Friday, October 31, 2014

Many Americans Renounce Citizenship, Hitting New Record

From the Bookshelves: En Recuerdo de The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest by Bruce F. Jordan

En Recuerdo de The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest by Bruce F. Jordan (with essays by Martina Will de Chaparro and Tony Mares and an interview by Bryce Milligan). 

From the back roads of New Mexico and out-of-the-way fields in southern Colorado to urban hinterlands in South Texas, photographer Bruce F. Jordan evokes the startling beauty and unique world of ethnic Mexican cemeteries in En Recuerdo de: The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest. These historic and often forgotten cities of the dead stand as testaments to the brilliance of Mexican artisans and craftsmen, the importance of kinship and community among ethnic Mexicans in the Southwest, and the perseverance of marginalized communities to honor and care for ancestors in death.

Jordan’s sympathetic storytelling evokes for readers the atmosphere of many of these cemeteries. His arresting photographs are accompanied by his lively captions describing the significance of Mexican funerary carving traditions and the relationship of ethnic Mexican memory to cemeteries, and by Bryce Milligan’s interview with the photographer.

With essays by Martina Will de Chaparro and Tony Mares that place the cemeteries within the unique historical context of the American Southwest, En Recuerdo de (In Memory of) illuminates these myriad lost cities of the dead and the significance of death and dying in Mexican culture.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Credit Irish Immigrants with Halloween? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


As Americans celebrate Halloween today with parades, parties, trick-or-treating, and other festivities, we should acknowledge that immigrants brought this festive holiday to the United States.  Halloween originated as an ancient Celtic festival and was popularized in the United States by Irish immigrants who arrived in the 1800s. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31 the ghosts of the dead returned to the earth and wore costumes to avoid being recognized by the ghosts. Following the potato famine of 1846, the waves of new Irish immigrants brought these ancient traditions with them to the United States, where they became a popular way to promote community and neighborhood bonding.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rep Senators Request President to Hold Off on Executive Action




The Three Senators

As has been widely reported, three Republican senators (John McCain (Arizona), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Marco Rubio (Florida) who have supported comprehensive immigration reform are now urging President Barack Obama to hold off on executive action on immigration: 

"Acting by executive order on an issue of this magnitude would be the most divisive action you could take — completely undermining any good-faith effort to meaningfully address this important issue, which would be a disservice to the needs of the American people."

Here is the letter.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Investing in the Future: Labor Market Integration Policies for New Immigrants in Germany


Facing an aging and declining labor force, Germany has introduced a wide array of services at federal, state, and local government levels to improve the labor market integration of new arrivals—including employment counseling, vocational training, and language instruction. A major law passed in 2012 that has helped make the process of certifying skills in Germany more efficient also is paying dividends, the authors of a new report find.

In Investing in the Future: Labor Market Integration Policies for New Immigrants in Germany, researchers Carola Burkert and Anette Haas sketch a picture of a dynamic response to immigrant integration challenges, with policymakers increasingly focused on ensuring that the growing immigrant population has robust pathways into middle-skilled work. Nonetheless, Germany faces significant challenges. New immigrants to Germany enjoy considerable improvements in their access to the labor market during the first few years after arrival, surmounting initial difficulties finding work. However, they still struggle to work their way up into middle- or high-skilled jobs. Principal among the factors holding many back: insufficient language skills and a lack of recognized credentials, which are crucial in a country where skills and formal qualifications are central to finding stable, well-paying jobs.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Djimon Hounsou From Benin | Actor


Djimon Hounsou From Benin | Actor

After spending a year homeless in Paris, actor Djimon Hounsou was noticed by a stranger and fell into the world of fashion as a model. Starting in 1990, he played a few roles in television and film, but it was in 1997 that he came to international attention and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Cinque in Spielberg’s Amistad, a film based the true story of a mutiny aboard a slave ship of prisoners from Mende. Since then, Hounsou has appeared in other major films and was nominated twice for an Oscar for his roles in In America and Blood Diamond.



October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Migration Policy Institute: Ebola Outbreak Rekindles Debate on Restricting Admissions to the United States on Health Grounds

It seems fair to say that Ebola has been in the news.  The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, with three cases diagnosed in the United States, has generated tremendous public fear and anxiety in the United States and other countries. The Obama administration has restricted air travel from West Africa to five airports with enhanced screening, amid calls for a complete travel ban. This piece by released by the Migration Policy Institute examines the use of U.S. immigration controls to halt the spread of disease.

As discussed in the article, immigration restrictions have been used to protect the United States from disease and pandemics since the enactment of the 1891 Immigration Act. That law established for the first time that foreign nationals could be denied entry into the United States on health grounds; the list of health-related grounds has been periodically modified over the years. Currently, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), health-related grounds of exclusion and inadmissibility apply to those seeking entry to the United States: 1) with a communicable disease of public health significance; 2) without documentation of a required set of immunizations; 3) with a physical or mental disorder associated with dangerous behaviors; or 4) who are drug addicts.

The article questions whether a "close the border" approach to Ebola will work in modern times with international travel commonplace.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Latino Immigrant Men and the Deportation Crisis: A Gendered Racial Removal Program by Tanya Maria Golash-Boza and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo



Latino Immigrant Men and the Deportation Crisis: A Gendered Racial Removal Program by Tanya Maria Golash-Boza (University of California, Merced) and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (University of Southern California - Department of Sociology), 2013 Latino Studies, 11(3): 271-292, 2013 Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper

Abstract: This article reviews how US deportations ballooned between 1997 and 2012, and underscores how these deportations disproportionately targeted Latino working class men. Building on Mae Ngai’s (2004) concept of racial removal, we describe this recent mass deportation as a gendered racial removal program. Drawing from secondary sources, surveys conducted in Mexico, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published statistics, and interviews with deportees conducted by the first author in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Jamaica, we argue that: (1) deportations have taken on a new course in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the wake of the global economic crisis – involving a shift towards interior enforcement; (2) deportation has become a gendered and racial removal project of the state; and (3) deportations will have lasting consequences with gendered and raced effects here in the United States. We begin by examining the mechanisms of the new deportation regime, showing how it functions, and then examine the legislation and administrative decisions that make it possible. Next, we show the concentration of deportations by nation and gender. Finally, we discuss the causes of this gendered racial removal program, which include the male joblessness crisis since the Great Recession, the War on Terror, and the continued criminalization of Black and Latino men by police authorities.


October 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

At UC-Davis, Undocumented Students Get Free Legal Help From Clinic

OU Symposium: Come for the immigration law, stay for the free lunch

You are all cordially invited to the University of Oklahoma College of Law on Friday November 14. The Oklahoma Law Review will be hosting a symposium to discuss Chae Chan Ping, which turns 125 this year. If you RSVP, we'll even feed you. And I'm told there's free CLE on the horizon as well. I hope to see you there!



October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Report on Family Detention


Today the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) released a new report — Locking Up Family Values, Again — which exposes the inhumane conditions and negligence inside family detention centers incarcerating mothers and children who fled violence in Central America seeking asylum in the United States. The report is being released on the heels of several hearings this week by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights examining immigration detention where representatives from both groups testified. The report details incidents of children’s weight loss and depression, mothers’ separation from their children and denial of even the most basic due process protections afforded asylum seekers. Mothers and children are forced to remain inside these detention facilities with no possibility of release on bond or enrollment in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s alternative to detention programs.


October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

10 Facts You Need to Know About Latinos and Immigration in Colorado

The Center for American Progress has provided this fact list about Colorado.  By 2040, more than one-third of Coloradans will be Latino, up from one-fifth today. The Latino population—documented or not—already makes vast contributions to the state’s economy and electorate, but Colorado’s shifting demographics will give this key voting bloc even more influence in the coming decades.

Here are 10 facts you need to know about Latinos and immigration in Colorado.

  1. Colorado’s Latino      population is substantial.      In fact, 21      percent of Colorado’s 5.3 million residents are Latino. This is nearly      4 percent higher than the national average. Colorado is one of just nine      states with a Latino population of more than 1      million people.
  2. Nearly 1 out of every 10      people in Colorado is foreign born. Even so, Colorado—at 9.7 percent      foreign born—lags behind the national average of 12.9 percent.
  3. A generational shift is      evident in Colorado. By 2040, 34      percent of Coloradans will be Latino. Latinos in Colorado are, on      average, much younger—26 years old—than the white population—40 years      old—and three-quarters of Latinos in Colorado are native born.
  4. Latinos in Colorado have      personal ties to undocumented immigrants. Immigration is a deeply      personal issue for Colorado’s Latino voters: A full 63      percent know someone who is an undocumented immigrant, while another 35      percent know people who have been deported or detained.
  5. As Latinos become an      increasing share of the Colorado electorate, they will continue to reshape      its politics. Rep.      Mike Coffman (R-CO) represents a good example of how shifting demographics      have affected the politics of the state. When he first went to Congress in      2008, he was a hardliner      on immigration, voting against the DREAM Act and other pro-immigrant      policies. After redistricting in 2010, the demographics of Rep. Coffman’s      district changed, adding a substantial      number of Latino voters. Not surprisingly, Coffman evolved      on immigration in 2012 and took a more positive position on the issue. In      2013, he even came out in favor of a pathway      to citizenship for some unauthorized immigrants.
  6. Immigration politics      played a decisive role in the 2010 election. In the last midterm      election cycle, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) won 81      percent of the Latino vote against Republican opponent Ken Buck, who      campaigned on a harsh anti-immigrant platform. Sen. Bennet’s win was part      of the “Latino      firewall” that kept the Senate in Democratic hands.
  7. Immigration could once      again play a decisive role in the 2014 Senate election. The race between      incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R) is one of the most      competitive this year. This race may come down to the Latino vote, and the      latest polls have Rep.      Gardner slightly ahead in the polls. However, with Latino voters      comprising 14      percent of eligible voters, and with immigration a key      and personal issue for Latino voters in Colorado, the politics of      immigration reform could swing the race—and the balance of the Senate.
  8. Immigration reform may      also be critical to one of the most competitive House races. Rep. Coffman’s race for      re-election in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District against Democratic      challenger and former Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff, one of the      most competitive      races in the nation, could come down to the Latino      vote and the issue of immigration. The two men are vying for a seat in      a district that is about 20      percent Latino. Rep. Coffman and Romanoff have engaged in English and      Spanish debates in order to sway the Latino vote. Rep. Coffman, while      supporting a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, has opposed      pro-immigrant measures in the past, such as the Deferred      Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
  9. Immigrants are integral      to Colorado’s economy. If Colorado’s unauthorized population were able to gain      legal status, the 10-year cumulative increase in gross state product would      be $15.8      billion. When undocumented immigrants gain citizenship, they will pay      an estimated $681      million in new tax revenue over 10 years, creating 2,300      jobs annually and further improving the economy and prosperity of all      Colorado residents.
  10. Latinos add tens of      billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Colorado’s economy. The 2012 purchasing      power of Colorado’s Latinos totaled $21.8 billion, an increase of      454.5 percent since 1990.

Colorado has already shown how pro-immigrant positions can be key to winning over Latino voters. With growing Latino influence in the state, how both parties talk about immigration reform will matter greatly to the state’s future political and social climate.

October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

THE GREEN MONSTER: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency

THE GREEN MONSTER: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency” by POLITICO Magazine’s Garrett Graff paints a scary picture of the Border Patrol:

"The United States today spends more money each year on border and immigration enforcement than the combined budgets of the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service and U.S. Marshals—plus the entire NYPD annual budget. Altogether, the country has invested more than $100 billion in border and immigration control since 9/11. . . . .  [T]he Border Patrol has also become one of the nation’s deadliest law enforcement agencies over that same period, involved in more fatal shootings—at least 46—since 2004 than perhaps any other such agency."


October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Democalypse 2014: MexTex

Immigrant of the Day: Sri Srinivasan From India | Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit


Sri Srinivasan From India | Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

In May 2013, Judge Sri Srinivasan was confirmed unanimously as President Obama’s first appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, making him the first South Asian–American to serve as a federal circuit court judge. Born in India, he earned his degrees from Stanford University and then served as a law clerk and a Bristow Fellow before joining the law firm O’Melveny & Myers in 1998, where he later became a partner and Chair of the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practice. From 2011 until his appointment to the circuit court, Srinivasan served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States.

On a pro bono basis, Srinivasan successfully represented the petitioner in the Supreme Court in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, which unanimously ruled that a second misdemeanor drug conviction for possession of one tablet of Xanex did not constititute an "aggravated felony" for purposes of removal.


October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: International Aspects of Asylum Law in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom by Emily MacKenzie

International Aspects of Asylum Law in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom by  Emily MacKenzie Date: October 29, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (Supreme Court) recently decided two cases that demonstrate the challenges courts face when applying asylum law domestically within the general framework of international refugee law. The Supreme Court’s application of complicated principles to difficult facts will ensure that these cases provide important guidance on respective competences, the use of evidence, and the rule of law to international decision-making bodies in the field of international refugee law, as well as other domestic decision makers.

The first case, I.A. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department decided on January 29, 2014, concerned the weight to be given to an earlier grant of refugee status by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to a person later applying for asylum in a state party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The U.K. is a party to this Convention, which is the key legal document that defines refugees, their rights, and the legal obligations of states toward them.

The second case, R (on the application of EM (Eritrea)) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, decided on February 19, 2014, concerned whether an asylum seeker is required to show that there are “systemic” deficiencies in asylum protection in order not to be returned to a country otherwise deemed safe.

This Insight discusses the points of law raised by each case before briefly pulling together some international themes that emerge from this latest case law from the Supreme Court in the area of asylum.


October 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UC President Napolitano Backs Presidential Action on Immigration, Points to DACA Success


 In an interview with the Washington Post, University of California President Janet Napolitano stated that she supports executive action by President Obama to reform immigration policy if Congress fails to pass comprehensive immigration reform, citing what she views as the successful 2012 program to delay deportations of younger immigrants.

In that vein, President Napolitano presented “Anatomy of a Legal Decision” on Monday, Oct. 27, as the University of Georgia School of Law’s 112th Sibley Lecturer and commented on the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

"[I]n the absence of action by the House of Representatives on comprehensive immigration reform, something at least needed to be done to address the plight of the Dreamers. Our answer to that challenge – DACA—was the right thing to do, and the lawful thing to do. It was doable, and it was defensible.

In the two-plus years since DACA was launched – after what the New York Times has described as a superhuman bureaucratic effort – more than 675,000 young people, who were already in this country, have come out from the shadows. Legally, and in the light of day, they have applied for and received deferred status, work authorization, and other previously forbidden pieces of paper that had dogged their day-to-day existence.

They are people like Mario Lio, who was brought here from Peru at the age of 12. He received his education in civil engineering at UC Berkeley—Go Bears!—but given his immigration status, he was unable to pursue a professional career, let alone apply for a driver’s license or Social Security number. DACA changed all that.

"So many doors opened overnight," the 25-year-old told the Wall Street Journal. "I became a new person in some ways."

Mario Lio now works as a project engineer for the firm that built Levis Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Multiply his story by nearly 700,000 and you get an understanding how much of a difference DACA has made."



October 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Alcides Escobar (Venezuela), Shortstop, Kansas City Royals

Immigration Article of the Day: Riding the Wave: Uplifting Labor Organizations Through Immigration Reform by Jayesh Rathod


Riding the Wave: Uplifting Labor Organizations Through Immigration Reform by Jayesh Rathod, American University - Washington College of Law October 17, 2014 4 UC Irvine L. Rev. 625, 2014

Abstract: In recent years, labor unions in the United States have embraced the immigrants’ rights movement, cognizant that the very future of organized labor depends on its ability to attract immigrant workers and integrate them into union ranks. At the same time, the immigrants’ rights movement has been lauded for its successful organizing models, often drawing upon the vitality and ingenuity of immigrant-based worker centers, which themselves have emerged as alternatives to traditional labor unions. And while the labor and immigrants’ rights movements have engaged in some fruitful collaborations, their mutual support has failed to radically reshape the trajectory of either cause. In this Article, I argue that the ongoing legislative debates around immigration reform provide a unique opportunity to reimagine and revitalize traditional organized labor and to strengthen newer, immigrant-centered worker organizations. In my view, this can be accomplished by positioning unions and worker organizations as key actors in immigration processes (for both temporary and permanent immigration) and in any likely legalization initiative. Their specific roles might include sponsoring or indirectly supporting certain visa applications, facilitating the portability of employment-related visas from one employer to another, offering training opportunities to meet immigration requirements, assisting with legalization applications, leading immigrant integration initiatives, and more. Apart from the instrumental objective of attracting immigrants to the ranks of unions and worker organizations, this set of proposals will position these institutions as sites where the virtues of leadership, democratic participation, and civic engagement can be forged in new Americans. Indeed, these virtues coincide with the founding values of most U.S. labor unions; to the extent some unions have strayed from these values, the proposals provide an external imperative to reorient and rebrand unions as core civil society institutions. Moreover, immigrant worker centers have already become known for their focus on leadership development, democratic decision making, and civic education, and are therefore uniquely positioned to play this role. This convergence of utilitarian and transcendent objectives, in the current sociopolitical moment, justifies a special position for unions and worker organizations in the U.S. immigration system.


October 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Job Opportunities with the Vera Institute for Justice

The Vera Institute of Justice is looking to fill two positions in its New York office. Both are with the institute's Center on Immigration and Justice .

The folks at Vera are looking for a Senior Program Associate as well as a Program Analyst.

The Senior Program Associate will work on the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), which informs detained immigrants about their rights, and the immigration court and detention processes.

The Program Analyst will work with both the LOP and the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), which  provides government-funded legal representation to detained immigrants who are determined to be not mentally competent to represent themselves in their immigration proceedings.

The deadline to apply is November 7, 2014.


October 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)