Tuesday, September 19, 2017

At the Movies: Global Migration Film Festival Call for Submissions


From July 3 to September 17, professional and emerging filmmakers are invited to submit original films on the Global Migration Film Festival theme: the promise and challenges of migration and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Films that challenge negative perceptions of migrants, defy stereotypes and portray positive and welcoming actions by and toward migrants are encouraged.


September 19, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Undocumented Youth Activists Challenge Nancy Pelosi at Press Conference re DREAM Act

Pelosi press conf

(Photo credit: Lea Suzuki, San Francisco Chronicle)

Approximately 60 undocumented immigrant youth interrupted a press conference hosted by Rep. Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco yesterday.  The press conference followed Rep. Pelosi's negotiations with Trump, which have been widely reported in the media as agreeing on a possible Dream Act that would not include a border wall but would include some provisions for increased border security.

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Luis Serrano, one of the organizers, explaining: "“I know some people think this hurts the cause of undocumented folks, but undocumented people will always be scapegoated... Pushing Democrats to take a more progressive stance is how we got DACA in the first place. We believe in pushing people who say they’re on our side, not those who are not.” Serrano also stated: "We feel we will be a bargaining chip for Trump to add more border enforcement, and for Democrats to look good...It’s a win-win situation for them but not us — the people that are going to be affected.”



September 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Imm Print: Immigrant Detention Stories and More

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) publishes IMM Print, which features stories, poetry, and art from immigration detention and reporting on intersectional issues. IMM Print centers voices that are less visible in mainstream media to build power among communities facing immigration enforcement and to expose and challenge the detention system.


IMM Print stories, such as the short film “Exposed” that provides an overview of the detention system, can be used in the classroom.  Check out the Immigration Detention Syllabus on the site.   Subscribe here. Imm Print accepts submissions on a rolling basis.


September 19, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Sanctuary Networks by Rose Cuison Villazor and Pratheepan Gulasekaram

Villazor-roseCuison Deep-Gulasekaram-2015

Sanctuary Networks by Rose Cuison Villazor and Pratheepan Gulasekaram


The idea of “sanctuary” has headlined immigration law and policy debates for several years. To date, however, legal scholarship has focused almost exclusively on states and municipalities that limit participation in federal immigration enforcement. Accordingly, doctrinal and theoretical discussion has centered on sanctuary’s constitutional dimensions, with attention to Tenth Amendment and federalism concerns. But, always true, and ever more since the 2016 election, sanctuary has become a diverse phenomenon, incorporating a variety of public and private institutions and organizations. Local agencies, places of worship, employers, school districts, universities, private property owners, and social media groups are increasingly adopting policies that seek to mitigate federal enforcement efforts. This Article is the first to comprehensively describe and theorize these novel and wide-ranging sources of sanctuary. First, it details this breadth of sanctuary policies and institutions, noting their relative efficacy and differing legal justifications. Second, the Article contemplates how these varied sources of sanctuary work in context and in relation to each other. Borrowing from governance theories that emphasize the importance of networked public and private institutions, we argue that, as a practical matter, governance over immigration enforcement is characterized by a decentralized set of actors. This Article argues that this network of public and private institutions and organizations collectively can calibrate federal enforcement policy and instantiate a competing immigration enforcement regime. Ultimately, this emerging set of actors helps decenter the federal government as the sole locus and source of enforcement policy, and urges commentators and policymakers to move beyond federalism and sovereignty in debates over immigration enforcement policy.


September 19, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Another Lawsuit Filed Challenging DACA Rescission: Plaintiffs are 6 DACA Holders

In another lawsuit filed to challenge the government's rescission of DACA, six California-based DACA holder plaintiffs have filed an action in the Northern District of California.  The plaintiffs include an attorney, a first-year law student, and a fourth-year medical student from a range of countries.  Media outlets that have covered the lawsuit include the the LA Times, Huffington Post, and Reuters.


September 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vera is Hiring


Let your graduates know - the Vera Institute of Justice is looking to fill a position in its Los Angeles office. They're seeking a Senior Program Associate to work within its Center on Immigration and Justice on the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP).

The NQRP is the first program to provide appointed counsel to detained adults in immigration proceedings with serious mental illness. Nationwide in scope, the NQRP operates in partnership with a growing network of over 30 multidisciplinary teams of holistic legal services providers.

The NQRP sits at the intersection of immigration, mental health, and criminal law, policy, practice, and program management, and offers work in a fast-paced, collaborative, creative space at the cutting edge of legal representation for a specific vulnerable population in immigration proceedings.

This is a full-time position based in Los Angeles. Apply here: http://vera.applytojob.com/apply/Ec8oexJcZU

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.


September 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Uganda: Where Refugees Get Land

Uganda, photo by Rod Waddington

In Uganda, refugees are given a plot of undeveloped bush land to call their own as well as a machete to tame it.

The land comes from government negotiations with community landowners who hope that by giving up their undeveloped land, they'll get neighborhood schools, clinics, and roads built by international aid agencies in return.

This in-depth report from the BBC looks at the daunting task of converting bush land to farm land.

It's a unique system. One that offers the tantalizing promise of truly giving refugees a new home.


September 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

It is Hispanic Heritage Month

Immigration Article of the Day: The Future Legal Management of Mass Migration by Jack I. Garvey


The Future Legal Management of Mass Migration by Jack I. Garvey, University of San Francisco - School of Law September 6, 2017


This article seeks to provide a lens for management of mass migration consistent with established international refugee law, human rights law, humanitarian law, and national control of immigration. It argues that the key to successful management of mass migration, consistent with international legal principle, international normative objectives, and national immigration control, is a lens to achieve the best reconciliation of what migrants in fact do, and the divergent interests of sovereignty. The article applies that lens first to "The European Refugee Crisis," and similarly to four major episodes of mass migration in recent history, to demonstrate its utility and power as an evaluative tool for future legal management of mass migration. Building on the insights of history, the article then applies this lens to address the various currently implemented and proposed strategies for international and national management of mass migration, to distinguish good and bad policy, and the best course for future international action.


September 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

RAISE Act: Global panel of scholars explains ‘merit-based’ immigration


In February, U.S. Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, with President Donald Trumpunveiled an immigration bill called the RAISE Act. It would create a “merit-based” points system for evaluating foreigners applying to come to the U.S. through an employment visa.
The senators said that in drafting it, they had looked to best practices for points-based systems like those in Canada and Australia. As Congress takes up the issue of immigration, we turned to our global network of scholars to get their perspective on how points systems work.

Immigration scholars from Australia (Alex Reilly, University of Adelaide, Australia), Canada (Mireille Paquet, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) and the United States (yours truly) look at the RAISE ACT on The Conversation.


September 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

In message of defiance to Trump, lawmakers vote to make California a "sanctuary state"

Kristine Phillips for the Washington Post reports that the California Senate yesterday passed Senate Bill 54, the Values Act, legislation that would limit local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from cooperating with federal immigration officials. It also forbids law enforcement from inquiring about a person’s immigration status.

The California Values Act provides an expansive protection to the state’s undocumented population, estimated to be about 2.7 million, at a time when the Trump administration continues to aggressively enforce the immigration laws and challenge so-called "sanctuary cities" — communities that limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents.

The California State Sheriff’s Association opposed the Values Act, claiming that limiting public safety agencies’ ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents places communities at risk.

he Sacramento Bee provides further information about the Values Act.  Senate Bill 54 will place limitations on how state and local law enforcement officials can communicate and coordinate with federal immigration authorities. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said the measure “is needed now more than ever” in light of President Donald Trump’s decision to step up immigration enforcement and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Californians will not squander precious public safety dollars to tear families apart, take ‘Dreamers’ or deport people who have helped California become the sixth largest economy in the world,” de León said. “This is a message, no doubt, to Washington, D.C., that we will protect the hardworking people of our communities.”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article173695386.html#storylink=cpy




September 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

NY Governor Issues Executive Order Restricting Inquiry Into Immigration Status


New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has issued Executive Order 170 that prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual's immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service. Law enforcement officers will also be prohibited from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity. This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

"As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government," Governor Cuomo said. "New York became the Empire State due to the contributions of immigrants from every corner of the globe and we will not let the politics of fear and intimidation divide us."

The Executive Order builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to ensure full protections for all immigrants in New York. In March, Governor Cuomo launched the Liberty Defense Project, the nation's first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative, to respond to the surge in demand for help that is overwhelming nonprofit organizations serving immigrants. The partnership is supported by more than $10 million in funding to offer legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York, regardless of their status, through a statewide network of attorneys and advocacy organizations.

Protecting New York's Immigrants

New York State has and continues to serve as a beacon for immigrants.  For the past five years, New York State, through the Office for New Americans, has helped immigrants fully participate in New York State civic and economic life through a network of 27 community-based centers around the state that provide English classes, civic education, guidance on how to start / grow a business, and naturalization assistance. ONA also has a hotline, a toll-free, multi-lingual information center, as well as a dedicated website that guides New Americans to available resources. The hotline number is 800-566-7636 (operating 9AM-8PM (ET), Monday through Friday) and the website is www.newamericans.ny.gov.

Since taking office, the Governor has taken aggressive steps to provide assistance to immigrant communities. In 2011, he signed a wide-reaching Executive Order to ensure language access across state agencies, suspended the State's participation in a federal program that required local law enforcement to help identify deportable individuals, signed legislation holding entities that defraud immigrants accountable, and established the Office for New Americans. He launched NaturalizeNY, the first public-private partnership of its kind to encourage and assist eligible immigrants in New York State with becoming U.S. citizens. As Attorney General, Governor Cuomo also worked to combat immigration fraud, having utilized general civil rights laws to successfully investigate and prosecute companies for defrauding immigrants. He also secured court judgments and settlements in excess of $23 million dollars on behalf of the state's immigrant population.

The signed executive order can be viewed here, and its text is available below:

No. 170



WHEREAS, New York State will remain true to the ideals that founded this country, and will continue to welcome immigrants as a source of energy, and celebrate them as a source of revitalization for our State; and

WHEREAS, New York State's residents make up one of the nation's most diverse communities, as over 4.3 million immigrants reside within the State and over twenty percent of the State's population is foreign-born; and

WHEREAS, immigrants residing in New York State are an essential part of the economic fabric of this State, as over 29% of all business owners in New York are foreign-born, such businesses generate millions of dollars in total net income, and the combined purchasing power of immigrant communities exceeds $165 billion dollars; and

WHEREAS, the reporting of unlawful activity by immigrant witnesses and victims is critical to strengthening ties between immigrants and law enforcement, reducing crime, and enhancing the State's ability to protect the safety of all of its residents; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Constitution and the New York State Human Rights Law protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of national origin in the areas of education, benefits, employment, housing, and public accommodation, and the State is committed to enforcing those protections to the fullest extent of the law; and

WHEREAS, State government has a responsibility to ensure that services are provided equally, and consistent with civil rights laws, to all individuals eligible to receive them; and

WHEREAS, access to State services is critical to the vitality and well-being of immigrant communities and their continued integration into the State's economic, civil, and cultural life; and

WHEREAS, providing State services to immigrant communities is necessary to meet the needs of the State's diverse population, to maintain public confidence in State government and its agencies, and to comply with State and Federal civil rights laws; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

A.            Definitions

1.            "State entity" shall mean (i) all agencies and departments over which the Governor has executive authority, and (ii) all public benefit corporations, public authorities, boards, and commissions, for which the Governor appoints the Chair, the Chief Executive, or the majority of Board members, except for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

2.            "Alien" shall mean any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

3.            "Illegal activity" shall mean any unlawful activity that constitutes a crime under state or federal law. However, an individual's status as an undocumented alien does not constitute unlawful activity.

B.            Agency and Authority Responsibilities Respecting the Privacy of Personal Information 

1.            No State officers or employees, other than law enforcement officers as provided in B.3 infra, shall inquire about an individual's immigration status unless:

a.            The status of such individual is necessary to determine his or her eligibility for a program, benefit, or the provision of a service; or

b.            The State officer or employee is required by law to inquire about such individual's status.

2.            No State officers or employees, including law enforcement officers, shall disclose information to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of federal civil immigration enforcement, unless required by law. Notwithstanding such prohibition, this Order does not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any state employee from sending to, or receiving from, federal immigration authorities, information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual, as required by law.

3.            No law enforcement officers shall inquire about an individual's immigration status unless investigating such individual's illegal activity, provided however that such inquiry is relevant to the illegal activity under investigation. Nothing in this section shall restrict law enforcement officers from seeking documents for the purpose of identification following arrest.

a.            This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

b.            Law enforcement officers may not use resources, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting and apprehending any individual suspected or wanted only for violating a civil immigration offense. Law enforcement officers have no authority to take any police action solely because the person is an undocumented alien. This includes identifying, questioning, detaining, or demanding to inspect federal immigration documents.

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this fifteenth day of September in the year two thousand seventeen. 

BY THE GOVERNOR           

Secretary to the Governor


September 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration Issues New Visa Sanctions on Four Countries


Immigration Impact reports that President Trump earlier this week invoked a rarely-used law to impose visa restrictions on Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, declaring each country “recalcitrant” for refusing to accept the return of immigrants that the United States has ordered deported.

Three countries—Cambodia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone—were hit with relatively minor sanctions, limited to a denial of visitor visas for certain government officials and their families. However, Eritrea was sanctioned much more sternly, with the U.S. government cutting off visitor visas for all Eritreans.

Cambodia’s alleged non-compliance largely stems from U.S. efforts to deport former refugees, many of whom fled Cambodia as children during the Khmer Rouge regime. Cambodia’s objection to taking back these individuals is twofold.

In contrast, Eritreans will face far broader restrictions, as all nationals applying for a visa from within Eritrea now are barred indefinitely from receiving “B” visas for business or tourist travel to the United States. For decades, Eritrea has generally refused to accept deportees from the United States. This is because Eritrea practices a policy of only permitting “voluntary repatriations” of deportees, accepting only those who agree to be deported.

Guinea, on the other hand, does accept a small number of deportees from the United States each year. However, over the past decade, America has expressed repeated frustration over Guinea’s refusal to issue travel documents for the majority of Guinean nationals that the United States seeks to deport.

Sierra Leone, like Guinea, accepts some, but not all, deportees from the United States. It is unclear exactly why Sierra Leone was hit with sanctions, as reporting from May indicated that Sierra Leone had either been taken off the list of recalcitrant countries or been declared only “at risk” of non-compliance.


September 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Supreme Court to Hear Series of Immigration Cases to Begin 2017 Term



The Supreme Court will hear four oral argument in four cases in the first two weeks of the 2017 Term.  And the cases raise challenging constitutional law issues that could forecever change immigration law.  Watch this blog for previews of the oral arguments in the cases.

Sessions v. Dimaya,  Oral Argument October 2.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by the liberal lion Judge Stephen Reinhardt, held that a criminal removal provision, including the phrase "crime of violence," was void for vagueness.

Jennings v. Rodriguez, Oral Argument, October 3.  The Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw,  found that the indefinite detention of immigrants violated the U.S. Constitution.

Dimaya and Jennings are being re-argued, both having originally been argued before Justice Scalia.  One can assume that the eight Justice Court was divided and that Justice Gorsuch may well be the tiebreaker.

The final two immigration cases are the "travel ban" cases arising out of President Trump's March Executive Order: 

Trump v. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project. Oral Argument October 10.

Trump v. Hawaii.  Oral Argument October 10.


September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Army kills contracts for hundreds of immigrant recruits. Some face deportation.

Lance Cpl. Diego Velazquez Valdivia leads the audience and fellow naturalized service members in the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. (Marine Corps)

The Washington Post’s Alex Horton reports that U.S. Army recruiters have abruptly canceled enlistment contracts for hundreds of foreign-born military recruits since last week, upending their lives and potentially exposing many to deportation.

Many of these enlistees have waited years to join a troubled immigration recruitment program designed to attract highly skilled immigrants into the service in exchange for fast-track citizenship.

Now recruits and experts say that recruiters are shedding their contracts to free themselves from an onerous enlistment process to focus on individuals who can more quickly enlist and thus satisfy strict recruitment targets. The Pentagon and Army Recruiting Command, which oversees policy and guidance at its recruitment centers across the country, did not answer repeated requests for comment.

Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer central to the creation of the immigration recruitment program, told The Post that she has received dozens of frantic messages from recruits this week, with many more reporting similar action in Facebook groups. She said hundreds could be affected.


September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death Match 2017: Harvard Law Professor Versus Joe Arpaio






Last week, Harvard Law School Professor Andrew Crespo wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe suggesting that a private attorney should be appointed to challenge the constitutionality of former Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s pardon—a suggestion that has now been formally presented to the judge in Arpaio’s case. This week, Arpaio, through his attorney, threatened to sue Professor Crespo if I did not issue a retraction. Specifically, he asserts that the following sentence in the Globe piece is “false and misleading”.  Here is Professor Crespo's response on Lawfare..

You judge who is the victor in this war of words.  And why did Arpaio go after Crespo?  Many people have been critical of President Trump's pardon of Arpaio and have had harsh words for Arpaio's conduct.


September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration Loses Again in "Sanctuary City" Funding Case

330px-Jeff_Sessions _official_portrait

In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration's rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber held that Chicago has shown a "likelihood of success" in its arguments that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority in imposing new standards governing Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants across the country.  Click here for more details.  Click here for the ruling.

President Trump's executive order seeking to de-fund "sanctuary cities' was enjoined by another federal court.


September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

UC Davis Professor Shares Experience Of Escaping Vietnam War

Viet nam

With the new Ken Burns' documentary on the Viet Nam war premiering on Sunday, Viet Nam is on peoples' minds.  Many people from the war-torn nation came to the United States as refugees.   

UC Davis Professor Carolee Tran escaped from Vietnam amidst the war as a child and is still scarred by the experience to this day.  Click here for a link to a radio interview of Tran about her journey to the United States.


September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Motel 6 says it will stop sharing guest lists with ICE

Motel 6 CNN reports that some Phoenix immigration attorneys have claimed that Motel 6 employees have been shining a light on undocumented guests, providing guest information directly to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Motel 6, in response to a report this week in the Phoenix New Times, said employees will no longer work with immigration agents.  The newspaper reported that federal immigration agents arrested at least 20 people at two Motel 6 locations in the Phoenix area between February and August. Motel employees told the New Times they regularly delivered guest lists to ICE.

September 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hurricanes drive immigration to the US