Saturday, August 29, 2015
Today Chris Christie held a town hall event in New Hampshire where he said that, if elected president, he would track undocumented migrants like FedEx packages. "We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in and then when your time is up," Christie said.
It's a Hunger Games approach to immigration! "This is just your tracker, Katniss. The stiller you are, the more efficiently I can place it."
Interestingly, CNN notes that Christie isn't the first politician to come up with the FedEx analogy. Earlier proponents include Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock and Newt Gingrich.
“The U.S. Immigration Agenda” was part of the 10th Annual Homeland Security Law Institute held by the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C.. The link above includes a CSPAN video of the discussion.
The participants included:
Gregory Z. Chen, Director American Immigration Lawyers Association Advocacy
Mary Giovagnoli, Deputy Assistant Secretary Department of Homeland Security Immigration Policy
Lynden Melmed, Chief Counsel (Former) Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
The SuperDome housed local citizens who fled the flooding
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and literally destroyed large parts of the Southeast, including New Orleans. The ten year anniversary of this natural disaster has received considerable attention.
The government's response to Hurricane Katrina, including the response of President George W. Bush and the federal government, was harshly criticized. Criticism focused on mismanagement and lack of leadership in the relief efforts in response to the storm and its aftermath. More specifically, the criticism focused on the delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, and the subsequent state of chaos in the city.
Hurricane Katrina also had immigration consequences, many of which were addressed in my lecture at the Houston University Law Center in 2007. The lecture was published in the Houston Law Review. (Raquel Aldana and Anna Shavers offered commentary on the lecture.). Here is an abstract of my lecture:
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina crippled the Gulf Coast. National and international television networks televised the widespread destruction virtually non-stop for days. Many observers identified failures by all levels of government, beginning with the failure to take adequate steps to prevent the flooding to the painfully slow reconstruction of the gulf region.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, race soon emerged at the center of a heated and often over-heated controversy. African Americans comprised a substantial number of the flood victims seen on television screens around the world. As the federal government slowly responded and nothing less than anarchy reigned on the streets of New Orleans, critics forcefully contended that the race of many of the victims contributed to the slowness and ineptitude of the response. Rap star Kanye West put it most bluntly: George Bush doesn't care about black people, a position with which nearly three-quarters of African Americans polled in September 2005 agreed. Evidently feeling it necessary to squarely address the charge, President Bush vigorously denied that the race of the victims in any way influenced the federal government's emergency response to the devastation wrought by the hurricane.
Another group an often invisible group suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Immigrants, including many from Latin America, were the silent victims of the deadly hurricane. Thousands of immigrants were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. However, most reports, while critical of the governmental response to the hurricane, failed to even mention, much less criticize, the widespread indifference to the plight of the many noncitizens displaced by the mass disaster.
The general public did not look sympathetically upon immigrants. Government's failure to provide relief failed to generate much of a public response, much less trigger any general expression of outrage. The denial of disaster relief to noncitizens, as well as aggressive enforcement of the immigration laws in the wake of the hurricane, was consistent with the times, which were filled with calls for increased immigration enforcement and the popular perception that immigrants especially undocumented ones constituted a serious social problem that must be addressed.
As the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast began, immigrant workers responded. Workers were in short supply; as efforts to return to some semblance of normalcy began, many businesses were hard-pressed to field a workforce. Rather than applaud the assistance of noncitizens in the resettlement and rebuilding efforts, politicians and the public expressed fear and apprehension about the possibility that new immigrants transform the racial identity of New Orleans as well as hurt the job prospects of U.S. especially African American citizens. Unlike others willing to help, immigrants were criticized and feared, not welcomed and lauded.
Indeed, local citizens and public officials demanded action to halt immigrants from taking American jobs and changing the racial identity of a major southern city. The African American mayor of New Orleans expressed fear about the city being overrun by Mexican workers. He later stated that it was nothing less than God's will for New Orleans to be a chocolate not a Mexican city, presumably expressing the hope that it would be reconstructed as the African American enclave that it had been. In the public discussion of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, race was considered central to the city's past and future identity.
Although a fascinating story in and of itself, the plight of immigrants in the Hurricane Katrina disaster teaches deeper lessons about society's views of immigration and immigrants in the modern United States. First, despite their many contributions to U.S. society, immigrants generally, as a historical matter, have been deemed unworthy of public benefits whatever their personal circumstances. Welfare assumes an even worse name for immigrants than it does for citizens. The failure of government to provide relief to immigrants after Hurricane Katrina thus fits comfortably into a deep and enduring American tradition.
Second, immigrants especially undocumented ones who seek gainful employment in the United States often are characterized as economic parasites who take jobs from U.S. citizens. Throughout its history, this nation at various times has narrowed the immigration laws, ratcheted up border enforcement, and engaged in mass deportation campaigns, based on the unproven claim that immigrants from displacing American workers, which is a special concern in poor economic times. Time and time again, commentators and activists have contended that immigrant labor adversely affects African Americans in the job market.
Public opinion in the United States poses a most unfair Catch 22 to undocumented immigrants, who are characterized as both abusers of public benefit programs and as job takers who hurt U.S. citizens. Put simply, they either do not work and consume welfare or work and steal jobs. Much of this, of course, is old news to the most casual student of this nation's immigration history. However, even though a plethora of scholarship exists on the problems that riddle the immigration bureaucracy, there has been precious little analysis of the theoretical underpinnings of the regulation of immigration by administrative agencies. This is surprising given the great power, including the authority to remove noncitizens from the country, which such agencies possess over the lives and destinies of immigrants. Rather, immigration law, although administered and enforced through a complex and powerful administrative bureaucracy, is considered to be a specialty area outside the mainstream of administrative law.
A problem that has arisen in the U.S. government's response to immigrants in the Hurricane Katrina disaster is symptomatic of a more general failure of American democracy the lack of political accountability of the immigration bureaucracy to all persons affected by its actions. This Article critically considers the reasons for the lack of responsiveness of that bureaucracy to the needs of immigrant communities and analyzes a glaring political process defect. By so doing, I hope to encourage a sustained examination of the issue, which deeply afflicts the administration and enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws, a complex regulatory body of law filled with vast delegations of discretion to the bureaucracy.
Most generally, the frequent failure of the agencies that administer the immigration laws to fully consider the impacts of laws and regulations on noncitizens suggests a fundamental flaw in the conventional rationale for deference to administrative agencies. The Supreme Court, in perhaps the leading administrative law decision of the post-World War II period, Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., has emphasized that reviewing courts ordinarily should defer to the interpretations of statutes by administrative agencies because the Executive Branch, through election of the President, is politically accountable to the voters and that decisions properly delegated to agencies are necessarily political ones. The administration of the immigration laws thus poses a fundamental problem for the democratic rationale for deference: if we entrust agencies with making and enforcing the laws because of their political accountability, what should we do if a specific agency is only accountable to part of the people affected, directly or indirectly, by its decisions?
Both lawful and undocumented immigrants, barred from having any formal political input namely, the vote into the administrative state, are frequently injured by decisions of the bureaucracy. Citizens, whose interests often diverge from those of noncitizens, are indirectly affected by the decisions of the immigration bureaucracy but, whatever its limitations, have a full voice in the national political system through election of the President. Some citizens, of course, have family members and friends affected by immigration law and its enforcement and may advocate politically for pro-immigrant laws and policies. Still, immigrants lack the political capital of the ordinary citizen constituency of an administrative agency.
The lack of balance in political input between the affected communities can be expected to result in agency rulings and decisions on immigration matters that fail to fully consider the interests of immigrants. This fact helps explain why, especially in times of social stress, the rights of immigrants have been marginalized by the immigration agencies, as well as by Congress, throughout U.S. history. The politically powerful dominate, while the weak noncitizens have their interests under-valued and often suffer punishment.
Part I of this Article summarizes the context surrounding the Hurricane Katrina disaster and how the stage was set for a racially-charged debate over the government's actions in response to the disaster as well as the mistreatment of immigrants. Part II critically analyzes how government harshly treated immigrants in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and how political failure within administrative agencies contributed to this treatment, just as it has throughout U.S. history. This structural flaw further helps explain why we know so little about the silent suffering of immigrants in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and, more generally, in American social life. It also suggests deep problems with the lack of political accountability of the immigration bureaucracy to noncitizens.
As it turns out, Hurricane Katrina is symptomatic of a more general problem in the governance of the United States. A shadow population of millions of undocumented immigrants who are abused and exploited, live in the United States and lack any formal input into the political process. They, along with many lawful immigrants, hold second class status in U.S. social life and, more specifically, are part of a low wage caste of color. Although more diluted than the old racial caste in place in the days of Jim Crow, it is a racial caste no less, marked by a subordinated status and subject to exploitation. To make matters worse, the democratic problem identified in this article is not limited to the immigration bureaucracy, but is a more general problem of U.S. government.
As this news story reports, Latino immigrants who came to the New Orleans and the Southeast to assist in rebuilding efforts are establishing more permanent roots in the region. Many of those workers claim that they still have not been paid for their rebuilding work.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Excellent work, all!
From the Bookshelves: History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations by Naiyer Habib & Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib
Canada is home to immigrants from many cultures. Unlike times past, when newcomers from a foreign country seemed to want to blend in with their new culture as soon as possible, more recent immigrants want to become a part of their new home but retain some of the elements of their native cultures. This is a task that is often easier to talk about than to accomplish. History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations: Islamic Association, CCMW and MPJ represents the struggle and success of authors and editors Naiyer Habib and Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib. When they immigrated to Canada in 1973, they wanted to preserve their culture and religion for themselves as well as for future Muslim generations. The Culture in their new home was much different than theirs. It was the time when literature on Islam or Islamic culture was hard to find in English, so it was difficult for their new neighbors to learn about them. Through Islamic organizations begun by the Habibs and others in the Muslim community, whose stories are shared in this book, they introduced Islam and Muslims to Regina, while still holding on to their culture, but integrating with society at large. History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations: Islamic Association, CCMW and MPJ demonstrate it is not always easy to incorporate a familiar culture in a new home. But with hard work and willingness of all cultures involved to learn from each other, it can be done successfully.
Naiyer Habib was a respected Cardiologist, researcher and medical administrator in Regina, Saskatchewan, until 2004 before retiring in 2011 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada where he leads semiretired life. Mahlaqa Naushaba Habib completed her Master’s degree in Political science. She became her husband’s office manager until their retirement. They have served the Muslim community for approximately three decades. They are currently working on their memoir.
Over the last few weeks, ImmigrationProf (here, here, here, here) has been relaying the news of the growing refugee crisis in Europe. CNN reports that a group of refugees -- most likely fleeing war-ravaged Syria -- died of suffocation inside an abandoned truck on a highway in Austria Friday. The 71 victims were 60 men, eight women and three children -- ages 2 3, and 8.
Efforts by refugees to enter the European Union have resulted in massive efforts by nations on the outer perimeter of the EU to enforce their borders, which has been criticized as part of the Fortress Europe. Migrants have been dying in increasing numbers seeking to cross the Mediterranean and through other routes. In many respects, a similar phenomenon -- often referred to on this blog as "death on the border" -- has occurred in the U.S./Mexico border region, with increasing fortifications in major border cities resulting in migrant flows through mountains and deserts where migrants frequently die.
Abstract: On November 2, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law what is usually called the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA). The chief legislative sponsor of the Cuban Adjustment Act had been Senator Edward Kennedy, but the bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support, sailing through a liberal and Democratic Congress by a 300-25 margin in the House and an unchallenged voice vote in the Senate.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
I bet you thought from the title of this blog post that I would be talking about a figurative dog. Nope. A literal one.
@dhsgov posted this photo to Instagram yesterday in honor of National Dog Day. I think it's worth noting that Sec. Johnson is clearly petting a dog that is wearing an actual sign that says "DO NOT PET." There's an analogy in there somewhere.
Although not initially having a position statement on his campaign website and later suggesting that immigrant workers undercut the wage scale of U.S. workers, Senator Bernie Sanders now has staked out a "A Fair and Humane Immigration Policy" on his campaign website. Here it is:
As president, Senator Bernie Sanders will:
- Sign comprehensive immigration reform into law to bring over 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows. We cannot continue to run an economy where millions are made so vulnerable because of their undocumented status.
- Oppose tying immigration reform to the building of a border fence. Undocumented workers come to the United States to escape economic hardship and political persecution. Tying reform to unrealistic and unwise border patrol proposals renders the promise illusory for millions seeking legal status.
- Sign the DREAM Act into law to offer the opportunity of permanent residency and eventual citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States as children. We must recognize the young men and women who comprise the DREAMers for who they are – American kids who deserve the right to legally be in the country they know as home.
- Expand President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include the parents of citizens, parents of legal permanent residents, and the parents of DREAMERs. We need to pursue policies that unites families and does not tear them apart.
- Authorize and substantially increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation to provide legal representation to guest workers who have been abused by their employers. Further, employers should be required to reimburse guest workers for housing, transportation expenses and workers’ compensation.
- Substantially increase prevailing wages that employers are required to pay temporary guest workers. If there is a true labor shortage, employers should be offering higher, not lower wages.
- Rewrite our trade policies to end the race to the bottom and lift the living standards of workers in this country and our trading partners. Not only have free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA hurt U.S. workers, they have been a disaster for small farmers in Mexico and Central America.
The positions are pretty conventional Democratic positions and differ dramatically from those of Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates. They are not that different from Hillary Clinton's. They are not as detailed as the pro-immigrant platform of the candidate that nobody knows is a candidate, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley.
The New York Times reports that Priorities USA, the “super PAC” supporting Hillary Clinton for President, has posted the digital ad above that uses Donald Trump’s hostile statements about immigrants, and some statements by Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The super PAC will start airing the 30-second spot, titled “This Is the Republican Party,” in Colorado, Florida and Nevada, states with large Hispanic populations.
Earlier today, Kit Johnson blogged about the "shocking" magnitude of the EU migrant crisis. The Wall Street Journal video story above relays the latest about refugees seeking to enter the European Union through Hungary.
"confronting a Europe woefully unprepared to deal with them at every step. Most endured a perilous crossing to Greece aboard rafts and boats, some barely fit to sail. They traversed Greece, a nation paralyzed by economic crisis and too poor to handle a flow of people that in July hit a record high. At the border with Macedonia late last week, they trudged through a wall of riot police, who fought them back with tear gas before relenting. Now, the asylum-seekers, thousands a day, are racing into Hungary, which is rushing to complete a barbed-wire border fence by the end of the month to force them to seek other routes."
It has been reported that Hungary is near completion of building a six-foot razor wire fence blocking the full length of its 110-mile border with Serbia, the effective entry point to the Schengen Area of free movement in Europe.
This infographic from BBC News captures the almost unfathomable scale of the migrant crisis in Europe.
To put those numbers in context, the UNHCR estimates that the United States received 121, 200 asylum claims in 2014. Yet Germany is .04 times the size of the United States and has 1/4 of our population.
Last month, some 107,500 migrants crossed the EU's borders. Let's put that in perspective. 2014, the year of our national freak-out over unaccompanied minors coming from Central America, saw some 62,977 children were apprehended by CBP. That's 63,000 over an entire year. A third less than Europe has experience this month.
This is a crisis. And Europe doesn't currently have a coordinated response.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Haiti’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months. The extended designation is effective Jan. 23, 2016, through July 22, 2017. Current TPS Haiti beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Aug. 25, 2015, through Oct. 26, 2015.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. USCIS will not accept applications before Aug. 25, 2015. The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS Haiti beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of July 22, 2017. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a Jan. 22, 2016, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through July 22, 2016.
Haiti was initially designated for TPS on Jan. 21, 2010, after a major earthquake devastated the country. Following consultations with other federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security has determined that current conditions in Haiti support extending the designation period for current TPS beneficiaries.
Read what Jorge Ramos of Univision has to say about the immigration consequences of a Donald Trump presidency. Here is the lead in:
"`Trumpland' would feature a 1,954-mile-long wall along the US border with Mexico, to be constructed after the deportation of more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. Of course, Trump would ensure that the US-born children of these immigrants lose their right to American citizenship, so they’d be deported as well. As Trump sees it, with the border wall up and the immigrants out, the U.S. could be a great nation again.
Obviously, Trump believes that immigrants from Latin America are to blame for many of the country’s woes, and he’s trying to sell voters on his utopian vision. But the truth is that Trump’s vision is nonsense, better suited as the plot of a creepy sci-fi movie than as a political platform."
Immigration Article of the Day: Shannon Gleeson, ‘They come here to work’: an evaluation of the economic argument in favor of immigrant rights
Shannon Gleeson, ‘They come here to work’: an evaluation of the economic argument in favor of immigrant rights, Citizenship Studies, April 2015
Abstract: Advocates commonly highlight the exploitation that hard-working undocumented immigrants commonly suffer at the hands of employers, the important contribution they make to the US economy, and the fiscal folly of border militarization and enhanced immigration enforcement policies. In this paper, I unpack these economic rationales for expanding immigrant rights, and examine the nuanced ways in which advocates deploy this frame. To do so, I rely on statements issued by publicly present immigrant rights groups in six places: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC. I also draw on interviews with immigrant advocates in San Jose, CA and Houston, TX, press releases from two alternative national immigrant rights organizations, and an ethnographic photo-documentation of immigrant rights mobilizations in 2012–2014. Economic rationales, I emphasize, can be found in each of these contexts, but are not mutually exclusive to other justifications, including narratives about civil, human, and family rights for immigrants. However, I argue that an economic framing of immigrant rights nonetheless runs the risk reifying work over conventional understandings of criminality, often relies on a narrow definition of economic worth, and could have negative consequences for coalition building.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
CNN's segment The Week in 42 Photos includes two very powerful snapshots of interest to the immprof community.
The very first photo featured was taken by Daniel Etter for the New York Times.
The caption reads, in part: "A Syrian refugee, holding his son and daughter, cries tears of joy after their boat arrived on the Greek island of Kos." The raw emotion on this father's face is almost too hard to look at.
Photo 19 is by Boris Grdanoski for the Associated Press.
The caption reads, in part: "A migrant in Gevgelija, Macedonia, tries to sneak on a train bound for Serbia."
Hidden Struggles of Undocumented Children Revealed in POV Documentary ‘Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie),’ Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 on PBS
Angy Rivera had two crucial secrets in her life. The first was that she was an undocumented child living with her mother and siblings in New York City for 19 years. That secret was a constant source of fear: If her immigration status was discovered, she could be deported and her family shattered.
The second secret was more tragic: Rivera had been sexually abused by her stepfather from ages 4 to 8, a secret she eventually revealed and which, in the strange world of immigration law, helped her gain the visa she had always desired. Her poignant, inspiring odyssey is the subject of Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie), a new documentary premiering on the PBS series
POV (Point of View) on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The film will stream online from Sept. 22, 2015 - Oct. 21, 2015.
Director Mikaela Shwer met Rivera, now 24, while the young woman was still undocumented. After the two developed a friendship, Shwer began filming Rivera’s quest to help others living in immigration’s “shadows” and to gain a visa for herself. The result was Shwer’s first full-length
CNN has an interesting interview of Senator Lindsey Graham's and his latest attacks on the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. According to Graham, Donald Trump is a "complete idiot" and if the two face off in the Republican primary in Graham's home state of South Carolina, "I'll beat his brains out."
Graham chalked Trump's lead in the polls up to a "dark side of politics that Mr. Trump is appealing to." He said Trump is channeling the same Republican primary voters who believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in Kenya.
"Come to South Carolina and I'll beat his brains out," Graham said. "I know my state. This is a silly season in politics."
Graham launched the harshest attack yet of any of Trump's Republican opponents, calling him a "showman" whose "policy positions are complete gibberish." "He is shallow, he is ill-prepared to be commander-in-chief, he doesn't know what he is talking about in terms of how our laws work, he says the worst things possible about immigrants and women, and he's a complete idiot when it comes to Mideast policy," Graham said. "So I think over time, common sense will prevail."
Republican Candidates and the Media: Ted Cruz Challenges Fox's Megan Kelly, Jorge Ramos Ejected from Trump News Conference
Yesterday, Megyn Kelly repeatedly pressed Cruz to give a straight answer on whether he would deport an illegal immigrant family if the children were born in the United States. Cruz didn’t directly answer Kelly. So she said, “You’re dodging my question.” She asked, “Do American citizen children of two illegal immigrants… get deported under a President Cruz?” “I get that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz responded. “That’s also the question every mainstream media journalist wants to ask.” Kelly kept at it, saying, “Why is it so hard? Why don’t you just say yes or no?”
Immigration Article of the Day: Evolving Contours of Immigration Federalism: The Case of Migrant Children by Elizabeth Keyes
Abstract: In a unique corner of immigration law, a significant reallocation of power over immigration has been occurring with little fanfare. States play a dramatic immigration gatekeeping role in the process for providing protection to immigrant youth, like many of the Central American children who sought entry to the United States in the 2014 border “surge.” This article closely examines the history of this Special Immigrant Juvenile Status provision, enacted in 1990, which authorized a vital state role in providing access to an immigration benefit. The article traces the series of shifts in allocation of power between the federal government and state courts between 1990 and the present, often to the detriment of the children themselves. Through careful analysis of the changes in the law and changes in federal capacity since the law was originally enacted in 1990, the article shows the unintended ways that the state role diminishes the federal quality of immigration law. The geographic disparities, the access to justice problems that have intensified in recent years, and the availability of another institutional design option, all compel those concerned with improving the protection of children to consider whether it is time to rethink the state gatekeeping role entirely, and federalize the process for these migrant children.