Saturday, January 20, 2007

Circuit Courts May Hear Some Issues Not Raised To BIA

In Zhong v. Gonzales, No. 02-4882 (2d Cir. Jan. 17, 2007), the Second Circuit ruled that it has the power to rule on issues that were not raised to the BIA if the government does not object on appeal to the fact the issue was not raised before to the BIA. So, the circuit court has the ability to listen to that issue if it chooses (it isn't precluded on jurisdictional grounds). It also must listen to any issues raised to the IJ if the BIA summarily affirms the IJ's decision, even if those issues were not raised to the BIA. Good ideas for a petition for review...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Repulsive Government Criticism of Lawyers Representing Guantanamo Detainees

As reported by the Washington Post, Cully Stimson (also described as Charles Stimson), deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said in an interview with Federal News Radio on January 11, 2007 that law firms representing those detaineed in Guantanamo are law firms that are "representing terrorists" and suggests that companies consider boycotting those law firms. Mr. Stimson also made another unprofessional comment that the companies working pro bono for free might even have a shady source of unreported payments to work on the cases they are doing for free.

It is shocking and scandalous for a government attorney to accuse law firms that are representing the accused of representing terrorists. The traditional rule used to be that the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty, so the law firms are representing people who are presumed innocent. Also, news articles have reported that many held in Guantanamo are actually innocent. To top it off, the process in Guatanamo has been fiercely criticized as a sham, so it might be fair to say that the law firms are representing people who aren't even being given a fair shot in a real court.

Mr. Stimson's criticism makes absolutely no sense. Under his illogical view, Americans should start boycotting the federal government because some of its prosecutors are representing the government in cases where the defendants are actually innocent. Mr. Stimson criticizes those who represent people based on his suspicion of what the result of a fair trial will be. If we believe some people accused of crimes are actually innocent, then under his illogical stance we should boycott whoever is paying the prosecutors in those cases. Under his illogic, we also should boycott whoever is hiring the judges that are hearing those cases.

I wonder whether it is clearly unethical for Mr. Stimson to make his repulsive comments. A basic right in the United States should be legal representation for those accused of crimes. It seems that Mr. Stimson believes nobody should represent those accused of crimes and that we should punish anyone who is trying to help those accused of crimes (regardless of whether the accusations are correct or justified). Wouldn't it be so much easier to convict people if we scared away everyone from helping them defend themselves in court? What a shameful tactic that Mr. Stimson and by extension the Bush Administration and the military are taking.

In fact, we should put Mr. Stimson to the ultimate test of his own logic -- he should make a promise that if anyone held in Guantanamo is cleared of all terrorism charges, then the Bush Administration and Congress should boycott (or close) the Guantanamo Bay detention center. After all, who would ever want to pay for the people who are falsely accusing others of terrorism and trying to argue what ultimately is a losing proposition before the tribunals? Mr. Stimson should promise to resign if any Guantanamo detainee is cleared of terrorism charges -- and because some have already been released without any terrorism conviction, Mr. Stimson should resign immediately and urge the closing of Guantanamo. Also, the Bush Administration should clear the air and award medals for lawyers who are bravely volunteering time to represent the detainees.

Mr. Stimson also suggested that CEOs should boycott because their bottom line supposedly suffered from terrorist activity. By that illogic, the military contractors and security firms that have been making billions off of security fears should be donating millions of dollars to law firms representing the Guantanamo detainees. But Mr. Stimson doesn't want people to know all the corporations that are profiteering from the war and security anxiety.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mixed-Up Timothy Egan Article in NY Times

Timothy Egan's January 7, 2007 article "Little Asia on the Hill" in the New York Times is itself fairly confused -- mentioning statistics of Asian Americans in California universities, campus food options, the social lives of Asian Americans on those campuses, other minority groups' percentages. Seems like the reporter just quotes here and there without putting together a coherent point, relaying controversial views but neither analyzing nor confirming whether any of them have any support for what they think. Welcome to the babel of opposing views.

Even worse, the photographer put a picture that seems to focus only on Asian Americans from East Asia (despite the reporter's words) and the graphic designer drew a table titled "East Meets West" even though the reporter wrote that the Asian Americans are mainly Americans. So there is nothing East about them. Unless the person writing the graphic meant to say East meets Central-Europe? The poor titling shows how bad the entire piece and editorial work is. The article is, as the author says while referring to something else, "a disaster." It's only point seems to question Asian Americans while throwing contradictory statistics and unfounded argument. No idea where he got the idea that a public university is supposed to be a microcosm or what he even really means, other than to toss around an empty catch-phrase.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Immigrants Contribute to the NFL Economy

With the NFL playoffs beginning, let's take a look at how much immigrants of all kinds (including legal immigrants) are contributing to the economy, well the NFL economy.

Taking a look at the San Diego Chargers, which had the best record in the regular season, let's congratulate the 3 foreign-born Chargers out of the roster of 53 players at the end of their season:

Bhawoh Jue, safety with 6 years of NFL experience, born in Monrovia, Liberia (came to the US when he was a year old).

Roman Oben, tackle with 11 years of NFL experience, born in Cameroon (came to the US when he was 4 years old and has visited Cameroon several times, including to visit schools and an orphanage that he helped support).

Igor Olshansky, defensive end with 3 years of NFL experience, born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (came to the US when he was 7 years old and speaks fluent Russian).

Yes, immigrants are contributing to all areas of American society and our economy, including in the NFL...

Need Grows To Protect Immigrants Who Seek Police Help

Another blog post focuses on a Brazilian man who talked with local police in New Jersey about an ongoing crime in the area and the police, for no apparent reason, decided to turn the man in to immigration authorities even though he was the victim, not the perpetrator, of the crime. ICE and immigration officials are continuing to push for the man's deportation, even though deporting people who need police help will only increase the danger that immigrants will be the victims of unsolved crimes.

In a New York Times article on August 27, 2006, Riki Altman and Terry Aguayo wrote "Guatemalans Are Prime Targets of Crime" after an outbreak of robberies and muggings against Guatemalans in Florida. The West Palm Beach Police Department is working hard to build the trust of Guatemalan victims to get victims to come out and report crimes and what they know. The exact trust that was destroyed in New Jersey when police and immigration officials cooperated to try to deport a Brazilian immigrant who needed the police to help him as a crime victim.

The Annapolis (MD) Capitol newspaper article on July 27, 2006 by Eric Hartley and Shantee Woodwards titled "Rash of robberies hits Hispanics in the city" points out a rise in robberies against Latinos and that advocates believe crime victims are reluctant to report the crimes because, among other reasons, concerns about their immigration status.

An Arizona Republic article on August 3, 2006 by Sarah Muench titled "Police reach out to Latinos over serial attackers" reports that with serial attackers at large in the Phoenix area, the police have to reach out to urge that people with tips should call them, can remain anonymous, and that their immigration status is of no importance to the police in trying to solve the crimes.

In Danbury, CT, Eliette Matos wrote an opinion piece on August 26, 2006 titled "Undocumented immigrants deserve to feel safe in the city" that pointed out the disturbing trend that many crime victims are too afraid to go to the police if they do not have valid immigration status.

In the Tulsa World newspaper, Tom Droege report on July 30, 2006 in an article titled "Law officers differ on approach to illegal immigration" that Tulsa police chief Dave Been refuses to get into immigration enforcement (except to cooperate with ICE roundups) because doing so would make it very difficult to solve crimes where undocumented immigrants are witnesses or victims of crimes.

The Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle's Eric Snyder printed an article on August 27, 2006 titled "Officials encourage immigrants to work with police" to report on how the Clarksville police chief visited immigrants to assure them that they should report crimes to local police and not fear deportation if they are victims.

Jamie Ward, "Migrant worker plan could be good for Lake County, advocates say," Ohio News-Herald, March 30, 2006: Painesville police chief Gary Smith said immigrants often don't call police because they are afraid that they will contact INS. The police chief said the police will not call ICE (unless the person is jailed) and that people need to know that so that, because if they are having problems, they are not going to call the police because they are afraid.

Fernando Quintero, "Immigrants 'afraid' to report crimes," Rocky Mountain News (CO), September 2, 2006: undocumented immigrants afraid to report crimes to the police for fear of being deported. One Denver City Council member believes underreporting of crimes is occuring, especially with domestic violence incidents.

Carol Denker, "Polish individuals have been beaten and threatened by gangs of kids, teens and men," PA Spirit Community Newspapers, Sept. 6, 2006: recent Polish immigrants who are victims of gang beatings and gang threats resist notifying the police when they are victims because they are afraid that they may suffer because of their immigration status.

Ben Ready, "Panel listens to local civil rights concerns," Longmont Daily Times-Call, Sept. 26, 2006: Yolanda Arredondo of the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence shelter told commissioners that various proposals to deny taxpayer-funded services to undocumented immigrants could lead to more violence against women because domestic violence victims may be too afraid that police, health clinics, or shelters could turn them over for deportation rather than protect them.

Anthony McCartney and Chris Echegaray, "Deadly Attack Might Have Targeted Mexican Workers," The Tampa Tribune (Oct. 13, 2006): an attack on October 9, 2006 killed one person and seriously injured four other Mexican laborers, stealing thousands of dollars. Activists speculate they might have targeted the immigrants because they often keep cash in their house. Blance Gonzales and Sylvia Torres of Immigrants United for Freedom point out that Mexican workers are often robbery targets because they do not call the police for fear the police will turn them in for deportation. The person killed was actually a United States citizen who originally came from Mexico.

John J. Monahan, "Romney plan for immigrants called threat to abuse victims," The Worcester Telegram & Gazette News (Dec. 6, 2006): Mary R. Lauby, the executive director of Jane Doe Inc. (the coalition against domestic violence in MA) called the initiative by Governor Romney to authorize state police to arrest undocumented immigrants "outrageous" because it would discourage domestic violence victims from contacting the police because they are normally afraid to reach out for help.

Ed Johnson, "Baby search turns to prayer, TV hope," Florida News-Press (Dec. 9, 2006): the FBI reached out to Latino media outlets to urge community involvement to help find a baby kidnapped in Fort Myers, Florida. Police are concerned that immigration issues are making Latino and Brazilian community members afraid to come forward with crucial information. Fort Myers police chief Hilton Daniels repeatedly said the police are not going to question the immigration status of witnesses. In a related story, Jerry Seper, "Smugglers terrorize illegals to pay fees," Washington Times (Dec. 13, 2006): ICE has seen an unprecedented surge in brutality by human smugglers who seek to collect payments for smuggling people. US Attorney Paul K. Charlton in Arizona told a Senate subcommittee that a growing number of human smugglers have turned to violence to extort payment from their clients.

Paul K. Charlton, US Attorney of the District of Arizona, Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittees on immigration, border security and citizenship, and terrorism, technology and homeland security (Mar. 1, 2006): "violence among smugglers has grown exponentially." "smugglers have turned to violence to extort payment from their own clients. In some instances, when a smuggled alien cannot pay the full amount, the smugglers use violence to convince the alien or family members to pay the smuggling fee. In other cases, the smugglers agree to a certain price for their services, but when the alien arrives at a drop house in the US the fee is raised dramatically, often to a price that the alien cannot afford."

Brigid Schulte, "Once More, From the Top: Transit, Please," Washington Post, page VA03 (Jan. 4, 2007): Bernard Caton, legislative director for Alexandra, Virginia said "Not only do our police have enough to do, we don't want them set up so that undocumented immigrants are afraid to call the police for fear that they'd be carted off."

Sarah N. Lynch, "Mesa reaches out to disgruntled residents," East Valley Tribune (Jan. 14, 2007): Residents who are undocumented are afraid to complain about landlord problems because they often fear deportation if they complain.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Immigration Judge Daniel Meisner Retires

As of January 3, 2007, Immigration Judge Daniel Meisner in Newark, NJ has retired, 17 years after being appointed to be an immigration judge (he had worked for 16 years for INS before becoming an immigration judge). The court staff has posted a notice that his cases will be reassigned to one of the other immigration judges in Newark over the next few months. (The other judges are Henry Dogin, Annie Garcy, Frederic Leeds, Eugene Pugliese, Margaret Reichenberg, and Alberto Reifkohl.)

Some statistics on the web about Judge Meisner: TRAC did a study that calculated that Judge Meisner granted asylum 24% of the time from 2000-2005, which was around 60th toughest out of 208 judges they calculated. So a bit less likely to grant than the average immigration judge. According to a graph provided by TRAC, he denied well over 90% of the asylum cases in 2005. Good luck to Judge Meisner in his retirement!