Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DC Circuit: Brazilian Steak Chef Eligible for L-1B Visa


Photo Courtesy of

Joe Palazzolo of the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that foreign chefs with specialized knowledge acquired through cultural traditions, upbringing, or life experience may qualify for visas (L-1B visas to qualifying multinational businesses, which permit an employer to temporarily transfer foreign employees possessing “specialized knowledge” into the United States) to work in the United States.

The ruling was a victory for upscale Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao, an international chain who bring their chefs from southern Brazil, where they are trained in the “gaucho way” of roasting meats over pits of open fire for barbecues.

Judge Millett wrote the opinion for the Court, with Judge Kavanaugh, who would have deferred to the agency on the visa question, dissenting.


October 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Norichika Aoki | Outfielder, Kansas City Royals

Immigration Article of the Day: Should Citizenship Be for Sale? by Ayelet Shachar and Rainer Baubock



Should Citizenship Be for Sale? by Ayelet Shachar (University of Toronto - Faculty of Law) and Rainer Baubock (European University Institute) January 2014 Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. 2014/01

Abstract: On 12 November 2013 the Maltese Parliament decided to offer Maltese and European citizenship at the price of € 650,000, but implementation of the law has been postponed due to strong domestic and international critiques. On 23 December, the Maltese government announced significant amendments, including a higher total amount of € 1,150,000, part of which has to be invested in real estate and government bonds. Several other European states have adopted ‘golden passport’ programmes. Should citizenship be for sale? In November 2013 EUDO CITIZENSHIP invited Ayelet Shachar of the University of Toronto Law School to open a debate on these controversial policies. Twelve authors have contributed short commentaries, most of which refer to the initial law adopted by the Maltese Parliament. An executive summary by Rainer Bauböck provides an overview over the main questions raised in our forum. For further information on investor citizenship programmes see Jelena Dzankic’s EUDO CITIZENSHIP working paper on the topic and consult the news section of our observatory.


October 22, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYT: Requirements Keep Young Immigrants Out of Long Island Classrooms

The NY Times published an article today about the ways in which migrant children who are residing in Long Island, NY have not been able to attend schools because the schools are not convinced that their parents reside in the district. 

"Four months after fleeing Honduras with a 15-year-old cousin, Carlos has reached what his family said seemed like an impassable frontier. Like dozens of the roughly 2,500 unaccompanied immigrant children who have been released to relatives or other sponsors on Long Island so far this year, Carlos has been unable to register for school . . . Many of the children are barred because their families cannot gather the documents that schools require to prove they are residents of the district or have guardianship — obstacles that contravene legal guidance on enrollment procedures the State Education Department issued in September.

Mary Lagnado, superintendent of one of the Long Island schools stated that there are strong residency requirements in the schools because of huge tax burdens on residents. "“We try to make sure that they are a bona fide resident of the school district,” she said. “Taxes are very high on Long Island. We have a responsibility to our community and homeowners.”

The link to the article is here.


October 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slave labor in America today

CNN reports on slave labor in the United States.  Forced labor works on U.S. construction sites and farms, in restaurants and hotels, even in homes. "Foreign workers, lured by false promises of good jobs in America, soon find themselves enslaved in plain sight as victims of labor trafficking," according to a new report published by the Urban Institute.

The Urban Institute study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. 


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Noosheen Hashemi From Iran | Philanthropist


Noosheen Hashemi From Iran | Philanthropist

Philanthropist Noosheen Hashemi is president and co-founder of The HAND Foundation, which works to prevent child sexual abuse, broaden the middle class worldwide, and promote education and leadership. She was also co-founder and chairman of PARSA, a company that works to strengthen the Persian community. Prior to that, she worked at Oracle Corporation, where she was awarded its “Against All Odds Award” for her part in the company’s turnaround.  

Hashemi is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the advisory board of Persian Tech Entrepreneurs. She has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the CEDAW Human Rights Award for Philanthropy, the Girl Scouts Forever Green Leadership Award and was named one of Gentry Magazine's top 50 philanthropists in 2013. She served as a board member of the New America Foundation from 2005-2012.

Hashemi holds a B.S. in Economics from San Jose State University and an M.S. in Management from Stanford's Graduate School of Business.


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Think There's a Lot of Immigration to the US? Think Again

Nathan Siegel reviews some of the immigration data and cauitions that, if you think the United States is every immigrant’s dream, reconsider. Sure, in absolute numbers, the U.S. is home to the most foreign-born people — 45.7 million in 2013. But it ranks 65th worldwide in terms of percentage of population that is foreign-born, according to the U.N. report “Trends in International Migrant Stock.”

A host of nations are more immigrant-dense than the famed American melting pot. Immigrants make up almost a third (27.7 percent) of the land Down Under, and two other settler nations, New Zealand and Canada, weigh in with 25.1 and 20.7 percent foreign-born respectively. That’s compared to 14.3 percent in the United States.


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Out of the Shadows: Shedding Light on the Working Conditions of Immigrant Women in Tucson by Nina Rabin


Out of the Shadows: Shedding Light on the Working Conditions of Immigrant Women in Tucson by Nina Rabin, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law Tiana O'Konek University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law September 3, 2014 Bacon Immigration Law & Policy Program, James E. Rogers College of Law, and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona, 2014 Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 14-27

Abstract: This report on the working conditions of immigrant women in Tucson, Arizona, is based on one year of field research, between April 2012 and March 2013. Researchers collected ninety surveys from low-wage immigrant women workers and conducted twenty-nine interviews of workers, government officials, and community leaders. The survey respondents capture a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. The women labored in a range of workplaces, including private homes, residential care facilities, hotels, offices, restaurants, factories, and retail stores. This report identifies five concerns repeatedly described by the women surveyed and interviewed: they are underpaid, overworked, unsafe, abused, and exploited. Section I of the report describes why these findings are hardly surprising.

After describing methodology and findings in Sections II through IV, the final section of this report offers three types of reforms to address the concerns identified. First, the data reveal the need to expand the coverage of employment laws, so that the workers described in this report are no longer excluded from many of the existing legal protections from workplace abuse. Second, this research illustrates the need to enforce existing laws, as many of the incidents described in this report are currently illegal, yet the law on the books is not enforced on the ground. Finally, the surveys and interviews document the need to improve the laws on the books, so that the legal system itself does not perpetuate poverty and exploitation of low-income and immigrant workers.


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Community Report: Campaign Documents Systemic Racial Discrimination At Arizona Border Patrol Checkpoint

This study of one U.S./Mexico border checkpoint makes findings that should not be surprising:

"The most significant findings to emerge from the first two months of monitoring relate to Border Patrol’s disparate treatment of Latino motorists. The data collected by monitors indicated significant racial disparities in the ways agents interact with motorists and strongly suggest that Border Patrol is engaged in a pattern and practice of racial profiling of Latino motorists at the Arivaca Road checkpoint."


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What a Past Epidemic Teaches Us About Ebola: Lessons from the cholera scare of 1892


Howard Markel in "What a Past Epidemic Teaches Us About Ebola Lessons from the cholera scare of 1892" in the New Republic offers an interesting historical parallel with the contemporary Ebola hysteria.  He begins:

"A deadly and somewhat mysterious infectious disease has invaded America in the person of a foreign traveler. The local management and the global magnitude of the epidemic are so dire that the President of the United States cuts short his political travel schedule and rushes back to the White House to manage the contagious crisis.

No, I’m not talking about the Ebola crisis of 2014. I’m talking about Asiastic cholera crisis of 1892—an afterthought in the history books, but a story that offers some valuable lessons for today.

It’s been more than a hundred years, so a lot has changed. Medical science is much more advanced. The world is a more interconnected place. But there are some important parallels between now and then. In some respects—the fear of travelers carrying the disease, the intense criticism of public health authorities—things haven’t changed much at all.

Asiatic cholera was spread by body fluids—especially the copious diarrhea it produced to the point of dehydrating a grown man in a matter of hours. Indeed, to the nineteenth-century American, cholera was every bit as scary, deadly, and disgusting as Ebola fever is today. The cholera of 1892 had already decimated much of India, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe and shut down the port of Hamburg, the largest in the world. By August 30, New York City, the world’s second largest port, began to receive its first cholera victims, mostly impoverished Russian Jewish immigrants."

There are other similar episodes, including the flu epidemic in 1918-19.  For the racial underside of the ebola "fearmongering," click here.


October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Must-see morning clip: John Oliver blasts U.S. for deplorable treatment of troop-saving interpreters highlights how John Oliver tackled an important topic: visas for translators who helped both U.S. troops and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Oliver points out, these interpreters risked their lives to help the U.S. military and due to U.S. bureaucracy and red tape they cannot make it to the United States. Also, because they helped the U.S. they are now targets for harm.

Out of the 1,500 visas the U.S. could have issued to translators from Afghanistan, after a 2009 law, only three have been issued.

Watch for yourself.



October 21, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

R.I.P. Oscar de la Renta

Our immigrant of the day just last month, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta passed away Monday. Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta became a U.S. citizen in 1971. He is known for many things, not the least of which is designing the wedding dress of Amal Clooney.



October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today in Attack Ads: Dan Patrick of Texas

Dan Patrick is running for Liutenant Governor of Texas. And he wants you to know that "ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans." The only thing standing in their way? "The Texas Rangers and National Guard." Which is why, if elected Lt. Governor, Patrick will make "border security" his "top priority."


Patrick's opponent is Leticia Van de Putte.


October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mike Nichols From Germany | Film and Theater Director


Photo courtesy of IMDb

Mike Nichols From Germany | Film and Theater Director

Born in Berlin in 1931, the renowned film and theater director Mike Nichols began his career as an actor in a comedy troupe before making his Tony Award-winning directorial debut with the 1964 Broadway production Barefoot in the Park. Expanding into film, he directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and then The Graduate, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director, in 1967. He is one of only a handful of individuals who have received Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards.



October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

RIP Elizabeth Pena (1959-2014)


We recently learned of the loss of Elizabeth Peña, a Cuban-American actress who appeared in such major studio pictures as “Rush Hour” and La Bamba, independent films including John Sayles’ generational drama “Lone Star,” and a host of television shows (most recently Modern Family), died Tuesday at 55 in Los Angeles.

As Pilar Cruz, a history teacher who rekindles a romance with a small-town Texas sheriff near the border with Mexico in “Lone Star” (1996), she won an Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actress. “The sultry Peña gives an especially vivid performance as the character who is most unsettled by the shadows of the past,” Janet Maslin wrote.



October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Numnbers USA $1M ad push tackles immigrants, jobs reports that NumbersUSA, an advocacy group that supports restricting immigration, will spend more than $1 million to run television and online ads in states with key Senate races in a campaign that launched last week. Many immigration-centered ads this midterm cycle have focused on border security, but the new campaign from NumbersUSA zeroes in on immigrants competing for jobs with U.S. citizens.

“Finally, the economy is starting to crank out new jobs, but who should get those jobs?” the narrator says in the 30-second ad. “Government data show nearly all job growth since 2000 has gone to immigrant workers. So should Congress continue adding more than 1 million immigrants every year to compete for jobs? Or should the jobs go to the millions of Americans and legal immigrants already here, still looking for work?”


October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The New Face of Legal Inequality: Noncitizens and the Long-Term Trends in Sentencing Disparities Across U.S. District Courts, 1992-2009 by Michael T. Light


The New Face of Legal Inequality: Noncitizens and the Long-Term Trends in Sentencing Disparities Across U.S. District Courts, 1992-2009 by Michael T. Light, Purdue University July 1, 2014 Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper

Abstract: In the wake of mass immigration from Latin America, legal scholars have shifted focus from racial to ethnic inequality under the law. A series of studies now suggest that Hispanics may be the most disadvantaged group in U.S. courts, yet this body of work has yet to fully engage the role of citizenship status. The present research examines the punishment consequences for non-U.S. citizens sentenced in federal courts between 1992 and 2009. Drawing from work in citizenship studies and sociolegal inequality, I hypothesize that non-state members will be punished more severely than U.S. citizens, and any trends in Hispanic ethnicity over this period will be linked to punitive changes in the treatment of noncitizens. In line with this hypothesis, results indicate a considerable punishment gap between citizens and noncitizens – larger than minority-white disparities. Additionally, this citizenship ‘penalty’ has increased at the incarceration stage, explaining the majority of the increase in Hispanic-white disparity over the past two decades. As international migration increases, these findings call for greater theoretical and empirical breadth in legal inequality research beyond traditional emphases, such as race and ethnicity.


October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A New Form of Protest: Taking Note - The Editorial Page Editor's Blog ‘Chant Down the Walls’ of the Metropolitan Detention Center By Lawrence Downes


Lawrence Downes reports on the latest form of immigration protests

Immigrant-rights advocates are singing in protest in downtown Los Angeles, outside the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal lockup where noncitizens are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are protesting the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation policies and the lack of action on immigration reform.

The idea arose after a group of about 200 day laborers marched to a protest at the prison in August, and heard pounding on the windows above them. A day-laborer band, Los Jornaleros del Norte, turned its loudspeakers toward the building, and serenaded the detainees with cumbias about migrant empowerment.  The band was there earlier this week and plans to be there every Monday afternoon, from now until whenever.


October 19, 2014 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tim Dugdale Part 2: MSPC v. Johnson

Here is Part I.


Habeas corpus is not a shield. It's a sword meant to be used against illegal detention. That is what makes the expedited removal system such an ugly mechanism of attenuated habeas.

The government does not like Boumediene appearing in the immigration context because the ruling brings into question thorny constitutional issues of due process, alien rights and habeas. But in Luna v. Holder ( 2011), the Second Circuit rightly deploys Boumediene in the immigration context to determine what constitutes an adequate and effective substitute for habeas. They decided, after running Justice Kennedy's four point test from Boumediene, that the statutory motion to reopen process contained in the INA made the grade. Here's that test:

1. If Congress succeeds in creating a procedure that is meaningfully "more limited" than habeas review, id. at 778, 128 S.Ct. 2229, as measured by "the sum total of procedural protections afforded to the detainee at all stages, direct and collateral," then that procedure is not an adequate replacement for habeas, id. at 783, 128 S.Ct. 2229.

2. Because habeas is "designed to restrain" the Government's power, the scope of the substitute procedure must not be "subject to manipulation" by the Government. Id. at 765-66, 128 S.Ct. 2229.

3. A mechanism for review that "is wholly a discretionary one" is "an insufficient replacement" for habeas. Id. at 791, 128 S.Ct. 2229.

4. The entity substituting for a habeas court "must have adequate authority . . . to formulate and issue appropriate orders for relief," id. at 787, 128 S.Ct. 2229, including "the power to order the conditional release of an individual unlawfully detained," id. at 779, 128 S.Ct. 2229.

No court has yet to run this test on the expedited removal system, a procedural machine for maximizing alienage and attenuating habeas, plain and simple. A brief look at 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e)(3) reveals why. 1252(e)(3)(A) demands that all challenges to the system be filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia. 1252(e)(3)(B) states that all challenges must be filed within 60 days of the first implementation of the regulations. The clock ran out on the last day of May, 1997. Both the DC District Court and the DC Circuit Court held this time limit to be jurisdictional. But this was seventeen years ago, long before the Supreme Court really started to take a very serious, ongoing look at filing deadlines, statutory construction and equitable tolling. In Holland v. Florida, no less than Justice Scalia admits that when habeas is concerned, equitable tolling is presumed.

Let us assume then that the petitioners in MSPC v. Johnson would be able to challenge the expedited removal system.  Where to begin? Why not with this doozy from the Seventh Circuit's ruling in Khan v. Holder (2009):

The troubling reality of the expedited removal procedure is that a CBP officer can create the § 1182(a)(7) charge by deciding to convert the person's status from a non-immigrant with valid papers to an intending immigrant without the proper papers, and then that same officer, free from the risk of judicial oversight, can confirm his or her suspicions of the person's intentions and find the person guilty of that charge. The entire process-from the initial decision to convert the person's status to removal-can happen without any check on whether the person understood the proceedings, had an interpreter, or enjoyed any other safeguards. To say that this procedure is fraught with risk of arbitrary, mistaken, or discriminatory behavior (suppose a particular CBP officer decides that enough visitors from Africa have already entered the United States) is not, however, to say that courts are free to disregard jurisdictional limitations.

The judges concluded their dismissal of Khans' petition by referring Judge Sullivan's decision in AILA v. Reno.

The district court ruled that § 1252(e)(3)(A)(ii) permitted it to review only the regulations as written, not as applied and not for the agency's alleged failure to follow its own regulations. Id. at 58. The court acknowledged concern, as we do, with the effects of Congress's decision to bar the unwritten actions of the agency from judicial review, particularly where individual CBP agents are given so much discretion and are subjected only to a supervisor's review of their decisions. -

Any habeas system in which the prosecutor is also the judge is pretty bleak. Any system in which there is no NTA, no period to gather exculpatory evidence, no opportunity to examine the government's evidence, no opportunity to cross-examine the officials involved about their conduct or the rigour of their investigation and no right to legal or consular counsel is highly suspect. Even making a citizenship claim is contricted because if you're put in front of an immigration judge and declared an alien, you are blocked from appealing that determination. Relief in the expedited removal system is not really relief. Judges cannot release you from custody. As laid out in 1252(e)(4), the best you can hope for is a full removal hearing before an immigration judge per INA 240.

 The Artesia detainees are in undeniable physical custody, implicating USC 2241. The DHS has obviously been tinkering with the expedited removal system in order to discharge asylum claims at a great pace, implicating Test #2 of Boumediene.
Judge Sullivan's ruling in AILA v. Reno should give the Artesia petitioners pause, however. Sullivan noted that Article III standing is not only essential to challenging an individual's expedited removal but it also limits the scope of a challenge to the system itself. The DC Circuit court refused to consider any third party or class action suit.

In 2004 Bush and the DHS extended the use of expedited removals into the interior of the United States. Any illegal alien found within 100 miles of the northern or southern border who could not prove that they had been continually present in the US for two weeks would enjoy an expedited removal. Those who can prove presence receive a full INA 240 removal hearing. Bush and friends effectively installed a troubling two-tier expedited removal system, again implicating Test #2 of Boumediene. At the border, Knauff is the control. In the interior, Fleuti and Plasencia appear to be the controls. In other words, due process is not equal. An "arriving alien" who has spent years in the United States on a treaty trader visa, for example, may go for a day trip in Canada or Mexico, only to be excluded when he or she returns to the United States that night. What "significant connections" to the United States, including property and liberty interests a la Mathews, (See Joseph Landau's excellent work on this issue.) are sufficient to overcome Knauff at the border and thus escape the expedited removal regime? Under a "mutuality" conception of alien rights, a lawfully present alien, even one who is not an LPR or not yet an LPR, should carry constitutional rights when he or she travels from the US.

It's high time for the expedited removal system to be tuned up after an exacting judicial review. Or completely dismantled. The ladies of Artesia may just be the ones to make it happen. 

Timothy Dugdale, Ph.D.
Atomic Quill Media

October 19, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama: What You Need to Know About Ebola


"I want people to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low. But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government. We are going to be able to manage this particular situation, but we have to look towards the future. And if we are not responding internationally in an effective way, and if we do not set up the kind of preparedness and training in our public health infrastructure here in the United States, not just for this outbreak, but for future outbreaks, then we could have problems."

– President Obama, October 15, 2014

On the White House website, the President is seeking to calm concerns about Ebola.  Ebola continues to be a public health and national security priority, and President Obama and his administration continue to take aggressive measures to respond. The United States continues to help lead the global response to stop the Ebola outbreak at its source in West Africa, while enhancing our preparedness here at home.


Get the latest CDC updates on the current outbreak, and continue reading to see what the U.S. is doing to end this epidemic.

October 19, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)