Wednesday, September 28, 2016

U.N.’s New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees


Photo courtesy of United Nations General Assembly website

Huffington Post reports that on 19 September 2016, Heads of State and Government from around the world gathered together in the United Nations and adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a historic document that seeks to address the urgent questions posed to the international community by the growing global phenomenon of large movements of refugees and migrants.

The New York Declaration has been adopted in the context of the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, a one-day event organized by the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations on behalf of Member States, and attended by Heads of State and Government, Ministers, and leaders from the UN System, civil society, private sector, international organizations, and academia, among others.

Newsweek summarizes on the challenges in convincing 193 nations to agree on how best to handle the twin problems of migrants and refugees; while refugees already have legal protection and rights under international conventions, there is no such consensus on economic migrants, and many richer countries are resistant to changing that.

The key negotiators of the U.N.’s New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees were Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar—concerned with millions of refugees pouring into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa—and Irish Ambassador David Donoghue, whose primary focus is the influx of people to the European Union.  Among the main breakthroughs, the negotiators say, was that they brought migrants, not just refugees, into the U.N.’s purview.

The 22-page outcome document, which forms the basis for this new agreement, is composed of 12 pages plus two annexes—one for refugees and one for migrants—and sets out a two-year timetable to negotiate specific actions. “

Among those elements: programs for countries to absorb migrants and protections for them; provisions to educate migrant children; and burden sharing of existing migrant populations. What’s more, the document makes a case that migrants can have a positive effect on society.

View the full text of the New York Declaration.

Here is a United Nations' summary of the New York

What are the commitments?

The New York Declaration contains bold commitments both to address the issues we face now and to prepare the world for future challenges. These include commitments to:

  • Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding solutions.
  • Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.
  • Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants.
  • Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.
  • Strongly condemn xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it.
  • Strengthen the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries.
  • Improve the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to those countries most affected, including through innovative multilateral financial solutions, with the goal of closing all funding gaps.
  • Implement a comprehensive refugee response, based on a new framework that sets out the responsibility of Member States, civil society partners and the UN system, whenever there is a large movement of refugees or a protracted refugee situation.
  • Find new homes for all refugees identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement; and expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through, for example, labour mobility or education schemes.
  • Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.

What will happen next?

The New York Declaration also contains concrete plans for how to build on these commitments:  

  • Start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. The agreement to move toward this comprehensive framework is a momentous one. It means that migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.
  • Develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations. These guidelines will be particularly important for the increasing number of unaccompanied children on the move. 
  • Achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.


September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DACA Outreach to San Diego's Filipino Immigrant Communities

The San Diego Union Tribune writes about one nonprofit organization's efforts to reach DACA-eligible members of the Filipino community in San Diego.  The article describes Alliance San Diego's outreach to Filipino and other Asian immigrants, and notes Asian immigrants' relatively low application rates for DACA since the creation of the program.


September 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

FOIA Analysis by Marshall Project Casts Doubt on "Felons, Not Families" Narrative

"Felons, not families," said President Obama in his November 2014 speech outlining the Administration's prosecutorial discretion policies in immigration.

But data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Marshall Project casts doubt on the contention that the Administration has actually deported individuals with serious crimes:

The majority — roughly 60 percent — were of immigrants with no criminal conviction or whose only crime was immigration-related, such as illegal entry or re-entry. Twenty-one percent were convicted of nonviolent crimes other than immigration. Fewer than 20 percent had potentially violent convictions, such as assault, DUI or weapons offenses.

The articles concludes by quoting Grace Meng of Human Rights Watch:  "When you’re aiming for a high number [of deportations], you’re necessarily going to get a lot of people with minor offenses...How is this a smart form of crime control?”



September 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immprofs at CSLSA

Immprofs Elias and Jeffries

This past weekend the University of North Dakota School of Law was privileged to host the annual Central States Law Schools Association conference. CSLSA is a generalist conference, yet it still managed to secure the participation of two fabulous immprofs: Stella Elias (Iowa) and Regina Jeffries (Minnesota).

Stella spoke on what she has termed "Refugee Federalism." During the last two years, some state officials have been at the forefront of a movement to block the resettlement of refugees from the Middle East and asylum seekers from Central America in their jurisdictions. Others have been in the vanguard of an initiative to welcome those fleeing persecution on humanitarian grounds. Stella is currently exploring the perils and promises of state engagement with refugee and asylee protection.

Regina discussed how Central American women and children seeking asylum in the United States should have more support during processing at the border and should not be placed in expedited removal proceedings. She argued that the U.S.'s treaty commitments -- under the U.N. Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol (which the U.S. signed in 1968) -- to non-refoulement of refugees fleeing persecution means that the country is obliged to provide these potential refugees with more support and more due process than they currently receive.

I hope other immprofs will considering joining us for the 2017 CSLSA conference at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale!


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

More New IJs Come From Private Practice

In the past, we've noted high numbers of new immigration judges coming to the position from government prosecution jobs. (Here, Here)

Of the fifteen IJs most recently sworn into office, five come from the private bar. They include:

  • IJ Valerie A. Burch of the San Francisco Immigration Court, whose past experience is with The Shagin Law Group, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.
  • IJ Robin Kandell Paulino of the San Francisco Immigration Court, who has worked with Microsoft Corporation, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, as well as Korenberg, Abramowitz & Feldun, and Swanson & Swanson.
  • IJ Jennifer I. Peyton of the Chicago Immigration Court, who had her own immigration firm and who taught as an adjunct at both Case Western University School of Law and Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
  • IJ Walter Hammele Ruehle of the Buffalo Immigration Court, who worked for the Legal Aid Society, the Neighborhood Legal Services, the Farmworker Legal Services, and taught as an adjunct professor at the Cornell Law School.
  • IJ Elizabeth Young of the San Francisco Immigration Court who led the University of Arkansas immigration clinic.

In addition, IJ Nancy J. Paul of the Omaha Immigration Court and IJ G. William Riggs, of the Miami Immigration Court, come to the position after years in military service - IJ Paul with the Air Force and IJ Riggs with the Marines.


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

First Trump/Clinton Presidential Debate: Little Discussion of Immigration

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Here is the debate in three minutes:


The first of three scheduled debates between Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Many observers predicted that immigration would be a topic of discussion, with fireworks likely.  The only safe bet was that debate moderator Lester Holt would be calm, cool, and collected (which in fact was the case). 

Here is the transcript to the debate.  There were no questions directly on immigrationAccording to a poll of debate watchers, Clinton prevailed.  Patrick Healey and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times summarized the debate as follows:

"In an antagonistic debate, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over trade, his refusal to release his tax returns and her use of a private email server."

"He repeatedly interrupted her, and she often chided him for bungling his facts."

Political analysts for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and CNN offered similar verdicts.

The first topic of the debate was "Achieving Prosperity," with the initial question on job creation and improving wages.  Hillary Clinton, among other things, suggested increasing the minimum wage.   Trump complained repeatedly about jobs leaving the United States and going to Mexico, China, and other countries:  "We are losing good jobs"; jobs are "being stolen from us."   Trump said that, as President, he would reduce taxes, which he claimed would create jobs.  He also called for renegotiating trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he attacked as unfair to the United States.    

The was a lengthy give-and-take about (1) Clinton's e-mails sent from a private server and (2) whether and when Trump would produce his tax returns.  Clinton repeatedly suggested that Trump was hiding something in his tax returns.  Trump repeatedly said that Clinton had done little to solve the nation's problems in her 30 years in government.

The second topic of the debate was "America's Direction."  Holt asked the candidates how they would heal the deep racial divide in the United States.  Not responding to the question directly, Trump emphasized the need for "law and order" and suggested that protesters were part of the problem.  He highlighted the crime problems in the United States afflicting Blacks and Hispanics, including the crime problem created by "illegal immigrants."  Trump endorsed stop-and-frisk policies and the need to protect minorities in our cities.  Clinton acknowledged that implicit bias is a problem among people generally, not just the police.  She also mentioned that stop-and-frisk policies had been found to be unconstitutional and a form of racial profiling.  Clinton acknowledged the need to address the racism in our criminal justice system.

The Birther Issue.  Lester Holt asked Donald Trump about his claim that President Obama was not a natural born U.S. citizen.  Trump, who credited himself with forcing the President to produce his birth certificate, said that he admitted that President Obama was born in the United States once he saw President Obama's birth certificate.  Trump stated that, after the President's place of birth was settled, he wanted to move on to other things, such as building the wall along the U.S./Mexico border.  He said that he would "say nothing" to those who asked him why he continued to press the birther issue after President Obama's birth certificate was produced.  Clinton highlighted that Trump became politically visible through publicizing the birther "lie. " Clinton also mentioned that Trump had been sued for racial discrimination.

The last segment was on "Securing America."  Trump mentioned his many military endorsements and the ICE endorsement.   ISIS, cybersecurity, and home-grown terrorism were topics of discussion. Clinton pounted out that Trump's attacks on Muslims has made it difficult to fight terrorism.  Clinton questioned Trump's temperament to be commander in chief. 

Trump brought up immigration in the last segment of the debate, with the reasoning difficult to follow:

"HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.

The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know."


The next presidential debates are scheduled for October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and October 19 at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 26, 2016

From Immprof to IJ


Elizabeth L. Young directed the immigration clinic at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville from Fall 2008 through Spring 2016. Prior to working at the U of A, she served as interim director of the immigration law clinic at George Washington University Law School. She also worked for three years at the San Francisco Immigration Court as an attorney adviser through the Department of Justice Honors Program.

Professor Young has now left the academy. She was recently appointed to serve as an immigration judge, and she sits on the San Francisco Immigration Court. Here is the official EOIR announcement.

Congratulations, Judge Young!


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Mobilizing Under 'Illegality': The Arizona Immigrant Rights Movement's Engagement with the Law by Vasanthi Venkatesh


Mobilizing Under 'Illegality': The Arizona Immigrant Rights Movement's Engagement with the Law by Vasanthi Venkatesh, University of Windsor -Faculty of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program 2016, Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 19, pp.165-201 (2016)

Abstract: Arizona has been in the news for the past few years not only for its vituperative, anti-immigrant polices, but also for the impressive immigrant rights movement that continues to spawn new coalitions and new activisms. The large numbers of cases that were and continue to be litigated and the innovative use of law to mobilize present a paradox since it is the law that constructs the “illegality” of undocumented immigrants, providing them very limited recourse to rights claims.

This paper analyzes the opportunities in existing legal doctrine for claiming rights for the undocumented. I argue that in the almost categorical acceptance of the plenary power of the Congress in immigration and the absence of a clear-cut articulation of rights for undocumented immigrants, immigrant rights advocates are faced with procedural and substantive obstacles to make legal claims. The legal opportunities that exist currently offer partial and ineffective solutions at best. I then explore what compelled legal mobilization strategies despite the lack of entitlements under immigration law and how the costs of legal strategies are mitigated by other advantages that legal mobilization provides. I suggest that activists invoked the law in various ways, not necessarily enamored by rights discourses or by an unbridled expectation in law as a means to achieve justice. The law, even with its limitations and biases, still provided avenues to curb state power and it also functioned as a symbolic, discursive, and mobilizing resource. I show that undocumented immigrants rely on legal action and rights discourse not only because of the expected diffusional effects of movements such as the civil rights and gay rights movement but also as acts of resistance and as assertions of quasi-citizenship.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fighting Human Trafficking Abroad


Tom Jackman in the Washington Post reports on efforts to combat human trafficking abroad:

"The men moved from brothel to brothel, each “packed with foreigners,” the American said. “You’re sitting next to these perverts, not only having to interact with them but become one of them. It’s common to go shop around. You sit there, get a price,” he said. “It was probably the darkest underworld playground of the devil that I’ve ever been in.”

The American was former Washington Nationals baseball player Adam LaRoche, and he described participating in a “rescue” operation last year with the Exodus Road, one of a number of American nonprofit groups that are fighting human trafficking in a new way: by luring pimps into the open, and then working with local law enforcement to arrest the traffickers and free the victims."


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE Union Endorses Trump



Not long before the first presidential debate,Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has picked up a noteworthy endorsement.  Reuters reports that that Trump picked up the endorsement today of the union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers.  Trump has laid out a hardline position on immigration, among other things, proposing to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

With immigration likely to be discussed at the debate, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers and law enforcement support staff, announced it would support Trump, in what was described as its first endorsement of a candidate for elected office.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Immigration Question that Lester Holt Should Ask at the Presidential Debate

Lester Holt will moderate tonight's Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton Presidential Debate.  There has been exciting build-up with some trash talking about inviting Gennifer Flowers, who years ago allegedly had a relationship with Bill Clinton, in response to the Clinton campaign's invitation to businessman Mark Cuban to attend the debate.

Patrick Gleason in Forbes opines that Lester Holt or a moderator of one of the other two debates would do well to ask Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump where they stand on Utah’s state guest working program law, which has been awaiting a waiver from the White House for five years.  Responding to federal inaction on immigration reform, Utah state legislators passed a bill in 2011 creating a state guest worker permit program.  It runs against conventional wisdom, and may surprise many living on the coasts that a conservative state would pass such a bold and historic immigration reform measure.

More generally, one might wonder what the candidates think about the various state laws dealing with immigration, such as the Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina immigration enforcement laws, or the increasing numbers of states allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses, pay in-state fees at public universities, and like measures.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexico sees surge of migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia


Irregular migrants heading for the United States wade across the Rio Suchiate between Tecún Umán, Guatemala and Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico. File photo: Keith Dannemiller / IOM 2014.

The Associated Press reports that Mexican immigration authorities have reported that they have experienced a surge of almost 5,000 Haitian, African and Asian migrants entering at the southern border in just a few days.  Recent experience suggests the 4,749 migrants entering through Mexico’s Tapachula immigration center on the Guatemalan border will soon try to reach the California border, with many expected to apply for asylum.  Recent trends suggest the majority are likely from Haiti.  That would mark a huge increase over the number seen so far this year. The institute said a total of 7,800 Haitian migrants entered Mexico through Guatemala between Jan. 1 and Sept. 21, as well as 1,701 migrants from Africa and 3,753 from various Asian nations.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RIP Jose Fernandez, Cuban American MLB Star



ESPN reports some very sad news from Major League BaseballMiami Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernández, just 24 years old, was killed in a boating accident in Florida early this morning. The U.S. Coast Guard said Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach. 

Fernández was born in Cuba and made three unsuccessful attempts at defecting before he was successful. He was selected by the Marlins in the 2011 MLB draft. Fernández made his MLB debut with the Marlins on April 7, 2013. He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and was later named National League Rookie of the Year.

Fernández became the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions, as well as go 24-1 in his first 25 home decisions. He was one of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball at the time of his death.

Fernández attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times; each failed defection attempt was followed by a prison term. Fernandez, along with his mother and sister, successfully defected in 2007. On that attempt, José's mother fell overboard and José had to dive into the water to save his mother's life.


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration and the First Debate in the 2016 US Presidential Election

330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015 Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

The preliminaries are over.  On to the Main Event!  Tomorrow night, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will engage in their first face-to-face debate.  All eyes will be watching, with many observers expecting fireworks.

Here is how the Council on Foreign Relations summarizes the candidates' positions on immigration and how the candidates might address the issue during the debate:

"The candidates will use discussion of immigration to reinforce both their foreign policy and domestic messages. Hillary Clinton has argued that an open and well-enforced immigration system benefits both the U.S. economy and national security, and reflects American values. She has generally favored efforts to increase the number of immigrants to the United States, provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented, and make deportation and detention policies more humane while improving screening and enforcement. Clinton has called immigration a “family issue” and argued that the influx of foreign workers brings important benefits to the U.S. economy. She also favors expanded U.S. acceptance of refugees from Syria. She told an audience at CFR in December 2015 that “we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian obligations,” and that “We should be doing more to ease this humanitarian crisis, not less.”

Trump’s discussion of immigration tends to emphasize what he sees as the security, economic, and cultural failures of the current system. He has called for policies that would make the immigration system much more restrictive, including mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, erecting a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States, and other restrictions on legal immigration. Many of these policies are aimed at particular minority groups. In an August 2016 speech on immigration, Trump stated that the United States should have an “ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.” Trump also talks about immigration as an economic issue. He frequently highlights the cost of both illegal immigration and the immigration system more broadly, and has called for Mexico to pay for his proposed wall."



September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will New Americans Tip the 2016 Elections?


In this Los Angeles Times op/ed, Professor Manuel Pastor suggests that the increasing numbers of naturalizations may tip the scales in the 2016 elections.  He points to the response in California to the passage of the ant-immigrant milestone, Proposition 187.  That initiative fueled Governor Pete Wilson's re-election. 

The question in my mind is whether the nation will see the response to Donald Trumps' attacks on immigrants in this election or future ones.


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Reminder that Immigrants (Including Undocumented Immigrants) Pay Taxes Too: I’ve Got ITINs on My Mind by Francine Lipman

Lipman Faculty_Lipman_Francine

At TheSurly Subgroup, a tax blog,  Francine J. Lipman reminds us that individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) holders pay over $45 billion annually in federal, state, and local taxes.  She writes that, among the many amazing opportunities she has had as a law professor is continuing her work with immigrants on their tax issues:

"As I have written about at length unauthorized immigrants pay many tens of billions of dollars a year in taxes including federal (about 4.4 million ITIN tax returns were filed in 2015 paying over $23 billion including $18.1 in federal income taxes and $5.5 in self-employment taxes), state, and local income, property, sales, excise, etc. ($12 billion annually), and payroll taxes (about $12 billion a year in net Social Security and Medicare taxes for which they currently receive no current or future benefit)."


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mass deportation isn’t just impractical. It’s very, very dangerous.

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Danielle Allen and Richard Ashby Wilson in this Washington Post op/ed questions the mass deportation stratgy endorsed by Preesidential canidate Donald Trump, suggesting that it is a typo of "ethnic cleansing" and has been seen at various times in U.S. history, including the Trail of Tears, repatriation of persons of Mexican ancestry during the Great Depression, and "Operation Wetback" in 1954:

"Currently, we are seeing net outflows of immigrants across the Mexican border, as has been the case since 2009. In other words, we do not have an immigration crisis. But even if we did, history has shown that crisis rhetoric, coupled with a racially tinged aspiration to mass deportations, has repeatedly led to episodes that harm some severely, perhaps even mortally, and is likely to bring shame on us all."


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Administration Steps Up Removals of Haitians

The American Immigration Council's Immigration Impact questions the announcement of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will step up the deportation of Haitian nationals following a recent uptick in their number of arrivals at the San Ysidro Port of Entry by San Diego. Deportations of Haitians had been scaled back significantly following a massive 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti in January of 2010 and resulted in the death of more than 200,000 Haitians.


After the 2010 earthquake, many Haitians reportedly fled to Brazil and other nations. However few see their native-Haiti as safe or stable enough to return to and are now leaving their temporary homes in South America to make the trip north to the United States. Since May of 2016, over 4,000 Haitians have arrived in San Diego and it is being reported that another 4,000 to 6,000 Haitians are currently on their way.

In the announcement, DHS Secretary Johnson stated that Haitians will now be subject to the rapid deportation process known as “expedited removal.” Secretary Johnson said that individuals who express a fear of return to Haiti will be screened by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for possible asylum status.

However, Haitians who have resided in the United States continuously since January 2011 and currently have Temporary Protective Status, which gives those individuals a temporary stay of removal and employment authorization to support themselves and their families, will not be impacted by this change.

Immigration advocates are frustrated by this aggressive move to quickly deport Haitians. The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) noted that the decision is “unconscionable” and “Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, is in no condition to receive people back. In fact, reports on the ground are that the country is worse off than before the earthquake; only last month, the United Nations finally took responsibility for a still-raging cholera epidemic.”

This announcement comes only days after President Obama’s speech before the United Nations where he encouraged other nations to do their part to those fleeing unstable and insecure nations. The New York Times noted, “The message to those Haitians from the Obama administration, however, seems clear: Turn around or go elsewhere.”

Sadly, once again, the Obama Administration appears to be responding to a humanitarian crisis with severe enforcement measures. This strategy has not worked with individuals fleeing violence in Central America and will not work when it comes to Haitian earthquake survivors. The Obama Administration needs to extend the same compassion the President called for at the United Nations this week to Haitians and end these aggressive attempts to send them back to a country in ruin.

Kirk Semple for the New York Times reviews the change in policy.  See here and here.


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The untold stories of Japanese war brides


After World War II, tens of thousands of Japanese women moved with their new husbands, American soldiers, and assimilated into American culture.  Photo courtesy of the Washington Post

Kathryn Tolbert, who co-directed the film, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” has this interesting story in the Washington Post.

Many Japanese women married U.S. military men who occupied their country after World War II and came to the United States:

"And then? They disappeared into America. There were tens of thousands of them, yet they vanished from public awareness — Japanese women who were barely a blip in immigration history, who married into families of North Dakota farmers, Wisconsin loggers, Rhode Island general store owners.

They either tried, or were pressured, to give up their Japanese identities to become more fully American. A first step was often adopting the American nicknames given them when their Japanese names were deemed too hard to pronounce or remember. Chikako became Peggy; Kiyoko became Barbara. Not too much thought went into those choices, names sometimes imposed in an instant by a U.S. officer organizing his pool of typists. My mother, Hiroko Furukawa, became Susie."


September 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressman John Lewis on the Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture


American hero John Lewis has posted this statement on the White House Blog:

I've been waiting to see this day for 15 years -- and in some ways, my whole life.

I've loved history ever since I was a little boy. Growing up in the oppressive shadow of Jim Crow, my teachers would ask me to cut out photographs I found in magazines and newspapers of Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, and other marchers for justice. I read about Booker T. Washington, reveled in the sounds of the Jubilee Singers, and prayed for a King to reach the mountaintop.

To me, history is the foundation of a powerful legacy, and it is important to tell the stories of the millions of black men and women, boys and girls, who labored and sacrificed, and continue the struggle, to build this great nation.

When I learned of the decades-long effort to establish a national museum dedicated to preserving that too often untold story, I readily joined the effort. Every session of Congress for 15 years, I introduced a bill to create this national museum.

While the journey has been long, today the history of African Americans will finally take its place on the National Mall next to the monuments to Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson -- exactly where it belongs.


It is important that the National Museum of African American History and Culture tells the unvarnished truth of America's history -- a story that speaks to the soul of our nation, but one few Americans know.

It's a reminder that 400 years of history can't be buried; its lessons must be learned. By bringing the uncomfortable parts of our past out of the shadows, we can better understand what divides us and seek to heal those problems through our unity.

If we look at the glass-topped casket that displayed the brutalized body of Emmett Till and hear his story, we may better understand the exasperation and anger Americans feel today over the deaths of Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice.

If we see that an everyday leather wallet is what's left of Harry T. Moore -- a man who fought for the right to vote and died in a bombing meant to silence his activism on Christmas Day in 1951 -- perhaps we will see why so many are fighting to protect any encroachment on that most sacred right today.

And as we look at the exhibit dedicated to an African American who now leads the free world from a White House built by black slaves, we can better understand the unshakeable optimism that has defined his belief that -- with dedicated work and a little good trouble -- we can help create a society that is more fair and more just, which benefits all Americans.

This museum casts a light on some of the most inspiring -- and uniquely American -- heroes who were denied equal rights but often laid down their lives to defend this nation in every generation. Often they profited least from the struggle they were willing to die for because they believed that the promises of true democracy should belong to us all, equally and without question.

I hope you will join me and President Obama for the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture today at 10:00 am ET.

When you hear about the heroes memorialized in its halls, you may discover the depths of the invincible American spirit. As we learn and confront this history together, we can begin to build one inclusive, and truly democratic family -- the American family.

Rep. John Lewis




September 24, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)