Why Is Cost of Illegal Immigration Ignored In Debt Ceiling Debate?

Bob Dane of the Federation for American Immigration Reform poses this question with the debt ceiling debate rages and Congress is busy haggling over who should be taxed and what programs should be slashed, they’ve promised to consider all options except…immigration. The answer is that immigration is not part of the debate because immigration, both lawful and unlawful, is a net benefit to the overall U.S. economy. The labor that, as former Federal Reserve Board head Alan Greenspan observed contributed greatly to the low inflationary economic boon in the 1990s, helps business compete in the world economy. Profitable businesses pay taxes. And the federal government collects billions of dollars in tax revenues from undocumneted workers who pay taxes by using Tax Identification Numbers, as well as billions annually in Social Security contributions under false Social Security Numbers. The agencies of the U.S. government do not ask much about the immigration status of the workers sending in these monies.

For more on this story, click here.

Join Immigrants’ List

From Immigrants’ List:

We know you already know a lot about the immigration debate. You may be involved in your local community, offer pro bono services, or mentor students who are passionate about the issue. But what about the national landscape? Are you interested in changing the face of the immigration debate across the country?

On immigration, there are a number of national advocacy organizations, but there are few that play roles in elections. Immigrants’ List is a bipartisan political action committee that works to elect pro-reform leaders and defeat anti-immigration politicians who spread misinformation and fear.

Stay involved in the elections that make a difference in the immigration fight: sign up now to receive emails.

At Immigrants’ List, we work directly in elections. Our support doesn’t stay in an echo chamber, it goes out into the field. It makes an actual difference on Election Day.

Immigrants’ List has elected pro-reform members of Congress. We’ve defeated anti-immigrant politicians. And we have our work cut out for us in 2012.

Sign up now, and help carry the immigration reform movement forward.

CBP Launches Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched two public service announcements as part of the “Don’t Be Fooled” campaign—a public awareness campaign designed to educate citizens and encourage public vigilance to combat human trafficking within local communities, and invite others to join the fight against this form of modern-dayslavery.  The two public service announcements, titled “Masquerade” and “Bird Cage,” will begin airing July 25 in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Immigration law professor points out the facts of one case of human trafficking and forced labor:

In 2001 and 2002, Varsha’s mother, known as “Mrs. Joti,” arranged for Samirah, a 53-year old woman from Indonesia, to obtain an Indonesian passport and United States visa in order to travel to the United States to work in the Sabhnanis’ home. Samirah, a rice vender who spoke no English, did not know what a visa was. . . . She traveled to the United States in February 2002 in the company of Mrs. Joti, who carried Samirah’s passport . . . . Varsha Sabhnani took Samirah’s passport and other related documents and kept them until approximately April 2007, about one year after Samirah’s passport had expired. Mrs. Joti returned to her home in Indonesia shortly after delivering Samirah.

Samirah worked as a domestic servant for Varsha and Mahender Sabhnani from February 2002 through May 2007, even though the visa that Mrs. Joti obtained for her authorized Samirah to enter the United States solely as Mrs. Joti’s employee and to work for her in this country only until May 2002. During her time with the Sabhnanis, Samirah was responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other chores at the couple’s large three-story residence, which included about seven bedrooms, seven baths, and separate offices from which Mahender Sabhnani operated PVM International and Eternal Love Parfums . . . . Varsha told Samirah that her $200 per month salary was being paid to her daughter Lita in Indonesia. Lita was in fact paid only $100 per month. Samirah received no money herself.

The circumstances of Samirah’s employment were more than severe. While at the Sabhnanis’ home, Samirah . . . was required to sleep first on the carpet outside the bedroom of one of the children and then on a mat on the floor of one of the residence’s kitchens. Samirah was not given adequate food to eat — to the point that she was often forced by hunger to eat from the garbage. She worked for extremely long hours per day and was often deprived of sleep. . . . Various witnesses testified that Samirah wore “torn or tattered,” “messy” clothing, rags “used for cleaning the floor” and clothing that left her “private part . . . visible.” Tr. 1786, 3834.

Samirah was subjected to extremely harsh physical and psychological treatment in the Sabhnanis’ home. On one occasion sometime before 2005, for example, Samirah drank milk directly from a container, without using a glass; the incident was reported to Varsha Sabhnani by one of her daughters. Varsha responded by beating Samirah and pouring scalding hot water on her arm. At her mother’s instruction, one of Varsha’s daughters took a photograph of Samirah with the milk container. Varsha Sabhnani told Samirah that the photo would be sent to Samirah’s family in Indonesia to prove that Samirah was a thief. The photo, which Varsha thereafter kept in a locked cabinet in a closet adjoining the Sabhnanis’ bedroom, was introduced into evidence at the trial. It depicts the discoloration on Samirah’s arm from the scalding.

The milk incident was not an isolated one. Samirah was beaten by Varsha Sabhnani with various household objects, such as a broom, an umbrella, and a rolling pin. She was punished for sleeping late, for not receiving permission to throw out the garbage, for stealing food from the trash, and for failing to clean the garage. Varsha threw boiling water on Samirah on at least three separate occasions. She also mutilated Samirah, pulling on Samirah’s ears until they bled, causing scabs and scars, and cutting Samirah with a knife, leaving scars on her face and various parts of her body. Wearing plastic supermarket bags on her hands, Varsha Sabhnani on more than one occasion pulled on Samirah’s ears and dug her fingernails into the flesh behind them, causing blood to trickle down Samirah’s neck. She punished Samirah for various alleged misdeeds by forcing her to eat large quantities of hot chili peppers until Samirah vomited or moved her bowels uncontrollably. Varsha forced Samirah to walk up and down flights of stairs many times in succession. Samirah was required to bathe several times in a row, sometimes with her clothes on, and was not infrequently made to work while wearing wet clothing. Varsha Sabhnani also cut Samirah’s hair with scissors and shaved her pubic hair, threatening Samirah that if she resisted her children in Indonesia would be murdered by Mahender Sabhnani and by the couple’s teenage son. Samirah “never fought back,” according to her own testimony, “because [Varsha Sabhnani] always said, mind you, if you fight me off, then you [will] be killed by the mister,” referring to Mahender Sabhnani. Tr. 1774. The abuse suffered by Samirah caused her to become so fearful that she would sometimes urinate on herself.

“Raising awareness and educating people about the crime of human trafficking and the recruitment methods of traffickers is a vital area of work in the overall anti-trafficking fight,” said Bradley Myles, executive director and CEO of the Polaris Project. “In the United States’ 3-P approach of Protection, Prosecution, and Prevention, new prevention-focused initiatives are needed, and this campaign ensures that people are more equipped with tools to prevent human trafficking before it starts.”

In February 2010, CBP launched the first phase of the “No Te Engañes” public awareness Spanish language campaign in Central America and Mexico to underscore the dangers of the two most common types of trafficking: sexual slavery and forced labor.

In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security launched the Blue Campaign – a first-of-its-kind campaign to coordinate and enhance DHS’s anti-human trafficking activities. It leverages the authorities and resources of DHS to deter human trafficking through a three-pronged strategy of prevention, protecting victims, and prosecution.

Learn more about No Te Engañes/Don’t Be Fooled on the CBP website: ( No Te Engañes )

PSAs are available on DVIDS:

CBP “Don’t Be Fooled,” “Masquerade” PSA: ( Video: Masquerade )

CBP “Don’t Be Fooled,” “Birdcage” PSA: ( Video: Birdcage )

CBP “Don’t Be Fooled,” print campaign: ( Video: print campaign )

For more on this campaign, click here.

Call for Submissions: Immigration Symposium

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal invites submissions for their Spring 2012 symposium focused on immigration law. Although papers on any immigration-related topic are welcome, they are especially interested in papers that may have particular relevance to immigration issues in Georgia or the Southeast. Accepted papers will be featured at a conference/CLE to be held on February 8, 2012 and will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of the Journal. Please e-mail papers or proposals to articleseditor@johnmarshall.edu by September 26, 2011.

Why you’ve heard of Caylee, but not Brisenia or Marchella

Leslie Berestein Rojas makes an extremely interesting set of observations in the wake of the much-publicized trial of Casey Anthony.   A jury recently acquitted Anthony of murder in the death of her young daughter Caylee Anthony.  After making headlines for months, the Anthony case continues to make the news.

Yet similarly tragic criminal cases involving children – the horrific abuse and death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce in New York, the murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arizona during a home invasion by border vigilantes – have received scant coverage in comparison.

“The stories of these three children are equally sad, how they died equally gut-wrenching. One difference is that Caylee was white, Marchella was black, and Brisenia was Mexican American. Does race and ethnicity factor into how these cases are reported?”

ACLU: Maricopa County Reach Settlement in Lawsuit by U.S. Citizen Illegally Arrested During Worksite Raid

The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it has settled a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), home of Sheriff Joe Arpaio,  over the illegal stop, arrest and detention of a U.S. citizen and a legal resident during a 2009 immigration raid at Handyman Maintenance, Inc. in Phoenix. As part of the settlement, Maricopa County agreed to pay $200,000 to Julian and Julio Mora and their lawyers in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in August 2009 by 68-year-old Julian Mora, a legal permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for 30 years, and his son Julio Mora, 21, a U.S. citizen. The father and son were singled out from white drivers on a public roadway, stopped without justification, ordered out of their truck, zip-tied, and transported to a worksite immigration raid being conducted nearby. Once taken to the worksite, they were detained by Sheriff’s Office personnel for three hours (along with over a hundred Latino workers) without food, water, or the ability to use the bathroom unescorted, until they were given a chance to prove that they were lawfully in the United States.

In April, a federal court judge in Arizona ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office violated the Fourth Amendment in stopping and arresting the Moras without cause and that the County was liable for damages.

The Moras were represented by the by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and the cooperating law firm Ryals & Breed of St. Louis.

Lawyers on the case, Mora, et al. v. Arpaio, et al., include Wang and Andre Segura of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Lai and Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona, and Stephen Ryals of Ryals & Breed, P.C., of St. Louis, Missouri.

Read the April federal court decision and the complaint.

Employers Beware: An ICE Storm of Immigration Audits is Coming

Corporate Counsel reports that, for the second time this year, auditors at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are cracking down on employers to ensure compliance with workplace eligibility laws. The government announced last week its intention to audit the hiring records of 1,000 employers of all sizes across the country. In February, the agency made a similar announcement and investigated 1,000 employers. The latest action brings the number of I-9 audits for fiscal year 2011 up to 2,300. ICE has been looking specifically at companies that traditionally hire a large volume of undocumented workers, such as the agricultural industry, the construction industry, and the hospitality industry. Other employers likely to be audited are those whose employees are privy to sensitive government information.

Mayors Call for Immigration Reform

Last week at their annual meeting, the United States Conference of Mayors  passed a resolution among their members calling for comprehensive immigration reform. The sponsors of that resolution, Los Angeles, California Mayor and U.S. Conference of Mayors President Antonio Villaraigosa and Laredo, Texas Mayor Raul Salinas explain why immigration reform cannot wait.

Los Angeles, California Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

Last week, the nation’s mayors gathered in Baltimore to discuss the issues that matter most to Americans. Together, we resolved that one of the best ways to achieve our collective goals of strengthening the economy, ensuring our global competitiveness, and securing our homeland, is through comprehensive immigration reform.

The United States has always been enriched by the economic and cultural contributions of immigrants. Immigrants have spurred innovation, made major financial contributions to our nation, and bravely served our country in the armed forces. Yet our current, broken system turns a blind eye to their countless contributions.

Today’s immigration law lacks accountability and responsibility, exploits undocumented workers, and undermines the American workforce.

The system must be reformed now. We must embrace the DREAM Act and the millions of young people who would be given a pathway to citizenship with it.  We must embrace AgJobs to ensure that agricultural workers can earn residency and stabilize their workforce.  And we must provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented persons who meet strict requirements.

As Mayors of cities that are home to millions of immigrants, we know that comprehensive immigration reform is a key to prosperity for all Americans. For the sake of our economy, security, and competitiveness, comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing to do.

Laredo, Texas Mayor Raul Salinas:

Because I agree with President Obama that we cannot surrender to the forces in favor of the status quo on immigration reform, I offered a resolution for consideration by the United States Conference of Mayors meeting this summer in Baltimore.  For too long, comprehensive immigration reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.

As a mayor, as a Hispanic community leader, and as an American, I will not accept the polarization and pettiness that prevents this nation from addressing one of the great challenges of our times: comprehensive immigration reform.

I was proud to be joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in championing a resolution in support of comprehensive immigration reform and recognition of the great value immigrants have provided to this nation.  The language, which is available at www.usmayors.org, was unanimously adopted by our colleagues on a bi-partisan basis.

And why was it that mayors could reach agreement on matters that other elected officials cannot?  That may be best explained in the inaugural address of Mayor Villaraigosa as the 69th President of the Conference of Mayors:  “You hire a mayor to act. And the American people desperately need us to act now.”

Read the text of their resolution here.

Georgia and South Carolina Laws Effective

According to a recent article from the Washington Independent, two of the more controversial provisions of Georgia’s new immigration enforcement were blocked by a federal judge on Monday, other provisions that were not overturned went into effect July 2nd. It is now a criminal offense to apply for a job with a false I.D. in Georgia, punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and 15 years in jail.

There have been reports of immigrants, Hispanics and others who may be affected by the new law fleeing the state before it goes into effect. This has resulted in serious labor shortages, leaving crops to rot in fields and forcing farmers to raise prices to pay for new workers. It’s unclear which parts of the law were of greatest concern to the people leaving the state, but anecdotal accounts reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggest the judge’s decision was a relief to some of the immigrants thinking about leaving. . .

In South Carolina, where a law quite similar to Georgia’s passed last week, a new illegal immigration enforcement unit will be established today. The unit will coordinate between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

For more on this story, click here….

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