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August 23, 2008

Census Bureau Projects Diversity Will Boom: Today's Newcomers Becoming New Americans

According to new U.S. Census Bureau projections, by 2042 American minorities will grow to become a majority, adding to the ethnic and racial diversity that has historically defined our country. The genius of this country is demonstrated by the fact that so many nationalities and ethnicities find a home in the U.S. and are shaped by the U.S. experience while they simultaneously participate in building the U.S.

Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are among groups identified as significantly contributing to the overall minority population growth. Some of this increased diversity is attributed to immigration to the U.S. and should be welcomed. As they have throughout U.S. history, immigrants continue to contribute to our economy and our culture. Yet it is the children and grandchildren of immigrants - born and raised in the U.S. - that will contribute most to the increase in minority populations.

While some fear that demographic shifts threaten American identity, research and experience has shown that today's immigrants integrate into American society just as generations of immigrants before them - they learn English, buy property, intermarry, become U.S. citizens, and otherwise weave into the fabric of this nation.

Detailed charts, information on methodology, and a press release on these projections is available on the U.S. Census Bureau website at;

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2008

IPC's Immigration OnPoint: What Happens When Cops Become Immigration Agents

Maricopa County, Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration enforcement activities have made national headlines. While some have praised the Sheriff's tough stance, others have criticized his draconian anti-immigrant tactics, claiming they have led to racial profiling, have emptied county coffers, and have detracted from investigating other serious crimes, all of which has created a toxic environment in the county. Using Maricopa County Sheriff's Office case files, interviews with top-ranking officers, and other sources of data, reporters at the East Valley Tribune uncovered startling facts about the enormous price--both financial and social--of Sheriff Arpaio's immigration enforcement activities. Get the full report at:


Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2008

Henry Cejudo captures gold and a piece of the American dream


From the Los Angeles Times
Henry Cejudo captures gold and a piece of the American dream
The son of undocumented Mexican immigrants wins Olympic freestyle wrestling title at 121 pounds.
By Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

4:22 AM PDT, August 19, 2008

BEIJING -- Henry Cejudo called it the American dream.

The son of undocumented Mexican immigrants who had to work two jobs to keep food on the table, Cejudo gave the U.S. its first Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling in Beijing with a stunning win Tuesday over Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga in the 55-kilogram (121 pounds) final.

"I'm living the American dream right now, man," Cejudo, wrapped in an American flag, said moments after his win. "The United States is the land of opportunity. It's the best country in the world and I'm just glad to represent it."

A joyful Cejudo, 21, broke into tears on the mat at the end of the match, then took a victory lap around the China Agricultural University Gymnasium.

"This is what I always wanted," he said. "The frustration was let out. The hard work and everything.

"I set my goal, I trained hard. I had a good staff around me. I just put the pieces together and I really believed in myself."

Cejudo, who had to come from behind simply to win the U.S. Olympic trials, also trailed in all three of his preliminary matches here but he never trailed in the final. Although he and Matsunaga were tied, 2-2, after the first period, Cejudo was declared the winner because he had the highest-scoring move, a two-point takedown. Cejudo then jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the second period to clinch the match.

"This is cool. Coming out of a Mexican American background, it feels good to represent the U.S.," said Cejudo, who was born in Los Angeles. "Not too many Mexicans get the chance to do that."

Cejudo's parents divorced when he was 4 and he saw his father, Jorge, only one more time before he died in Mexico City. But his mother, Nelly Rico, raised a family of six children on her own, bouncing from low-paying jobs in California to New Mexico and Arizona, where the family sometimes slept four to a bed.

A large group of family and friends -- including sister Gloria, brother Alonzo and brother Angel, his training partner in Beijing -- were in the stands for the match. And they made so much noise they were nearly ejected at one point.

Missing, however, was Cejudo's mother, the person he has repeatedly said is most responsible for his success.

"We always moved forward. We always moved forward. My mom always taught us to suck it up and whatever you want to do, you can do," Cejudo said. "And that's what I did."

There were conflicting stories as to why his mother remained in Colorado. According to one explanation she had passport problems while Cejudo said she stayed home to take care of her grandchildren.

But Gloria said her mother, who had a ticket, didn't come because she was too nervous to watch her son compete in the Olympic Games.

"At the Olympic trials in Las Vegas, she couldn't take it," said Gloria, who added that her mother, despite being half a world away, spent much of the last day vomiting because of nerves.

But she was there in spirit, with her son putting her life's lessons to good use.

"He has done an unbelievable job coming from the environment that he came from," his coach, Terry Brands, said. "Could be in prison. Could be a drug runner. Could be this, could be that. He's done an unbelievable job of not being a victim.

"He is the American dream. Gold medals are the American dream."

And Cejudo had one around his neck Tuesday. But he was also wearing an American flag. And he wouldn't let on which he liked better.

"I don't want to let it go," he finally said, tugging on the flag. "I might sleep with this."


Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2008

National Immigrant Bond Fund

The recently launched National Immigrant Bond Fund (NIBF) provides access to funds for immigrant detainees swept up in ICE enforcement actions. The Fund seeks to reaffirm the values of dignity and due process by assisting these individuals to post bond quickly in order to secure a fair hearing in Immigration Court. To date, NIBF has directed over $180,000 to immigrants swept up in ICE actions in Van Nuys, CA, New Bedford, MA, Nixon, TX and Annapolis, MD. To find out more about AILA's role in the development of this new fund, check out AILA InfoNet Document #08072563:


Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2008

National Immigration Bond Fund

Kalman Zabarsky Boston University
Robert J. Hildreth, 57, is the public face of the National Immigration Bond Fund, a fledgling organization that helps immigrants swept up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement workplace raids post bonds.

• Immigration Chronicles: Who tipped off ICE about Hispanic motorists in Chicago?

When federal immigration agents raided a Houston rag factory and took 166 suspected illegal immigrants into custody, a Boston philanthropist and multimillionaire was ready to chip in bond money to help the workers.

Robert J. Hildreth, 57, is the public face of the National Immigrant Bond Fund, a fledgling organization that helps immigrants swept up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement workplace raids post bonds.

The controversial fund has the backing of major immigrant advocacy groups and religious leaders, but has drawn criticism from anti-illegal immigration organizations.
Since spring 2007, the fund has paid more than $180,000 to bond out immigrants snared in ICE raids in California, Massachusetts and Maryland.

Word of the fund is spreading, but not quite fast enough for some immigrants caught up in the recent crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. In the past nine months, ICE has detained about 4,500 undocumented workers and 111 employers, according to ICE statistics.

Hildreth said he and bond fund leadership, which includes leading advocacy organizations such as the National Immigration Forum, decided about four months ago that the organization should broaden its reach across the country. It is now soliciting donations nationally, hoping to raise its profile and political clout to help lobby for immigration reform. So far, it has raised $200,000 for the national fund, but the money is going out as quickly as it comes in, organizers said.

On-the-ground support
The higher profile might have aided the bond fund during its recent outreach in Houston.

After ICE agents raided Action Rags USA, the Houston rag factory, on June 25, bond fund organizers struggled to find "on-the-ground support" to help mobilize the families of detained immigrants, Hildreth said. One of the principles of the fund requires detainees' families to make matching contributions, which helps ensure they appear in court, organizers said.

"I was very disappointed in Houston because we were ready to help," Hildreth said.

Maria Jimenez, a longtime Houston activist and special projects coordinator for the Center for Central American Resources, said local aid groups didn't learn about the fund until long after the raid. At least 74 of the 166 workers were released for humanitarian reasons within a week of the sweep.

"It wasn't until two weeks later that the attorneys got a notice the bond fund was available, we only had one person who was still being detained and whose family couldn't raise the bail money," Jimenez said.

Hildreth saw TV footage in March 2007 of workers picked up in an ICE raid in New Bedford, Mass., boarding a plane bound for Texas, where they were to be held before deportation.

"I was really ticked off," he said. "Within 24 hours, ICE decided to take them to the detention centers in Texas just to facilitate removing them as fast as possible. I thought that was unfair.

"If they stayed in Massachusetts, close to where we could have bonded them out, they could have gotten due process."

Hildreth called an attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, which provides free legal assistance to low-income clients, to offer his help posting bonds.

Nancy Kelly, the managing attorney of the organization's immigration unit, took Hildreth's phone call, and remembers thinking it was "too good to be true." "It was amazing," she said.

Hildreth, the son of schoolteachers, said part of his motivation to help immigrants came from his father, a historian.

"One of his big themes was that the immigration story in the United States is vital to the health and growth of our country," he said. "He drilled that into me."

After graduating from Harvard University, Hildreth worked for the International Monetary Fund from 1975 to 1980, living in Washington, D.C., and La Paz, Bolivia. He returned to the U.S. and worked for major Wall Street firms until starting his own business in 1989, Boston-based IBS Inc., which buys and sells loans in
international markets.

"I've been involved in Latin America since college," he said. "I know many, many, many Latin Americans, including many, many Mexicans, so I have a personal friendship, a personal affinity."

"And," he added, "I am a devout Roman Catholic and a liberal."

In all, Hildreth said he paid $130,000 to help the New Bedford workers, and detainees' families chipped in $100,000, securing the release of 40 people, he said. He said none of them skipped bond.

The fund has infuriated some advocates for stricter immigration reforms, who have called it "traitorous" on Internet message boards.

Risk of losing money
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which lobbies for stringent immigration controls, said many illegal immigrants historically have failed to leave the country as ordered by the government. The number of immigrants labeled as "fugitives" or "absconders" by ICE totaled more than 594,000 in October 2007, the most recent statistics available.

"These contributors better be prepared to lose a lot of money," Mehlman said.

Hildreth is frank about the bond fund's goal: to push for immigration reform that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants in the U.S.

"There's one more reason — besides humanitarian — that this bond fund was created and it's just as important. It's political," he said. "We hope that if we get a lot of history helping people in raids, plus a lot of contributions, even if it's only a buck, then we can really have a voice next year in the immigration debate."

The bond fund primarily helps people detained in workplace raids, but also occasionally takes on other immigration cases for humanitarian reasons. Hildreth helped a teenager who was housed in an immigration detention center for youths in Nixon, Texas, after the center was shut down amid allegations of sexual abuse by guards. After the center closed, one teenager's Texas attorney contacted the fund for assistance.

"We were able to find a family a pro bono lawyer, and convince a judge to let us post a $4,000 bond to get him out of jail and into a permanent situation," he said. "When the $4,000 comes back, we're going to offer that as a scholarship fund for him."

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2008

A look at ICE's self-deportation program

By The Associated Press

Article Launched: 08/05/2008 03:52:39 PM PDT

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a pilot self-deportation program Tuesday. Here is a look at the "Scheduled Departure" program:

PARTICIPATING CITIES: Chicago; Santa Ana, Calif.; San Diego; Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE PROGRAM? Immigrants who have ignored deportation orders to leave the U.S. and do not have a criminal history. Federal Immigration officials estimate 457,000 are eligible nationwide.

HOW LONG WILL THE PROGRAM RUN? It started Tuesday and runs through Aug. 22.

WHERE DO PARTICIPANTS REPORT? Local ICE offices. Individuals are asked to bring whatever form of identification they have, such as an expired passport. A hot line is also available for more information: 1-866-880-6344.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)