Saturday, March 28, 2015

EU Policies on Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Sea


ImmigrationProf recently reported on efforts to save migrants making the journey to Africa on the Mediterranean Sea.  This report, EU Policies on Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Sea by Julia Gour, considers the tragic deaths of over 300 people off the coast of Lampedusa in 2013 and many other incidents involving migrants from Middle East and North Africa (MENA) crossing the Mediterranean in order to seek refuge in Europe.  The deaths have led to a debate in the European Union on asylum policies and how to deal with irregular migration. However, no concrete policy has been agreed since the tragic events at Lampedusa in 2013 and continuous crossings that have resulted in many more deaths.

This background brief provides an overview of the existing EU policies on asylum seekers and in addressing irregular migration and some of the actions which the relevant Member States take when confronted with continuous flows of irregular migrants. This brief concludes that the EU should delink the rescue of irregular migrants from security concerns, provide a legal basis which offers protection to irregular migrants, and create a transparent working environment in which member states are better able to support each other when dealing with such events.


March 28, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


Beyond Deportation:  The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (NYU Press, 2015)

When Beatles star John Lennon faced deportation from the U.S. in the 1970s, his lawyer Leon Wildes made a groundbreaking argument. He argued that Lennon should be granted “nonpriority” status pursuant to INS’s (now DHS’s) policy of prosecutorial discretion. In U.S. immigration law, the agency exercises prosecutorial discretion favorably when it refrains from enforcing the full scope of immigration law. A prosecutorial discretion grant is important to an agency seeking to focus its priorities on the “truly dangerous” in order to conserve resources and to bring compassion into immigration enforcement. The Lennon case marked the first moment that the immigration agency’s prosecutorial discretion policy became public knowledge. Today, the concept of prosecutorial discretion is more widely known in light of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, a record number of deportations and a stalemate in Congress to move immigration reform.

Beyond Deportation is the first book to comprehensively describe the history, theory, and application of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. It provides a rich history of the role of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration system and unveils the powerful role it plays in protecting individuals from deportation and saving the government resources. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia draws on her years of experience as an immigration attorney, policy leader, and law professor to advocate for a bolder standard on prosecutorial discretion, greater mechanisms for accountability when such standards are ignored, improved transparency about the cases involving prosecutorial discretion, and recognition of “deferred action” in the law as a formal benefit.


March 28, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Migration Controls and Travel from the US to Mexico City (One Hour in Migration and Customs Each Way)


Welcome to Mexico City!  Poster as I approached the immigration check after a flight from SFO to Mexico City


Given what I know about immigration law and enforcement, I find it interesting to travel internationally and experience immigration controls firsthand.  This week, I made a trip to Mexico City for an immigration conference and had some fun.

Having grown up in Southern California, I have traveled to Mexico for years, often on short vacations to the beaches in Baja California.  Travel to Mexico from the United States for U.S. citizens has changed significantly in recent years, with U.S. citizens now required to present passports upon return to the United States.  It goes without saying that migration controls are tighter on both sides of the border than they once were.

Outside of the migration controls, there have been changes in how one thinks of trips to Mexico.  Namely, safety is a concern.  The U.S. Department of State issued its most recent a travel advisory in December 2014, warning of crime (including kidnappings) in certain parts of Mexico.  (I must say that, during my short stay, Mexico City seemed as safe as any other metropolis that I had visited in recent years; the police on the streets and roads appeared very well-armed).

As the sign pictured above indicates, Mexico, like many other nations (including the United States), has taken steps to stop the spread of the Ebola virus and calm public fears.  I am not sure if any sign that has "EBOLA" in capitals will calm anyone, however.

The Mexican immigration and customs officials were efficient and respectful.  It was a relatively quick and easy entry.  I had to fill out a couple of forms, one for immigration purposes, the other for customs.  I must say that I was less worried about the encounter than I was on trips to Germany and China (perhaps because I can speak a tad bit of Spanish and effectively no German or any dialect of Chinese).   The overall time for the inspection was less than an hour, with most of the time waiting in line with other travelers.

The return to the United States was uneventful enough.  Respectful and professional, if not warm and friendly, are words that best describe the U.S. immigration and customs officers.  The immigration check was a matter of seconds and I was waved through customs.  Overall, I cleared immigration and customs in about one half hour, with relatively short waits in line with other U.S. citizens.

The most challenging part of the entire trip was not immigration, customs, or the airports.  Rather, it was dealing with the traffic gridlock in Mexico City, which makes traffic in my hometown of Los Angeles truly look like a picnic.  Traffic jam doesn't quite capture the scene of clogged cars at a standstill in Mexico City streets and roads.  A trip from the airport to UNAM at around 7 in the evening took about 2 hours; it took 1.5 hours on the way back to the airport in the morning. 

In any event, the trip was well worth the amazing immigration conference at UNAM.  


March 28, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Accused of Flip Flop on "Amnesty"


Presidential campaigns are always fun to watch.  It is early in the 2016 campaign but it seems that Republican presidential hopefuls continue to muddle through attempts to come up with a coherent and consistent position on immigration reform.  Yesterday, ImmigrationProf noted that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had entered the immigration fray in Texas v. United States on the side of the states challenging the Obama administration's expanded deferred action program.

AP now reports that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, already accused of flip flopping on his views on immigration reform, now has stepped in it again.   Walker has opposed any "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.  In a closed meeting with New Hampshire Republicans, Walker reportedly supported a path to legalization but not a path to citizenship. Walker later emphasized that he does not in any way endorse a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

European Union and the Geopolitics of Migration

Eu paper

Is the European Union, which permits labor migration among the member nations, a possible model for future immigration?  Commentators have suggested that possibility since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994.

This paper charts the challenges facing the EU in the field of migration, and suggests how Brussels might promote its own form of order. For twenty years now, Europeans have been encouraged to view migration as the epitome of globalisation, the triumph of global economic drive over territorial order. Read the paper European Union and the Geopolitics of Migration for details.

Roderick Parkes, the author, is a research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) where he is working on immigration policy. He is also a senior fellow (non-resident) of the German Institute of International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). In 2014, he co-authored the European Global Strategy.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth" by Laila Hlass


"States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth" by Laila Hlass, Boston University School of Law, November 8, 2014 Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 266, 2014

ABSTRACT:  This article looks at the legal and practical challenges arising out of a particular immigration protection for abandoned, abused, and neglected child migrants called “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status” (SIJS). This benefit, which is a pathway to legal permanent residence and citizenship, is the only area within federal immigration law that requires a state court to take action in order for immigration authorities to consider an individual’s eligibility for relief.

Using an original data set of roughly 12,000 SIJS applications from the Department of Homeland Security in June 2013, this article describes trends over time and by state regarding the number of SIJS applicants. After considering population differences, the article examines application disparities among states and identify a subset of seven particularly high- and low-application states, as well as states that have had significant increases in the number of applications. The article discusses how factors such as states’ family laws, child welfare policies, and specialized legal resources may affect the ability of potential SIJS applicants to access protection. Ultimately, this article proposes a variety of reforms that seek to improve the law: increasing the screening of potentially eligible children, ensuring that these children have access to counsel, and creating a federal safeguard to address disparities created by differences in states’ laws.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Playlist: Los Jornaleros del Norte

We've covered Los Jornaleros del Norte before, noting their participation in a new form of protest: singing in front of immigration detention facilities.

Check out their music video for Serenta a un indocumentado. It's an excellent song to accompany your class on detention, deportation, or unauthorized migration.



March 26, 2015 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Live Blog from UNAM International Immigration Conference

Unam group

UC Davis Delegation:  Cruz Reynoso, Beth Greenwood, Leticia Saucedo, Kevin Johnson

I will be blogging live today from an immigration conference at UNAM in Mexico CityStay tuned!

Unam panel 1

After a welcome from the three cosponsoring law school (UNAM, Monterrey Tech, UC Davis) deans, the first panel (Overview, History and Culture of Immigration) offered an excellent foundation for the day.  Professor Nicolas Foucras (Monterrey Tech) talked about migration as a reflection of global economic pressures.  I offered an overview of contemporary U.S. immigration law.  Professor Gabriela de la Paz (Monterrey Tech) discussed the implementation of U.S. immigration policies in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations based on her interviews with U.S. immigration enforcement officers in the border region, including McAllen and Laredo, Texas).

Unam panel 2

The second panel (Undocumented Immigrants in the US:  Impact, Challenges and Enforcement) began with Professor Leticia Saucedo talked about the history of U.S. immigration law resulting in the emergence in the modern undocumented immigrant population in the United States.  She also documented the record-setting removals of immigrants from the United States during the Obama administration.  Offering a personal as well as historical account, Professor Cruz Reynoso provided thoughts on the challenges facing undocumented immigrants in the United States and offered his opinions on the various immigration policies of the Obama administration (including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program).  Professor Gregory Hicks ended the panel with a discussion of the common environmental dangers faced by immigrants in agricultural work far from the border, with a focus on California.

Unam panel 3

Panel 3 (Impact of the Immigration Laws on the Individual) began with Professor Mariana Gabarrot (Monterrey Tech) looked at transnational space and family and considered exclusion in education and health opportunities for, as well as the prevalence of poverty among, migrants in the United States.  Professor Gerry Andrianopoulus (Monterrey Tech) discussed national security considerations in the U.S. immigration debate and reviewed public opinion polls showing less concern today than a few years ago with border security; he also analyzed the politics that led to the border fence (or border wall if you are against it)..  Dean Maria Leoba Castaneda Rivas (UNAM) discussed humanitarian legal assistance for immigrants.   Professor Leticia Saucedo (UC Davis) looked at  the impacts of U.S. immigration laws on the employment of Mexican citizens and offered insights based on interviews of Mexican immigrant workers. 

Panel 4 considered future immigration policies.  Professor Victor Hugo Perez Hernandez (UNAM) offered an insightful Mexican perspective on DACA and the new DAPA as well as the Obama administration's immigration record.  I concluded the panel with a review of possible immigration reforms and a possible regional approach to migration in North America modeled after the European Union.

The discussions were rich and everyone literally was on the same page as English talks were translated into Spanish for the native Spanish speakers and Spanish talks were translated into English for the native English speakers.  The question and answer sessions after each panel were particularly illuminating, with a rich exchange of ideas from a variety of national and disciplinary perspectives.

Much thanks to Dean Maria Loeba Castaneda Rivas, Dean of UNAM, for her gracious hospitality and ensuring that all participants were treated like royalty.  Thanks also to Dean Gabriel Cavazos, Monterrey Tech, for cosponsoring the event and ensuring that it was successful. Beth Greenwood, Executive Director of International Programs (UC Davis School of Law), and Concha Romero, both were instrumental in making the event a successful international collaboration on one of the most pressing public policy issues of our time.    

Here is a picture of the participants.

Unam participants


March 26, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Jersey Sides with Texas, Other States in Texas v. United States

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OIG Release about Mayorkas and EB-5 Visas Sparks Concern

DHS Dep. Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas

Yesterday, the Office of Inspector General released the following statement:

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has concluded its investigation into allegations that former USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas exerted improper influence in the normal processing and adjudication of EB-5 immigration program benefits.

In three matters pending before USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, now Deputy Secretary of DHS, communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders. Mr. Mayorkas’ conduct led many USCIS employees to reasonably believe that specific individuals or groups were being given special access or consideration in the EB-5 program.

An extraordinary number of DHS employees came forward to the Inspector General’s office to report these events and cooperate with our investigation. The OIG will protect the confidentiality of these courageous employees, and we hope that their actions will set an example for all potential whistleblowers that look to the Office of Inspector General to give them a voice.

Congressional lawmakers are not pleased. Representative McCaul (R-TX) has indicated that he will hold hearings tomorrow and may investigate further.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 10 Countries Sending International Students to the United States

According to the latest data, 76 percent of all international students were from Asia. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students were:

1.  China

2.  India

3.  South Korea

4.  Saudi Arabia

5.  Canada

6.  Japan

7.  Vietnam

8.  Taiwan

9.  Mexico


SEVIS by the Numbers,” a quarterly report on international students studying in the United States, was released today by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The report highlights February 2015 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-based system that includes information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States. Users can also visit the Study in the States website to review international student data from “SEVIS by the Numbers” via an interactive mapping tool.

Based on data extracted from SEVIS Feb. 6, 1.13 million international students, using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa, were enrolled at nearly 8,979 U.S. schools. This marked a 14.18 percent increase in international students when compared to January 2014 data. The number of certified schools remained relatively static, increasing just more than one percent, during the same time period. Seventy-six percent of all international students were from Asia.




March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saving Migrants In The Mediterranean



ImmigrationProf has reported in the past about the death of migrants en route to Europe (as well as those seeking to cross the southern border into the United States).   NPR offers the latest on this worldwide humanitarian story.

Christopher Catrambone, a businessman from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and his Italian wife Regina invested about $8 million of their money to buy a ship and hire a crew to save lives on the Mediterranean Sea. Record numbers of people from the Middle East and Africa are crossing waters to try to get to Europe. And human rights groups say European countries don't do enough to rescue them when they run into trouble at sea.

The millionaire husband-and-wife team decided to take on the task during a yacht cruise in the Mediterranean.The catalyst came when Regina saw a jacket in the water during the cruise. She asked about it and was told it might belong to a dead migrant who was trying to find safety in Europe. And that was that. They founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which began operations last year. "We're the only game in town at the moment," Christopher Catrambone says.

In just 60 days, they saved about 3,000 of migrants crossing the sea in rickety wooden boats or dinghies. They then coordinated with Italy and Malta in bringing the migrants to shore.

Last year, a record of about 218,000 people made this journey. Some 3,500 drowned. The numbers are growing. Amnesty International says rates of those crossing are 50 percent higher than last year and hundreds have drowned already this year.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

International Immigration Conference in Mexico City

Monterrey tech
Uc davis




Monterrey tech 

UC Davis School of Law, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Monterrey Institute of Technology are co-sponsoring an international conference on immigration at UNAM in Mexico City on March 26.

I am joining immigration experts Professors Leticia Saucedo and Cruz Reynoso from UC Davis to participate in a conference with colleagues from Mexico's top universities to explore the history of immigration policy and law, the present context of immigration in labor and the environment, and the human impact of immigration on families, their daily lives, and their human rights. The program will also examine the future of immigration law and policy as it impacts both the United States and Mexico. 

Here is the schedule for the conference.  The Deans of the sponsor law schools (Dra. Maria Castaneda Rivas (UNAM), Kevin Johnson (UC Davis), and Gabriel Cavazos (Monterrey Tech)) will welcome the participants.

Panel 1 is entitled "Overview, History, and Culture of Immigration."  Panelists included Professors Nicolás Foucras (Monterrey Tech) and Gabriela de la Paz (Monterrey Tech).  I am also on the panel and my presentation will focus on the history of immigration law and enforcement in the United States.

Panel 2 ("Undocumented Immigrants in the US:  Impact, Challenges and Enforcement") includes Professors Leticia Saucedo (UC Davis), Cruz Reynoso (UC Davis), and Gregory Hicks (University of Washington).

Panel 3 ("Impact on Individuals") includes Professors Mariana Gabarrot (Monterrey Tech), Dean María Leoba Castaneda Rivas (UNAM), and Leticia Saucedo  (UC Davis).

Panel 4 ("Long Term Immigration Policy") includes Gerry Andrianopoulos (Monterrey Tech) and Victor Hugo Perez Hernandez (UNAM). I will discuss possible reforms to U.S. immigration law and policy.

The conference follows an "Immigration Dialogue" for law deans from the Pacific Rim hosted by UC Davis School of Law in October 2014. The conference provided an opportunity for legal experts to explore challenging issues related to immigration as it impacts both countries.

Beth Greenwood, Executive Director International Programs and the LL.M. program (UC Davis), and Concha Romero were instrumental in organizing the conference.



March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era


There is a growing consensus that the global refugee system is failing not only those it was designed to protect but also the host states that are providing protection. More than 53 million people worldwide are in a displacement situation as refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons (IDPs)—the highest level since World War II. Ongoing conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Libya and Iraq and the emerging crisis in Ukraine—as well as more long-standing ones in Somalia and Afghanistan—have demonstrated that current mechanisms are not equitably distributing the responsibility for providing protection, nor are they offering efficient and effective access to refuge for those in need.

The Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration today is launching the first in a seven-report series that draws from a recent Council meeting, “Refitting the Global Protection System to Meet the Challenges of Modern Crises.”

The first report, Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era, details the increasing mismatch between the legal and normative frameworks that define the existing protection regime and the contemporary patterns of forced displacement that are driven by tangled webs of crises that include intrastate conflict, poor governance and instability, environmental degradation and resource scarcity. Many forced migrants now fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum apparatus. And the blurring of the lines between voluntary and forced migration, as seen in “mixed” migration flows, together with the expansion of irregular migration, have further complicated today’s global displacement picture.

The report argues for fundamental reform of the protection system, including shifting the emphasis from the status of the displaced to their needs and situating policies to address displacement within a wider strategic framework that encompasses elements of migration management, host-country development and resettlement support alongside traditional asylum.

Forthcoming reports in the Transatlantic Council series focus on current challenges, including the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and rising unaccompanied child migration from Central America to the United States, and propose innovative solutions to rethink global protection—including models that seek to transition refugees from dependence to reliance and the potential of labor mobility to facilitate refugee protection. The series also will feature a policy brief from the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, T. Alexander Aleinikoff.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

UN to unveil permanent memorial in New York honouring victims of transatlantic slave trade


 Today, a permanent memorial to honor the victims of one of the most horrific tragedies of modern history will be revealed at United Nations Headquarters in New York, when the world marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations, entitled ‘The Ark of Return,’ is designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent. It pays tribute to the courage of slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes while promoting greater recognition of the contributions made by slaves and their descendants to societies worldwide.

The memorial aims to remind visitors of the complete history of slavery, urging them to acknowledge the tragedy and its legacy, and to heighten awareness of the current dangers of racism, prejudice and slavery’s lingering consequences that continue to impact the descendants of slavery’s victims today.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

200 Years of Immigration to the U.S.


Check this very interesting graphic out.  The chart shows people obtaining lawful permanent resident status by region or selected country of last residence: 1820 - 2013. Hover on the original for details. The data is from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.  The work of Natalia Bronshtein of Insightful Interaction, this chart shows not just immigration growth and contractions, but where that immigration is occurring from.

Ria Misra notes that the chart offers an interesting look at the ways that global history has changed the tide of immigration. While immigration continued through the first World War, you can see a brief chocking off of the flow of new Americans extending through the second World War. When it kicks off again, the points of origin of those new Americans has shifted, with several countries that previously had populations too small to show up on the graph (India, China, the Philippines) now taking a prominent place.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Do Immigrants Work in Worse Jobs than U.S. Natives? Evidence from California by Madeline Zavodny


Do Immigrants Work in Worse Jobs than U.S. Natives? Evidence from California by Madeline Zavodny Agnes Scott College; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) April 2015, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 54, Issue 2, pp. 276-293, 2015

Abstract: In the debate over immigration reform, a common assertion is that immigrants take jobs that U.S. natives do not want. Using data from the 2000 Census merged with O*NET data on occupation characteristics, I show that the jobs held by immigrants are more physically arduous than the jobs held by U.S. natives. However, data from the California Work and Health Survey on self‐reported physical job demands indicate that immigrants do not perceive their jobs as requiring more physical effort than U.S. natives. Immigrants thus have worse jobs than natives but do not view them as such.


March 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant

Adam Davidson in the New York Times Magazine has an article ("Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant") well worth reading.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Update on Texas v. USA (Case Challenging Executive Action)

Here is an update from Karen Tumlin, NILC’s managing attorney, on the Texas v. USA case:
Today the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals issued an order setting out key dates both for the Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay of the injunction pending a full appeal and with respect to the briefing schedule for the full appeal.
With respect to the emergency motion for a stay, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals set an oral argument on that motion for 10 a.m. April 17 at the New Orleans courthouse.  Other notes on this hearing:
·         This is a hearing on the request for an emergency stay pending a full appeal.  It is not a hearing on the underlying full appeal, which would happen later.
·         The court is granting each side one hour for oral argument.
·         The court has allowed the suing states to file an additional brief by April 14, noting that it will already have the benefit of DOJ’s opening appellate brief by then (which is due March 30th).
The court order today also set a briefing schedule for the full appeal.  Below are the key dates:
·         March 30—DOJ will file its opening brief
·         April 6—any amicus briefs on the side of DOJ are due
·         May 4—brief by suing states is due
·         May 11—any amicus briefs on the state of the suing states are due
·         May 18—reply brief by DOJ is due
·         The court has not yet set an oral argument date for the full appeal.


March 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

How immigrant families go from speaking Spanish to English


No real surprises here.



March 24, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)