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  1. American Lawyer Assists Australian Asylum Seekers

    Michael "Dan" Mori is a former Marine Corp attorney who gained fame defending Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks,
    an*Australian national captured by the Americans in Afghanistan.* With
    Mr. Mori's help, Mr. Hicks accepted a favorable Alfred plea (basically
    meaning that he did not admit guilt, but agreed that there was enough
    evidence to convict him). He was sentenced to seven years in prison for
    supporting terrorists, a charge that he denies. All but nine months of
    the sentence were suspended. Mr. Hicks served most of his nine months in
    Australia and was released.*The plea came after five years at Gitmo,
    under less than pleasant circumstances.*The case gained quite a bit of
    attention, as it was the first conviction by a U.S. war crimes tribunal
    since World War II.

    After the Hick's case, Mr. Mori's career in the Marines apparently
    stalled. He alleged (in a lawsuit) that the military retaliated against
    him for his work on Mr. Hick's case. He eventually was promoted, but
    retired soon thereafter and moved to Australia. There, he started work at the plaintiff law firm Shine as a Social Justice Consultant.

    It seems that Mr. Mori's latest project is to help asylum seekers detained by the Australian government on the island of Nauru.

    Come on, Mori, admit it - You took the Nauru gig for the beaches!

    Nauru*is a small
    island republic in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. The country
    became wealthy in the 1960s and 70s by exploiting mineral resources, but
    when those ran out, the economy went bust. In 2001, Nauru entered into
    an agreement with Australia to house refugees seeking admission to
    Australia. In exchange, Australia provides Nauru with financial
    assistance and technical aid.

    The refugee detention center on Nauru has been controversial, and it
    has closed and re-opened several times. The latest incarnation of the
    detention center *opened last year in August and holds about 400 men.
    After a visit to Nauru, Amnesty International described the camp as "a human rights catastrophe ... a toxic mix of uncertainty, unlawful detention and inhumane conditions."

    In September 2012, there was an alleged riot at the camp and property
    was destroyed. The government charged 10 detainees with rioting and
    destruction of property. The case of the "Nauru 10? is currently
    pending, and this is where Mr. Mori comes into the picture.

    Mr. Mori and other defense lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition in
    Nauru, claiming that the detainees are being unlawfully held. The
    defense team convinced a Nauru court to adjourn the criminal charges
    until the habeas issue is resolved, and that issue remains pending.

    "Whether or not you agree with the process... you have to agree that
    people being detained should have access to legal help," said Mr. Mori,
    who compared the situation in Nauru with Guantanamo Bay. "You have to
    push the politics aside and remember, if someone's detained they need
    access to the law."

    There is a lot at stake for Nauru, which has become dependent on the
    Australian aid, and for the asylum seekers, whose fate rests in the
    hands of the Nauru court system. I hope that Mr. Mori and the other
    lawyers can bring a measure of justice to this obscure corner of the

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 01:21 PM by JDzubow

  2. Bloggings: Reform, What Could Stop Thee? Let Me Count The Ways. By Roger Algase

    With my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for the heading, this comment will look at some of the main obstacles to passage of immigration reform, current and recent, and offer a few off the cuff thoughts on which, if any, of them may have a serious chance of derailing the Senate Gang of Eight's CIR bill. I do not claim  to offer a comprehensive, detailed analysis of this issue, but will only make a few brief observations.
    First, there was Boston. As soon as it developed that the bombing suspects were Chechen Muslims who were born in and had family connections to a dangerous and violent part of the world, the aha! gotcha! signal went up among right wing immigrant-haters, who tried to use the deaths of four innocent people (one of whom was a student from China) and the horrible injuries to so many others as an excuse to delay or block CIR. 
    Now, a month after the bombing, it is safe to say that this terrible insult to the victims of the Marathon attack, namely using their suffering and the grief of their families as an excuse to continue deporting 11 million Latino, Asian and other unauthorized immigrants, mainly of color, didn't work.
    Next, there is Benghazi. This is not the place to go into the details about this unfortunate event which lead to the deaths of the US ambassador and three other American diplomats, something which is still under investigation, but it is clear to virtually everyone who is not working for Fox News that, as far as discrediting President Obama (Or Hillary Clinton), there is no there, there (as Gertrude Stein is supposed to have said about Oakland CA).
    The people who are promoting the Benghazi witchhunt are by and large the same people who have been pushing the idea that President Obama is a socialist, "illegal alien", terrorist-loving, America-hating Muslim who wants to turn this country into a Communist (or Fascist) dictatorship ever since he was elected to his first term. 
    No one claims that Benghazi has anything to do with immigration, but the president is for reform, so any attempt to smear or discredit him will (the right wing hopes) rebound against any initiative he supports, including CIR.
    Since not even the right wing withchunters have attempted to tie the attack at the US consulate into anything to do with visas, it is a safe prediction that, as an obstacle to CIR, Benghazi will sooner or later go the way of Boston.
    This brings us to the alleged scandals that are suddenly gripping the administration, one right after another. See Politico, May 14, West Wing schooled on scandal. These include the IRS "special scrutiny" of Tea Party groups applying for tax deductions (as if anyone seriously thinks that these groups were not political to the core, and as if the IRS had never investigated the NAACP or audited liberal groups under Republican presidents). 
    The scandal accusations also include alleged Justice Department harassment of the AP, as well as sexual assault claims against the military (See Washington Post, May 14).
    The cumulative effect of these allegations may be to try to create a circus -style atmosphere of investigations during the coming months, possibly leading to the biggest circus of all, politically motivated but completely groundless impeachment charges against the president.
    What a boon that would be to the anti-immigrant lobby - to bury CIR underneath a political and media impeachment firestorm that would distract the country from everything else.
    A future comment will discuss what may, arguably, be more substantial obstacles to immigration reform. These are the evident reluctance in the House to move ahead on reform (See Politico, May 14, House immigration group at impasse) ,and, most serious of all, the endemic racism in the "conservative" wing of the Republican party which is fueling opposition to reform, even at the price of destroying the GOP. To be continued.

  3. Summary of the Day's Amendments to Senate Bill 744

    by , 05-14-2013 at 07:58 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    The Senate Judiciary Committee began this morning wrapping up Title I amendments before moving on the non-immigrant visas in Title IV. They'll pick up there on Thursday and then will try to get in to the E-Verify provisions. Here is my summary of the 15 amendments that passed today.
    Summary of S.744 amendments from 5-14-2013

    // <![CDATA[
    var docstoc_docid="156690491";var docstoc_title="Summary of S.744 amendments from 5-14-2013";var docstoc_urltitle="Summary of S.744 amendments from 5-14-2013";
    // ]]>
  4. Bloggings: The Gang of Eight vs. the Gang of Hate Will Determine the Fate of People Who Want to Immigrate. By Roger Algase

    A May 13 Politico article, Gang of 8 looks to defend guest worker plan, describes how the bipartisan Senate Gang of Eight is holding together against attempts from the right to break up its unity and thereby doom CIR to the same oblivion that it encountered in 2007. 
    While the numerous amendments that have been offered in the Senate Judiciary Committee so far are not all from the right (as in the case of Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's marriage equality amendment) the clear purpose of many of them is to create dissension between the Democratic and Republican GOE members and as a result kill CIR.
    Examples are two poison pill  "border security" amendments which were rejected by the committee after being offered by two fierce Republican opponents of reform, Senator Jeff Sessions (Alabama) and Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) respectively.
    The Politico article goes on to state:
    "But the Gang's rock solid unity is already fueling anger from conservatives and critics of the immigration bill, who are accusing the bipartisan coalition of exercising undue influence on immigration policy behind closed doors."
    The article quotes Senator Sessions as follows:
    "One of the things that upsets the American people about Washington is drafting a bill with special interests in secret and jamming it across the finish line in a way that minimizes public involvement and input...This legislation needs improvement and openness."
    Let's take a closer look at the "improvement and openness" that Senator Jeff Sessions stands for. An April 18 article in America's Voice by Matt Hildreth sheds some light in this regard. It is entitled: Anti-Immigrant Senator Sessions Is Leading The Gang of Hate. Who Else Will Join Him? Here is the link: leading-the-gang-of-hate-who-else-will-join-him/
    Hildreth writes:
    "Sessions has extremely close relations with the John Tanton network of anti-immigrant groups: the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA and the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR)."
    Hildreth then quotes an August, 2012 post by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as follows:
    "FAIR founder John Tanton, a man with a lengthy record of friendly correspondence with Holocaust deniers, a former Klan lawyer and leading white nationalist thinkers, has repeatedly suggested that racial conflict will be the outcome of immigration."
    Hildreth continues:
    "Jeff Sessions is very tight with FAIR, CIS and Numbers USA. The groups have given him awards."...
    "He touted Alabama's self deportation law, HB 56, which was written by FAIR's former general counsel, Kris Kobach. When that law passed in 2011, Sessions welcomed the 'unpleasant, unfortunate consequences' that HB 56 unleashed on immigrants, families and school children."
    Now that there's a real bipartisan reform bill, it will be Sessions' moment to assert his role as the leader of the 'Gang of Hate'."...
    "The big question is which other GOP Senators wil join this 'Gang of Hate'. We fully expect it will include Republicans Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA), Ted Cruz (TX) and John Cornyn (TX...)."
    The coming battle of the Gang of Eight vs. the Gang of Hate will most likely determine the fate of millions of people who want to immigrate.

  5. Advocacy Groups Call for Suspension of Deportations for Potential RPIs

    by , 05-13-2013 at 06:01 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    From the NY Times' Julia Preston:

    Labor, Latino and immigrant advocate groups called on President Obama
    on Monday to suspend deportations of illegal immigrants who could be
    eligible for a pathway to citizenship under a bipartisan bill to
    overhaul the immigration system that is under consideration in the
    Among the organizations demanding that the White House halt most
    removals were the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the country's largest federation of
    labor unions; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
    or Maldef, a Latino civil rights group; the National Day Laborer
    Organizing Network; and United We Dream, a national group representing
    young illegal immigrants. They said Mr. Obama should act immediately,
    even before Congress votes on the bill.
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