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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

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  1. Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Local and State Anti-Immigrant Lawmaking

    by , 03-03-2014 at 06:43 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    The Supreme Court ended the long fights in two separate cases where local governments attempted to impose anti-immigrant ordinances to drive away out of status immigrants. The high court denied certiorari in cases involving Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas. Hazleton's ordinance would have revoked business licenses for employers found to be employing out of status immigrants. And both Hazleton and Farmers Branch would have punished landlords found to be renting to out of status immigrants.

    The court made its views fairly clear when in 2012 it threw out most of Arizona's anti-immigration law. That law and these two have something very interesting in common. They were all written by Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant crusader who moonlights as the Secretary of State of Kansas. Hopefully, cities and states that decide to hire Mr. Kobach to draft his unconstitutional laws get an indemnification clause before he bankrupts their communities fighting these losing battles.
  2. Immigrant of the Day: Chiwetel Ejiofor - Oscar Nominee

    by , 03-02-2014 at 05:39 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    In about 40 minutes, the Oscars will begin and there are a host of immigrants nominated, just as there are every year. Several are in the top categories and I'll highlight several nominees and winners over the next few days. I did want to start out with a British actor of Nigerian heritage who starred in a very American film.

    Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup in Twelve Years a Slave, the story of a free man in New York state who is kidnapped and sold in to slavery in Louisiana in the 1840s. I read the book a few months ago and the story is amazing.

    Ejiofor has become a well known actor in Hollywood. He was discovered by Steven Spielberg and starred in Amistad in 1997. He later starred opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me and had a role in Phil Spector.

    Ejiofor's own upbringing was not without tragedy. He was in a car accident in Nigeria at the age of 11 in which his father, a physician, was killed. He was badly injured and still has facial scars. Ejiofor's sister, by the way, is CNN reporter Zain Asher.

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  3. Report Hits CBP for Abusive Treatment of US Citizens at Ports of Entry

    by , 03-02-2014 at 05:13 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    By chance, I was listening to my public radio station this morning and heard a shocking special hour long report on abuses at CBP ports of entry on the Canadian border. The story centered around the abusive treatment American citizens who happen to be Muslim face at the hands of CBP port officers. The report outlined how families with young kids are held for hours on end in freezing temperatures and interrogated like criminals, how people are subjected to unbelievably invasive body cavity searches without warrants and how the agency refuses to comply with Freedom of Information Act laws when reporters or civil liberties groups try to investigate abuses.

    As an immigration lawyer, I've heard many of these allegations before, but the report still shocked me.

    To hear the different segments of the report, go here.
  4. CBP Report Portrays a Border Patrol too Quick to Use Deadly Force

    by , 02-28-2014 at 10:24 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    From the LA Times:

    Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths.
    The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which had commissioned the review, has tried to prevent the scathing 21-page report from coming to light.

    The report's findings are shocking, but the agency's handling of the findings are just as worrisome. According to the LAT piece, CBP deliberately hid information from the House and Senate oversight committees that requested the findings:

    House and Senate oversight committees requested copies last fall but received only a summary that omitted the most controversial findings that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them.

    And CBP is ignoring the report's major recommendations.

    The Times obtained the full report and the agency's internal response, which runs 23 pages. The response rejects the two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless its occupants are trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury.

    Jeh Johnson, DHS' new secretary is said to be reconsidering the response to the recommendations. Nothing like a little sunshine to force government agencies to do the right thing. Kudos to reporter Brian Bennett for bringing this story to the public's attention.
  5. Immigrant of the Day: Jan Koum - WhatsApp Founder and America's Newest Billionaire

    by , 02-19-2014 at 11:19 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Ukrainian-born Jan Koum founded a little app called WhatsApp that allows people to text over wi-fi and potentially save a lot of money (the app is not so little - it handles 20 billion messages per day). He and his family fled anti-Semitism in his home county. Today, he won the jackpot. His 55-employee company is to be acquired by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion. He has an amazing rags-to-riches story which is reported in Forbes. Congrats Jan!

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