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Can Winnipeg model save Detroit?

Published on Sat, May 21, 2011

Detroit has become the poster child for urban decay. The city lost 25 per cent of its population between 2000 and 2010, and more than half its population since 1950. More than 90,000 houses stand empty, and many neighborhoods have been completely abandoned.

The burden of maintaining infrastructure and law enforcement in a city with an eroding tax base and sparse population has led to attempts to "shrink" the city. This means bulldozing several areas of the city and relocating existing residents. Mayor Dave Bing realizes this, and has pledged to knock down a staggering 10,000 structures during his first term.

In the past, such slum clearances led to vigorous opposition from urbanists like Jane Jacobs, who argued that top-down approaches to urban redevelopment would cause a great deal of pain for little to no benefit. Yet despite the fact that Jacobs is widely admired, the plan to shrink the city has met with little opposition in Detroit. Frankly, unless Detroit sees a major population surge, shrinking the city sadly may be necessary.

Last week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, and mused about using immigration policy to repopulate the city. The premise makes perfect sense. Most of Detroit's problems stem from the fact that fewer and fewer people are working and paying taxes in the city. There is more infrastructure than people need or the city can afford.

Ultimately the issue then is getting people to live in Detroit. But the biggest problem, even with a mild resurgence in the auto sector, is that Americans, and even most Michiganders, don't want to live in Detroit, even with jobs.

For many immigrants, however, Detroit would seem like a major upgrade over their current situations. This is not a far-fetched notion. Here's a proposal for Detroit based on an unlikely Canadian immigration success story: Winnipeg.Read more...

Published in the Winnepeg Free Press

Noncitizens with Mental Competency Issues in Removal Proceedings

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED AUGUST 2012)

In contrast to the criminal system, virtually no safeguards exist in removal proceedings for respondents with mental disabilities. Each year, untold numbers of noncitizens with mental disabilities are ordered deported without access to counsel or any assessment of their cognitive capabilities. The issue has taken on greater urgency following extensive reports of the challenges that immigrants with mental disabilities face in removal proceedings, as well as alarming accounts of the mistaken deportation of U.S. citizens with mental disabilities. This page contains summaries of recent and ongoing cases regarding the rights of noncitizens with mental disabilities.

Latest Developments | Additional Resources

Latest Developments

Board Establishes Framework for Addressing Competency Issues
Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 474 (BIA 2011)
Read more...

Tania Calvao Celebrates the J-1 AND J-2 Experience

November, 2008
Tania Calvao

Contrary to the visa title, the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program isn't all about the J1, but the J2s, too!

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Tania Alves Calvao AND her son, Olivio, as November's Exchange Visitors of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...

Study: Fewer Mexicans migrating to United States

Published on Tue, Aug 02, 2011

PHOENIX - While illegal immigration has dominated a portion of political dialogue in the United States over the last few years, fewer Mexicans are crossing the border according to a new study.

"About 60 percent fewer people are coming to the United States from Mexico," said Wendy Sefsaf with the Immigration Policy Center. The center uses Mexican nationals as a proxy because they are a large part of the undocumented population, Sefsaf said.

The reason that fewer people are looking to head across the border is the downtrodden economy.

"The reason why people are not coming is the economy," Sefsaf said. "That's always been the case. Migration from Mexico for 100 years has been impacted the economic conditions in the receiving countries."

Data from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Rand Corporation also revealed that fewer immigrants are leaving the country and those that are in the United States have likely been here for more than a decade, showing a need for a more nuanced set of policies to help immigrants integrate fully into American society, Sefsaf said.

Published in the KTAR Arizona

Court Affirms Ninth Circuit Ruling in Citizenship Case

Flores-Villar v. United States, 564 U. S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 2312, (2011)

The Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in a case involving whether two former citizenship provisions in the INA violate equal protection. These sections imposed a five-year residence requirement, after the age of fourteen, on U.S. citizen fathers -- but not on U.S. citizen mothers -- before they may transmit citizenship to a child born out of wedlock abroad to a noncitizen. Read more...

Photography by Sharon Panackal

January, 2013
Sharon Panackal, IEC Exchange Visitor of the Month, 2013

In November of last year, the International Exchange Center began publicizing our Annual Photo Contest. We received an email from Sharon Panackal:

“I am attaching the photograph with this email, and below is the caption I have written about the photograph...
Read more...

Undocumented College Students Rally For Public Financial Aid

Published on Wed, Sep 28, 2011

Two dozen college students rallied Werdnesday afternoon outside the San Francisco office of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Oct. 9 to either sign or veto a bill that would allow undocumented students to receive public financial aid for higher education.

The students, joined by a member of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees, took part in a statewide day of action designed to pressure Brown into signing the bill, AB 131, the second half of the California Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act.

In July, Brown signed AB 130, a bill allowing undocumented students to receive private scholarships.

If he signs the second bill, undocumented students attending public higher educational institutions who qualify for the exemption from non-resident tuition would be eligible to receive financial aid at the state's public colleges and universities.

Currently, undocumented students cannot receive state or federal financial aid.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, although some 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, only 5 to 10 percent continue onto college, with many unable to continue for financial reasons or because schools do not allow them to enroll.

Several students, identified only by their first names for their protection, shared stories at the rally about their college experiences.

Through choked tears, Catherine spoke of how she had been a fourth-year political science student at the University of California at Berkeley but had to drop out the semester she was to graduate because she could not afford to finish.

"Sign this bill as if your own children needed it," she said, urging Brown to take action. "Undocumented students are under attack and California can be the beacon of hope."Read more...

Published in the The San Francisco Appeal

Impact on J-1 Programs in the Event of a Federal Government Shutdown

October 1, 2013 - As the US Congress delays approving a budget for FY 2014, it is possible that tax funded “non-essential” services will be suspended.  “Non-essential” services are those that are not considered to be a health or security concern.

Read on to learn areas that may impact our exchange visitors in J status: Read more...

Dictionary now calls 'anchor baby' offensive term

Published on Thu, Dec 08, 2011

The first new edition of the American Heritage Dictionary in 10 years contained 10,000 new entries -- and one of them in particular caused a flurry of protest among immigrant and Latino advocates.

The fifth edition of the dictionary defined the term "anchor baby" as "A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family."

The original definition did not include any indication that the phrase is offensive, as it does for other words.

Immigration Impact, a group that that advocates for the rights of immigrants, first covered the word's inclusion on its blog on Dec. 2 and pressed for a change that would reflect the "poisonous and derogatory nature of the term."

After reading the post, the executive editor of the dictionary, Steve Kleinedler, agreed that the definition needed to change.

The current wording was added to the online dictionary on Monday. It flags the word as "offensive" and defines "anchor baby" as being "used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives' chances of securing eventual citizenship."

Kleinedler told Colorlines, a blog that reports on issues of race, ethnicity and social justice, that changing the word was more about accuracy than outrage.

"Personally, this was not a reaction that we have to fix it because people are angry," Kleinedler told Colorlines. "We fixed it because we were wrong. And I, as the executive editor, acknowledge the fact that this was an error and I take responsibility for that."Read more...

Published in the CNN