Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Immigration Court Priority Family Case Backlog Surpasses 100,000

Data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)  suggests that the number of judges is still insufficient to handle the growing backlog in the Immigration Court. The court's crushing workload reached a record-breaking 533,909 pending cases as the court closed out calendar year 2016, up 4.2 percent in just the last four months.

The problem is particularly acute for priority cases involving women with children according to the latest court data updated through the end of December 2016 and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Pending priority cases for these families jumped by more than 20 percent (21.9%) in just the last four months. The backlog of these family cases alone totaled 102,342 last month, surpassing 100,000 cases for the first time.

The number of pending priority cases involving unaccompanied children also has continued to climb, reaching 75,582 at the December 2016. Together with family cases, this priority workload now accounts for fully one third (33%) of the court's overall record backlog.

California, Texas, New York, and Florida are the states with the largest backlog of pending cases in the Immigration Courts.


January 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Managing the 'Boat People' Crisis: The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees by Alexander Casella,


Managing the 'Boat People' Crisis: The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees by Alexander Casella.  New York: International Peace Institute, October 2016.

Abstract:  Spanning a period of twenty-one years, the Vietnamese “boat people” exodus was the last major refugee crisis of the Cold War. The international response agreed on in Geneva in 1979 was in line with Western Cold War values, but by 1988 it had begun to unravel. The new international response took the form of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees (CPA), which was in place from 1989 to 1996.

This paper offers a detailed look at the process of negotiating the CPA, its contents, how it was received, and its implementation. At the time it was agreed, the CPA was revolutionary in two ways: first, it was comprehensive, and second, it was predicated on the right of Vietnamese boat people to land and to be processed for refugee status. As a result, the CPA both saved lives and marked the transition from blanket recognition of refugee status to individual status determination — all in a region whose countries had not ratified the Refugee Convention.

While all refugee situations are different, the CPA provides lessons and conclusions that could inform responses to other refugee crises:

- Initial discussions leading to the CPA depended on individual-led, field-driven initiative.
- In breaking from previous approaches to refugee crises, the CPA faced significant opposition.
- Involving the country of origin — Vietnam — was essential to implementing the response.
- The CPA benefited from a single agency — UNHCR — taking the lead.
- Despite the CPA, most countries in the region continued to reject the Refugee Convention.
- The mass information campaign conducted in Vietnam was crucial to the CPA’s success.
- One of the main achievements of the CPA was to address the population movement in general, including both refugees and migrants.


January 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

To Stay or Not To Stay: The Calculus for International STEM Students in the United States

At the Movies: 11 Documentaries About Immigrants Everyone Should Watch Right Now

Secret Identities of Immigration Judges Revealed


Attorney Bryan Johnson writes that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) long has concealed the identities of Immigration Judges named in complaints of misconduct. In response to a FOIA from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the DOJ released over 14,000 pages of documents in connection to 770 complaints made against immigration judges between 2008 and 2013. The lawsuit is still pending, and DOJ has yet to reveal any of the identities of the Immigration Judges. Using the information gleaned from unredacted documents, he identified 58 immigration judges with 443 complaints. In other words, over half of the complaints are now matched with the immigration judge whom the complaint was made against.   On the link above, Johnson has made available various documents.


January 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Review Denaturalization Case


Last Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Maslenjak v. United States.   The question presented in that case, as framed by the Petitioner, is whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred by holding, in conflict with the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th Circuits, that a naturalized American citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement.

The Sixth Circuit describes the case as follows:

"Divna Maslenjak appeals her conviction for knowingly procuring her naturalization contrary to law in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a).  Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb and native of Bosnia, came to the United States in 2000 as a refugee fleeing the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.  Maslenjak claimed she and her family feared persecution in Bosnia because her husband had evaded conscription into the Serbian army during the war.  In fact, Maslenjak’s husband had not only been in the Serbian militia during the war but had served as an officer in a unit implicated in war crimes.  Maslenjak was granted refugee status and ultimately obtained her naturalization.  Based on her misrepresentations during the immigration process, a jury found Maslenjak guilty of knowingly procuring her naturalization contrary to law in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a) and of knowingly using an unlawfully issued certificate of naturalization in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1423. "


January 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stephen Legomsky: Pardoning Lawful Immigrants For Minor Offenses

Immigration Article of the Day: John Kennan, Open Borders in the European Union and Beyond: Migration Flows and Labor Market Implications

John Kennan, Open Borders in the European Union and Beyond: Migration Flows and Labor Market Implications (NBER Working Paper No. 23048, January 2017)

Abstract:  In 2004, the European Union admitted 10 new countries, and wages in these countries were generally well below the levels in the existing member countries. Citizens of these newly-admitted countries were subsequently free to take jobs anywhere in the EU, and many did so. In 2015, a large number of refugees from Syria and other broken countries sought to migrate to EU countries (along very dangerous routes), and these refugees were met with fierce resistance, at least in some places. This paper seeks to understand the labor market implications of allowing free migration across borders, with particular reference to the EU. The aim is to quantify the migration flows associated with EU enlargement, and to analyze the extent to which these flows affected equilibrium wages. The main conclusion is that the real wage effects are small, and the gains from open borders are large.



January 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sanctuary Week of Action


TOMORROW, January 17, 11:00 AM EST

DIAL: 1 (800) 697-5978; PASSCODE: “7087 751”


Over 4,000 people of faith representing over 500 congregations across the country take a bold and prophetic stand by signing onto a pledge resisting President-Elect Trump’s harsh immigration proposals by offering Sanctuary.

Washington, DC –TOMORROW, January 17 at 11:00 AM EST, faith leaders, advocates and immigrants in sanctuary from Church World Service, PICO National Network, United We Dream, will gather on a press call to announce details of a record number of congregations announcing they are declaring sanctuary for vulnerable communities, just three days before Donald Trump’s inauguration. It is up to faith leaders, immigrants, people of color and people of conscience to prevent millions of deportations by preserving the victories we’ve already won — like DACA — and by building united communities who are equipped to fight for local victories and to oppose the Trump regime at every turn.

Throughout the week of action, faith leaders, immigrants, families and allies will hold press conferences and vigils declaring themselves as safe spaces for immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable communities. Events will happen in various cities across the country, as faith communities unite to stand against the Trump administration’s plans for increased deportations, criminalization and hate. Sanctuary is one of the best ways to resist against these harsh proposals and faith leaders, congregations and communities are rising to the occasion.

Who: Bishop Dwayne Royster, Political Director, PICO National Network, Moderator

Rev. Noel Andersen, National Grassroots Organizer, Church World Service

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church, California-Nevada Conference, Spokesperson for UMC Bishops on the issue of immigration

Ingrid Encalade Latorre, Currently in Sanctuary fighting deportation order in Mountain View Friends Meeting

Rev. Orlando Gallardo, DACA recipient, Kansas City, KS

Imam Omar Suleiman, President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

What: Press call to announce number of congregations who have signed on to offer sanctuary to vulnerable communities.

When: TOMORROW, January 17 at 11:00 AM EST

Where: DIAL: 1 (800) 697-5978; PASSCODE: “7087 751”


January 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The many faces of Frida Kahlo


Frida Seated In Her Garden, 1943 (Florence Arquin/Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art)

Chloe Coleman for the Washinton Post reviews an array of pictures from a photo exhibit focusing on iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.  Kahlo, known to for her paintings, was one of the most photographed women of her generation.  The exhibition “Mirror, Mirror . . . Portraits of Frida Kahlo” features fifty-seven photographs by twenty-seven photographers.  The exhibition is on display at the Harn Museum of Art (University of Florida) until April 2. It then moves to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (Sante Fe, NM) from May 6 to Oct. 29.The_Two_Fridas

The Two Fridas


January 16, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why the world fears refugees (Narrated by Zygmunt Bauman)


The Polish-born sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who died last week in the United Kingdom, aged 91, was a former refugee from both Nazi and Communist regimes and one of the most influential thinkers of our time. In this powerful animation broadcast by Al Jazeera in October 2016, Bauman, then a Professor Emeritus at Leeds University, explains why he thinks so many Europeans (and others in the rich world) fear refugees and migrants. He argues that those who fear the most are the “precariat” - people whose lives are marked by precariousness, anxiety and fear. As Europe raises walls and the xenophobic backlash against foreigners grows, he observes that migration flows are not going to stop and a solution must be found.


January 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Asylum and Terrorism: The Death of Human Rights Law? by Moria Paz


Asylum and Terrorism: The Death of Human Rights Law? by Moria Paz, Stanford Law School, 102 Iowa Law Review Online 41 (2016)

Abstract:      The article compares the Justice Department’s historical treatment of removal cases that involve individuals who qualify as refugees, but who are implicated in terrorists acts, to decisions by the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee in similar situations. This comparison is used to challenge an accepted wisdom in the discipline. While the United States is generally viewed as exceptional in its refusal to sign onto international human rights treaties, it is not an outlier in this case. I show, first, that even those states that consented to the jurisdiction of human rights enforcement bodies, are, in fact, unlikely to toe the line. They, much like the United States, will refuse to provide safe haven to individuals involved in acts of terrorism and violence, regardless of their human rights commitments. Second, and related, this political reality leaves human rights courts and quasi-judicial institutions in an intractable situation: an impossible choice between a decision that is politically unsustainable and one that is normatively unjustifiable. I argue that it is important to be honest and realistic about the political limits of the law, especially as such cases that bear on both terrorism and asylum become ever more prevalent.


January 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Martin Luther King. Jr. Day!


As the nation remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, it is worth noting that, as the times in which we live frequently remind us, there clearly is an intersection between immigration and civil rights in the 21st century.  The fight for rights by the DREAMers, as well as immigrant rights advocates across the nation, is reminiscent of the political movement for civil rights a generation ago.  Besides the commonality of political action and mass movements, the anti-caste principle  -- and that all people are created equal -- animated the two movements.   

In 2010, Seth Hoy wrote this thoughtful article entitled "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Intersection of Immigration and Civil Rights" on Immigration Impact.  Former ImmigrationProf blogger Jennifer Chacón also has a thoughtful law review article on Dr. King, civil rights, and immigration rights.

Last year, Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D. thoughtfully writes on Huffington Post about "Martin Luther King and Immigrants’ Rights" and summarizes as follows:

"Martin Luther King would support any orderly and well administered immigration policy that honors and respects the integrity, wellbeing, and right to liberty, justice, equality and the pursuit of happiness for all people within our borders; and that in humane fashion considers the need for the safety of asylum for those who flee to our borders from danger, death and destruction. As for immigration policies that do not in substance honor the human personality in all these ways, one can be assured that the Martin Luther King, Jr., who said “I choose to give my life for those who have been left out” would stand against them with all of his being."


January 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

San Francisco Cannot Be Sued Over Kate Steinle Shooting

From CNN:

The family of a woman allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant who'd recently been released from jail can't sue San Francisco over its sanctuary policy, according to a recent court ruling.

Kate Steinle's shooting death in 2015 sparked national debate over so-called sanctuary cities and became a rallying cry for Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

In a ruling issued Friday, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero dismissed the family's claims against San Francisco and former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

"No law required the Sheriff's Department to share Lopez-Sanchez's release date with ICE, nor did any law forbid Mirkarimi establishing a policy against such cooperation," Spero wrote.

The magistrate also dismissed the family's claim against ICE.

But he ruled that the family's lawsuit accusing the Bureau of Land Management of negligence can proceed.

Authorities said the gun the shooter used had been stolen from a Bureau of Land Management agent's unattended vehicle. Read more...


January 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

According the Paul Ryan: No Deportation Army

From Fox News:

Repeating something he said last month:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that there will not be a deportation force tasked with evicting illegal immigrants from the U.S.

“That’s not happening,” he said during a televised town hall meeting. “That’s not true.”

President-elect Donald Trump made immigration one of his top priorities during his campaign. He received rousing responses each time he vowed to deport people who are in the country illegally — up to 11 million.

That position softened after Trump won the election, when he said he'd start with 3 million with criminal records.

Angelica Villalobos, who was standing next to her daughter, asked the speaker if he thinks she should be deported.

“No,” Ryan said. “I can see that you love your daughter, that you’re a nice person that has a great future ahead of you, and I hope your future’s here.” Read more...


January 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama’s Change to Cuban Migration Policy, Explained


The American Immigration Council explains the basics surrounding President Obama's announcement of a change in the "foot-wet, foot-dry" policy directed toward Cuban migrants.

Francis Robles for the New Yorks Times explains how Cuba agreed to accept up to 500 Cubans who came to the United States in the Mariel boatlift of 1980:  "The flip side of the deal got far less attention, but it effectively closed one chapter in the tortured relationship between the two countries: Cuba agreed to take back up to 500 criminal Mariel refugees."


January 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ahead of inauguration, thousands rally for immigration and civil rights


CNN reports that thousands rallied in Washington, D.C. yesterday to make clear their opposition to President-elect Trump's policies on immigration and social justice.

At Washington's historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, protesters made clear their objections to Trump's immigration policies, vowing to mobilize the Latino vote in upcoming elections.
At a march organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network and more than a dozen other groups, speakers criticized Trump's nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department, fearing that he will reverse Obama administration policies on civil rights. Marchers also demanded action on social justice issues, including mass incarceration and voting rights, while also honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is commemorated this weekend ahead of Monday's federal holiday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that immigrant rights marches were held in 509 cities across the U.S. yesterday.


January 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Contrasting Trump and Obama Inaugeration Posters


Poster by Shepard Fairey / via Amplifier Foundation

President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated on Friday.  PBS reminds us that, eight years ago, a poster designed by Shepard Fairey became the iconic image of the 2008 presidential campaign. The “HOPE” poster, featuring an image of Barack Obama, began with a print run of just 350, and spread after it was distributed on the street, at rallies and online. Now, the graphic artist, muralist, illustrator and activist is back with another street art campaign called “We the People” for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. See above.  Note that the new president’s face won’t be on it.


Shepard has created three portraits for the campaign; two other artists, Colombian American muralist Jessica Sabogal and and Chicano graphic artist Ernesto Yerena, have each made one more. Together, they hope the faces of “We the People” — standing in for traditionally marginalized groups or those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign — will flood Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

Fairey is collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and which commissioned the project. After learning that large-sized signs were prohibited at Inauguration, Amplifier came up with a hack to distribute the posters. Their plan: to buy full-page ads in the Washington Post on Jan. 20 that feature the “We the People” images, which can be torn out and carried as placards, or hung and posted around town. The posters will also be distributed at metro stops, from moving vans and other drop spots on Inauguration Day, as well as posted online for free download. A Kickstarter campaign for “We the People” has raised more than $148,000 since it was launched Tuesday night. 


“We the People” posters by Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal / Amplifier Foundation


January 15, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal - Call for Submissions


The Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the nation's premier law journal dedicated to immigration law, calls for submissions for Issue 31.3. GILJ is seeking articles on immigration law from qualified authors. We encourage academics, practitioners, and clinical educators to submit. We consider any and all scholarship relating to immigration law. The issue is scheduled to be published in the spring of 2017.
All submissions should be made to Express-O or Authors should send the article in Word format along with a curriculum vitae. Please send any further inquiries to

January 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trump's Cabinet Picks Offer Thoughts on Immigration Policy