December 22, 2011

Deportation plans could split up married lesbian couple in Vermont

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Frances Herbert and her wife, Takako Ueda, were looking forward to the New Year’s Eve family concert at the Baptist Church, the town fireworks on the pond and then a night at home to celebrate the arrival of 2012.

But federal immigration authorities have told Ueda she needs to leave the United States for her native Japan by Dec. 31, a move that would split up a couple who have been together more than a decade and were married under Vermont law in April.

Camille Mackler's Photo Conversation

Immigration Attorney, Camille Mackler has a unique way of communicating the issues surrounding immigration. As the 2012 elections are nearing, Camille has began to use pictures to highlight current immigration debates as well as the history in immigration throughout the United States. "I hope these images will put a human face on the issue and remind us all what immigration means to this country. My hope is that by having a conversation through images we can finally communicate in a meaningful way and remember what is at stake."

Follow her blog at

December 16, 2011

Federal Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Office Violated Rights of Latinos

According to the civil rights report by the United States Department of Justice, Latinos are four to nine times more likely to be stopped in traffic stops in Maricopa County than non-Latino’s and that the agency’s immigration policies treat Latinos as if they are all in the country illegally.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio along with his office, known as MCSO, is under federal investigation for racial profiling and discrimination. Sheriff Arpaio denies the racial profiling allegations and believes that individuals who are stopped by deputies are done so because there is enough probable cause to believe they have committed crimes. The Justice Department disagree with Sheriff Arpaio’s and MCSO’S policies. “Arpaio’s own actions have helped nurture [a] culture of bias.”

Read more:

December 14, 2011

Alice Clapman Explores the Consequences for Noncitizen Defendants Facing Removal Proceedings

Padilla v. Kentucky was a major victory for immigrants because the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that requires counsel to inform their non-citizen clients of any immigration consequences that would result from pleading guilty.

Jose Padilla was arrested in 2001 after authorities discovered more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in his truck. Originally from Honduras, Padilla was afraid that pleading guilty would revoke his legal permanent residency in the United States and have him deported, but his attorney advised him otherwise. Padilla agreed to plead guilty; however, his plea made it certain that he would be deported once he completed his time served.

The Kentucky Supreme Court believed that Padilla’s Sixth Amendment right was not violated because they felt that his lawyer provided him with effective assistance. Advice about deportation was a “collateral” consequence, which the court did not consider to be required information disclosed to Padilla. The United States Supreme Court disagreed with the Kentucky Supreme Court, reversing and remanding the lower court's decision. “Constitutionally competent counsel would have advised him that his conviction for drug distribution made him subject to automatic deportation.” The United States Supreme Court issued a decision that requires counsel to inform their non-citizen clients about immigration consequences that would result post conviction.

While Padilla was viewed as a major development for immigrants, many challenges still exist for non-citizens within the United States Criminal Justice System. Immigration deportation has arisen within the last few decades because non-citizens have lacked the benefit of counsel. Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Alice Clapman, has recently written the article, Petty Offenses, Drastic Consequences: Toward a Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel for Noncitizen Defendants Facing Deportation, exploring the decision from Padilla and how it can be used to protect non-citizens with misdemeanors that cause immigration consequences.

April 27, 2011

Advocacy Organizations Welcome DHS Policy Change Regarding NSEERS

Advocacy Organizations Welcome DHS Policy Change Regarding NSEERS

Washington, DC | | April 27, 2011 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), along with the Arab American Institute (AAI), the National Immigration Forum (NIF) and the Rights Working Group (RWG), welcome the decision by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to modify the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS). According to DHS through a notice published in the Federal Register, effective tomorrow, nationals and citizens of countries currently subject to NSEERS are no longer required to register. Read the notice
The NSEERS program was a counter-productive response in the wake of September 11, 2001, and required certain non-immigrants to register at ports of entry and local immigration offices; this process entailed fingerprints, photographs and lengthy questioning. One controversial aspect of the NSEERS program was a “domestic call-in” component that solicited registrations from more than 80,000 males who were inside the United States on temporary visas from predominantly Arab, South Asian, or Muslim-majority countries. The specific parameters of NSEERS revealed it to be a system that was a clear example of profiling: discriminatory, arbitrary, and, as DHS itself has stated, an ineffective national security measure.
DHS has notified key stakeholders about the delisting of countries from the NSEERS regulations, and suggested that individuals residing in the U.S. and facing removal or a denial of immigration benefits because of NSEERS will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The groups look forward to working with DHS to ensure that favorable discretion is exercised toward individuals facing immigration consequences because of an NSEERS-related issue. It is critical that DHS view this rule as a starting point for granting relief retroactively for those affected by NSEERS. Ultimately, these groups believe that NSEERS must be repealed in its entirety.
Organizational Contacts:
Mr. Abed A. Ayoub, ADC
202-244-2990 |
Mr. Omar Tewfik, AAI
202-429-9210 |
Mr. Martine Apodaca, NIF
Ms. Pryia Murthy, SAALT
301-270-1855 |
Ms. Samera Hafiz, RWG
Ms. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Esq., Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights
814-865-3823 |  

April 19, 2011


"I was invited, along with my friend Gaby Pacheco, to speak to 5th graders at the Georgetown Day School about the DREAM Act. I almost did not go but I can’t really say no to talking to young kids. Of course, I’m terrified of it as well — it isn’t anything I’ve ever done. Then again, I’ve never taken on the U.S. government either so I figure it cannot be that hard." (...)

March 08, 2011

Washington Senate Votes Down Driver's License Ban for Undocumented Immigrants

A bill restricting access to driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and to stop identification fraud was voted down Monday in Washington's state senate. The Republican backed motion to bring a vote on the bill resulted in a defeat, dealing a major blow to proponents of the measure.

In a procedural motion, Republicans asked the Senate to consider the bill, which had not been brought to the floor by Democrats, who hold the majority and control over which bills get a vote.

March 01, 2011

Obama's DOMA Turnaround Prompts New Strategy in Immigration Battle

Immigration advocates are seizing upon President Obama's decision not the defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and his conclusion that all laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation should be presumed unconstitutional, opening up a new front in the twenty-year battle for immigration equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

February 28, 2011

Angry Arizona, Again

Many states are doing urgent business: jobs, the economy, broken budgets. Arizona’s legislators are trying to give government new powers to strip away individual rights, to extend immigration enforcement into schools, public housing, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

February 25, 2011

Texas bill to make hiring illegal workers a felony

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas bill that would make it a state felony to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant, unless the person is a domestic worker, has faced some opposition from critics who say it would crack down on businesses while allowing households to use such workers.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, authored the bill that would penalize those who knowingly or recklessly hire or contract with an undocumented worker. But jobs like maids, landscapers and other domestic positions within a family home would be exempt.

February 24, 2011

The Problem With Question 36

Last month, I became an American citizen, a tremendous honor and no easy accomplishment, even for a Canadian. After living here for 12 years, I thought I knew everything. Then I learned how we mint Americans.

Arizona Lawmakers Push New Round of Immigration Restrictions

Arizona lawmakers are proposing a sweeping package of immigration restrictions that might make the controversial measures the state approved last year, which the Obama administration went to court to block, look mild.

February 23, 2011

A Risky Trip Leads to Stardom and Sanctuary

A Honduran teenager gained fame as the star of a documentary film that showed the dangers faced by children who ride across Mexico atop freight trains to cross illegally to the United States. But the boy, Kevin Casasola, rode the trains again, and now he has been granted asylum in the United States, his lawyer said on Monday.

February 22, 2011

Dream Act Advocate Turns Failure Into Hope

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Isabel Castillo was counting on the Dream Act, and when the Dream Act was defeated in December, it upended her dreams.

February 17, 2011

Winning Entry 2010 Creative Writing Contest | Community Education Center

The AILA Santa Clara Valley chapter 5th grade creative writing contest is running for the 4th year. Last year, we had the national 5th grade winner, Julia Culbert. Please read her essay and comment. For information on this year's contest, please see:

Cool Places to Host Events

Here you have some places to host events:

Fox Theatre in Redwood City and Sparky's Hot Rod Garage.

February 16, 2011

E-Verify "Self Check" to go live Mar. 18th

"In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security proposes to establish a new Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, ‘‘Department of Homeland Security/United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—SORN DHS/ USCIS—013 E-Verify Self Check System of Records.’’ The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services E-Verify Self Check is voluntary and available to any individual who wants to check his own work authorization status prior to employment and facilitate correction of potential errors in federal databases that provide inputs into the E-Verify process.

February 15, 2011

Anti-immigrant activist convicted of murder of 9-yr.-old girl

TUCSON -- The leader of an anti-illegal-immigrant group was convicted Monday in a home invasion that left a 9-year-old girl and her father dead in what prosecutors said was an attempt to steal drug money to fund the group's operations.

February 14, 2011

USCIS to Issue Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Card for Adjustment of Status Applicants

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

February 11, 2011

Some States Applying Brakes to Legislation Denying Citizenship to U.S.-Born Children

Yesterday, a panel in South Dakota’s legislature voted to halt legislation aimed at denying citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. South Dakota’s bill—and others like it—propose measures which challenge the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which states that, with very few exceptions, all persons born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. While conservative lawmakers continue to introduce bills challenging the birthright citizenship clause, other states—like Arizona and Montana—are joining South Dakota’s lead in tabling these bills due to questions of constitutionality.

February 10, 2011

After a False Dawn, Anxiety for Illegal Immigrant Students

After a False Dawn, Anxiety for Illegal Immigrant Students
Darren Hauck for The New York Times
Maricela Aguilar, a recipient of a full academic scholarship to Marquette University, was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States without legal documents since she was 3 years old.

Published: February 8, 2011

MILWAUKEE — It was exhilarating for Maricela Aguilar to stand on the steps of the federal courthouse here one day last summer and reveal for the first time in public that she is an illegal immigrant.