego
Sacrificing Families Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders by Leisy J. Abrego 2014, Available Now
Widening global inequalities make it difficult for parents in developing nations to provide for their children, and both mothers and fathers often find that migration in search of higher wages is their only hope. Their dreams are straightforward: with more money, they can improve their children's lives. But the reality of their experiences is often harsh, and structural barriers—particularly those rooted in immigration policies and gender inequities—prevent many from reaching their economic goals.
Sacrificing Families offers a first-hand look at Salvadoran transnational families, how the parents fare in the United States, and the experiences of the children back home. It captures the tragedy of these families' daily living arrangements, but also delves deeper to expose the structural context that creates and sustains patterns of inequality in their well-being. What prevents these parents from migrating with their children? What are these families' experiences with long-term separation? And why do some ultimately fare better than others? As free trade agreements expand and nation-states open doors widely for products and profits while closing them tightly for refugees and migrants, these transnational families are not only becoming more common, but they are living through lengthier separations.
Leisy Abrego gives voice to these immigrants and their families and documents the inequalities across their experiences.
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement has announced that officials teamed with the National Football League (NFL) Thursday to announce the record-breaking results of a nationwide law enforcement effort aimed at combatting counterfeit sports merchandise. Speaking at a NFL news conference, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director John Sandweg, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Director of Field Operations (DFO) Robert Perez, and NFL Senior Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer Anastasia Danias discussed the results of the initiative dubbed "Operation Team Player." Team Player began in June and targeted international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as it entered the United States. Authorities identified warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the country. Fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs are among the counterfeit merchandise and clothing confiscated by teams of special agents and officers from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), CBP, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and state and local police departments around the country – all in partnership with the NFL and other major sports leagues
Have you had enough Super Bowl hoopla yet? Denver Broncos versus the Seattle Seahawks. Hall of Fame QB Payton Manning versus Shut-Down, Trash Talking DB Richard Sherman. The Super Bowl commercials to watch. Office pools and potlucks. When will the game begin?
"While merchants peddle Super Bowl gear, human traffickers peddle people. As we prepare for football festivities, merchants peddle Super Bowl gear and human traffickers peddle people. Though human trafficking is endemic 365 days a year, it is especially rampant on Super Bowl Sunday."
Click here for a different point of view.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Various media sources report that the Justice Department said Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the man accused of killing and maiming people with homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line in April, 2013. April’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day grabbed national attention. It turned out that the alleged perpetrators were brothers who were lawful immigrants from Chechnya.
From We Belong Together:
Today House Republicans released their principles on immigration reform, a document meant to inform – or justify – their piecemeal approach to immigration reform in 2014. The principles call for intensified border security and interior enforcement, a worker verification system for employers, increased work visas for high-tech and agricultural workers, and a path to earned legal status – but not citizenship – for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
The principles stand as a counter proposal to the comprehensive immigration reform bill the Senate passed 68-32 in 2013 with broad support from American voters. House Speaker John Boehner has made clear that he has no intention of going to conference with the Senate bill, further confirming that the policies to emerge from the House Republicans’ principles will dramatically depart from the Senate bill. In response, Pramila Jayapal, co-director of We Belong Together, a national campaign to win immigration reform that will be fair for women and families, issued the following statement:
“The House Republican principles on immigration reform would prevent millions of women from gaining legal status, keeping their families together, and contributing their full potential to communities across the country.
“By failing to call for a pathway to citizenship, ignoring backlogs in the family visa system, and proposing only narrow fixes that would benefit industries with predominantly male workforces, any legislation guided by the House Republican principles would exclude millions of women and their families.
“A majority in Congress – and the majority of voters in this country – agree that we need a comprehensive solution for America’s undocumented immigrants and a fair system for those to come. Women across the country are demanding solutions that will keep families together and allow women to fully share their many contributions to this country. Women make up over half of all immigrants to the U.S., and represent 53% of the electorate, yet are systematically excluded by these principles. House Republicans can and must do better. If House Republicans continue to ignore the calls of women across the country, women will remember at the ballot box in November.
“House Republicans’ proposed fixes to the work visa system focus only on agricultural and high tech workers, denying the fact that the fastest growing industries are those that primarily employ women. Nearly 60% of undocumented women work in the informal economy, as domestic workers, caregivers and other high-demand professions that help this country run. In less than 20 years, 75 million Americans will have reached retirement age, and the demand for direct-care workers is projected to increase by 48% over the next decade. Our nation’s immigration policies must recognize this economic reality and support the workforce meeting those needs – immigrant women.
“The House Republican principles also ignore the fact that 4.3 million people are waiting years—even decades—in the family visa system, the system under which nearly 70% of all women immigrants are able to obtain legal status. Furthermore, over 5.5 million children—most of whom are U.S. citizens—are currently at risk of losing a parent to deportation, and House Republican principles fail to address the deportation crisis that tears families apart daily. The principles also leave out critical protections for women who experience violence at home or in the workplace and for asylum seekers.
“Through the We Belong Together campaign, women across the country will continue to organize and advocate for real, comprehensive solutions that will meet the needs—and honor the contributions—of women and families, and truly be in the best interest of the nation.
About WeBelong Together
We Belong Together is an initiative of the NationalDomestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country. It is a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration reform is rarely thought of as a women’s issue, but in fact it is central to the fight for women’s equality. Millions of immigrant women who are part of the fabric of our communities, workplaces, and schools are blocked from achieving their full potential because of a broken immigration system A full list of WBT policy priorities is available at: http://www.webelongtogether.org/policy-goals.
USA Today and other media outlets report that House Republican leaders unveiled on Thursday their principles for an overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, which require tighter border security, more interior immigration enforcement and allow the nation's undocumented immigrants to "get right with the law" and stay in the country. The principles distributed to Republicans gathered for an annual retreat, say undocumented immigrants can legally live and work in the country if they register with the federal government and are "willing to admit their culpability." They must also pass a "rigorous" criminal background check, pay "significant" fines and back taxes, learn English and civics and prove they can support themselves without government assistance. The principles do not make clear whether most undocumented immigrants would ever be able to apply for green cards or become U.S. citizens. (For commentary on this aspect of the principles, click here.) But it does say that those brought to the country as children "would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents" and could eventually become U.S. citizens if they meet certain criteria.
UPDATE: Here is a copy of the "Standards for Immigration Reform.
The "PREAMBLE" reads as follows:
"Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort."
Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First
Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System
Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement
Reforms to the Legal Immigration System
Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law
"Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced."
The legalization principle is likely to be one of the most debated parts of the House Republican immigration reform principles. As Mae Ngai has opined, barring undocumented immigrants to have their immigration status regularized and denied the opportunity to ever become U.S. citizens, has a caste-like quality to it. The regularized noncitizens would be denied the right to vote and forever locked out of the formal political process. At the same time, it is a real benefit to the undocumented to have regualarized immigration status and not face the threat of removal. We will need to wait and see how the House Republican principle of "no special path to citizenship" plays out in the political process.
UPDATE (2/1): Indicating room for negotiation, President Obama has not ruled out a path to legalization without citizenship in a compromise immigration reform package.
Policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic face significant constraints in addressing the population of unauthorized migrants in their countries. Limited resources to tackle illegal migration, legal frameworks that protect individuals regardless of their residence status, and the risk that comprehensive enforcement efforts may have adverse consequences in related policy domains such as public health and safety are at the heart of the challenges governments face.
These considerations are explored in the latest report in a series by the Migration Policy Institute's Transatlantic Council on Migration that focuses on practical policy solutions to curb the influence of "bad actors" who facilitate and profit from illegal migration: smugglers, traffickers, and unscrupulous employers among them.
In Trade-Offs in Immigration Enforcement, MPI Europe Director Elizabeth Collett and MPI Senior Policy Analyst Will Somerville argue that a successful migration enforcement regime is best defined as one that does limited or no harm to a country’s institutions of governance and to citizens’ livelihoods, while fortifying public trust that the government is running an efficient and effective system.
The report notes that policymakers must recognize the context in which they operate, not least the strong demand for cheap labor in a globalized world, and the toxic political discussion surrounding immigration, particularly illegal.
Governments face some difficult decisions, including whether to allocate resources to reduce the overall unauthorized population or target those unauthorized immigrants who pose the greatest threat (typically those involved in crime). Alternatively, policymakers may also choose the politically less popular but often more pragmatic option of legalization, where there are many policy lessons to be learned regarding how to design, target, and implement such programs.
LEXIS NEXIS Legal Newsroom: Immigration Law has the story on the Board of Immigration Appeals arguments on the appeal by former Minister of Defense of El Salvador, General Carlos Eugenio Vides-Casanova, of an immigration court decision ordering him to be removed from the U.S. for his role in widespread human rights abuses committed in El Salvador. The argument is set for February 6, 2014 at 11:00. The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), through Senior Legal Advisor Carolyn Patty Blum and CJA client Carlos R. Mauricio, will be present at the hearing and available for comment.
General Vides Casanova is challenging the immigration judge's extensive findings that he "ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in torture or extra-judicial killing" in El Salvador from October 1979 through June 1989 while he was National Guard Director and then Minister of Defense.
The 157-page immigration court decision was based on extensive testimony and documentary evidence.
Bad boy Justin Bieber, who as reported on ImmigrationProf has run into some troubles with the law (and has just been charged with assault in Toronto), contines to be in the immigration news. USA Today reports that more than 100,000 people have signed a petition to the White House to deport the Canadian pop singer. Bill Hing provided details on the petition in yesterday's blog post. This story from the Guardian analyzes how Bieber would likely face removal if he were a poor immigrant in similar circumstances.
We will see how Bieber's legal proceedings play out. Criminal convictions would seem necessary to ever deport him, especially given his ability to secure immigration counsel. In any event, it seems unlikely that the U.S. government, despite removing in the neighborhood of 400,000 noncitizens a year, would seek Bieber's removal. Still, surprises could happen. Under the Secure Communities program, many noncitizens arrested for minor criminal offenses, such as driving without a license, have been deported. In 2012, a woman knwown as the "tamale lady" was threated with remmoval after an arrest for selling homemade tamales in front of a Walmart in Sacramento. A public outcry convinced the authorities to defer action in that case.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Guess we shouldn't be surprised.
From Yahoo News:
As if Barack Obama didn't have enough problems to deal with already, his administration now is being asked to weigh in on the grave matter of Justin Bieber's bad behavior.
By midday Wednesday (1700 GMT), a petition on the White House website calling for the deportation of the Canadian-born teen idol had garnered 103,000 names -- easily surpassing the threshold of 100,000 signatures required for presidential consideration.
"We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture," says the petition, created by one "J.A." in Detroit on January 23, the day Bieber was busted in Miami Beach for impaired driving and illegal drag racing in a flashy Italian sports car.
"We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive and drug-abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."
The White House website hosts citizens' petitions on other, more heady issues such as the legalization of marijuana and a pardon for National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"Every petition that crosses the threshold will be reviewed by the appropriate staff and receive a response," assistant White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said. Read more....
Yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed this resolution unanimously:
Urging Suspension of Any Further Deportations of Undocumented Immigrants, Extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program and Ending the Firings of Undocumented Workers
WHEREAS, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2011, there were 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States; and
WHEREAS, deportations have reached record levels under President Obama, rising to an annual average of nearly 400,000 since 2009; and
WHEREAS, according to Congress members Raul M. Grijalva and Yvette Clarke, although the Obama Administration reportedly prioritized deporting only criminals, many individuals with no criminal history have been consistently deported; and
WHEREAS, increased deportations and a continuously broken immigration system exacerbate the living conditions of U.S. citizen children whose parents have been deported; and
WHEREAS, separation of children from their parents, irrespective of immigration status, always results in severe consequences for young children who are left with no parental guidance or care and a highly unstable financial situation; and
WHEREAS, as immigration continues to be at the center of national debate, President Obama and Congress must implement a more humanitarian immigration policy that keeps families together and respects the right of all workers to support their families; and
WHEREAS, California is home to approximately 10.3 million immigrants of which approximately 2.6 million are unauthorized to live in the U.S.; and
WHEREAS, many members of Congress recently signed a letter requesting President Obama to suspend any further deportations and extend Deferred Action; and
WHEREAS, over 1,000 undocumented workers have been fired from their jobs in San Francisco -- including hundreds of janitors -- by means of I-9 audits and the use of the E-Verify system, both of which are methods for enforcing employer sanctions; and
WHEREAS, firing these workers has caused immense hardship on San Francisco families and children, driving them into the underground economy, increasing unemployment, poverty and homelessness, and creating an atmosphere in which workers fear to protest low wages and bad conditions; and
WHEREAS, President Obama and his administration have the power to discontinue this brutal method of enforcing immigration law by ending the practice of using I-9 audits and E-Verify to identify workers without documents in the workforce, and then sending lists of those workers to employers, ordering employers to fire them; and
WHEREAS, San Francisco is home to large number of undocumented immigrants from all parts of the world, the City should therefore make it a priority to keep families together and continue to press Congress and President Obama for a solution to our broken federal immigration system that includes a fair legalization program and an end to employer sanctions;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council call on the Obama Administration to take action to (1) suspend any further deportations of undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal history, (2) extend Deferred Action to all eligible undocumented members of immigrant families, and (3) end the firings of undocumented workers by ending the I-9 audits and the use of the E-Verify system; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council call on the S.F. Board of Supervisors to adopt this resolution, so that, with the concurrence of the Mayor, the City of San Francisco includes in its 2013-2014 Federal Legislative Program support for administrative action to (1) suspend any further deportations of undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal history, (2) extend Deferred Action to all eligible undocumented members of immigrant families, and (3) end the firings of undocumented workers by ending the I-9 audits and the use of the E-Verify system.
Under a new USCIS directive, one arrest for DUI within the past five years qualifies you for an evaluation as to whether you have an alcohol based disorder, which is a condition posing a threat to self or others.
Applicants for admission who have physical or mental disorders and harmful behavior associated with those disorders are inadmissible.INA 212(a)(2)(A)(iii).
Alcohol is not listed in Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, alcohol use disorders are treated as a physical or mental disorder for purposes of determining inadmissibility. As a result, an applicant with an alcohol use disorder will not be deemed inadmissible unless there is current associated harmful behavior or past associated harmful behavior likely to recur. The harmful behavior must be such that it poses, has posed, or is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others.
The Immigrant Justice Corps will award Justice Fellowships to recent law graduates and law clerks from around the country – individuals with tremendous talent and promise and a demonstrated commitment to provide legal services for the poor and for immigrants. The IJC will also select 15 Community Fellows annually – exceptional college graduates with the linguistic skills, passion and cultural competency to work in and with New York City’s diverse immigrant communities. Click the link above to see details about applying to join the inaugural class.
Justice Fellows will be hosted in clusters of 2-4 in New York City’s leading non-profit legal services offices, which will be selected to participate in the IJC on a competitive the basis. Upon selection, Fellows will have the opportunity to indicate their preferences for the host organization where they will work, though the IJC will, ultimately, make placement decisions. Justice Fellows will represent immigrants with the most complex cases that require lawyers to handle the case from start to finish, such as deportation defense and affirmative petitions for victims of crime, domestic violence and human trafficking, among others. The Justice Fellows will be primarily supervised by experienced attorneys at their host organization, with supplemental support from the IJC’s own supervisory staff.
Justice Fellowships run for two years, with the option of renewing for a third year based on performance. During the two years of the fellowship, Fellows’ salaries ($47,000) and benefits will be covered by the IJC, along with loan repayment assistance for law school loans. During the third year of the fellowship, for those selected, salaries will be increased to reflect greater experience. In addition, Fellows will participate in a comprehensive immigration law training program at the start of their fellowship and, throughout the course of the fellowship, will meet bi-weekly as a group for professional development activities, skills trainings, case sharing, reflection sessions and other programmatic activities organized by the IJC staff. At the end of the fellowship, IJC Fellows will be extraordinarily well trained, deeply networked in the legal and immigrant rights community, and profoundly committed to developing creative strategies to fight poverty and ensure access to justice.
You must be a law student graduating in the Spring/Summer of 2014 or a law clerk completing your clerkship by Summer 2014 in order to be eligible for a Justice Fellowship beginning in September 2014. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2014 and must be submitted via the IJC website. Finalists will be interviewed in New York City or via video conference for applicants who are unable to travel to New York City. Fellows will be informed of their selection in March 2014.
As House Republicans leave town for their annual retreat in Cambridge, Md., and prepare to release their principles for immigration reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table is offering support for positive movement toward immigration reform in the form of a full-page USA Today ad.
Addressed to GOP members of the House, the ad offers prayer and support as Congress moves forward toward “meaningful and urgently needed reform.” It also highlights the Evangelical Immigration Table’s own principles.
Citing the Biblical imperatives for a path forward that honors the rule of law (Romans 13) and the call to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25), the ad concludes by saying that “our churches, our communities, and our country urgently await your action.”
Last night, Professor Villazor blogged about President Obama's call for immigration reform in the State of the Union address. (As a point of reference, click here to see how much time the President has spent on immigration in previous SOTU speeches.). Although others view his careful call for reform (and here) with some optimism, I tend to agree with the following characterization:
"President Barack Obama only mentioned immigration reform efforts as a mere throwaway line in his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. The only time he mentioned the matter . . . was as something he argued would help the economy after a long line of other policy prescriptions he pushed." (emphasis added).
In some ways, it sounded like the President wasgoiung through the motions and touching all the bases. Besides the paltry amount of time he spent on immigration, he failed to offer a moral imperative for immigration reform. Nor did he mention how long the nation has waited for reform. He did not mention how deportations were destroying families and communities. He did not mention that the failure of reform has left millions of people, including but not limited to the DREAMers, in perpetual immigration limbo.
President Obama knows how to ht an emotional high note, as he hit one in introducing wounded veteran Cory Remsburg to the nation at the end of his speech. But when it came to immigration, he left it to economic arguments. Although I tend to agree with his economics analysis, I wish the President had made immigration reform a moral as well as economic imperative. To me, it just sounded like immigration reform was another item on President Obama's legislative agenda.
Abstract: This chapter undertakes a comparative analysis of the growing asymmetrical immigration federalism regimes that have surfaced in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States. The purpose of the study is to begin to trace whether the rise in immigration federalism — i.e., the diversity of laws and policies regulating immigration and immigrants — in these nations has improved or worsened the rights and treatment of immigrants in those respective nations. This chapter does not provide a conclusive answer to this question because federal structures help amplify both restrictive as well as inclusive possibilities and trends. There are, however, factors that appear to contribute to the outcomes of immigration federalism that are worth noting. Among these factors is the role of demographic and socio-economic factors, as well as political ones at the local level. The role of political divergence between national and local interests is another significant consideration of the implications of federalism for the rights of immigrants, although here whether the outcome is positive or negative depends very much on the relationship between local and national politics. The role of binding universal human rights law or domestic constitutional rights to protect the rights of immigrants also cannot be dismissed as a powerful argument, generally in favor of centralization. As the Chapter documents, however, centralization does not necessarily translate to greater legal rights for immigrants in systems that apply exceptionalism to the national immigration power. Decentralization also need not mean the non-application of human rights law or even potentially greater local rights under sub-national constitutional provisions. Finally, the Chapter takes up the extremely important consideration of what, if any lessons, can be gleaned from these comparative analysis on advocacy strategies on behalf of immigrants. Here too, the response is highly contextualized and cannot be generalized, as it will be dictated by the factors that influence the outcomes of immigration federalism.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Tonight, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. Here's what he had to say about immigration:
"Finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement -- and fix our broken immigration system. (Cheers, applause.) Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, and I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams -- to study, invent, contribute to our culture -- they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let's get immigration reform done this year. (Cheers, applause.) Let's get it done. It's time." Here's a link to the unofficial transcript of the full speech.
Rep. Cathy Morris Rodgers's response: “It’s time to honor our history of legal immigration. We’re working on a step-by-step solution to immigration reform by first securing our borders and making sure America will always attract the best, brightest, and hardest working from around the world.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/state-of-the-union-2014-gop-rebuttal-102760.html#ixzz2rkzKfRqc