Posted by: birdsongslaw | June 24, 2008

Birdsong at The Berkeley Law Symposium/Policy and Refugees

In 2003 Birdsong was invited to be a panelist at the Berkeley Law School Symposium on the culture of international legal regimes.  Birdsong was invited because of his travels and writings exposing the death penalty debate in the English Speaking Caribbean.

 

Birdsong’s immigration law and refugee law students may gleen some ideas from reviewing my talking points captioned below from the panels on which I served…who knows?

BERKELEY   LAW   SYMPOSIUM

 

BIRDSONG TALKING POINTS

 

 

                                                            PANEL   1

 

 

WHOSE RULE OF LAW: THE CULTURE OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL REGIMES

 

QUERY 1  – WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE HISTORICAL RELATIONS B/T THE U.S., AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN??

 

 

            – MY TRAVELS REINFORCE THAT AS AFRICAN AMERICANS OR AFRO -CARIBBEANS – THE ROOT IS TRULY AFRICA – MAINLY WEST COAST OF AFRICA, VERY STRONG NIGERIAN FOCUS –

                                                DREAD LOCKS – SANGO WORSHIP

HIP HOP MUSIC – CALL AND RESPONSE OF AFRICAN WORK SONGS

 

            – WHAT TIES US TOGETHER IS THAT WE ARE A STRONG PEOPLE WHO WERE BROUGHT TO THE NEW WORLD TO DO THE HARDEST LABOR – AND WE HAVE SURVIVED

 

            – WE HAVE AS AFRICANS AN INNATE BELIEF IN AND A NEED FOR A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM AND AN OBLIGATION TO HAVE AS STRONG SAY IN HOW WE ARE GOVERNED

 

            – THIS HAS BEEN DENIED TO US UNTIL RECENTLY IN BOTH AFRICA, CARIBBEAN AND THE U.S.

 

                                    SELF  DETERMINATION

 

                                                AFRICA  – SINCE LATE 50’S EARLY 60’S

U.S. – 1965 ON (VOTING RIGHTS/ GREAT SOCIETY)

 

                                                CARIBBEAN – LATE 60’S – 70’S

 

2002 MIRAMAR, FLORIDA  – AFRO-CARIBBEAN CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE MAJORITY OF CITY COUNCIL

 

2003 DAYTONA BEACH – BLACK FEMALE MAYOR AND MAJORITY OF CITY COUNCIL MINORITY AND FEMALE

 

            – ARE WE SUBJECTED TO TRANSACTIONAL SCHEMES THAT ARE INTRINSICALLY WEIGHTED TOWARD THE RULE MAKERS?

 

                                                YES – TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY!!

 

                                                PROFIT MOTIVE IN BUSINESS AND TRADE

 

NEW TREND IS OUTSOURCING – YET WE WERE PART OF THE OLD TREND – IN SOURCING –I.E. SLAVERY

 

– SOLUTION – OF COURSE THE NEED FOR MORE AFRICAN/AMERICAN/CARIBBEAN LEGISLATORS, CITY COUNCILLORS AND BUSINESS LEADERS

 

 

QUERY 2: THE HEGEMONY OF WESTERN LEGAL THOUGHT IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

 

            – MY OWN INTERESTS AND RESEARCH HAS BEEN A COMPARATIVE APPROACH B/T SOME ASPECTS OF AM CRIM LAW AND CRIM LAW IN THE ESC

 

 

[  TT / BAHAMAS / JAMAICA / GUYANA / ST. KITTS & NEVIS / BARBADOS // ANTIGUA & BARBUDA / GRENADA / ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES / DOMINICA ]

            – SPECIAL INTEREST IS THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATE

 

            – I AM AGAINST DEATH PENALTY – FOR TOO MUCH OF U.S. HISTORY D.P. HAS BEEN A LEGALIZED WAY TO PUT BLACK PEOPLE TO DEATH

 

            – I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A CIVILIZED SOCIETY SHOULD USE THE STATE TO PUT PEOPLE TO DEATH OR KEEP THEM LOCKED UP UNTIL THEIR DEATH LIKE ANIMALS

 

            – HAVE STUDIED AND WRITTEN ON THE REEMERGENCE OF THE USE OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE ESC

 

            – CRIME OF CAPITAL MURDER IN ESC – ONLY 1 SENTENCE …DEATH BY HANGING!

 

            – CARRYOVER FROM ENGLAND WHICH ABOLISHED D.P. FOR ALL CRIMES IN 1991

           

            – WORLD STATS ON D.P. (1998)

 

                        ½ COUNTRIES IN WORLD ABOLISHED D.P.

 

                        AS OF 1998 63 COUNTRIES & TERRITORIES HAVE ABOLISHED

 

                        91 OTHER COUNTRIES RETAIN D.P. INCLUDING ESC

 

            –COMPARE:

 

                        ESC HAS APPROXIMATELY 245 ON DEATH ROW – TT 104 /

                        47 JAM / BAHAMAS 40

                        5 MILLION PEOPLE IN REGION

 

                        U.S. 3300 ON DEATH ROW OUT OF 280 MILLION

 

                        ESC RATE 4 TIMES THAT OF U.S.

 

                        – ALARM IN ESC FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOGS

 

                                    DEATH WARRANTS ISSUED FOR DEATH ROW PRISONERS WHO STILL HAVE APPLICATIONS FOR APPEAL BEFORE INTERNATIONAL BODIES SUCH AS

 

                        INTER AMERICA COMM ON HUMAN RTS (IACHR)

 

                        UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMM (UNCHR)

 

                        – ALARM BY HUMAN RIGHTS GRPS B/C WE BELIEVE THE TREND TOWARD POPULARITY OF HANGING IN ESC IS AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF D.P. IN THE U.S. AND OF COURSE A VESTIGE OF BRITISH COLONIAL RULE – A LEGALIZED WAY OF PUTTING BLACK PEOPLE TO DEATH

 

                        – FURTHER ALARM B/C NUMBER OF ESC GOVT’S HAVE UNDERTAKEN STEPS TO CHANGE THEIR JUSTICE SYSTEM AND CONSITUTIENCEIS IN ORDER TO SEVER TIES W’ INTERNATIONAL APPELLATE BOEDS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO CARRY OUT SUCH EXECUTIONS

 

                        – 1998 TT PARTIALLY W/DREW FROM UN INTERN COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RTS AND W/DREW FROM IACHR BOTH OF WHICH ALLOW AN INTRNAT’L AVE OF APPEAL FOR THOSE ON DEATH ROW

 

                        – JAMAICA ALSO NO LONGER PARTICIPATES IN DEATH PENALTY PROTOCOLS OF THE U.N. ACCORD

 

                        – TODAY’S ISSUE IS THE FORMATION OF CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE OR CCJ

 

                                                – 1ST PROPOSED IN1973

– CT OF ORIG JUR FOR TRADE & BUSINESS DISPUTES AMONG CARICOM MEMBERS      

 

                                                – ALSO APPELLATE JUR WOULD SEVER 145                                 YEARS OF USE OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL IN ENGLAND AS THE COURT OF

                                     LAST RESORT

 

                                    -MANY FEAR IT WILL BECOME A HANGING COURT

 

– IN RECENT YEARS PRIVY COUNCIL HAS MADE IT DIFFICULT FOR ESC COUNTRIES TO CARRY OUT HANGINGS

                       

–SOME SAY PRIVY COUNCIL IS LAST VESTIGE OF COLONIAL RULE IN THE ESC

 

– OF COURSE – TO WHAT EFFECT – EASIER HANGINGS??

 

                                    – I WILL BE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS

 

– FINALLY – MANY IN ESC SAY INCREASE IN CRIME IN ESC IS B/C WE DEPORT ALIEN CRIMINALS BACK TO THEIR HOMELANDS IN ESC AFTER THEY HAVE BECOME MASTER CRIMINALS

 

 

                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PANEL       2

                                               

 

POLITICS AS USUAL? WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CONSTITUENCY IN THE U.S.?

 

 

QUERY 1 : HOW HAS POST 9/11 IMMIGRATION POLICIES AFFECTED ASYLUM SEEKERS FROM CONFLICT STATES WITH HIGH RATES OF HIV, OR STATES WITH HIGH LEVELS OF POVERTY OR LITERACY IN AFRICA AND CARIBBEAN

 

                        – OF COURSE HAITI COMES TO MIND.  LET ME WORK MY WAY BACK TO HAITI!!

 

                        – REFUGEE & ASYLUM LAW OFTEN FOLLOWS POLITICS AND WHAT IS IN OUR BEST INTEREST

 

                        – MORE AMERICANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND CONCEPT OF ASYLUM

                        – AS A GENERAL RULE NIV VISA ISSUANCE WAY DOWN SINCE 9/11

 

                        – NO NOTED CHANGE YET IN ASYLUM FLOW

 

                        ASYLUM IS CASE BY CASE

 

                        –SHOULD UNDERSTAND ASYLUM AND WHAT IS NOW CALLED TPS

 

                        –1990 IMM ACT GAVE US TPS

 

                        – SEC.  244 INA PROVIDES THAT ATTY GENL AFTER CONSULTATION W/APPROPRIATE GOVT AGENCIES MAY GRANT TPS WHEN:

 

                                   

                                    A.        ONGOING ARMED CONFLICT POSING SERIOUS THREATS TO NATIONALS WHO RETURN

 

B.  AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER DISRUPTING

                                     LIVING CONDITIONS

 

C.  EXTRAORDINARY & TEMPORARY CONDITIONS PREVENT SAFE RETURN OF ITS NATIONALS AS LONG AS NATIONALS REMAINING TEMPORARILY WOULD NOT BE CONTRARY TO THE NATIONAL INTEREST OF THE U.S.

 

                        – CAN BE 6 – 18 MOS STAY W/EXTENSIONS POSSIBLE

 

                        – WORK PERMITS ALLOWED

 

                        –NATIONALS APPLY INDIVIDUALLY

 

                        –STATES THAT HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED TPS SINCE 1990:

 

ANGOLA/ BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA / BURUNDI / EL SALVADOR / GUINEA-BISSAU / HONDURAS / KUWAIT / LEBANON / LIBERIA/ MONTSERRAT / NICARAGUA / RWANDA / SIERRA LEONE / SOMALIA / SUDAN / AND THE SERBIAN PROVINCE OF KOSOVO

                                   

                        –HAITI HAS NEVER BEEN PUT ON THE LIST

 

                        – WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR THE HAITIANS

 

1986 IRCA SEC. 202 ESTABLISHED SPECIAL LEGALIZATION PROGRAM FOR HAITIANS AN CUBANS WHO WERE HERE IN U.S. FROM 1/1/82 – HAD TO FILE BEFORE 11/88

 

1998 CONGRESS ENACTS HAITIAN REFUGEE IMM FAIRNESS ACT WHICH PROVIDED:

                       

A LEGALIZATION PROGRAM CULMINATING IN ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS FOR CERTAIN HAITIANS WHO RESIDED IN U.S. PRIOR TO 12/31/95 AND WHO HAD APPLIED FOR ASYLUM OR HAD BEEN PAROLED BEFORE THAT DATE.  – APPLICATIONS DUE BEFORE 4/1/2000

 

                       

EVENTS OF LAST 2 WEEKS INDICATE POLICY IS TO PLACATE HAITIANS WITH TROOPS IN HAITI TO PROTECT THEM AND PREVENT MASS MIGRATION TO THE U.S.

 

– HAITIANS NEED TO GET INTO POLITICS AS DID CUBANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA

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