Monday, April 20, 2009

Last Week: In Our Community (Apr. 13- 20)

Immigration news and updates from April 13 through 20.

My day has been a bit hectic, so today's posting of immigration news updates will not be organized in the usual way and will include no annotations (now maybe you like this format better; if so, you should let me know by commenting below). I also work on FCNL's human rights and civil liberties portfolio, which means I've been working on our response to the administration's release of the torture memos....and I'm running up on some deadlines.

So this week, what has happened around immigration in our community?

The economy still drives the headlines with Roll Call stating that the recession could derail efforts for immigration reform. But as I posted last week, the two major labor federations have come on board the humane immigration reform boat precisely because they believe reform is the best answer in the current hard times. The Immigration Policy Center also released a report on the economics of immigration reform, and how reform numbers could lead to economic recovery. Renku Sen from the Huffington Post Blog made a similar argument.

Disproportionate, substandard, and harsh immigration enforcement also continues to make a stir. The Indypendent reported on the disproportionate treatment and detention of noncriminal immigrants, and LA Times blasted federal authorities for claiming that they only go after "violent criminals" when a recent study by Human Rights Watch shows that it is a "myth that immigrants deported for crimes are invariably people here illegally who committed serious, violent crimes." The South Florida Sun Sentinel also reported that immigration enforcement which leads to the incarceration and deportation of primary bread winners is also leading to families' increased dependence on welfare in mixed status families, and the NY Times stated that a new study shows that police misuse immigration-inquiry rules.

The Associted Press reported that the immigration legal system does not protect rights and Christopher Nugent, senior pro bono counsel of the Community Services Team in the Washington, D.C., office of Holland & Knight and co-chair of the Committee on the Rights of Immigrants of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, offered his thoughts on how the Obama administration could ensure fairness and due process for noncitizens in immigration proceedings. New America Media also wrote on how the US could restore accountability to its immigration enforcement system.

People Magazine featured a two-page article highlighting the inequalities of the US immigration system for binational same-sex couples which does not allow same-sex partners to petition for permanent visas in the same way as opposite-sex couples. In particular, the article mentioned the Uniting American Families Act (S. 424, H.R. 1024) twice, a bill which would rectify such inequalities under the law.

CNN and the Washington Post also focused on families this week, highlighting the plight of mixed-status families, which are currently one of the fastest growing populations according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Another NY Times articles explores the struggles of Latino youth growing up in the suburbs of the United States, places where communities have done "little to promote immigrant mobility even in good times; now, vanishing jobs and strained safety nets increase the risk of downward assimilation."

Finally, President Obama continued to emphasize that immigration reform was key while he visited Mexico last week, stating that such reform was crucial to ending spillover border violence.

So that's it on the immigration front. A lot was covered across the country and I hope this presence of immigration issues in the news media both continues and grows.


  1. It is reassuring to know that there are still sensitive individuals out there who agree that raids, detentions, fragmentation of immigration families are violations of our basic human rights beliefs in this country. Thank you for your honest, straightforward blog.

    Charles Clark

  2. Thank you, Charles! I hope the blog continues to be a resource for you. Please let me know if you have specific issues you would like to see covered.