How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: 287(g) immigration enforcement program isn't focused on serious offenders

Photo by 888bailbonds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009. The county extended its participation in the federal 287(g) program in October.

The federal government's controversial 287(g) program, which partners local agencies with immigration authorities, is the subject of a new report out today from the Migration Policy Institute.

Among other things, the report echoes some of the already existing complaints about federal-local immigration enforcement in that there is not as much of an emphasis on finding and deporting immigrants with serious criminal records as promised by the Obama administration.

According to the analysis from the institute, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C. think tank whose senior staff includes former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service chief Doris Meissner, the 287(g) program as it's being implemented "is not targeted primarily at serious offenders," with only about half of 287(g) activity involving non-citizens (mostly undocumented immigrants, but also legal residents) arrested for misdemeanor or traffic offenses.

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How citizenship is defined around the world

Illustration by Maphobbyist/Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)


A map illustrating nations that recognize jus soli citizenship, otherwise known as birthright citizenship (dark blue), and those that don't (gray).


As immigration-restriction advocates campaign to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants, it's worth taking a look at how other nations handle citizenship at birth.

The United States is one of a long list of countries that recognize jus soli (Latin for "right of the soil") citizenship, most comonly known as birthright citizenship. And there is an even longer list of nations that don't.

The vast majority of nations in the Americas recognize jus soli, including Canada, Mexico (which recognizes nationality at birth) and most of Central and South America. Outside of the Americas, however, straightforward jus soli policies are rare. The norm in Europe, Asia and in much of Africa and elsewhere is some form of jus sanguinis (Latin for "right of blood") citizenship, typically granted to children born to a national of that country.

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In the news this morning: Another birthright bill, human trafficking cases hard to prosecute, Egyptian immigrants protest in solidarity, mor

South Dakota Introduces Immigration and Birthright Citizenship Bills - Fox News Latino Three immigration-related state bills have been introduced, including one with provisions similar to Arizona's SB 1070 and another challenging automatic U.S.citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

Human trafficking hard to prove, hard to stop - Houston Chronicle Investigators say that cases involving human trafficking are hard to separate from prostitution and illegal immigration cases. Unless a victim comes forward and provides information, they are difficult to prosecute.

California Latinos protest Arizona push to end birthright citizenship - CNN More than 1,500 people in the predominantly Latino L.A. suburb of Pacoima protested this weekend against the introduction of anti-birthright citizenship bills in Arizona.

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Why the birthright citizenship battle is heating up now

Photo by Chuck Coker/Flickr (Creative Commons)


There was a time when even in immigration restriction circles, talk of doing away with automatic U.S. citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants was an argument that didn’t make it far beyond the fringes. So why is it now that this proposition has made it to the center of the immigration debate?

The timing of multiple new bills aimed at ending birthright citizenship isn't an accident. Two years ago, a House bill that proposed amending the Immigration and Naturalization act to limit citizenship at birth was introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegy, a Simi Valley Republican who now leads the House immigration subcommittee. The bill died quietly, attracting only one co-sponsor.

But by late last summer, shortly after the furor died down surrounding Arizona's SB 1070 as the stringent anti-illegal immigration bill headed to federal court, talk of ending birthright citizenship resumed anew. Plans emerged either to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which grants citizenship to those born on U.S. soil, or to seek a judicial reinterpretation.

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Honoring civil rights pioneer Fred Korematsu

Photo Courtesy of the family of Fred T. Korematsu/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fred Korematsu, seated center, at a 1983 press conference announcing the re-opening of his civil rights case.

Sunday marks the first celebration of a new state holiday, Fred Korematsu Day, for the late Japanese American civil rights hero whose journey as an activist began when he challenged his forced incarceration in an internment camp during World War II.

A bill approving the Jan. 30 holiday was signed last September by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, making it the first holiday in the United States honoring an Asian American leader.

Assembly member Warren Furutani, whose 55th district includes parts of the South Bay and Long Beach, sponsred the bill. He wrote about Korematsu's legacy in yesterday's Daily Breeze:

While the use of the term "concentration camp" may seem controversial to some, we must not forget that Japanese-Americans incarcerated during World War II were American citizens who were uprooted from their homes, forced to live in remote camps, and were not given due process of law. In fact, President Franklin Roosevelt used the term "concentration camp" to identify the camps while they were in existence.

At one time, this chapter was virtually ignored in American history books. But in the late 1960s, information started to emerge, and outrage accompanied the growing awareness about this dark time.

One of the unexpected actors to emerge in this unfolding drama was a humble individual who challenged the law and executive order that allowed Japanese-Americans to be incarcerated in 1942. His name was Fred Korematsu, and he decided that what he learned about freedom, as an American citizen of Japanese ancestry in San Francisco Bay Area public schools, applied to him as well.

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