Friday, June 1, 2012

A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth

Today, the Immigration Policy Center released A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth, a fact sheet comparing various proposals that attempt to address the plight of undocumented students. The fact sheet focuses particularly on the availability of a dedicated path to lawful permanent residence and the policy implications of legislation that does not include such a path.


June 1, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

American Immigration Council Reveals Government’s Interference with Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

Today, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center released a report and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on the pressing issue of noncitizens’ access to counsel. Reports from across the country indicate that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration agencies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—often interfere with noncitizens’ access to counsel in benefits interviews, interrogations, and other types of administrative proceedings outside of immigration court. Depending on the context, immigration officers completely bar attorney participation, impose unwarranted restrictions on access to legal counsel, or strongly discourage noncitizens from seeking legal representation at their own expense.

A joint report by the Legal Action Center and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights (see here for the Penn State Press release), Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel, describes restrictions on access to legal representation before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat these harmful practices. It also addresses recent changes to USCIS’s guidance that are intended to expand access to legal representation.

Also today, in collaboration with Dorsey & Whitney LLP, the Legal Action Center filed a lawsuit against ICE and DHS to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before ICE. This is the third of three FOIA lawsuits filed by the LAC seeking records from DHS’s immigration agencies regarding their policies on access to counsel in DHS proceedings.

To date, ICE has failed to turn over any documents. Initially, ICE informed the LAC that it had conducted a search for records, but was “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” ICE has since conceded that its search was inadequate and renewed its search for documents, but no documents have been forthcoming.


May 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Language and Education Profile of Immigrants in the United States

Immigrants' human capital, whether acquired abroad or developed in the United States, is one of the primary determinants of successful economic and social integration in a new country. As shown by our newly compiled US data on educational attainment and English skills, this transition for immigrants and the communities in which they live is marked by both opportunity and barriers. This month's Data Hub newsletter analyzes the Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) to highlight key national and state-level statistics on immigrants' education and language skills (last month we showcased a demographic and social profile of US immigrants). As with our other ACS data tools, you can examine more by visiting our "Language and Education" profiles by state (or for the entire United States), which include statistics on levels of education, rates of English proficiency, and linguistic isolation among immigrants. Among the interesting facts you will find there:

* Immigrants are concentrated at the high and low ends of the education continuum: Nationally, 27 percent of immigrant adults had a bachelor's degree or higher (compared to 28 percent of the native born). In contrast, the share of immigrant adults with less than a high school diploma was 32 percent (compared to 11 percent for the US born). Immigrants who became naturalized US citizens were much more likely to have a college degree than non-US citizens (33 percent versus 22 percent).

* Some states benefit (or are poised to benefit) more than others from having a highly educated immigrant workforce: College-educated immigrants accounted for more than 40 percent of all immigrant adults in the District of Columbia (50 percent), West Virginia (42 percent), and Vermont and Maryland (41 percent each) compared to 27 percent in the United States overall. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly half of foreign-born adults in New Mexico (49 percent) and Idaho (48 percent) lacked a high school diploma.

* High demand continues for English language instruction: In 2010, 52 percent of the 39.7 million immigrants in the United States were Limited English Proficient (LEP) population — defined as persons age 5 and older who reported speaking English "not at all," "not well," or "well." Non-US citizen immigrants were much more likely to be LEP than naturalized immigrants (62 percent versus 39 percent). Nearly two-thirds of the 20.5 million LEP immigrants in 2010 resided in the five so-called "traditional" immigration states: California (29 percent), Texas (12 percent), New York (10 percent), Florida (9 percent), and Illinois (5 percent).

* New immigrant-destination states face rapid growth in LEP populations: Between 2000 and 2010, the immigrant LEP population more than doubled in Alabama (grew from 36,000 to 89,000, or by 149 percent), South Carolina (grew from 49,000 to 108,000, or by 122 percent), and Tennessee (grew from 71,000 to 145,000, or by 104 percent). In comparison, the size of the national LEP immigrant population increased by 31 percent during the same period (from 15.7 million to 20.5 million).


May 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DREAMEers Never Quit; Immigration Law Profs Weigh In

Julia Preston on the New York Times reports on the continuing activism of undocuymented students who claim that the Obama administration has not done enough to diminish the threat of deportations they face despite repeated promises.  The campaign is led by the United We Dream Network.

This week, student leaders presented the White House with a letter signed by more than 90 immigration law professors who argued that the president has “clear executive authority” to halt deportations of undocumented students who might benefit from the DREAM Act. The professors pointed to three specific measures the president could take under existing laws to defer deportations. 


The law professors’ letter is response to administration officials who have said that the President lacks the authority to provide relief to large groups of noncitizens. One measure they cite was used by President Jimmy Carter to admit thousands of Cubans to the United States in 1980 in the Mariel boatlift. Professor Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA) was an author of the letter. Download ExecutiveAuthorityForDREAMRelief28May2012withSignatures


May 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Report of the Day: Potential Impact of Changes in Immigration Policy on U.S. Agriculture and the Market for Hired Farm Labor: A Simulation Analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Potential Impact of Changes in Immigration Policy on U.S. Agriculture and the Market for Hired Farm Labor: A Simulation, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ABSTRACT: Large shifts in the supply of foreign-born, hired farm labor resulting from substantial changes in U.S. immigration laws or policies could have significant economic implications. A computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the U.S. economy is used to evaluate how changes in the supply of foreign-born labor might affect all sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Two scenarios are considered: an increase in the number of temporary nonimmigrant, foreign-born farmworkers, such as those admitted under the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program, and a decrease in the number of unauthorized workers in all sectors of the economy. Longrun economic outcomes for agricultural output and exports, wages and employment levels, and national income accruing to U.S.-born and foreign-born, permanent resident workers in these two scenarios are compared with a base forecast reflecting current immigration laws and policies.

Here are the conclusions:

The expanded employment of temporary nonimmigrant agricultural workers would lead to a longrun relative increase in agricultural output and exports. The increases are generally larger in labor-intensive sectors, such as fruits, tree nuts, vegetables, and nursery products. By year 15 of the increased farm labor supply scenario, these four sectors experience a 1.1- to 2.0-percent increase in output and a 1.7- to 3.2-percent increase in exports, relative to the base forecast. Less labor-intensive sectors, such as grains, oilseeds, and livestock production, tend to have smaller increases, ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 percent for output and from 0.2 to 2.6 percent for exports.

By contrast, a large reduction in the number of unauthorized workers in all sectors of the U.S. economy would lead to a long run reduction in output and exports in both agriculture and the broader economy, relative to forecasted levels with no policy-induced change in unauthorized labor supply.

Decreasing the size of the unauthorized labor force would reduce the aggregate level of economic production and slightly lower the income that accrues to complementary, U.S.-owned factors of production, such as capital and skilled labor. The lost income would be only partially offset by higher real wages for U.S.-born and foreign-born, permanent resident workers employed as hired farm laborers or in other lower paying occupations where unauthorized workers were formerly more prevalent. In the long run, overall gross national product accruing to the U.S.-born and to foreignborn, permanent residents would fall by about 1 percent, compared with the base forecast.


May 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DREAMers Press Obama to Act on their Behalf

Julia Preston writes in the NY Times:

Young [undocumented] immigrants, saying President Obama has done little to diminish the threat of deportations they face despite repeated promises, have started a campaign to press him to use executive powers to allow them to remain legally in the country.

The campaign is led by the United We Dream Network, the largest organization of young immigrants here illegally who would be eligible for legal status under a proposal in Congress known as the Dream Act.

The young people are among the most visible activists in a growing immigrant movement. Their push to focus pressure on the White House reflects deep frustration with Congress for its lack of action on the legislation and with the administration for continuing to deport illegal immigrant students, although Mr. Obama says he supports them.

This week student leaders presented White House officials with a letter signed by more than 90 immigration law professors who argued that the president has “clear executive authority” to halt deportations of illegal immigrants who might benefit from the student legislation. The professors, from universities across the country, pointed to several measures the president could take under existing laws to defer deportations and permit young immigrants to stay temporarily.

On May 17 the students held small-scale actions to publicize their demands in 19 locations around the country, including at the Obama re-election campaign offices in Miami. Gaby Pacheco, a leader of the student network, said Wednesday that they were preparing larger protests for mid-June if the White House did not respond.

“They say all the time that Dreamers shouldn’t be deported,” Ms. Pacheco said, referring to the young immigrants. “We’ve heard a lot of talk, but we have not seen action.”

The students’ escalating actions could be a problem for Mr. Obama, who is counting on strong support from Latino voters to win again in several states that supported him in 2008, particularly Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. Polls show very high support among Latinos for some version of the Dream Act,  including  91 percent in the 2011 National Survey of Latinos from the Pew Hispanic Center. Read more...


May 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Immigration Project Resource Attorney Position Available

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Washington Defender Association (WDA) is a nonprofit membership association comprised of public defender agencies, indigent defenders, and those who are committed to seeking improvements in indigent defense services. WDA’s work focuses on providing training, resources and individual case assistance to public defenders throughout the state of Washington to ensure effective assistance of counsel and the highest quality of representation to their clients. WDA also engages in state and national advocacy to promote reform within the criminal and civil justice systems and defend the rights of accused persons.

In 1999, WDA established the WDA Immigration Project (WDAIP). WDAIP’s work focuses specifically on addressing the immigration consequences facing noncitizen defendants. WDAIP strives to make Padilla v. Kentucky's guarantee of effective assistance a reality for noncitizen defendants through education resources, individual case assistance, and state and national policy advocacy.

WDAIP is staffed by Directing Attorney, Ann Benson, and Immigration Specialist, Jonathan Moore. For more information on WDA and WDAIP please see

For more information on this position, click here.


May 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Arguing for Amnesty by Linda Bosniak

"Arguing for Amnesty" by LINDA S. BOSNIAK, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden.

ABSTRACT: This commentary addresses scholars and activists in liberal national states who advocate on behalf of undocumented immigrants, and offers some reflections on some of the intellectual and political challenges we encounter. I will suggest that the nature of our standard arguments on behalf of immigrants can sometimes give too much ground to current social conditions, and that we may – in our efforts to remain immediately policy-relevant – relinquish the opportunity to develop more fundamental social criticism of existing immigration relations.


May 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Professor Rose Villazor to Move to UC Davis

I am pleased to announce that Professor Rose Cuison Villazor, currently at Hofstra, is moving to UC Davis School of Law.  Professor Villazor teaches and writes in the areas of property law, immigration law, race, and citizenship. She is also co-editor with Professor Kevin Noble Maillard of a book titled Loving v. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.

Professor Villazor received the 2011 Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Minority Groups Section to a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice.


May 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: A Midwestern Mosaic Immigration and Political Socialization in Rural America by J. Celeste Lay

Midwest mosaic

A Midwestern Mosaic Immigration and Political Socialization in Rural America by J. Celeste Lay

ABSTRACT:  Drawn by low-skilled work and the safety and security of rural life, increasing numbers of families from Latin America and Southeast Asia have migrated to the American heartland. In the path-breaking book A Midwestern Mosaic, J. Celeste Lay examines the effects of political socialization on native white youth growing up in small towns. Lay studies five Iowa towns to investigate how the political attitudes and inclinations of native adolescents change as a result of rapid ethnic diversification. Using surveys and interviews, she discovers that native adolescents adapt very well to foreign-born citizens, and that over time, gaps diminish between diverse populations and youth in all-white/Anglo towns in regard to tolerance, political knowledge, efficacy, and school participation. A Midwestern Mosaic looks at the next generation to show how exposure to ethnic and cultural diversity during formative years can shape political behavior and will influence politics in the future.

May 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Law Teachers Workshop 2012

The bi-annual Immigration Law Teachers Workshop starts on Thursday at Hofstra law school.  Here is the schedule.  Download Immigration_workshop_schedule_draft -- 05-28-12.  This conference is a highlight of the immigration law teachers' year.


May 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

They Keep Coming: Border Enforcement Along the U.S./Canada Border

William Yardley of the N.Y. Times has this interesting story about U.S. border enforcement and Mexican immigrants not in the Southwest but the Pacific Northwest.

I was reminded of the wide expanse of Mexican migration to the United States thgis weekend on a trip to the Sierras and visited a great taquería, Tacos Jalisco, in Truckee, near Lake Tahoe.


May 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


Here is a practice advisory entitled: “Seeking a Judicial Stay of Removal in the Court of Appeals: Standard, Implications of ICE’s Return Policy and the OSG’s Misrepresentation to the Supreme Court, and Sample Stay Motion.” This advisory:

 Provides background information regarding stay requests, including when an immigration agency order becomes final and how to file a stay motion.

 Discusses the legal standard for stay motions as set forth by the Supreme Court in Nken v. Holder.

 Addresses the implications on stay motions of ICE’s return policy and of the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) misrepresentations to the Supreme Court regarding the government’s ability to return successful litigants.

 Includes a sample stay motion containing legal arguments for litigants in stay litigation and a template declaration in support of a stay motion.

 Includes an appendix detailing local rules and procedures of circuit courts.

This advisory was written by the National Immigration Project/NLG, Boston College Post Deportation Human Rights Project, Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law, and the American Immigration Council.


May 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Open Borders with Migration Taxes Are the Optimal Policy by Nathanael Smith

Open Borders with Migration Taxes Are the Optimal Policy by Nathanael Smith Fresno Pacific University; George Mason University.

Abstract: For some reason, economists are less willing to advocate open migration than free trade, even though the traditional free trade models, such as Ricardian comparative advantage and Heckscher-Ohlin, cross-apply to migration. In fact, however, the case for open migration is stronger than the case for free trade, because it is possible to tax foreign-born beneficiaries of open migration policies, through migration taxes. It is here proven that a policy of open borders with migration taxes is Pareto-superior to the alternative of closed borders (or discretionary migration control). Political norms of local inequality aversion seem to prevent the adoption, or even consideration, of such a policy, and the enormous gains in human welfare that would result from it. Some proposals, including a World Migration Organization and passport-free charter cities, are proposed as steps towards a world of open migration.


May 29, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Let's celebrate all of the American vetererans, including immigrants, who have lost their lives defending our liberty.


May 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)