Thursday, October 23, 2014

Report: There Is No Border Crisis

LEXIS NEXIS Legal Newsroom Immigration Law reports that on the question whether there is an “immigration crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“Illegal” Immigration on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Is it Really a Crisis? was co-authored by William Gruben, a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute, and Tony Payan, the Baker Institute’s Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and director of the institute’s Mexico Center. A Rice University release reports that the paper examines historical immigration data, the “push” and “pull” factors currently motivating Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate to the United States and attempts to explain why current undocumented immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border has been perceived as a crisis.

In recent months, print and television journalists have presented the American public with a ‘crisis’ of illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border,” Payan said. “Much of this recent discussion has centered on Central American children traveling alone and on allegations that they are responding to motivations created by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy. The word ‘crisis,’ however, can have alternative meanings. If a ‘crisis’ of undocumented immigration means a historically large or very rapidly growing flow of undocumented immigrations, the overall national evidence shows today that there is no such crisis. Border Patrol apprehensions of undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.–Mexico border have in fact plummeted and remain far below levels a decade earlier.

According to the authors, the overall number of unauthorized immigrants apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in 2013 was about 64 percent below that of 2004. Overall apprehensions had increased 26.5 percent between 2011 and 2013. Apprehensions were declining consistently before then, with 2011 being the trough year, the authors said. Principal determinants of this decline likely include the almost doubling of Border Patrol personnel over 2004-2013 and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, together with its lagged effects.

The authors acknowledge that apprehensions of Central American children traveling alone have indeed surged. However, while references to a record of apprehensions of unaccompanied child immigrants are correct, publicly available data for this category only go back to 2010, the authors said. “Thus, it may be preliminary to draw definitive conclusions about record numbers of unaccompanied children based on four full-fiscal-year observations plus monthly observations into a fifth year,” they said. “Other data, including total apprehensions for any undocumented child immigrants, accompanied or otherwise, extend more than a decade. Preliminary estimates for fiscal year 2014 suggest that these apprehensions have remained below levels a decade earlier.”

There are many dynamics, economic and social, that seem to have motivated additional unauthorized travel across the U.S.–Mexico border in the last few years, the authors conclude. “Finally, there is always the immigrants’ ongoing calculation of the constantly changing probabilities of apprehension, remuneration and survival,” they said. The key with all of these variables, however, is to understand which tug in what direction and weigh them accordingly in order to understand the overall effect on migration wave — this is true for both push and pull factors. But given the statistics story we have presented, we can conclude that there is hardly an immigration crisis — something that would have been a different story around 2005.


October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: NY State Attorney General's Office and Education Dept. Reviews Enrollment Procedures

 Yesterday, I blogged about a NY Times article that reported the ways in which Long Island school districts' enrollment procedures have led to migrant children being excluded from public schools.

Today, the New York State Attorney General's Office and New York State Department announced that they will launch a review of enrollment procedures for unaccompanied minors and undocumented students. The initial focus will "include Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester Counties."  

"NEW YORK— New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch, and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced that the State Attorney General’s Office and the State Education Department will immediately conduct a compliance review of school district enrollment policies and procedures for unaccompanied minors and other undocumented students.  The review, which will examine whether students are being denied their constitutional right to an education, will initially focus on districts experiencing the largest influx of unaccompanied minors from Central and South America. 

. . .

The announcement follows a series of actions already taken by the Department.  On August 30, 2010, the Department issued guidance to districts on their obligations in enrolling students and making residency determinations, particularly students who are not citizens of the United States.

On September 10, 2014, the Department expanded the guidance to address the specific circumstances of unaccompanied minors who have recently entered the country in larger numbers.

On October 17, 2014, following allegations that the Hempstead School District was ignoring the law and preventing 34 Hispanic children from receiving an education, the Department launched a full investigation of enrollment policies in Hempstead.  The District subsequently committed to enroll the students and to provide them with an appropriate public education.  A report to the Department from the interim district superintendent of the Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) on the Hempstead policies is expected today.  King said the Department will direct the Hempstead School District to take immediate action to address concerns raised in the report. 

In 1982, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a Texas law that had denied state funding to schools to educate undocumented students and had authorized schools to deny enrollment to undocumented students (Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202).  The Court held that the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law for undocumented children and explained that denying undocumented students an education would "deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation." ( Plyler, 457 U.S. at 223) As Plyler makes clear, the undocumented or non-citizen status of a student (or his or her parent or guardian) is irrelevant to that student's right to an elementary and secondary public education." 

Click here for the full press release.


October 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Americans in the Voting Booth: The Growing Electoral Power of Immigrant Communities

Today, the American Immigration Council releases New Americans in the Voting Booth: The Growing Electoral Power of Immigrant Communities by Walter Ewing and Guillermo Cantor.

Over the past two decades, the number of voters who are immigrants or the native-born children of immigrants (“New Americans”), as well as the larger communities to which immigrants and their children belong (primarily Latinos and Asians), have become the fastest growing segments of the electorate. An analysis of electoral data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the number of New American registered voters rose by 10.6 million—an increase of 143.1 percent—between 1996 and 2012, and the number of registered voters who are Latinos or Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) increased by 9.8 million. New Americans, Latinos, and APIs constitute a predictably large share of registered voters in states such as California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida; however, some of the fastest growth rates are found in other states.

The impact of a rising number of New American, Latino, or API voters goes far beyond the political dynamics of any particular election and constitutes a rapidly rising political force with which more and more candidates for public office will have to reckon. In the coming years, politicians who alienate these voters will find it increasingly difficult to win national and many state and local elections—especially in close races.


October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Profile of Professor Deborah Anker

  Debbie anker

Harvard Magazine has a nice profile on immigration and refugee law professor Deborah Anker.  When Anker joined the Law School faculty in the mid 1980s, immigration law was not on the curriculum.  (I graduated from HLS in 1983 and can vouch for that.).  In addition to teaching the first full immigration-law course offered at the law school, Anker in 1984 co-founded the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a direct services clinic that engages students in representating asylum applicants.


October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

NPR: Residents Uneasy About Immigrant Shift Into Suburbs

NPR's All Things Considered has aired a very interesting immigration story: Residents Uneasy About Immigrant Shift Into Suburbs.

Caitlin Dickerson reports that undocumented migrants have been moving into the suburbs. And that has local residents on edge.

One American family expressed their concern over new migrants' needs for "public benefits like housing, food, health care and eduction."

Let's break that down.

Immigrants "outside the law," to quote Prof. Hirsohi, are not eligible for federal housing (section 8) or food stamp assistance. Check here and here and here

Medical care is more complex. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that requires all hospitals participating in the federal Medicare program to treat patients in need of emergency medical care regardless of whether they are lawfully present in the United States. (Want to know more? Read my paper Patients Without Borders.) But that doesn't mean the government necessarily picks up the bill. Hospitals become creditors, looking to the migrant first for payment.

Now, schools. Thirty-two years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States held, in Plyler v. Doe, that the constitution guarantees all children, regardless of immigration status, equal access to a basic public education. So, yes, that is a resource that even undocumented migrants are going to be using. But that doesn't mean they aren't paying for it.

Public schools receive funding from property taxes. Even if we assume that all undocumented migrants are renters, and not owners, the rents they pay help fund the property taxes paid by landlords. Schools are also funded by sales taxes. And every time an unauthorized migrant purchases goods or services, they pay sales taxes in the same amount as authorized immigrants and American citizens. Schools also received funding from income tax. And studies suggest that between 50 and 75 perecent of undocumented migrants pay those as well.

It might lift the "unease" felt if these facts were explained to the Americans interviewed by NPR.


October 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Carolina Herrera From Venezuela | Fashion Designer


Carolina Herrera From Venezuela | Fashion Designer

Born in 1939 in Caracas, Venezuela, Carolina Herrera, who spent a decade as a socialite on the International Best-Dressed List, launched her own collection of women’s gowns with no formal training in 1981. Featuring deep necklines and exaggerated sleeves that retained a traditional elegance, her designs won immediate acclaim and soon were being worn by high-profile figures such as Princess Diana and Caroline Kennedy. Today, her brand includes 18 retail boutiques and is sold all around the world. She received the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. 



October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of Day Kelvin Herrera Wins Game 2 of World Series

Turning a Corner? How Spain Can Help Immigrants Find Middle-Skilled Work


The rapid economic boom of the 1990s and early to mid-2000s sparked a surge of immigration to Spain. Many newcomers quickly found jobs in areas like construction and domestic services, and as a result, investment in large-scale, coordinated labor market integration efforts was not a priority. When the economic crisis of 2008 hit, with a disproportionate effect on those in temporary work, it revealed the underlying gaps in the policy framework meant to support the labor market inclusion of both immigrants and other vulnerable individuals in Spain.

A new report, Turning a Corner? How Spain Can Help Immigrants Find Middle-Skilled Work, examines the effectiveness of recent policies in filling these gaps to help immigrants move into more stable work. It provides an overview of the labor market and integration policy in Spain and assesses the effectiveness of these policies, focusing on employment services, language education, and vocational training.

Researcher Raúl Ramos notes that in Spain, unlike other European countries, “the largest share of the budget [for employment services] has consistently been allocated to passive policies and to employer subsidies rather than to training or guidance,” which has been detrimental to native and immigrant job seekers alike. During the boom years, workforce development programs and integration policies were decentralized and language policy was a low priority, as the majority of immigrants already spoke Spanish well or very well. The crisis highlighted the need to invest in comprehensive mainstream and targeted policies that enable workers to enter permanent, high-quality employment.

As Spain recovers from the recession, the national government has undertaken measures to promote reintegration into the labor market for disadvantaged workers (including immigrants), primarily through training. At the regional level, there has also been movement toward developing specific initiatives for new immigrants, with a focus on language courses and orientation programs. The report concludes with recommendations for further policy refinement, including improved recognition of foreign credentials and easier access to employment services and training.

This report is part of the second phase of a Migration Policy Institute-International Labour Office research project on the integration of foreign-born workers within EU labor markets, focusing on six countries: the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This phase focuses on the policies that have an effect on the labor market integration of new arrivals over their first decade. The first phase examined the influence of individual characteristics and broader economic conditions on the employment prospects of foreign-born workers.

This report accompanies an earlier report, which examined the labor market integration of different immigrant groups in Spain based on origin, education level, and year of arrival. The study concluded that immigrants who arrived in Spain before the 2008 recession had little trouble finding work immediately, but those who came after 2008 struggled to find work as unemployment rates skyrocketed.

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Teaching Immigration Law: Integrating Skills and Collaborating Across Law Schools by Jennifer Lee Koh and Anna R Welch




Teaching Immigration Law: Integrating Skills and Collaborating Across Law Schools by Jennifer Lee Koh (Western State University - College of Law) and Anna R Welch (University of Maine - School of Law) October 2, 2014

Abstract: This Essay discusses the design and implementation of survey Immigration Law courses taught at two different law schools, Western State College of Law in Fullerton, California and the University of Maine Law School in Portland, Maine. Although the courses took place on opposite coasts and did not engage in a formal partnership that was visible to students, we deliberately planned the courses in close collaboration with one another behind the scenes. In doing so, we shared the explicit goal of increasing the role of practical lawyering skills in the courses while reinforcing students’ understanding of the substantive immigration laws. This Essay asserts that survey immigration law courses can serve as testing grounds to demonstrate how doctrinal courses across the law school curriculum can both deepen students’ understanding of substantive law while also exposing them to the realities of legal practice. Part II of the Essay discusses the pressures facing the legal academy today with respect to training law students for the practice of law. Part II also describes how immigration law courses are well-positioned to illustrate how professors might emphasize doctrine alongside skills, even when those courses are not explicitly simulation-based or clinical in nature. In Part III, we share the process by which we planned our courses, the types of exercises that we incorporated into our classes as well as the nature of the cross-country collaboration that took place between us as instructors and, to a lesser extent, between our students. The Essay concludes with a reflection on some of the limitations of our courses and areas for future development.


October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 (Japan)

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)