Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Birth Tourism in the News

In the story that is making the national news, the Los Angeles Times reports on what restrictionists will no doubt characterize as the latest episode of the alleged abuse of the American rule of birthright citizenship. 

The Times reports that You Win USA, a company advertising “maternity tourism” services, for fees starting at $38,000 guides pregnant women through the process, helping a prospective foreign visitor to come to the United States on a tourist visa to await the birth of a child at a luxury Irvine apartment complex. The company instructed undercover officers to book tickets to a popular tourist destination, such as Hawaii or Las Vegas, purchase a tour package she had no intention of using and fabricate an employment history to convince immigration officials that she would not overstay her visa.  In an ironic coincidence, You Win USA had set up their operation in an apartment complex across the street from the Department of Homeland Security's Irvine field office.

Yesterday, You Win USA was one of three operations raided by federal agents targeting “maternity tourism” schemes in which pregnant Chinese women travel to the United States, usually on tourist visas, so that their children will be born U.S. citizens. The raids marked the largest federal investigation of its kind aimed at cracking down on the practice of foreign nationals traveling to the United States solely to give birth.

Agents raided apartment complexes in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, removing boxes of documents, diaper containers, and trash, and interviewing pregnant women. Investigators said they were looking for evidence of visa fraud, conspiracy and other crimes in which women were helped to fabricate documents for visa applications and coached to falsely claim that they were traveling to the U.S. for tourism.

Federal officers allege that women were instructed to travel early in their pregnancy and wear loose clothing to avoid detection, and enter the U.S. through popular tourist destinations rather than Los Angeles, where authorities are more likely to suspect birth tourism.

Visa fraud cannot be condoned and legal channels exist to punish violations of the law.  My fear is that, in the name of ending the phenomenon of "anchor babies," the publicity given to the relatively small numbers of birth tourism instances will give political fodder to forces seeking to somehow change the Fourteenth Amendment's rule of birthright citizenship.   


March 4, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

15 Journalists Selected for Immigration Fellowship

Fifteen journalists have been selected for a fellowship program on the educational, economic and social issues faced by immigrant children and their families. The Institute for Justice & Journalism will conduct its annual fellowship training program at Georgia State University in Atlanta, April 7-10.

Among the featured speakers are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza of the Associated Press, who will teach a workshop on investigative techniques, and immigration attorney Dan Kowalski, who will conduct an immigration law seminar.

As part of their fellowships, reporters will be working on projects that will be published or broadcast by their news organizations. The fellows and their affiliated media outlets are:

Isaias Alvarado, La Opinion, Los Angeles

Monsy Alvarado, The Record, Bergen County, New Jersey

Marlon Bishop, Latino USA, New York

Yvette Cabrera, Voice of Orange County, Santa Ana, Calif.

Fernanda Echavarri, Arizona Public Media, Tucson

Kristofer Husted, KBIA/Harvest Public Media, Columbia, Mo.

Amy Kiley, WABE, Atlanta Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle

Sonia Narang, freelance radio journalist, southern Calif.

Laura Palminsano, KVNF Community Radio, western Colorado

Elida Perez, El Paso Times Jeremy Raff, KQED, San Francisco

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Daily News

Amy Yurkanin, Birmingham News


March 4, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

House Fully Funds DHS, No Immigration Riders

09-18-13 at 10-30-37_1

Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post reports that House Speaker John A. Boehner "surrendered [yesterday] to Democratic demands to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, ending a tense three-month showdown over immigration. But the move could further strain relations between the speaker and hard-line conservatives, whose growing dissent threatens the future of the unified Republican majority."

After weeks of delay, Boehner cleared the way for the House to vote on a bill funding DHS through September. The legislation passed 257 to 167, with the support of all Democrats who voted but just 75 Republicans, less than a third of the caucus. President Obama was expected to sign it swiftly.

The funding bill averted a DHS shutdown.  Democrats had stood firm against Republican attempts to use the debate to fight Obama’s executive actions on immigration.


March 4, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Crimes of Migration by Daniel I. Morales

Crimes of Migration by Daniel I. Morales, DePaul University College of Law March 2, 2015 Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2015

Abstract: Migration without permission is a crime—one prosecuted much more often than it used to be. Illegal entry and reentry, crimes of migration, are the most prosecuted federal crimes. Prisons overflow with migrants serving time for entering the United States without permission—an act that does no harm to persons or property. The obvious—and undertheorized—question is whether criminal sanctions are appropriate here. I tackle this issue in this Article, arguing that criminal law theory, political theory, and theories of punishment all cut against criminalizing acts of migration. Consider that the incarceration meted out to punish migrants for migrating comes on top of deportation. Yet deportation perfectly reverses the crime of migration. The migrant entered the United States without permission: the United States forcefully removes the migrant against his wishes. This symmetrical response has an ancient pedigree: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But with deportation imposed, what interest does the United States have left to vindicate through incarceration? Normative criminal law theory, I show, suggests there is none at all. Another problem: aliens have not consented to border laws, including to crimes of migration. We take for granted that this lack of consent does not matter, but that is a controversial position in contemporary political theory—and for good reason. The kind of power we wield at the border looks more like what a king does to his subjects than what a liberal democracy does to persons ruled by law. Couple the problematic foundation of border enforcement with the fact that malum prohibitum crimes are held up by democratic consent (which, again, crimes of migration lack) and we have another compelling reason to doubt that crimes of migration have any justification besides the raw justice of the sword.


March 4, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference


2015 Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference

This biennial conference aims to create a space for junior law teachers to share drafts of writing projects, discuss teaching techniques, and get to know one another. It will be open to emerging immigration law teachers (tenure-track and non-tenure track) who have been teaching immigration law for eight years or fewer.

The conference will consist of panel discussions on teaching immigration law (doctrinal and clinical), professional development, scholarship, recent developments in immigration law and policy, and WIP/incubator sessions. The event is modeled after similar conferences held at Hofstra School of Law in 2009, American University, Washington College of Law, in 2011; and University of California, Irvine in 2013.

We intend for this gathering to occur every other year during the off-years of the biennial Immigration Law Teachers Workshop (which addresses the interests and needs of the larger immigration law teaching community). For questions related to conference content, feel free to contact any member of the planning committee:

Planning Committee

  • Kate Aschenbrenner (Barry)
  • César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Denver)    
  • Anju Gupta (Rutgers-Newark) – Planning Committee Chair        
  • Geoffrey Heeren (Valparaiso)     
  • Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore)    
  • Rachel Settlage (Wayne State)    
  • Becky Sharpless (Miami)


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 10 states diversifying the fastest

The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians By State

Today, the American Immigration Council released the first 10 of 50 updated state fact sheets with accompanying inforgraphics. Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians constitute large and growing shares of the U.S. workforce, tax base, business community, and electorate. These fact sheets highlight their contributions as workers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs, as well as their expanding political power.

The most recently updated states follow:

•  Alabama

•  Arizona

•  California

•  Florida

•  Georgia

•  Iowa

•  Maine

•  North Carolina

•  Ohio

•  Texas


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Center for Migration Studies Releases Database Featuring Estimates and Characteristics of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) announces the release of an innovative database that provides detailed information about US unauthorized residents at the national, state, and sub-state levels. The database derives from data collected in the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and is supplemented by recent estimates produced by Robert Warren, CMS Senior Visiting Fellow and former INS Statistics Division Director. It has been developed in partnership with the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University which, among other initiatives, maintains databases on income, employment, taxes, sectors of the economy, education, demographics, and other economic indicators for the nation, the state, and local areas.


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

An estimated 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013, about 13 percent of the total U.S. population, constituting the world's largest foreign-born population. This Spotlight from Migration Policy Institute's Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova offers the most current and sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—including origin, educational attainment, the unauthorized, deportations, and more—in one easy-to-use resource and contains a treasure trove of information.

Table 1


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama’s Task Force Recommends Scrapping State and Local Police Use of FBI’s ‘Immigration Violator’ Database

Chuck Ross on The Daily Caller reports that a task force appointed by President Barack Obama to reform policing in the U.S. is recommending that the Department of Justice scrap an FBI database that gathers and maintains information on certain “immigration violators.”

The recommendation, in an interim report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in an interim report on Monday, pertains to FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. NCIC is used by local law enforcement officers during traffic stops and other encounters with the public. The database, developed in 1967, allows officers to find out if the individuals are wanted for crimes in other jurisdictions.

An immigrant violator database was added to NCIC in 2002. That database tells officers, among other things, if a person has an outstanding removal order or whether the individual was previously deported with a felony conviction. If NCIC returns a positive hit for an immigration violation, local law enforcement officers are supposed to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some cities have policies requiring officers to do this, while others have policies against it.

The task force’s recommendation to end use of the database by state and local police is based on testimony received. Javier Valdez, of Make the Road New York, testified that the database “exacerbated the fear that immigrant communities feel towards local police and remains a significant impediment to effective community policing.” Valdez asserted in his testimony that Bush adopted the policy “without lawful authority” and “began entering civil immigration information regarding thousands of non-citizen [sic] into the NCIC database.” Because of this strategy, “local officers now routinely make civil immigration arrests when they encounter individuals whose names produce hits in the NCIC database,” Valdez asserted. He also argued that the number of people incorrectly identified as immigration violators is “extremely high,” citing a study that purportedly found that the error rate on immigration entries was 40 percent.

The task force’s new recommendation is part of a larger immigration strategy of taking immigration enforcement out of the hands of local and state law enforcement agencies. One of the task force’s recommendations is that the Department of Homeland Security terminate its policy of allowing local law enforcement to detain immigration status violators. Another recommendation is that “law enforcement agencies should ensure reasonable and equitable language access for all persons who have encounters with police or who enter the criminal justice system.” Most of the task force’s policy recommendations pertain to how police officers interact with the communities they serve.

President Obama set up the task force in the wake of several police-involved deaths last year.


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California State Bar hosts immigration fraud summit


The California State Bar is attempting to address a national problem with the exploitation of undocumented immigrants by unscrupulous businesses offering immigration advice. 

Undocumented immigrants are not only more vulnerable to fraud than most, but they’re also less likely to come forward to report when they’ve been victimized. “They just don’t want to become part of any system,” said Rigo Reyes, chief of investigations at the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs. That’s why it’s important for state and federal agencies to focus on prevention efforts in addition to enforcement. “If we can try to prevent harm in the first place, I think we’ve done our job in a more effective way,” he said, speaking at an interagency summit hosted by the State Bar of California’s Office of the Chief Trial Counsel last month.

The summit brought together more than 80 people and featured representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, National Asian American Coalition, Los Angeles Police Department, the California Attorney General’s Office, National Council of La Raza and legal nonprofits. Participants said it was an opportunity for them to share what they have learned about the best ways to fight fraud and connect with consumers. Such partnerships also help the agencies coordinate their enforcement actions, they said.

The issue is timely, with the possibility of a new deferred action program on the horizon (although on hold for now).  There are scammers who are taking advantage of immigrants by taking money in exchange for fake promises of help, the panelists said.  Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Santa Clara last month announced new efforts to crack down on immigration fraud and warn consumers of scams.

The State Bar has issued a warning about possible notario fraud. California law prohibits the use of the term “notario” by non-attorneys because scammers have used the term to gain credibility with Spanish-speaking immigrants. The bar has an immigration hotline (866-879-4532) for consumers to ask questions or report fraud by lawyers or non-lawyers.


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Law's Looming Fourth Amendment Problem by Michael Kagan


Immigration Law's Looming Fourth Amendment Problem by Michael Kagan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law 2015 Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 104, Forthcoming

Abstract: In 2014, a wave of federal court decisions found that local police violate the Fourth Amendment when they rely on requests from the Department of Homeland Security to detain people suspected of being deportable immigrants. The problem with these requests, known as “detainers,” was that they were not based on any neutral finding of probable cause. But this infirmity is not unique to DHS requests to local police. It is characteristic of the normal means by which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests people and detains them at the outset of deportation proceedings. These decisions thus signal a glaring constitutional problem with the way America’s immigration enforcement apparatus has been constructed. This problem developed because for more than a century the plenary power doctrine permitted immigration law to exist in a parallel constitutional universe. But recent Supreme Court jurisprudence has substantially reduced the power of the plenary power doctrine to shield immigration enforcement from constitutional scrutiny. This article traces how immigration arrests have suddenly become vulnerable to challenge, and how the problem may be remedied by reinterpreting the Immigration and Nationality Act according to the doctrine of constitutional avoidance.


March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Understanding Transnational Dynamics in European Immigrant Integration Policy

While immigrant integration policy diverges significantly across the European Union, Member States increasingly accept that the expected outcomes have thus far failed to materialise, and thus are paying new attention to different aspects of the complex, three-way integration process that involves the migrant, origin country, and country of destination.

While some integration policy areas have conventionally been considered to be the prerogative of the destination country—facilitating access to citizenship, for instance—there is a growing recognition that multiple policies and factors across boundaries must be taken into account to explain the migrant’s progress.

A new Migration Policy Institute Europe policy brief, Understanding Transnational Dynamics in European Immigrant Integration Policy, examines the role that countries of origin can play in the integration process and their hoped-for results, by looking at specific 'corridors' of migration into the European Union from third countries.

Migrant-sending countries both affect and are affected by integration at destination. Better integration outcomes can elevate emigrants to a position in the host society from which they can support development at origin. Countries of origin can play a part in this process by actively engaging their nationals abroad and devoting resources to interventions among emigrants in destination communities.

Yet origin-country strategies alone are insufficient to assure successful integration at destination. Where destination-country conditions are unfavourable for successful integration, the outcomes of origin-country integration initiatives also suffer.

‘Engineering favourable conditions at destination in tandem with complementary origin-country policies should therefore remain a priority for the European Union and its Member States’, the brief concludes.

Authored by MPI Europe programme assistant Paul Clewett, the policy brief is part of the INTERACT research initiative co-financed by the European Commission, which is examining to what extent policies in EU Member States and origin countries complement or contradict each other with regards to immigrant integration. The brief offers a synthesis of INTERACT reports that focus on a number of migration corridors to Europe.

You can read other MPI Europe reports in the series at

March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2015

What a Treat! Immigrant Chef Invites Justice Sotomayor to Dine

The Washington Post had a story today about how Francisco Ferrufino, the recently promoted Executive Chef of Meridian Pint (Columbia Heights, Washington DC), invited Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to dine in the restaurant. She accepted and brought three of her friends, including Mexican opera star Carla Dirlikov. What a treat! 

My only quibble with the story was that Justice Sotomayor's parents were described as "Puerto Rican immigrants." Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and thus, people from there/born there are U.S. citizens and not immigrants when they move to one of the fifty states.  


March 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Rey Faustino (The Philippines)

Rey Faustino and his family arrived in Los Angeles from the Philippines seeking a better life. As it so often turns out, getting to America was actually the easy part. The Faustinos, now U.S. citizens, were undocumented and spoke little or no English. The family faced a confusing and sometimes overlapping array of social services designed to help immigrants like themselves.

Faustino’s childhood experience and that of other low-income families inspired him to start One Degree, a one-stop website in San Francisco for people to navigate thousands of social service organizations that specialize in everything from health care and job training to education and housing.

For more about Rey Faustino, click here.


March 2, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Missing in Action: Job-Driven Educational Pathways for Youth and Adults

Pew Charitable Trusts’ Immigration and the States Project Call for Proposals

The Pew Charitable TrustsImmigration and the States project has issued a Request for Proposals to engage in research in three areas: 1) the impact of federal immigration laws and policies on states and/or localities; 2) the impact of immigrants admitted by the federal government in the states and/or localities where they settle; and 3) the impact of immigration-related state and/or local laws and policies on states and/or localities.


The Immigration and the States project examines the intersection of federal, state, and local immigration laws and policies and their potential impact on all levels of government. Proposals will be accepted to through 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, March 20, 2015. Contracts will be awarded for those proposals Pew chooses to fund. Please see below for the anticipated timeline for proposal review, award, and completion. Individuals and research teams from academic institutions, for-profit organizations, nonprofit organizations, and those without affiliations are eligible to apply.

Download Immigration_RFP_FINAL_All


March 2, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Dr. Seuss Anti-Japanese War Bond Cartoons

Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Kids around the country will be reading The Cat in the Hat and other fabulous rhyming books. They will dress up for Wacky Wednesday and count all the places they might go.

But you may not know that in the 1940s, Dr. Seuss drew overtly racist cartoons in support of US war bonds. UC San Diego has an online collection of the cartoons.


At least one biographer has said that Dr. Seuss regretted his anti-Japanese stance during the war. His famous tale Horton Hears a Who was dedicated to “My Great Friend, Mitsugi Nakamura of Kyoto, Japan." The book is, apparently, about the post-war occupation of Japan by the US.


March 2, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wisconsin Governor Admits Flip Flop on Immigration Reform


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a presumptive 2016 Republican presidential candidate, told Fox News that he has changed his immigration stance and no longer backs comprehensive reform that would allow illegal immigrants to be penalized but remain in the country. “My view has changed,” Walker said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview. “I’m flat out saying it.”


March 2, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Seeks to Deport Bosnians Over War Crimes


Map courtesy of wikipedia

Eric Lichtbleau reports on a removal effort by the U.S. government that is reminiscent of the efforts for decades to remove former Nazi persecutors from the United States

Immigration officials are moving to deport at least 150 Bosnians in the United States who are believed to have taken part in war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Officials have identified about 300 immigrants who they believe concealed their involvement in wartime atrocities when they came to the United States as part of a wave of Bosnian war refugees fleeing the violence there. The officials said the number of suspects could eventually top 600. “The more we dig, the more documents we find,” said Michael MacQueen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement historian who has led many investigations in the agency’s war crimes section. The accused immigrants, many of them former soldiers from Bosnia, include a soccer coach in Virginia, a metal worker in Ohio and four hotel casino workers in Las Vegas.


March 2, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)