Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hold Accountable DHS Officers and Authorities Denying Protection to Asylum Seekers

Guest blogger: Valeria Vera, Masters in Migration Studies student, University of San Francisco

On May 5 - 6, 2018, six unknown armed assailants attacked a Tijuana shelter, Centro Comunitario Caritas, on two different occasions. [1]  The first time, the individuals stole all of the belongings of the migrants staying there and punched a non-migrant inside the shelter.  The following day, they returned and placed a mattress on the door to the shelter, blocking its only exit, and set the mattress on fire. This shelter housed 11 members of the LGBT community who belonged to the caravan that arrived in Tijuana on April 29, 2018. [2] The police were called, but they never showed up and allege no complaint was ever registered. The mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastelum Buenrostro, and the State Commission for Human Rights, opened an investigation to determine whether the attack was a hate crime. It is clear that the Mexican government chooses to continue to be blinded to its homophobic culture and society, contrary to what the shelter allies and caravan advocates state: “the building was targeted because trans immigrants were staying there.” [3]

On May 6, 2018, at night, those 11 migrants presented themselves at the San Ysidro-Tijuana Port of Entry (POE) accompanied by immigration attorney and ally, Nicole Ramos, to request asylum[4]. They presented a letter from a Mexican attorney stating the facts and the country conditions faced in Mexico and Central America, which these women were running from for their lives. According to Ramos, they spoke to two CBP officers and their supervisor, only to be informed that “there was no space.”

Under 8 U.S. Code § 1225(B)(1)(A)(ii), an officer shall refer “any alien who indicates either an intention to apply for asylum under section 1158 of this title or a fear of persecution... for an interview by an asylum officer under subparagraph (B).”

Asylum and refugee laws are rendered under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the Refugee Act of 1980, all of which the United States has signed and ratified. It is a violation of those laws to refuse protection to an immigrant expressing fear of return. Under the Title 8 code 1225 highlighted above, a person who expresses fear of return should be immediately processed to see an asylum credible fear officer. There is no “waiting list” for those outside of the country seeking asylum at any U.S. POE to be granted an opportunity to meet with an asylum officer for the determination of whether someone’s fear is credible and qualifies for them to apply for asylum. As Ramos mentions in her live video, CBP’s refusal to accept the transwomen is illegal. It is the irony of a country that produces refugees on a self-proclaimed false pedestal of saving women and people elsewhere from ideological, religious, sex, gender, and orientation oppression because its involvement in those countries it seeks to “protect,” they just create more refugees and asylum seekers.

The abuse of immigrants and citizens by U.S. government authorities and U.S. government agencies’ are not secret or news. In fact, these violations have been reported for years. One of the most significant publications was by Human Rights Watch in 1995, when it investigated allegations against Border Patrol agents committing serious human rights violations, including unjustified shootings, rape, and beatings, while enjoying virtual impunity for their actions. [5] The report also claimed that the former Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) (now replaced with DHS) would not punish its agents who violated policies and the law because the INS "procedures for receipt and review of complaints alleging violations [were] wholly inadequate.” Since that report was published, Border Patrol agents have been prosecuted and investigated for murder [6], deported U.S. citizens, and immigration officers, law enforcement, and government leaders accused of holding labor camps, such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, sexually and physically abusing detained women and children, forcing immigrants to sign voluntary departure, separating families, and killing other innocent individuals, some not even physically on U.S. territory, such as 16-year-old Sonoran Jose Antonio Elena Rodríguez in 2012.[7] Now, in 2016 and again 2018, CBP is outwardly refusing to allow immigrants seeking asylum at the border because there is “ no room.” 

In these situations, how can we utilize the laws to hold the responsible individuals accountable? Why is it that they can use their laws to protect our border to equip themselves with the power and impunity to criminalize innocent people and commit human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings? [8]

The militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, which escalated as a result of 9/11 and will only continue to increase under Trump, serves to normalize abuses against individuals and “Others” on the basis of the protection of the nation. The impunity with which violations and corruption occur along the border raises questions as to what extent security dilemmas have been invented, especially when these have been used to justify the widespread exploitation and domination of the bodies of immigrant, citizen, and undocumented folks. Whose responsibility is it to hold the United States authorities and agents responsible -- the United Nations or the Inter-American Court of Justice? Justice for Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who was murdered by Border Patrol officers on the border, is still pending after seven years of his murder.  The FBI investigated the crime and refused to charge the individuals involved and the case is now currently pending at the Inter-American Court of Justice, which is the first time any case for extrajudicial killings is heard at this court. [9] What justice will be served to the thousands of people around the world whose lives are daily threatened because of the hegemonic masculinity and patriarchal cultures that normalize domestic and gender violence to oppress and exploit them? This is a pressing issue because earlier in 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed is considering to eliminate asylum for survivors of domestic violence, who qualify under the nexus and protected ground of particular social group (“PSG”)? [10] Karen Musalo, a law professor and director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) at UC Hastings Law School and the attorney of a survivor of domestic violence from El Salvador whose case A.G. Sessions is reviewing, states that, “The attorney general’s intervention represents ‘a combination of anti-immigrant and misogynist (policies) from this administration… Everything that he’s trying to do would cut back on the procedural and substantive rights of asylum-seekers.’”[11]

In the hopes of eradicating the abuses of power and denial of human rights that immigration agents continue engage in, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, co-sponsored by Senators Warren and Merkley, have introduced the Security Accountability and Transparency Act through DHS, a bill that would apply more broadly to immigrants–and perhaps also to other people of color–in their interactions with immigration agents. The bill would require immigration agents to document every time in which they stop, question, search, or interrogate people. Senator Warren explained that, “Border patrol agents have a duty to protect our borders without trampling on our constitutional rights” or deterring the integrity of border enforcement.[12]

I agree that the power of any authority requires careful checks and balances for all those reasons, but not limited to, described above. The current disciplinary practices against a CBP officer, according to their manual and given their historical impunity, seem arbitrary. For instance, the             U.S. Customs and Border Protection Complaints and Discipline Systems Review published a public report on November 23, 2015, about findings and recommendations. The “discipline” section is 5 short paragraphs long and states that:

Discipline can involve formal or informal non-adverse actions, including verbal or written counseling, memorandum of instruction, written reprimand, disciplinary suspension between one (1) and fourteen (14) days… The authority to propose or decide specific actions is delegated to supervisors and managers at the lowest organizational level, appropriate to the severity of the misconduct, pursuant to CBP’s Delegation of Authority.     Even less that warrant less severe discipline (i.e., non-adverse actions) are remanded to local management for appropriate action. Cases that warrant more severe discipline (i.e., adverse actions) are presented to CBP’s Discipline Review Board (DRB). [13]

The bill proposed by Senators Gillibran, Warren, and Merkley, and the pending prosecution at the Inter-American Court of the officer who murdered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas evidence the attempts for justice currently pending. There is a security dilemma, but it is not of the United States. It is of the security of the individuals who come to this country seeking protection and are unlawfully denied it. We must, as individuals with the power to influence politics in this country, become aware about these issues that seldom receive media attention and demand that our leaders act to protect and uphold human dignity. As Nicole Ramos begs her audience in her live video: Call your representatives. Support legal aid organizations at the border. Bring up these uncomfortable conversations to those in your communities who are unaware or choose to be unaware of these abuses and narratives.

The realities at the border, the abuses that this country’s border officers perpetrate, and the limited protection that is exercised to those expressing fear of return at the border trumps the 45th presidential administration’s narratives about immigration. President Trump has spent his political career spitting out unfounded racist rhetoric about the need for a higher and more secure border wall, never mind that there are already up to three walls at the border. He has tweeted that the country’s immigration laws are “weak,” and both he and Jeff Sessions allege that immigrants are stampeding into the country as a result of those weak laws.[14] The cases of the Translatinas seeking asylum at the border on May 6, 2018, as well as other cases in previous years not mentioned here, such as two caravans that sought asylum at the border in 2017, the thousands of Haitians who sought asylum in 2016, and the thousands of Unaccompanied Children who have been seeking asylum since 2013. On May 7, 2018,  Jeff Sessions held a press conference at the San Ysidro-Tijuana border to deliver a hateful message of the “urgent” need for a “zero-tolerance” policy, which aims to criminalize all immigrants who enter the country without inspection.[15] If this country wants immigrants to stop entering the country, then its leaders should get their foreign and domestic policy out of other countries and stop making refugees and forced economic displacement. The only people who should receive zero-tolerance are the authorities for their continued perpetration of abusive, racist, and inhumane violations of international and human rights laws.

 

[1] https://www.telemundo20.com/noticias/local/Ataque-a-albergue-de-migrantes-centroamericanos-en-Tijuana-482081131.html

[2] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-asylum-caravan-20180428-story.html

[3] http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/05/11/trans-asylum-seekers-stuck-at-mexican-border-near-tijuana/

[4]  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-asylum-caravan-20180428-story.html

[5] Human Rights Watch (1995). "Crossing the Line: Human Rights Abuses Along the U.S. Border with Mexico Persist Amid Climate of Impunity." Human Rights Watch, 7(4). Retrieved May 8, 2013.

[6] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-hernandez-rojas-20170518-story.html

[7]http://tucson.com/news/local/border-patrol-agent-to-go-on-trial-tuesday-in-shooting/article_1f664014-3478-5e5a-88aa-1c0f285f3d26.html

[8] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-hernandez-rojas-20170518-story.html

[9]  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-hernandez-rojas-20170518-story.html

[10] https://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/US-attorney-general-considers-ending-asylum-for-12905701.php

[11]  https://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/US-attorney-general-considers-ending-asylum-for-12905701.php

[12]https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/news/press/release/gillibrand-announces-legislation-to-increase-transparency-and-accountability-for-border-patrol-and-ice-agents

[13] https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2016-Mar/cbp-complaint-discipline-system-review.pdf

[14]https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Atty-Gen-Jeff-Sessions-to-Visit-San-Diego-to-Discuss-Immigration-Enforcement-481871941.html

[15]https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Atty-Gen-Jeff-Sessions-to-Visit-San-Diego-to-Discuss-Immigration-Enforcement-481871941.html

bh

May 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

It’s time we talk about TPS

Guest blogger: Corie Schwabenland Garcia, Masters in Migration Studies student, University of San Francisco

A serious re-examination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is long overdue, yet it has taken the cancellation of TPS for several countries in fairly rapid succession to re-energize this conversation. In September and November of 2017, Sudan, then Nicaragua and Haiti lost their TPS [1]. In January 2018, El Salvador followed suit. A few months later, in April and May respectively, nationals of Nepal and Honduras received notice that their TPS would be ending. Between these six countries, an estimated 346,300 people may lose their ability to live in the United States -- and the potential collateral damage (to their families and communities) is unquantifiable [2][3].

On its surface, TPS is a humanitarian grace - and in some ways it has been. Since its inception as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, it has allowed a temporary and conditional immigration status for nationals of 21 countries, including those listed above, during periods of instability in their countries of origin like environmental disasters, ongoing armed conflict and civil wars, or other “extraordinary and temporary conditions” that could prevent them from returning home safely [4][5][6]. If granted TPS, one obtains protection from deportation, as well as permission to work in the U.S., for a pre-designated period between 6 and 18 months at a time [7].

Let’s say you were a Honduran university student in the U.S. in Fall 1998, preparing for graduation and the subsequent expiry of your visa the next Spring. Simultaneously, you watched from afar as Hurricane Mitch ravaged your country, over 6 days killing an estimated 7,000 people and shattering some 50 years of economic development via severe damage to infrastructure and exportable crops [8] [9]. You knew you would soon be expected to return home, but were unsure of what would be left for you to go back to. Enter TPS: if you applied for, and received it, your student visa would still expire, but you could remain in the U.S. without worrying about deportation -- for the duration of the TPS granted. Herein lies the problem: you are protected for as long as you have TPS, as many times as it is renewed ...until the U.S. deems that the initial triggering circumstances are over and your country has recovered. When that time comes, your protection ends: your expired visa means you are vulnerable and deportable, no matter how long you’ve been in the U.S. or what roots you’ve put down. The cancellation of TPS can also take place at any time-- after 3 years, 5 years, or 10+ years --shattering the false sense of security each subsequent renewal worked to build.

In the case of Honduras, TPS will have lasted for some 21 years by the time it ends on January 5th, 2020. On May 4th of this year, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that “the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial,” thus justifying its termination [10]. While it is true that the initial environmental condition that yielded Honduras’ TPS-- Hurricane Mitch and its direct damage --is no longer in existence, it remains to be seen whether Honduras ever truly recovered. James D. Nelson (former ambassador to Honduras) and John D. Feeley (former U.S. Ambassador to Panama) argue that Nielsen’s assertion of recovery only makes sense “under a strict constructionist view,” and fails to recognize “the pathologies underlying the hurricane’s aftermath -- extreme violence, lack of economic opportunity, and poor governance” still plaguing the country [11]. Proponents of the continuation of TPS have also rightly questioned how Honduras was deemed safe enough for Honduran nationals to return to at the same time that the U.S. state department issued travel warnings to our own citizens, urging them to avoid the country due to “violent crime” and the inability of local authorities to respond to it [12][13]. This begs an important question about TPS: how humanitarian is it to afford TPS-holders long-term American lives (in all senses, save papers designating them “legality” or a path towards it) that can be ripped apart at any time due to unclear standards of “recovery”?

In addition to being inhumane, it is simply inefficient to remove the TPS-holders that are soon to be out of status, and essentially slated for removal. It remains to be seen what benefit the U.S. will logically derive from removing TPS-holders from our society (at a average cost of $10,854 per deportee, one should note) and will rather feel very deeply the loss of their contributions: were the U.S. to remove Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders, a respective $109.4 billion, $31.3 billion, and $23.2 billion would be lost from our nation’s GDP. In addition, the U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders-- 192,700; 53,500; and 27,000 children, respectively --would either lose their parents or be deported alongside them to countries they do not know [14][15]. And this is only a sample impact: Nicaraguan TPS-holders, though a smaller group, have existed in the U.S. for the same 21-year length as Hondurans, and are also shaken by the potential end of their status. Say several Nicaraguan TPS holders quoted in the Miami Herald [16]:

Maria Elena Hernandez, who lived in South Florida during Hurricane Mitch and watched
            on television as it destroyed most of her country:  “I decided to stay, to help my country
            and my family from here. This is where I have my brothers, my nephews, my job, my life.
            This country is a world leader in human rights and criticizes countries that don’t respect
            them. And now it wants to send us to Nicaragua?”

 

A 63-year-old woman who lives in Little Havana: “We did not expect this because they
            extended this program so many times that we’re practically native. My daughter came
            when she was really small and studied here. She speaks more English than Spanish. We
            have nothing in Nicaragua.”

 

A 62-year-old man approaching retirement age: “I worked so many years contributing to
            Social Security, the retirement plan. Now I wanted to relax. Now it seems I am going to
            lose everything that I earned all these years.”

TPS holders are not, as opponents to the program rush to present them, mere “aliens” demanding amnesty and perpetual extensions of our gratitude with nothing in return. As the above quotes demonstrate, they are members of our country, and integral parts of our local communities, with jobs, homes, kids, and lives that they worked hard for, the same as domestic-born citizens. For years we have allowed them a facade of permanence, and lives acquainted with, but never completely afforded the American dream. Now, in a move that is both inhumane and inefficient, we allow DHS to discontinue TPS country by country without a second thought towards all the lives that depend on it, and for what, to encourage them all to go home and come back the “right” way? The U.S. is acting rashly to solve a problem it created on its own via lackadaiscal maintenance of TPS without thoughtful future planning, and deporting nearly 350,000 immigrants will not solve it. Rather, it will leave a void in our economy, our communities, and in the lives of the citizen children/spouses/family members of TPS-holders.

We are not moving towards safer borders by deporting residents that could not have been granted TPS without clean criminal records to begin with, nor are we building a foundation for smarter immigration policy by simply axing a large portion of it without anything to fill the void [6]. All we are doing is moving further and further from the humane and welcoming nation we purport to be. Yet, there is still good news: we can remain true to our ideals, and justly support TPS holders by affording them a pathway to citizenship, in recognition of the devoted and contributing members of this country that they are. We can, and must do so -- there is simply no compelling reason not to.

[1] https://www.afsc.org/blogs/news-and-commentary/trump-has-ended-temporary-protected-status-hundreds-thousands-immigrants

[2] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/temporary-protected-status-united-states-grant-humanitarian-relief-less-permanent

[3] https://cliniclegal.org/resources/temporary-protected-status-nepal#_ftn1

[4] https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS20844.pdf

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/09/nyregion/us-is-ending-haven-for-those-fleeing-a-volcano.html

[6] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

[7] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/documentation-employers-may-accept-and-temporary-protected-status-beneficiaries-may-present-evidence-employment-eligibility

[8] https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/opinions/honduras-tps-trump-reyes/index.html

[9] https://reliefweb.int/report/honduras/debt-disaster-what-happened-honduras-after-hurricane-mitch

[10] https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/05/04/secretary-homeland-security-kirstjen-m-nielsen-announcement-temporary-protected

[11] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-administration-shoves-honduran-immigrants-back-into-danger/2018/05/09/c4682c98-530d-11e8-abd8-265bd07a9859_story.html?utm_term=.2330bb982eb1

[12] http://undocublack.org/press-releases/tpsforhondurasterminated

[13] https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/honduras-travel-advisory.html

[14] https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2017/04/28/deportation-costs-illegal-immigration/99541736/

[15] https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/10/19125633/101717_TPSFactsheet-USA.pdf

[16] http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article184264498.html

bh

May 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book Review: Children’s Author Focus: Introducing René Colato Laínez

Guest blogger: Melanie Shelton, Masters in Migration Studies student, University of San Francisco:

René Colato Laínez is a U.S.-based, Salvadoran immigrant whose body of work does an excellent job of depicting young children in immigrant families interacting with the U.S. legal system. In Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá (2004), Beto and his Mamá work with an immigration lawyer to bring Papá from El Salvador to the United States. In Mamá the Alien / Mamá la Extraterrestre (2016), young Sofía discovers a mysterious card in her mother’s purse with the big blue word ALIEN printed on top. This story describes the process of Sofía’s mother’s transition from Legal permanent Resident to U.S. citizen, all the while poking fun at the deeply dehumanizing language our laws have designated for describing immigrants. My Shoes and I (2010) describes Mario and his Papá’s journey across three national borders, finally reuniting with Mario’s Mamá. René has Two Last Names / René tiene does apellidos (2009), I am René the Boy / Soy René el Nino (2005), and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Perez (2010) describe children adjusting to a new life in the United States while maintaining their cultural identities.

The book I will describe in more detail below is From North to South / Del Norte al Sur (2013), illustrated by Laura Lacámara. This story engages with the aftermath deportation, insisting on the resilience of families torn apart by unjust immigration laws. At the heart of the book is a mixed-status family based in San Diego. The protagonist, a young boy named José, is a U.S. citizen. His father is a Legal Permanent Resident, and his mother is undocumented. The story takes place after José’s mother is apprehended in a workplace immigration raid. The child explains, “She had been working at the factory when some men asked for her immigration papers. But Mamá was born in Mexico and didn’t have those papers. Then men put Mamá and other workers into a van. In a few hours, Mamá was in Tijuana, Mexico.”

The book begins as José and his Papá are preparing to visit Mamá in Tijuana; it will be the first time they have seen her in two weeks. Rather than dwelling on the pain and trauma of separation, Colato Laínez draws attention to José’s joy at the thought of being reunited. When they reach the shelter where José’s mother is staying, the two have a joyful reunion. The shelter is depicted as a cheerful place, filled with bright colors. Shelton1
Just like at home in San Diego, José’s mother tends the shelter’s garden.

José meets a diverse group of migrants at the shelter. Mamá’s friends are working hard to make and sell beautiful artisan crafts in order to save up money to cross the border. The older guests have embodied caretaker roles to the unaccompanied niños y niñas who have also found their way to this sanctuary. One child introduces herself to Jose: “I am Teresa. You are so lucky to see your Mamá...All of us want to be with our parents, but they are so far away.” Jose connects with Teresa’s desire to see her parents again, and gathers the group of children together to decorate cans and plants seeds in them, as gifts for when they see their parents someday. While the unaccompanied children remain uncertain about their futures, Mamá is able to offer Josá a glimmer of hope: “Remember, Papá is a permanent resident now. He has submitted my papers already and a lawyer is working on my case.”

The most impressive element of Colato Laínez’s storytelling is that he is able to craft a hopeful end to the story without making any false promises to the reader that the family will be reunited in San Diego. After spending a blissful day with his Mamá, night falls and it is time for Papá to take José home to bed. Mamé climbs into the back seat and tells José a story to help him fall asleep before the ride home. And as he and Papá cross the border without her, José dreams “that Mamá had the right papers and we crossed the border together. Above our house, the sky was filled with fireworks and I knew that all the other children would see their parents soon, too. I was ready to eat Mamá’s warm tortillas, to listen to her bedtime stories, and to hear her voice saying every single night, “Buenas noches, mi José.”  Shelton2

This book presents opportunities for Spanish- and English-speaking families who have been directly impacted by deportation to see themselves reflected on the page, and to incite conversation about their own struggles, hopes, and dreams for family reunification. For children whose lives are not directly touched by the immigration system, this book is a great educational tool and an insight into the lives of many other children in this country. Reaching the end of the book, all children and caring adults will be ready to think about the next step: How do we turn Josés dream into a reality

Shelton4

bh

May 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CHANGE OF DATE: The Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will be held at UC Davis Law School on Friday, November 16 – Saturday, November 17

CHANGE OF DATE:  The Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will be held at UC Davis Law School on Friday, November 16 – Saturday, November 17 .  Note:  This is a change from the earlier announced November 9-10 date.  The date for submission of proposals (July 1) remains the same.

Corrected Call for Proposals:

Call for Proposals for the Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

Building on the success of the Inaugural Equality Law Scholars’ Forum held at UC Berkeley Law last fall, and in the spirit of academic engagement and mentoring in the area of Equality Law, we (Tristin Green, University of San Francisco; Angela Onwuachi-Willig, UC Berkeley (BU Dean-designate); and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis) announce the Second Annual Equality Law Scholars’ Forum to be held this fall.  This Scholars’ Forum seeks to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique and to provide scholars at all career stages the opportunity to engage with new scholarly currents and ideas.  We hope to bring together scholars with varied perspectives (e.g., critical race theory, class critical theory, feminist legal theory, law and economics, law and society) across fields (e.g., criminal system, education, employment, family, health, immigration, property, tax) and with work relevant to many diverse identities (e.g., age, class, disability, national origin, race, sex, sexuality) to build bridges and to generate new ideas in the area of Equality Law.  

We will select five relatively junior scholars (untenured, newly tenured, or prospective professors) to present papers from proposals submitted in response to this Call for Proposals. In so doing, we will select papers that cover a broad range of topics within the area of Equality Law.  Leading senior scholars will provide commentary on each of the featured papers in an intimate and collegial setting.  The Equality Law Scholars’ Forum will pay transportation and accommodation expenses for participants and will host a dinner on Friday evening.  

This year’s Forum will be held on November 16-17, 2018 at UC Davis Law School.

Junior scholars are invited to submit abstracts of proposed papers, 3-5 pages in length, by July 1, 2018.

Full drafts must be available for circulation to participants by October 19, 2018.

Proposals should be submitted to:

Tristin Green, USF School of Law, tgreen4@usfca.edu.  Electronic submissions via email are preferred.

KJ

May 31, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: HISPANICS IN THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: Ethnicity, Ideology, and Social Control (Second Edition) by Martin Guevara Urbina and Sofía Espinoza Álvarez

9780398092160

HISPANICS IN THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: Ethnicity, Ideology, and Social Control (Second Edition) by Martin Guevara Urbina and Sofía Espinoza Álvarez Published 2018

This updated and expanded new edition resumes the theme of the first edition, and the findings reveal that race, ethnicity, gender, class, and several other variables continue to play a significant and consequential role in the legal decision-making process. The book is structured into three sections, each of which corresponds to a different body of work on Latinos. Section One explores the historical dynamics and influence of ethnicity in law enforcement, and focuses on how ethnicity impacts policing field practices, such as traffic stops, use of force, and the subsequent actions that police departments have employed to alleviate these problems. A detailed examination of critical issues facing Latino defendants seeks to better understand the law enforcement process. The history of immigration laws as it pertains to Mexicans and Latinos explains how Mexicans have been excluded from the United States through anti-immigrant legislation. Latino officers must cope with structural and political issues, the community, and media, as these practices and experiences within the American police system are explored. Section Two focuses on the repressive practices against Mexicans that resulted in executions, vigilantism, and mass expulsions. The topic of Latinos and the Fourth Amendment reveals that the constitutional right of people to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures has been eviscerated for Latinos, and particularly for Mexicans. Possible remedies to existing shortcomings of the court system when processing indigent defendants are presented. Section Three studies the issue of Hispanics and the penal system. The ethnic realities of life behind bars, probation and parole, the legacy of capital punishment, and life after prison are discussed. Section Four addresses the globalization of Latinos, social control, and the future of Latinos in the U.S. Criminal justice system. Lastly, the race and ethnic experience through the lens of science, law, and the American imagination, are explored, concluding with policy recommendations for social and criminal justice reform, and ultimately humanizing differences. Written for professionals and students of law enforcement, this book will promote the understanding of the historical legacy of brutality, manipulation, oppression, marginalization, prejudice, discrimination, power and control, and white America's continued fear about racial and ethnic minorities.

KJ

May 31, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Army

Trump

Julissa Arce offers tough words on President Trump's immigration policies and personnel.  Her scathing conclusion:

"Trump understands he has the latitude to institute harmful policies that do not require changes in the laws and can therefore bypass Congress, and he has enlisted some of the most xenophobic people in American political life to carry out his plans."

KJ

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE’s Rejection of Its Own Rules Is Placing LGBT Immigrants at Severe Risk of Sexual Abuse

 

ICE’s Rejection of Its Own Rules Is Placing LGBT Immigrants at Severe Risk of Sexual Abuse
By Sharita Gruberg
Disturbing new government data shows that LGBT immigrants held at federal detention centers are 97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than others, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress. The Trump administration’s policy of detaining immigrants without parole or bond pending the resolution of their case or deportation—combined with its rejection of policies meant to protect vulnerable populations from abuse in detention—has led to horrifically high rates of sexual abuse and solitary confinement of LGBT immigrants.

Not only is ICE placing LGBT immigrants in harm’s way, the agency has reverted to its practice of detaining transgender women with men or in solitary confinement, contrary to its own rules. ICE data shows that 1 in 8 transgender people detained in fiscal year 2017 were placed in solitary confinement. Placing LGBT people in solitary confinement for their own protection is considered a form of torture by the United Nations. ICE must end its dangerous practice of arbitrarily detaining LGBT people in unsafe conditions and ensure that its standards, guidance, and rules are rigorously enforced.
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Getty/Corbis//Robert Daemmrich Photography IncThe perimeter fence of the T. Don Hutto detention facility of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement center is seen.

KJ

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Trump Can Teach About Con Law: Posse Comitatus

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Episode 22 of What Trump Can Teach About Con Law is entitled "Posse Comitatus"  and, among other things, discusses President Trump's call for the assistance of the state national guards along the US/Mexico border.  

Here is the description:

Ep. 22 • 05.22.18

The Posse Comitatus Act limits the federal government’s ability to use the military to enforce domestic policy within the United States. However, this act has so many allowable exceptions, it has rarely been officially violated. When Trump suggests “The Feds” should police Chicago to get the murder rate down, he might have found the perfect example of a Posse Comitatus Act violation.

KJ

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Tests Midterm Message on Immigration, MS-13 'Animals' During Campaign Rally

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 NPR reports that President Trump spoke yesterday at a campaign rally in Tennessee and ramped up his rhetoric on illegal immigration and gang-related crimes. The president's main goal with the Nashville event was to campaign for GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who finds herself in a close Senate contest with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. "I've never heard of this guy — who is he?" Trump chided Bredesen. "He's an absolute tool of Chuck Schumer, and of course the MS-13 lover Nancy Pelosi." It was a new moniker for the House minority leader, and Trump doubled down on controversial comments he'd made earlier this month about the drug gang. "What was the name?" the president prodded the crowd, who yelled back "Animals!" "They're not human beings," Trump added, saying that they use "glaring loopholes in our immigration laws" in order "to infiltrate our country" and rape, murder and "cut people up into little pieces."

On the U.S./Mexico border wall, the President that "in the end Mexico's gonna pay for the wall," implying it would be done via renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "They're gonna pay for the wall, and they're going to enjoy it," the president went on to claim. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, however, had a very different response later via Twitter: 

 

 

KJ

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Instilling Fear and Regulating Behavior: Immigration Law as Social Control by Lori A. Nessel

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Instilling Fear and Regulating Behavior: Immigration Law as Social Control by Lori A. Nessel, Georgetown Immigration Law Review, Vol. 31, 2017  

Abstract

Immigration law has been aptly described as offering a window into our national psyche. As evidenced in the recent presidential campaign, our national psyche is in a state of heightened anxiety, particularly with regards to immigrants. President Trump tapped into and stoked this fear with vows to build a wall at our southern border, bar Muslims from entering the country, and deport Mexicans dubbed “rapists and murders.” From the initial days of the new Administration, it became clear that this fear of foreigners would play a central role in re-shaping immigration policy and in regulating the behavior of immigrants, and citizens, within the nation. For example, shortly after assuming office, the President issued an Executive Order barring all refugees from entering the United States for three months, indefinitely barring Syrian refugees, and prohibiting visas for nationals of seven Muslim- majority nations. The President also signed Executive Orders to build a wall at our Southern border, enhance interior enforcement efforts and dramatically increase detention and deportation directed at all unauthorized immigrants within the nation. Even if the new administration cannot effectively build a wall to seal off our southern border or detain and deport upwards of nine million undocumented immigrants, the new climate of fear is already serving to control the immigrant population. While much scholarly attention has been paid to critiquing the plenary power doctrine and to analyzing the criminalization of immigration law, this article explores the interaction between the plenary power doctrine and the domestic use of immigration law to create a heightened state of fear for immigrants within the United States.

This article offers a historical perspective, exploring the connection between the Supreme Court’s deference to the legislative and executive branches when regulating immigration and the myriad laws, policies, and enforcement strategies that are implemented and carried out in such a way as to (not unintentionally) instill fear in the immigrant community. This combination of constitutional immunity and fear of detection have given rise to a largely compliant workforce and population that demands little in return for the labor provided. Rather than examining this result as an unwanted or unintended consequence of enforcement measures, or even an effort to encourage self-deportation, I argue that one goal of immigration regulation within the U.S. has always been to instill fear and control immigrant behavior as a means of creating an obedient workforce and community. By shedding greater light on the domestic aspect of immigration regulation, this article complements existing scholarship advocating for greater judicial scrutiny and constitutional protections for immigrants.

KJ

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children last year. Here’s why people are outraged now.

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Amy B. Wang for the Washington Post looks at the facts surrounding one of President Trump's recent immigration controversies.  Here is the introduction to the article:

"Reports of federal authorities losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in their custody. Scathing criticism over children being taken from their migrant parents at the border. Proposed rallies.

In the recent days, outrage about treatment of children taken into U.S. custody at the Southwest border has reached a fever pitch, exploding in a barrage of tweets and calls to action with the hashtags #WhereAreTheChildren and #MissingChildren.

How accurate are certain claims circulating online? What do those children have to do with the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policies? How many families are being separated? And why is there so much outrage about it now? We take a look at how the story has snowballed."

KJ

May 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENS: A HISTORY OF RACE AND RIGHTS IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICA by Martha S. Jones

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BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENS: A HISTORY OF RACE AND RIGHTS IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICA by Martha S. Jones

As former slaves struggled to become citizens, they redefined citizenship for all Americans. Birthright Citizens is their story. Coming June 30, 2018 from Cambridge University Press and the Studies in Legal History series.

Birthright Citizens tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans. Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, Martha Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, fulfilling the long-held aspirations of African Americans.

 

KJ

 

May 29, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Frontline Looks at the Gang Crackdown

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The Trump administration has declared war on the gang MS-13. Tonight, PBS Frontline looks at "The Gang Crackdown."Some 25 dead bodies have been found on Long Island since 2016, all linked to the violent gang MS-13. Numerous immigrant teens are missing. As law enforcement tries to stop the gang, FRONTLINE goes inside the crackdown — investigating how the slew of gruesome killings led to many immigrant teens being accused of gang affiliation and unlawfully detained.

KJ

May 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Beneficiaries of the California "Sanctuary" Laws

Immigration Article of the Day: The 'Irish Born' One American Citizenship Amendment by Kevin C. Walsh

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The 'Irish Born' One American Citizenship Amendment by Kevin C. WalshDuke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy 

Abstract

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION: "That article two, section one, clause five, be amended so as to read: 'No person except a Citizen of the United States shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.'"

This essay outlines the case for an obvious and overdue amendment to the Constitution of the United States: repeal of the birth-based requirement that excludes naturalized American citizens from presidential eligibility. This amendment's adoption would mark the first successful amendment in the form that Madison and many others originally desired rather than the tack-on kind we've used up until now. Advocating for this amendment offers an opportunity to exercise self-government muscles that have atrophied from civic sloth. Now more than ever, we should work to bring our fundamental law into line with our more fundamental constitutional commitments. There are not two classes of American citizenship, just one. It is time to repeal the Natural Born Citizen Clause.

KJ

May 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Memorial Day: Remember the Immigrants Who Gave their Lives for the US

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David Von Drehle for the Washington Post reminds of us the immigrant Congressional Medal of Honor winners who gave their lives for their adopted country.  Here is one of those stories:

"Macario Garcia was a boy of 3 when his parents moved their large family across the Rio Grande from Mexico to work in the fields of South Texas. That’s where the draft board found him, 19 years later, in 1942.

Wounded in the Normandy invasion, Garcia recovered in time to rejoin the 22nd Infantry Regiment for its advance through the Hürtgen Forest — some of the most ferocious fighting of the war in Europe. On Nov. 27, 1944, acting squad leader Garcia led his men up a hill toward entrenched German positions. When the first machine guns opened up amid a rain of mortar fire, Garcia ignored severe wounds to his shoulder and ankle to drag himself toward the nest. When he destroyed that position, a second German gunner began firing. Once again, Garcia attacked, silencing the gun and taking four enemy prisoners. Even then, he refused to be carried from the battlefield until he knew the hill had been taken.

At a White House ceremony in 1945, Staff Sgt. Garcia became the first Mexican-born soldier to receive the Medal of Honor. A month later, he was denied service at a segregated restaurant south of Houston, and when he refused to leave the premises, the owner beat him with a baseball bat."

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KJ

May 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Death on the Border: She came to the US for a better life. Moments after arrival, she was killed

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Photo courtesy of CNN

Nicole Chavez for CNN reports on the story of a Guatemalan women, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, recently shot and killed by the U.S. border Patrol.   He had traveled 1,500 miles to the United States, hoping to find a job. Shortly after she set foot in Texas, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed her.

Gomez Gonzalez's shooting drew international attention after a bystander posted video of the aftermath on Facebook, showing her lying on the ground, bleeding. Authorities changed their account of the incident, adding to the controversy at a time when the White House has cracked down on illegal immigration.

The deadly encounter ended the journey Gomez Gonzalez started nearly three weeks ago in an indigenous community in San Juan Ostuncalco, Guatemala.

Gomez Gonzalez earned a degree in accounting two years ago, but had not been able to find a job. "She looked, looked and nothing," her father, Gilberto Gomez, said. "I believe that's the reason why she decided to pursue the 'American dream'." The lack of job opportunities frustrated her, and she decided to leave her home and head to the US to find work. She was following the footsteps of her boyfriend, who made the same journey about a year before.

KJ

May 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law and Order SVU Centers Season Finale on Immigration

The Chinese Exclusion Act: A Special Presentation of American Experience

 

Examine the origin, history, and impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act in a special presentation of American Experience, coming to PBS on Tuesday, May 29 at 8/7c.

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Marina Fang on the Huffington Post offers some background on the Chinese Exclusion Act and its history.  In 1882, Congress voted to ban an entire ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act, iterations of which remained on the books for over 60 years, had a lasting effect on the history of U.S. immigration, as depicted in a new PBS documentary airing Tuesday. Filmmakers Ric Burns (brother of Ken) and Li-Shin Yu trace not only the law’s development and implementation but also its connection to other integral parts of American history unfolding contemporaneously, like segregation in the Jim Crow South, urbanization on the East and West Coasts, and trade abroad. At a screening of the film last week, Burns called the Chinese Exclusion Act a “quintessentially American story” and described it as “the biggest part of American history that people don’t know about,” because you would be hard-pressed to find it mentioned in many history courses.

KJ

May 27, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Morocco at the Crossroads the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Refugee Status by Karla Mari McKanders

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Morocco at the Crossroads the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Refugee Status by Karla Mari McKanders. Chapter in  Women and Social Change in North Africa: What Counts as Revolutionary? (pp. 189-214) (D. Gray & N. Sonneveld, editors, Cambridge University Press

Abstract

For centuries, Morocco has been a country of emigration and transit. Its proximity to the European Union and to the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern border of Morocco has led migrants to attempt transit through Morocco to gain access to the European Union. Despite its history as a country of transit, Morocco now faces unprecedented challenges regarding increased immigration and its corresponding international obligations to protect the human rights of migrants within its borders. The issues Morocco faces as a new destination country, attempting to apply the Convention in a non-discriminatory manner, evinces the contemporary reality that countries in the Global South have become destinations for greater numbers of forced migrants than ever seen in recorded history.

The goal of this chapter is to critically analyze the vulnerable situation of refugees and asylum seekers at the intersection of race and gender in Morocco. The chapter contains four major parts. In the first part, I give background information on the 1951 Refugee Convention, the obligations of nation-states that are signatories to the Convention, and how nation-states make legal determinations to distinguish between migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. In the second part, I review the historical and legal context behind Moroccan migration and refugee laws. In the third part, I highlight the historical and legal context in which the Convention is being applied in Morocco. Finally, I analyze the contemporary problematic of the application of the Convention in Morocco focusing on how individuals with gender based reasons for fleeing persecution and asylum seekers of African descent may be precluded from presenting their cases to obtain refugee status under existing legal frameworks. Sources of data for this inquiry included: UNHCR statistics, existing immigration laws related to refugees and migrants in Morocco, social science research on mixed migration in Morocco, policy briefs, and data on global migration flows as well as current trends in litigating and processing refugees across the globe. After using these data to approach Morocco as a legal case study, I found support for the conclusion that international actors must rethink collaboration to ensure refugees protections under the Refugee Convention - especially given that countries of the Global South are becoming new destinations for migrants.

KJ

May 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)