Sounds like the big sell-out is coming. Oh well. The voters did what we could. If Trump sells out, it's not our fault. https://twitter.com/kausmickey/status/804523899157291008 …
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The Refugees by
Fear and Silence in the Wake of the Feb. 20 DHS Memos by Yxta Maya Murray
Trump’s threat to deport 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants from the United States puts people in terror. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly’s February 20, 2017 memos, which promise an expanded use of expedited removal procedures and a “strengthen[ed]” deportation force, will only increase the paralysis that now grips millions of people in the country. I write to describe, insofar as I am able, the quality of this fear, and how it relates to key democratic values: This extreme anxiety touches upon the ability to protest, even the very capacity to read, learn, and speak.
In my recent work on equal housing and poverty, I have been conducting interviews among homelessness advocates, tenants’-rights advocates, and teachers in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. My current writing project focuses on the insecurities and instabilities created by gentrification and eviction. In the past months, I have met with advocates in L.A. to get their thoughts on how dislocation affects the health and psyches of poor people and people of color. But in almost all of my interviews, my subjects inevitably steered our conversation away from housing and toward Donald Trump and the suppressive emotional effects of his anti-immigrant speeches.
Out of concern of alerting authorities, I am going to shield the identities of two out of three of my subjects, because of their close association with undocumented clients:
When I interviewed the director of a shelter that serves Spanish-speaking people in Boyle Heights, I asked her about resistance and protest in the neighborhood. How do people push back against poverty and insecure housing? I asked. How do they fight for their rights? She told me: “People are afraid. If you look at the marches, the protests, I think that . . . people that won’t be directly affected are going out, and people who are going to be affected are not going out. [What I mean is] undocumented people. They’re worried about being spotted and identified. People are in disagreement [with what’s happening,] but because they’re concerned about their well-being, they’re not going to go out and risk that.”
When I interviewed an educator in Boyle Height, she told me that children were having trouble concentrating on their studies: “The one thing I know about students is . . . they are more successful when they know they don’t have to worry about a lot of other things. . . . The more secure and stable any student is, the more they are able to focus on what the program is. But, with what’s happening [with Trump], we don’t know what’s going to happen next week. There’s a lot of mental anguish. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and it’s hard to feel hopeful when you have that kind of instability. We’re afraid of mass deportations. And if our kids have a parent who’s undocumented, and they don’t know what to do either.”
And when I interviewed tenants’-rights advocate Larry Gross, of the Coalition for Economic Survival, he told me that Latinx tenants often refused to object to sub-human living conditions. He said; “We’ve been trying to convince the Mayor [Eric Garcetti] and the Apartment Association to do a joint news conference putting out the word to landlords that they’d better not use threats of immigration [against our tenants]. We need [the authorities] to alleviate fears, [and to tell our tenants] that they still have a right to object to conditions and file complaints! What’s going on [with Trump] will impact [housing conditions] significantly! We’ll see more abuse, [and shady landlords will] further push undocumented tenants underground. They will be more fearful, and so unable to deal with poor housing conditions!” These three advocates all describe a psychological recoiling that divests immigrants, and children of immigrants, of the equilibrium necessary to think, learn, protect themselves, and protest against the deep inequality that torments this nation. This counts as a catastrophic loss for a country that prides itself on creating progress through education and the exercise of voice.
February 20’s memos from the DHS, which promise to delete immigrants from U.S. soil expeditiously, and in probable violation of many people’s due process rights, offer the daylight reality of the nightmare that had already relegated people to the shadows. The voices that were muted in November may now become completely silenced, and with their absence will come also the vanishing of much-needed opposition and debate.
 I will not name an educator, even though she works with children who may be covered by DACA. John Kelly’s comments about the “proper processing” of unaccompanied children raises enough red flags to withhold her name. See John Kelly, Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies, Feb. 20, 2017, at p. 10 (“[Un]accompanied alien children are provided special protections to ensure that they are properly processed and receive the appropriate care and placement when they are encountered by an immigration officer. An unaccompanied alien child . . . [possesses] no parent or legal guardian in the United States. . . . Approximately 155,000 unaccompanied alien children have been apprehended at the southern border in the last three years. Most of these minors are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, many of whom travel overland to the southern border with the assistance of a smuggler who is paid several thousand dollars by one or both parents, who reside illegally in the United States. With limited exceptions, upon apprehension, CBP or ICE must promptly determine if a child meets the definition of an ‘unaccompanied alien child.’”).
 Interview with [name withheld], Feb. 8, 2017.
 Interview with [name withheld], Jan. 30, 2017.
 Interview with Larry Gross, Feb. 17, 2017.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Can't take the news? Want to escape it all yet nonetheless continue the fight? Try picking up a little something off of Remezcla's Stop Trump Reading List.
Some of the suggestions may be familiar to our readers - like No One Is Illegal by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis. Other might be new. Personally, I'm intrigued by Rebecca Solnit’s Hope In The Dark.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Al-Tounsi is the debut novel by the award-winning playwright, Anton Piatigorsky, and tells the story of the US Supreme Court’s handling of a landmark case involving the rights of detainees held in a US military base. Although the novel follows the case as it maneuvers through the minds and hands of the Justices—the larger-than-life Killian Quinn in the throes of a dangerous affair, the ambitious but insecure Gideon Rosen desperate to make his mark on history, the famed feminist Sarah Kolmann staring down the prospect of losing her husband to cancer--it is ultimately shepherded by one Justice in particular, Rodney Sykes, who begins the novel in emotional crisis. After his wife’s sudden death a year earlier, his relationship with Cassandra, his grown daughter, is in tatters, and he feels unable to repair it. As news of Cassandra’s affair with her boss, a prominent circuit court Judge, comes to light, Rodney confronts his own repression and demons, and gradually allows his private life to influence his legal reasoning.
Al-Tounsi explores in detail how the personal stories and life dramas, career rivalries and political sympathies of these titans blend with their philosophies to create the most important legal decisions of our time.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
For decades, social movements have vied for attention from the mainstream mass media — newspapers, radio, and television. Today, many argue that social media power social movements, from the Egyptian revolution to Occupy Wall Street. Yet, as Sasha Costanza-Chock reports, community organizers know that social media enhance, rather than replace, face-to-face organizing. The revolution will be tweeted, but tweets alone do not the revolution make. In Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!, Costanza-Chock traces a much broader social movement media ecology. Through a richly detailed account of daily media practices in the immigrant rights movement, he argues that there is a new paradigm of social movement media making: transmedia organizing. Despite the current spotlight on digital media, he finds, social movement media practices tend to be cross-platform, participatory, and linked to action. Immigrant rights organizers leverage social media creatively, even as they create media ranging from posters and street theater to Spanish-language radio, print, and television.
Drawing on extensive interviews, workshops, and media organizing projects, Costanza-Chock presents case studies of transmedia organizing in the immigrant rights movement over the last decade. Chapters focus on the historic mass protests against the anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill; coverage of police brutality against peaceful activists; efforts to widen access to digital media tools and skills for low-wage immigrant workers; paths to participation in DREAM activism; and the implications of professionalism for transmedia organizing. These cases show us how savvy transmedia organizers work to strengthen movement identity, win political and economic victories, and transform public consciousness forever.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Offering in-depth coverage of bedrock immigration legislation, the latest federal standards, and pivotal court decisions, Fragomen on Immigration Fundamentals (Fifth Edition) gives you the legal knowledge to work more efficiently with employers, aliens, nonimmigrants, refugees, naturalized citizens, and government officials. Click here to read a sample chapter.
Fragomen on Immigration Fundamentals is regularly updated to keep you apprised of developments in immigration law, including the 2016 Supreme Court decision in which an equally divided Court left in place the lower courts' ruling to block implementation of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated on Friday. PBS reminds us that, eight years ago, a poster designed by Shepard Fairey became the iconic image of the 2008 presidential campaign. The “HOPE” poster, featuring an image of Barack Obama, began with a print run of just 350, and spread after it was distributed on the street, at rallies and online. Now, the graphic artist, muralist, illustrator and activist is back with another street art campaign called “We the People” for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. See above. Note that the new president’s face won’t be on it.
Shepard has created three portraits for the campaign; two other artists, Colombian American muralist Jessica Sabogal and and Chicano graphic artist Ernesto Yerena, have each made one more. Together, they hope the faces of “We the People” — standing in for traditionally marginalized groups or those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign — will flood Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.
Fairey is collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and which commissioned the project. After learning that large-sized signs were prohibited at Inauguration, Amplifier came up with a hack to distribute the posters. Their plan: to buy full-page ads in the Washington Post on Jan. 20 that feature the “We the People” images, which can be torn out and carried as placards, or hung and posted around town. The posters will also be distributed at metro stops, from moving vans and other drop spots on Inauguration Day, as well as posted online for free download. A Kickstarter campaign for “We the People” has raised more than $148,000 since it was launched Tuesday night.
“We the People” posters by Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal / Amplifier Foundation
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Contesting Immigration Policy in Court: Legal Activism and Its Radiating Effects in the United States and France (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society) by
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Looking back, it seems improbable.
In 1980, Cuban President Fidel Castro opened the doors for anyone who wished to leave Cuba, promising they would be free to go. In turn, President Jimmy Carter said that all those who could find passage from Cuba would receive political asylum in the United States.
Enter the Los Angeles-based Kirksey family, made up of Bill, his Cuban-born wife Marta, and their thirteen-year-old son Dan. Bill, the kind of guy who often jumped into things without first thoroughly investigating them, believed this was a “seize the moment” opportunity.
In the newly published book A Cuban Love Affair, A. Baxter Rothchild reveals how Bill, Marta, and Dan flew from California to Miami and bought a boat. Their plan was to travel to Cuba, dock in Mariel Harbor, load up Marta’s few family members who wished to leave, and be back in the U.S. in just a few days.
Bill’s naïvete was soon put to the test. Treacherous waters both literal and figurative made navigating to freedom in the U.S. far more of an adventure than he ever could have imagined.
Assisted by four Cuban refugees from Miami, including a superb fisherman/sailor who expertly captained the boat, the group of seven found themselves with a far larger number of family members wanting to leave Cuba than they’d expected – a grand total of 38. What’s more, they soon found themselves “caught between two very determined governments with different agendas.”
After striking a “grand bargain” with the Cuban government, Bill, Marta, and Dan managed to bring Marta’s family to the U.S., but their victory was complicated when Marta’s immediate family members were suddenly placed in a U.S. government detention camp.
The story of how Bill went on the attack to secure their release, the media attention they received as the first Cuban-born individuals to gain freedom from U.S. incarceration, and the back story of Bill’s and Marta’s lifelong love affair make this colorful true adventure a riveting account of courage, determination, and empathy for others.
Bill comments, “For many years, those who heard about our adventure in Cuba often said it would make a great book or movie. I started writing several times, but other demands made it difficult to focus. Finally, when Cuba came into the limelight after President Obama and the Pope showed interest, it seemed this was the correct moment to get the story out.”
Author: Bill Kirksey is a businessman who has worked for over 50 years in the insurance industry. He is a person with high energy and a love for life covering a multitude of personal interests, including music, camping, fishing, and hiking. Bill became a weekend rancher to balance his fast-paced office routine. A people person who makes acquaintances easily and holds dear friends closely, he now sees a future in writing and publishing in addition to his other interests.
Our Immigration Book of the Year (2017) has a good immigration story, rock 'n roll, an American President, and a worldwide rock star and his famous partner at the center. What else could you want in a book? The Immigration Book of the Year for 2017 is:
For the last few years, one of the hot issues in U.S. immigration law was the expanded deferred action programs proposed by President Obama to protect from removal millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. In light of that national controversy, the 1972 John Lennon deportation case takes on special relevance today.
New York immigration attorney Leon Wildes tells the incredible story of this landmark case – John Lennon vs. The U.S.A. -- that set up a battle of wills between John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and President Richard Nixon. Although Wildes did not even know who John Lennon and Yoko Ono were when he was originally retained by them, he developed a close relationship with them both during the eventual five-year period while he represented them and thereafter. The book offers the story of their battle with the U.S. government.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Donald Trump, among others, have made twitter a source of news, quotes, and controversy. Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has been getting attention for this tweet last week:
Sounds like the big sell-out is coming. Oh well. The voters did what we could. If Trump sells out, it's not our fault. https://twitter.com/kausmickey/status/804523899157291008 …
IMMIGRATION JUDGES AND U.S. ASYLUM POLICY, by Banks Miller, Linda Camp Keith, and Jennifer S. Holmes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
Although there are legal norms to secure the uniform treatment of asylum claims in the United States, anecdotal and empirical evidence suggest that strategic and economic interests also influence asylum outcomes. Previous research has demonstrated considerable variation in how immigration judges decide seemingly similar cases, which implies a host of legal concerns—not the least of which is whether judicial bias is more determinative of the decision to admit those fleeing persecution to the United States than is the merit of the claim. These disparities also raise important policy considerations about how to fix what many perceive to be a broken adjudication system.
With theoretical sophistication and empirical rigor, Immigration Judges and U.S. Asylum Policy investigates more than 500,000 asylum cases that were decided by U.S. immigration judges between 1990 and 2010. The authors find that judges treat certain facts about an asylum applicant more objectively than others: facts determined to be legally relevant tend to be treated similarly by judges of different political ideologies, while facts considered extralegal are treated subjectively. Furthermore, the authors examine how local economic and political conditions as well as congressional reforms have affected outcomes in asylum cases, concluding with a series of policy recommendations aimed at improving the quality of immigration law decision making rather than trying to reduce disparities between decision makers.
Here is a review of the book, which concludes that it is an important contribution to the literature.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
This book describes the experiences of undocumented migrants, all around the world, bringing to life the challenges they face from the moment they consider leaving their country of origin, until the time they are deported back to it. Drawing on a broad array of academic studies, including law, interpretation and translation studies, border studies, human rights, communication, critical discourse analysis and sociology, Robert Barsky argues that the arrays of actions that are taken against undocumented migrants are often arbitrary, and exercised by an array of officials who can and do exercise considerable discretion, both positive and negative.
Employing insights from a decade-long research project, Barsky also finds that every stop along the migrant’s pathway into, and inside of, the host country is strewn with language issues, relating to intercultural communication, interpretation, gossip, hearsay, and the challenges of peddling of linguistic wares in the social discourse marketplace. These language issues are almost always impediments to anodyne or productive interactions with host country officials, particularly on the "front-lines" where migrants encounter border patrol and law enforcement officers without adequate means of communicating their situation or understanding their rights. Since undocumented people are categorized as ‘illegal’, they can be subjected to abuse and exploitation by host country officials, who can choose to either tolerate or punish them on the basis of unpredictable, changeable, and even illusory or "arbitrary" laws and regulations.
Citing experts at every level of the undocumented immigrant apparatuses worldwide, from public defenders to interpreters, Barsky concludes that the only viable policy to address prevailing abuses and inequalities is to move towards open borders, an approach that would address prevailing issues and, surprisingly, provide security and economic benefits to both host and home countries.
Friday, December 2, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Chinese Immigrants in the United States: New Issues and Challenges by Xiaochu Hu, University of the District of Columbia; George Mason University - School of Public Policy, October 2, 2016 People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration. [4 Volumes]. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Greenwood (2016)
Abstract: This chapter aims at an overall portrait of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. using the most update data and information, identifying relevant literature and research sources, filling in the issues of China-born immigrants in the U.S. that the previous literature hasn’t mentioned, as well as pointing out relatively new phenomenon and discussing the emerging challenges.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
This National Center for Educational Statistics Statistics in Brief profiles the demographic and enrollment characteristics of New Americans (undergraduates who are immigrants or children of immigrants). Based on data from the 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12), the report examines how the proportions of immigrants (first generation) and children of immigrants (second generation) in postsecondary education have changed over time and compares the demographic characteristics, academic preparation, and postsecondary enrollment of these New Americans with other undergraduates (third generation or higher). The core analysis compares the demographic characteristics, academic preparation, and enrollment characteristics of New American students with a focus on Asian and Hispanic undergraduates. The report also examines immigrant students’ age at arrival in the United States and its association with their academic preparation and enrollment.
Framing for a New Transnational Legal Order: The Case of Human Trafficking by Paulette Lloyd (Government of the United States of America - Department of State) and Beth A. Simmons University of Pennsylvania Law School 2015 In TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL ORDERS, ed. Terence C. Halliday and Gregory Shaffer, Cambridge 2015
Abstract: How does transnational legal order emerge, develop and solidify? This chapter focuses on how and why actors come to define an issue as one requiring transnational legal intervention of a specific kind. Specifically, we focus on how and why states have increasingly constructed and acceded to international legal norms relating to human trafficking. Empirically, human trafficking has been on the international and transnational agenda for nearly a century. However, relatively recently – and fairly swiftly in the 2000s – governments have committed themselves to criminalize human trafficking in international as well as regional and domestic law. Our paper tries to explain this process of norm convergence. We hypothesize that swift convergence on norms against human trafficking and on a particular legal solution – criminalization – is the result of a specific set of conditions related to globalization and the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. We argue that a broad coalition of states had much to gain by choosing a prosecutorial model over one that makes human rights or victim protection its top priority. We explore the framing of human trafficking through computerized textual analysis of United Nations resolutions – the central forum for debates over the nature of human trafficking and what to do about it. We look for evidence of how the framing of human trafficking has shifted over time, and how the normative pressure as reflected in these documents has waxed and waned. We will argue that a binding legal instrument became possible because of the normative convergence solidified by linking human trafficking to transnational crime more generally.
Saturday, November 26, 2016