Alright, folks, I'm back for day two of catching up you all up with immigration news and updates.
Going back three weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its work on immigration overhaul by holding the first in a series of hearings on varying components of the immigration question (the second hearing of the series will be held tomorrow, May 20). Secretary of Labor Solis also called for an end of immigrant worker exploitation while speaking at a green jobs event in New Jersey. She said, "unpaid wages will continue to be a problem for day laborers until comprehensive immigration reform is undertaken at the federal level."
The Wall Street Journal called for an "immigration stimulus," claiming we need immigration reform and immigrants to boost our economy out of its current recession. Meanwhile, sheriffs in Arizona want to work against a long-standing US Supreme Court decision that makes it illegal for school officials to ask children about their legal status. As far as I can tell, this desire grows out of nativist tendencies which believe that "taxpayers are underwriting millions of dollars of costs of teaching English to children who have no legal right to be here." Such a belief underwrites the basic value of education, as well as ignores the millions of children who are US citizen children of undocumented parents.
A study released in late April also shows great disparities in asylum cases depending on who presided over the case. Refugee requests for asylum were granted at a rate of 15% in one office compared to 73% in another. The study also showed that asylum seekers were three times more liked to win their case if they had a lawyer.
With increased enforcement over the last 8 years, undocumented parents are increasingly losing custody of their US citizen children. Immigration judges are thrown into complicated transnational custody battles, and parents are often brought to custody hearings from detention without the proper representation of a lawyer who can explain what is actually happening in a language they understand.
The same week Senators Durbin and Grassley introduced the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act which is intended to "presever the controversial H-1B program that allows US companies to hire foreign workers, but to limit its abuse.
Going back four weeks (was I really gone that long??? it didn't feel like it...), the World Policy Journal looked at the impact of the global economic crisis on migration flows. The New York Times then came out with a similar article last week stating that migration flows to the United States from Mexico have dropped significantly with fewer jobs available on the market.
Some more conservative faith voices have called for the application of family values to the immigration issue. And a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that low-income Latinos are increasingly the targets of crime and abuse.
So...while that is not all the news that was out there, it highlights a few of the diverse stories that are hitting the airwaves. I'll try not to get so behind over the coming weeks. However, due to the Memorial Day, next week's update will be on Tuesday.