Friday, July 29, 2016

EOIR Proposes Regulations re Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, for which it seeks public comment, on Motions to Reopen Removal, Deportation or Exclusion Proceedings Based Upon a Claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.  The proposed rule would create federal regulations that establish procedures and set standards for the filing of motions to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel, and comes as a response to the Attorney General's directive in Matter of Compean, Bangaly & J-E-C-, 25 I&N Dec. 1 (A.G. 2009) (also known as "Compean II") for EOIR to develop such regulations. 

Immigration law is notorious for having its fair share of attorneys whose level of practice falls far below acceptable levels of advocacy.  To be fair, a number of stellar immigration lawyers advocate zealously for their clients by engaging in deep fact investigation, remaining abreast of changes in the law, keeping their clients fully informed of their cases, and charging reasonable rates.  Many private immigration lawyers practice at the cutting edge of immigration law's greatest complexities, and see the government's coercive power at its height through their clients' stories, leading them to pursue broader change in the immigration laws.  But there unfortunately exist a number of lawyers who instead file boilerplate forms, fail to anticipate applicable bars to relief or anticipate the need for relevant waivers, don't spend the time needed to develop detailed factual claims or identify forms of relief, don't return their client's phone calls, improperly delegate work to non-lawyer professionals, miss filing deadlines and even miss court dates -- all while charging clients exorbitant fees.  Many clients who are undocumented are afraid to report even the most egregious attorneys for unethical practice to the relevant state bar or law enforcement authorities.   Also, given immigration law's complex nature, many well-intentioned and ethical lawyers may find themselves doing what all lawyers are prone to doing -- making mistakes.  

For years, the standards governing ineffective assistance-based claims had been established in Matter of Lozada, 19 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 1988).  But in early 2009, then-Attorney General Mukasey issued the first Matter of Compean decision, 24 I&N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009), which stated that "there is no Fifth Amendment right to effective counsel in removal proceedings," and provided for motions to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel to continue only as a matter of "administrative grace."  Several months later, Attorney General Holder issued the Compean II decision, which vacated Compean I, and reinstituted the Lozada standard until the EOIR could develop regulations.  One of the downsides of Lozada, as the Federal Register announcement emphasizes, is that the various circuits have at times "adopted varying interpretations for determining compliance with Lozada requirements, establishing prejudice, and applying equitable tolling to the filing deadlines" for such motions to reopen, and have also adopted "varying standards for prejudice."

 Comments are due September 26, 2016 and may be submitted electronically here.


July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration & Hillary Clinton's DNC Speech

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 6.54.03 AM

Last night, Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to formally accept her nomination to be that party's presidential candidate.

Her speech included only a few lines about immigration:

Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it's the right thing to do.

And later:

I refuse to believe we can't find common ground here. We have to heal the divides in our country. Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.


July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spotlight on Yusra Mardini: Syrian Refugee and Olympic Swimmer

Yusra Mardini
Photo via the Daily Mail

Today, the BBC has an in-depth story on Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini.

A few years ago, Mardini was a "typical teenager" in Syria. Then came war.

Mardini toughed it out during the Syrian war for more than four years. Until she and her family realized that to remain in Syria was to remain without hope, "almost dead."

Mardini and her eldest sister left Syria with extended family and other refugees.

One leg of Mardini's harrowing escape from Syria involved crossing open water on a dinghy meant for 6 but holding 20. The engine stopped and the lives of everyone on the boat were in jeopardy. Mardini, her sister, and one other refugee, the only swimmers aboard, jumped off the dinghy and began to tow it towards land. They swam and towed for more than three hours, eventually making it to Lesbos and relative safety.

Mardini and her sister continued on to Germany - the final stop in their 25 day flight from Syria.

In Syria, Mardini had been a swimmer. Her father was a swim coach, and she'd once been competitive swimmer supported by the Syrian Olympic Committee. In Germany, she swam again. And caught the eye of important coaches. 

She is now training for the Olympics. Marini will compete this summer in Rio as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.


July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Constitutional Implications of U.S. v. Texas by Carrie Severino


On Morning Consult, Carrie Severino, is chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. discusses the implications of the Supreme Court's recent non-decision in the case in which President Obama's proposed expanded deferred action program was at stake.  Severino is not a fan of the proposed program:

"[T]he Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas is only a half-win. We now know that fewer than half of the sitting justices are willing to stand up to an ambitiously lawless president. Adding a tie-breaking vote for a virtually omnipotent president would only encourage future presidents to attempt bigger and bolder acts of lawlessness, further deepening the constitutional crisis.

The solution is to elect presidents who will appoint Supreme Court justices committed to upholding the Constitution, not smuggling a political agenda into their judicial decisions. What course will we choose?"



July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Call for Papers: Analysis and Comment on United States v. Texas and the Constitutionality of Laws Surrounding Immigration


The Syracuse Law Review seeks manuscripts that address the constitutionality of laws surrounding immigration and how the Supreme Court’s decision of United States v. Texas has and will continue to affect the landscape. A book of Volume 67 of the Law Review will be dedicated to addressing constitutional themes that emerged from last year’s Supreme Court term, and we would like to include an article on immigration in the conversation. The article’s subject was left intentionally broad so as to leave room for authors to choose individual, specific topics within the field. Article submissions should be approximately 10,000 words (flexible) and must be submitted to the Law Review no later than October 1, 2016. If you are interested in submitting or if you have any questions, please contact Lead Articles Editors Hillary Anderson at and Matthew Petrone at


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

Report: "Unsafe" and on the Margins: Canada's Response to Mexico's Mistreatment of Sexual Minorities and People Living with HIV

Immigration Article of the Day: The Place of Persecution and Non-State Action in Refugee Protection by Matthew J. Lister


The Place of Persecution and Non-State Action in Refugee Protection by Matthew J. Lister, University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department July 13, 2016 The Ethics and Politics of Immigration: Core Issues and Emerging Trends. Alex Sager, ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2016

Abstract: Crises of forced migration are, unfortunately, nothing new. At the time of the writing of this paper, at least two such crises were in full swing – mass movements from the Middle East and parts of Africa to the E.U., and major movements from Central America to the Southern U.S. border, including movements by large numbers of families and unaccompanied minors. These movements are complex, with multiple causes, and it is always risky to attempt to craft either general policy or philosophical positions in response to salient crises. However, both of these instances do bring to the foreground important questions about the proper purpose and extent of refugee protection as a means of dealing with crises of forced migration. In particular, both of these instances force us to consider what role persecution on the basis of a protected ground – race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion – ought to play in granting refugee protection, and whether our response to those in danger should change if the agents of persecution are non-state actors. This paper is not primarily about the problems arising from Syria or Central America. In a way similar to how hard cases make bad law, I contend that a too central focus on salient crises tends to lead to bad theory and often to bad general policy. However, if I am successful in my goal of clarifying the place of persecution and non-state action in refugee protection, then we may in turn be better able to think clearly about our current crisis situations.

In this paper I will first draw on my previous work on the normative logic of the refugee convention to argue that, while persecution should play an important, and even central, role in our thinking about refugees, this importance is shallow and pragmatic rather than deep and fundamental. Next, I will show how this conclusion supports the claim that harms amounting to persecution by non-state actors may ground an asylum claim, at least in some cases, both when the state is unwilling and when it is unable to protect its members. I consider two cases: first, instances where the authority and power of the state has been usurped by another power, and second, when the state has (implicitly or explicitly) delegated its power or authority to non-state actors. I will show how this leads to extending asylum to a broader range of people than traditional accounts would.


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

Democratic Convention Speaker: Child of undocumented parents: I am American

A Colloquy about the Disappearing Equal Protection Rights of Immigrants


Professor Jenny-Brooke Condon

 Jenny-Brooke Condon’s recent article The Preempting of Equal Protection for Immigrants? analyzes important issues surrounding the constitutional rights of immigrants. Professor Condon in essence contends that the current legislative, executive, and scholarly focus on the distribution of immigration power between the state and federal governments has undermined the Equal Protection rights of legal immigrants in the United States. Despite the contentious national debates over immigration reform, immigrants’ rights have generally been of secondary concern in contemporary immigration scholarship, which is now dominated by analysis of immigration federalism. 

I comment on Professor Condon's article in Washington & Lee Law Review On-Line.  In my estimation, Professor Condon undoubtedly is correct that we should not lose sight of the rights of immigrants through a myopic focus on federalism concerns. Courts should be vigilant to protect noncitizens from the excesses of all governmental exercises of power, including discrimination against immigrants by the federal government.

Professor Condon undoubtedly is correct that we should not lose sight of the rights of immigrants through a myopic focus on federalism concerns. Courts should be vigilant to protect noncitizens from the excesses of all governmental exercises of power, including discrimination against immigrants by the federal government.

This essay identifies two areas for future inquiry that build on The Preempting of Equal Protection for Immigrants? First, Professor Condon questions the arbitrary line-drawing between the standards of review of state and federal alienage classifications. But, she herself draws a questionable line by advocating for greater protection of the constitutional rights of legal immigrants, while stopping short of calling for the extension of rights to undocumented immigrants. However, all immigrants are disenfranchised, lack direct political power, and frequently suffer the disfavor of the majority in the political process. That status militates in favor of strict scrutiny review of laws targeting undocumented as well as lawful immigrants.

Second, if Professor Condon’s call for greater attention to the Equal Protection rights of noncitizens is taken seriously, we must examine the continuing vitality of the plenary power doctrine. That exceptional doctrine shields from judicial review invidious classifications under the U.S. immigration laws, including discrimination that would be patently unconstitutional if applied to U.S. citizens; those laws historically have discriminated against noncitizens who are racial minorities, poor, disabled, women, political dissidents, and others. Dismantling what is known as “immigration exceptionalism” has long puzzled immigration law scholars. Professor Condon reminds us of the need to reconsider the constitutional immunity for immigrant admissions and removal criteria.


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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Haitian/DR Crisis Reveals Rift in Catholic Church

We've all been watching the migration crisis in the Dominican Republic as that country seeks to remove individuals of Haitian descent. What you may not have know is that there is a division within the Catholic Church in Hispaniola over that migration crisis. 

As the BBC reports, Father Luc Leandre is a Catholic priest who is helping Haitian "returnees" from the DR. He calls the deportation of Haitians a "grave crisis" and does what he can to resettle those returned.

But Father Leandre notes, "The cardinal in Santo Domingo [Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez] is personally very vocal in his support for the deportations. He supported sending all the Haitians back to their country."


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

Lena Dunham And America Ferrera Slam Trump At Democratic Convention


At the Democratic Convention yesterday, Hillary Clinton was nominated for President.  In one of the speeches in support of Clinton, Lena Dunham And America Ferrera slammed Donald Trump.  For what it is worth, Ferrara was born in Los Angeles and her parents are from Honduras.

Best line of the speech:  "Look," America said, "Donald's not making America great again. He's making America hate again. And the vast majority of us, we cannot afford to see his vision of America come to be." 


July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Long and Winding Road Followed by an Undocumented Immigrant: To Law School and Legal Status


Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe

Remember Sergio Garcia, the undocumented immigrant who persevered and obtained his law license in California.  The Boston Globe tells another "feel good" immigration story.  Antonio Massa Viana was a star law student at Roger Williams University School of Law. He was also undocumented.  Viana in 2014 became the first known unauthorized immigrant to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts.

Viana is now here legally — he said he received a green card last year through his wife, a naturalized US citizen from Argentina.  His long and complicated immigration history began when his mother came to America as a teenager in 1962 to marry a US citizen. They had two American children and she received a green card, but it lapsed after she and her husband split up. She returned to Brazil and had two more children, including Viana. The family returned to America when Viana was 12. His mother tried to get Viana a green card but filled out the wrong form and he had to go back to Brazil. When he was 19 he came back as his family settled in New York and tried again, but he had missed the age cutoff by one year.

Over the next two decades, Viana tried to get a green card through family and work. Most of his relatives are US citizens, including his mother. He disclosed his legal status to Rhode Island officials and was allowed to take the exam, though he was not allowed to get a law license until he was a legal permanent resident or a citizen, as the state requires. Viana said he called Massachusetts officials and discovered that the state had no such requirement for people taking the bar exam. He passed both bar exams on the first try. Massachusetts issued his law license in 2014 and ironically. Court officials had no comment.

Until 1973, Massachusetts required lawyers to be US citizens, but that year the US Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Connecticut because it discriminated against non-citizens. After the Supreme Court ruling, Massachusetts courts started to admit noncitizens to the bar, but the state never clarified whether undocumented immigrants could apply.


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

U.S. Expands Initiatives to Address Central American Migration Challenges


Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security issued the following announcement:

Over the past year, the United States has taken a series of steps to address the ongoing humanitarian challenges in Central America, particularly for the many vulnerable individuals attempting to leave the region and come to the United States, while also promoting safe and orderly migration and border security. As part of this ongoing effort, the United States is announcing the following initiatives to help vulnerable families and individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Today, the Government of Costa Rica has announced that they have agreed to enter into a protection transfer arrangement (PTA) with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to help address this regional migration challenge. This announcement is an important step forward for this program and the United States applauds Costa Rica’s consistent leadership on human rights and demonstrated capacity as a capable partner in addressing this regional migration challenge.

“Through the Central American Minors program, the U.S. government offers an alternative, safe, and legal path to the United States for children seeking protection from harm or persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.  “Today, we are expanding these resettlement opportunities to additional vulnerable individuals within the region.  This will increase the number of individuals to whom we are able to provide humanitarian protection while combating human smuggling operations."

Through coordination with UNHCR and IOM, the United States government will pre-screen vulnerable applicants from the region seeking protection. After pre-screening, this arrangement will allow UNHCR and IOM to transfer applicants most in need of immediate protection to Costa Rica, where they will undergo refugee processing before being resettled to the United States or another third country.

Additionally, for cases not requiring immediate transfer to Costa Rica, the United States is establishing an in-country referral program to enable vulnerable residents in this region to be considered for refugee protection in the United States after being screened and interviewed by Department of Homeland Security officers in their countries of origin.

The United States is also pleased to announce an expansion of our existing Central American Minors program, which currently provides children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with a safe and orderly alternative to the dangerous, irregular journey that some children are currently undertaking to reach the United States. As of today, the United States has received more than 9,500 applications for this program, which allows a lawfully-present parent within the United States to request refugee status for their children located in one of these three countries. When accompanied by a qualified child, the following additional categories of applicants may also be considered under this program:

  • sons and daughters of a U.S.-based lawfully-present parent who are over 21 years old;
  • the in-country biological parent of the qualified children;
  • caregivers of qualified children who are also related to the U.S.-based lawfully present parents.

As the United States has made clear in the past, we are committed to protecting Central Americans at risk and expanding resettlement opportunities in the region. The steps taken today, and over the past year, are another example of the creative solutions being taken across the federal government to make progress on this issue. Today’s actions will not solve this challenge alone, but are steps in the right direction and are a further example of the United States’ continued commitment to this ongoing situation.

Please go to


For details and analysis click here and here. The move is intended to bring refugee families together, Obama officials said. But it could prove another partisan lightning rod in the debate over immigration in the U.S. presidential campaign.  The rule changes appear more modest than some of President Obama’s controversial deferred action programs. 


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

Homeland Security chief seeks help from American Muslims — with a searing personal story


Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times tells a fascinating story about Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.   His grandfather Charles S. Johnson was a distinguished sociologist who was president of Fisk University after World War II, when it was a haven for black intellectuals.

While in Nashville on business, Johnson visited his grandfather's grave in Greenwood Cemetery, a nearly all-black burial ground that remains a vestige of the city’s color line.

According to the story, Johnson's grandfather "has become a powerful personal touchstone for him as he juggles competing demands for national security and personal privacy, for government surveillance and civil liberties. Johnson’s grandfather was a target of the communist witch hunts of the postwar era. In 1949 he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated allegations of disloyalty and subversive activities. The black college president was asked if he was then or had ever been a member of the Communist Party. He wasn’t and he hadn’t. The FBI investigated him but found nothing. The family kept silent for decades about how the humiliations of the Red Scare touched them. Jeh Johnson only learned of his grandfather's tribulation last fall while researching a speech." “Basically in the late ’40s and early ’50s, if you were a black intellectual with a PhD, you were also suspected of being a communist,” Johnson said.

ohnson sees uncomfortable parallels to the animus and distrust that many Muslim Americans face for the terrorist actions of a few. “We always risk a fundamental misunderstanding of who is an individual of suspicion and who should be subject to government surveillance,” Johnson said. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has made suspicion of Muslims a centerpiece of his campaign.

Johnson regularly meets Muslim leaders around the country. He asks them to help authorities identify potential threats in their communities, and he often describes his grandfather’s torment to show he understands how innocent people can be harmed when fear, fueled by politics, sweeps the nation.


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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Black Lives Matter Is Not About Killing Cops

As two thousand supporters of Black Lives Matter take to the street today in Philadelphia, we all need to take notice. Like countless others across the country, I have closely followed the birth and evolution of Black Lives Matter, joining them and their supporters on the streets to protest racist shootings at the hands of police. I do not speak for Black Lives Matter, but blaming the recent tragic murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge on the movement is misplaced and unfair from my experience and study.

BLM and others are working on programs to create true community policing that is about public safety for all. Their rebellious method of organizing recognizes that meaningful, lasting change can only come about through collaboration with allies with common goals and experiences. Working with the labor movement, immigrant rights groups, Latino and Asian American organizations, pro-Palestinian activists, and grassroots groups like Critical Resistance, BlackOUT Collective, Stop Urban Shield Coalition, and Dark Matter represents a strong foundation for collective change. Their various proposals generally fall into three overlapping categories: procedural, attitudinal, or community-oriented.

The procedural realm includes the following: Curtailment of sales of military equipment to local law enforcement. Better transparency—including requiring body cameras. Recruiting better-educated officers. Use of Tasers and less-lethal weapons. Training on verbal warnings and warning shots.  Requiring police officers to collect data on the people they stop, including perceived race and ethnicity, the reason for the encounter, and the outcome. Better civilian review, internal affairs, diversifying personnel.

To change police attitudes, advocates promote: Non-enforcement activities by police, sensitivity training, exploring root causes of social problems. Crisis intervention training. Implicit bias training. Prosecutions of officers and civil suits against police departments. Community-wise, they advocate for restorative justice and to train others to be first-responders to incidents involving individuals suffering from mental health or drug problems.

Thanks to social media and the ubiquity of 24/7 CNN news coverage today, images of shootings like those of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling are brought to us in our living rooms or smart phones in an instant. Just as quickly as those images are brought to us and spread across the internet, the substance of racialized policing can be distorted or displaced by the next hot topic or shocking image. One could make a good case that the only reason that racialized policing remains in the consciousness of many Americans is due to a new tragic incident on a regular basis. The risk we run is not that we forget, but that we become jaded—unresponsive –to the illness that apparently pervades so much of policing today.   Strangely enough, perhaps the Dallas tragedy will keep the question of racialized policing on the table for a bit longer.

Most of us raised a skeptical eyebrow when, in Grutter v. Bollinger, the affirmative action case of 2003, Justice O’Connor predicted that “25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." We are half way into those 25 years. We wished that she was correct, but knew she was wrong. People of color in the United States experience racially insensitive comments or actions too often to know that judgment by character rather than skin color is not guaranteed. Attentive white Americans know their advantages and also hear and sense the racist sentiments or actions of their white neighbors or friends all too often.

We remain disappointed that in the year 2016 the need for a call to action to combat racism in the institution of law enforcement continues. However, in our lifetimes—in fact just in the past couple years—we have witnessed constant, violent racialized policing; we have witnessed 21-year old white supremacist Dylan Roof killing nine black parishioners and their minister during Bible study at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church; we have witnessed the attempt to hang onto the confederate flag by those who continue to cling to their racist glory days. As the latter examples demonstrate, when violent racist policing continues and goes unpunished, the malevolent actions of racist cops gives license to private vigilante racists who engage in their own brand of hate speech and violence.

This call to action is to address the illness that has plagued the nation since slavery, the institution of Jim Crow, the mass incarceration of the New Jim Crow, and the continued targeting of black men and women in violent racialized policing. This is the same malady that has plagued our nation since the mass annihilation of native Americans, the exclusion of Asian immigrants, and the relentless targeting of Mexicans for deportation.

Law enforcement may resist and argue that a decision had to be made in a millisecond, but we can see from videos of beatings and shootings like those of Sterling and William Chapman another black man, accused of shoplifting, that these are not decisions made in a blink. All too often these decisions are rooted in the evils of structural racism that licenses the individual officer. Other times, these are malicious decisions to simply join in on the fun of beating on a black man like Rodney King years ago.

Today more than ever, we need to recommit to racial justice in our criminal justice system. Today, more than ever, we also need to acknowledge that the ideas to reform policing may come from grass roots groups, from a range of allies, and that the leadership for reform also may come from those sources. We need to listen for those innovative ideas that can disrupt the convention. They may come from that young child on an American street or from some soul resisting similar oppression in the Middle East.

Those disruptive ideas will flow from the sorrow and anger over the racist shootings we have witnessed, as we and our friends turn that outrage into humanistic solutions based on the understanding that these lives mattered, as the souls of those who hold the guns and drive the tanks are transformed, willingly or not, into choosing peacemaking over violence.

For elaboration on my views, see From Ferguson to Palestine: Disrupting Race-Based Policing, 59 Howard L.J. __ (2016).


July 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

European Migrant, Refugee Deaths at Sea Pass 3,000 as Arrivals Near 250,000


Syrian and Iraqi immigrants getting off a boat from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos

The refugee crisis in Europe seems to have dropped out of the news.  Still, the International Organization for Migration reports an estimated 249,854 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 24 July, arriving mostly in Italy and Greece. The 250,000 total is likely to be surpassed soon few hours as recently rescued migrants reach Italian shores.

According to IOM estimates, the latest discovery of 39 bodies washed up on Libyan shores this week brings the number of casualties to over 3,034 among the migrants and refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2016. This year’s total so far, is significantly higher compared to last year as of end of July 2015, when 1,917 had lost their lives at sea.

At the same time, the total number of arrivals by sea in Europe is only slightly higher than the same period in 2015 (with nearly the same number of arrivals registered in Italy).  

One of the reasons behind the increase in migrant deaths is linked to the exceptional flow of arrivals and the high number of migrants – about 1,000 victims over a tragic few days – lost at sea in the last week of May 2016.


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

Immigrant Rights Groups Pressure Hillary on DNC Day One

Julianne Hing, at the DNC in Philadelphia, writes for The Nation:

This time last week, Republicans were selling war pornography, playing murdering-immigrant reels narrated by grieving parents, and frightening Americans with Rudy Giuliani shouting straight into their living rooms. On Monday, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Democrats answered that with a lineup worthy of an Old Navy ad, a repeated message of inclusivity and interdependence, and more actual celebrities than appeared in all four days of the GOP convention.

Among the warm-up speakers tonight were 11-year-old Karla Ortiz and her undocumented-immigrant mother, Francisca, and the noted Las Vegas immigrant-activist Astrid Silva. The three were sandwiched between queer and female and immigrant lawmakers, labor leaders, and professional athletes in the program. The racial and gender diversity onstage and on the convention floor was striking. Speakers wasted no time pointing out the contrast with the Republican convention—not without occasional self-congratulatory smugness.

Ortiz’s and her mother’s speeches were short, and DREAMer Silva’s was even shorter, but the women’s presence on stage was the most important part of the message anyway. Karla, Francisca, and Silva are the very people Donald Trump refers to when he talks about “the illegals” who supposedly threaten national security and the economy.

“Hillary Clinton told me that she would do everything she could to help us,” the young Ortiz said on Monday. “She told me that I didn’t have to do the worrying, because she would do the worrying. She wants me to have the worries of an 11-year-old, not the weight of the world on my shoulders.” Ortiz met Clinton in February in an immigrant roundtable that provided footage for a campaign ad that Ortiz later starred in. (Silva can also be seen in the video.) In it, Ortiz told Clinton, who drew the young girl onto her lap, that she feared the deportation of her parents. Clinton responded with tenderness that the campaign sought to highlight back in February during the heated primary.

“My family and I are here because of Senator Harry Reid, abuelito [grandfather], who put himself in our shoes and helped us,” Silva, who is famous for her epistolary friendship with the Senate minority leader, said on Monday. “While President Obama’s immigration action helped me, we live in constant fear that my parents can be taken from their grandson Noah.” Silva is a recipient of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Obama’s major 2012 executive action granting immigrants like her who came to the United States as children short-term protections from deportation and work permits.

Silva, 28 and an immigrant-rights powerhouse, is no stranger to the national spotlight. She immigrated to the United States by climbing into a tire raft with her family as a 4-year-old, then taught herself English on the school playground and became a star student. Held back from her childhood dreams of becoming an architect because of her undocumented-immigrant status, she turned to activism, and today is the organizing director for Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Silva’s sympathetic story is an archetypal DREAMer narrative, perfect for highlighting the Democratic Party’s approach to immigrant rights: Harry Reid mentioned Silva’s story during a 2013 Senate immigration fight, and President Obama spoke at length about Silva’s family in 2014 when he announced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), his second executive action, which remains on hold after a Supreme Court decision this year. Read more...


July 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

DACAmented Immigrant Astrid Silva Addresses Democratic Convention

Border Patrol detains Canadian teens who crossed border playing 'Pokemon GO'


Pokémon GO is the craze and has been known to distract many a person from his or her daily activities.  It did not take long but the game is now making border enforcement news -- and even Reuters covered the story.   U.S. Border Patrol officials say two Canadian teenagers were briefly apprehended after they accidentally crossed the U.S. border into Montana while playing the game "Pokemon GO."  Border Patrol Agent John South says the teens were engrossed and wandered into the United States.    They were detained until released to their mother.



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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tim Kaine Interview on Unaccompanied Children, DREAMers, and Immigration Reform

From Telmundo:

Interviewed: Newly appointed Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Tim Kaine.

Correspondent: Rebeka Smyth.

Airing Time: "Noticias Telemundo" at 6:30 PM/5:30 C

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time.

From a very young age, you were interested in Latin America, in learning Spanish. Now, if you have the opportunity to be vice president, how will you stand up for immigrants?

TK: All of the issues are important to the Latino community, but now, as a candidate for vice president, I can work more not just with people in Virginia, but everywhere.

Interviewer: If you became vice president, what is the first thing you would do to support immigrants? Would there be immigration reform?

TK: Hillary is going to do that in the first 100 days of her administration. She is going to make a big effort in Congress to get reform passed, and with my experience in the Senate, with bipartisan colleagues, I am going to work hard – especially in Congress – to help this effort, and other issues, too. In Honduras, where I lived a long time ago, there is a lot of violence right now, and children are coming here from countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because of that. I hope I could help work with the governments there to support their efforts at economic development, to combat the violence. Our nations should work together to end this situation.

Interviewer: About those children you just mentioned, Hillary Clinton said at one point that children have come to the United States since 2014 should be deported. During her campaign she has changed her statement. Why has she changed her mind? Can we trust Hillary Clinton on this?

TK: It’s important to have a system to control the border, and so when we first started getting flooded with people it was difficult to decide what to do. But now we understand the reasons why those children are coming here. Americans buy illegal drugs from south of the border, and the money from those drug deals goes back south. In societies like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, that money becomes a source of corruption and violence. Many of the children who are traveling thousands of kilometers to come here are escaping from the consequences of illegal drugs. We in this country have a responsibility to work together to find a solution to this problem. These children should be able to have a secure future in their own countries.

Interviewer: Of course, but those children who are coming to the United States … Hillary has changed what she says about them in her speeches. Does that mean they won’t be deported now?

TK: I think many of them could have a chance at asylum, if they have lawyers, but others won’t have that opportunity because they don’t entirely meet the rules for asylum status. But asylum is appropriate for some of these people, and they should be able to stay here under the rules.

Interviewer: Why should Hispanics believe in the Democratic Party, considering that during Obama’s presidency alone 2 million people have been deported? His administration has deported more immigrants than any other, so why should we trust the Democrats?

TK: We are fighting every day to reform the system. All Democrats – the president, Secretary Clinton, senators, the Democrats in the House of Representatives – are working every day for reform, while almost all of the Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, are working against us. Hillary Clinton supported immigration reform as a senator in 2006, and she has the same opinion now – she wants to fight for this. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is not only fighting against reform of the immigration system, but has also shown ill will toward immigrants of all types – new immigrants, the governor of New Mexico, a respected federal judge. For Donald Trump, Latinos are second-class citizens. We believe we are all Americans. We believe we are strong together. There is a big difference in this sense between the two parties and the candidates.

Interviewer: It’s important to point out that you are a lawyer and understand very well how the laws work in this country because of that. So what can you do to support immigrants and the 11 million people whose lives are now in limbo? How can you help them have a decent life and stay in this country legally?

TK: That’s the big hope. There are a lot of people – the “Dreamers” and others – who want a path to citizenship, for example, a chance to come out of the shadows. But there’s something else we have to do: There are now eight justices on the Supreme Court. With nine justices, I think the Court would approve President Obama’s executive orders on DAPA and DACA. The Republicans are fighting the Court, because they don’t want a Court that would approve the president’s actions. And so, there is a big difference, and because of that the struggle between now and November is very important. There are other issues too, of course, but support for new Americans is one of our country’s values and a value that Secretary Clinton holds dear, and that’s going to make a big difference.

And another thing: Latino voters in this country can make a difference in these elections. There are nearly 27 or 28 million Latino adults who can vote, but normally only 11, 12 or 13 million of them come out to vote in elections. The community has a lot of power: It can make a difference here in Virginia and in other states as well, and I think the differences between the candidates are going to result in a lot of enthusiasm among voters.

Interviewer: Given the importance of the Latino vote, and the power the Latino vote has today, why should Latinos vote for you? What are you going to do for them? If the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate anyway, we’d just be in the same position we are in today.

TK: Yes, I’m going to talk about that. In the Senate, we still have a bipartisan agreement to reform the system. Many of my Republican colleagues are saying that after January we have to do something to reform the system. A lot of Republicans in the Senate support this. In the House of Representatives, things are little different. But Paul Ryan, the Speaker, understands numbers. He understands votes. November is going to send a signal, a strong message about voters’ opinions. If Hillary is the president, her support for immigration reform is going to be one of the most important things in this campaign. I think she is going to win, because voters are going to send a message that they want the system to be reformed. Paul Ryan and the other leaders of his party are going to understand that if they want a future for their party they are going to have to work together to find a solution to this.


July 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)