Friday, February 24, 2017
From the Bookshelves: Mestizos Come Home! Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity By: Robert Con Davis-Undiano
The Huffington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday withdrew an Obama-era Justice Department memo aimed at reducing and ultimately ending the Justice Department’s use of private prisons.
In a one-page memo to the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons, Sessions wrote that the August 2016 memo by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates “changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”
In originally deciding to move away from private prisons, Yates wrote that “Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”
The announcement followed the release of a report issued by the Justice Department’s Inspector General that found privately run prisons “incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
"Why is this significant? Honor killings, defined by anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod as `the killing of a woman by her relatives for violation of a sexual code in the name of restoring family honor,' are mistakenly thought to be a uniquely Muslim practice and specific to Muslim communities."
"Lawsuits over the executive order that barred entry from seven predominately Muslim nations dominated the news in recent weeks. To less fanfare, local governments in San Francisco, Santa Clara County, and Massachusetts filed lawsuits hoping to see President Trump in court concerning another executive order—one that seeks to coerce local participation in immigration enforcement by starving the sanctuary cities of federal funding. Anti-sanctuary agitators regularly claim that sanctuary jurisdictions defy federal law, and some (most recently Karl Rove) go so far as to suggest that cities and counties that seek to disentangle themselves from federal immigration enforcement are morally and legally equivalent to the slaveholding South."
Habeas corpus filings in federal courts challenging the confinement of noncitizens have risen sharply. The latest available data from the federal courts show that during January 2017 the government reported 168 new habeas corpus civil filings by noncitizens. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 24.4 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 135.
Angel Island win San Francisco Bay was once the home of many Chinese migrants seeking to enter the United States in the era of the infamous Chinese exclusion laws. In "The Lost Poetry of the Angel Island Detention Center" in The New Yorker, Beenish Ahmed writes of the poetry written by the Chinese detainees on the walls of their barracks-like prison: "What would-be immigrants couldn’t tell their interrogators they inscribed on the walls in the form of classical Chinese poetry—complete with parallel couplets, alternating rhymes, and tonal variations. "
Ahmed describes "[o]ne of the most enthralling poems [--] “Islanders” . . . set at a meeting of striking white workers in July, 1877. That gathering exploded into a bloody rampage across San Francisco’s Chinatown; over the course of a week, several rioters were shot and killed by police, and one Chinese person died in a washhouse that was set alight by the marauders.
They think of those people
who take away their jobs,
who speak a language
they cannot understand,
who live in tenements
and send their money home,
who eat dogs and rats
and spend their nights alone
in a haze of sweet smoke,
and they think of his words,
And no matter what happens,
the Chinese must go!
Immigration Article of the Day: Circles of Trust: A Proposal for Better Migrant Screening by Tom Ginsburg & Alberto Simpser
Circles of Trust: A Proposal for Better Migrant Screening by Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago Law School) & Alberto Simpser (ITAM-CIE), February 9, 2017
Screening potential entrants is a major challenge to any system of immigration, and has become particularly salient in the Trump era. At bottom, the problem is one of information asymmetry, in which migrants hold private information as to their abilities and intentions. We propose a new approach that leverages information that refugees, migrants and guest workers have about each other. Potential applicants to enter the US from disfavored classes would have to apply as a small group, called a trust circle. Once inside the country, all members would be subject to periodic, onerous bureaucratic requirements, but these would be waived over time for trust circles that remain in good standing. However, if anyone within a trust circle became involved in hostile or criminal activities, every member of the trust group would summarily lose their privileges. Knowing this, potential migrants will only associate with others they know to be trustworthy, and would have incentives to expose others in the group who adopt bad behaviors post-entry.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Raul A. Reyes on CNN paints a bleak picture of the Trump administration's recently unveiled removal policies. As Reyes puts it, "The most important thing to know about Trump's deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. " To elaborate:
"Trump's immigration policies offer a troubling view of what lies ahead for immigrant families and their allies. For Latinos, this may mean a greater threat of racial profiling and the risk of being mistakenly caught up in enforcement actions. For all Americans, it marks a dark, disturbing chapter in our history as a nation of immigrants."
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández and Christopher N. Lasch on the CrImmigration blog write that the virulent tone of immigration debate that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency has come to Colorado. A Republican state legislator has proposed to bar cities or local governmental units from limiting their cooperation with ICE. And then he goes where even President Trump hasn’t dared: criminalizing the very act of voting in favor of limiting cooperation with ICE. "The proposal, House Bill 17-1134, titled the “Colorado Politician Accountability Act,” is a constitutional train wreck. If our students submitted this for a course, we would be ashamed of our work as teachers and alarmed at the author’s disregard for basic principles of our constitutional democracy."
Fear and Silence in the Wake of the Feb. 20 DHS Memos by Yxta Maya Murray
President 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.
Over the past decade, the United States has experienced a stunning 65% decline in undocumented immigration. While politicians seem unaware of this change, firms that once relied on local undocumented workers as a low-wage labor force feel it acutely. Such companies have increasingly applied to sponsor temporary migrants from abroad (sometimes called “guest workers”) to fill empty jobs. In 2015, the number of migrant workers entering the United States on visas was nearly double that of undocumented arrivals — almost the inverse of just 10 years earlier. Yet notice of this dramatic shift, and examination of its implications for U.S. law and the regulation of employment in particular, has been absent from legal scholarship. This Article fills that gap, arguing that employers’ recruitment of would-be migrants from other countries, unlike their use of undocumented workers already in the United States, creates a transnational network of labor intermediaries — the “human supply chain” — whose operation undermines the rule of law in the workplace, benefiting U.S. companies by reducing labor costs while creating distributional harms for U.S. workers, and placing temporary migrant workers in situations of severe subordination. It identifies the human supply chain as a key structure of the global economy, a close analog to the more familiar product supply chains through which U.S. companies manufacture products abroad.
The Article highlights a stark governance deficit with regard to human supply chains, analyzing the causes and harmful effects of an effectively unregulated world market for human labor. Drawing on the author’s original research into innovative public, private, and hybrid approaches to the governance of human supply chains, the Article sets out and evaluates a range of potential interventions, ultimately proposing a new supply chain liability that realigns risk and responsibility for the harms that attend the global recruitment of low-wage workers.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Secretary of DHS Issues Two Memoranda Implementing President Trump's Immigration Enforcement Executive Orders
"Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly has just sent two memos to the White House for review that could fundamentally reshape U.S. immigration enforcement and exacerbate tensions with Mexico. The memos lay the groundwork for reducing procedural safeguards on removal of noncitizens through expanded use of 'expedited removal' procedures."
Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has decided a number of criminal-removal cases. Next week (February 27), the justices will hear oral argument in another one, Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, which stems from the government’s effort to remove a lawful permanent resident for a “sex crime.” Here is my argument preview. I conclude the preview as follows:
"In setting a series of records for numbers of removals during President Barack Obama’s first term, the government focused its removal effects on noncitizens convicted of crimes. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that, if implemented, would expand crime-based removals. This case illustrates some of the complexities associated with reliance on state criminal convictions in federal removals, which can lead to a lack of uniformity in the application of the U.S. immigration laws. The disparities between the states in areas of criminal law frequently relied on for removal, such as state marijuana laws, are growing, and are likely to pose interpretive challenges in the future for the federal courts in criminal-removal cases. It remains to be seen whether the justices will focus on these issues during the oral argument next week."
The Refugees by
With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
The Supreme Court hears arguments in Hernandez v. Mesa later this morning, which involves a Border Patrol officer shooting and killing of a Mexican teen on Mexican soil. The case raises complex issues concerning the ability of the parents to sue under these circumstances. Edith Roberts has collected commentary on the case on SCOTUSBlog.
UPDATE ( Feb. 21, 11:50 PST): Amy Howe for SCOTUSblog recaps the argument. She observes the Justices "seemed frustrated by the family’s inability to identify [a bright line] rule [for liability]. In the end, though, it’s not clear that the rule will matter, if the justices don’t agree that the Border Patrol agent can be sued in federal court at all." The most interesting aspect of the morning, however, was the following:
"Before the oral argument began, Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco presented the new U.S. attorney general, Jefferson B. Sessions, to the court. On behalf of the justices, Chief Justice John Roberts wished Sessions “well in the discharge of the duties of your new office.” Sessions acknowledged the good wishes, but did not stay for the oral argument."
Here is the transcript.
For some immigration attorneys, it was an extremely busy Presidents Day weekend. Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that the Trump administration is taking another immigration fight to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The latest battle is over the rights of detained immigrant children and teenagers to immigration court hearings to determine suitability for release on bond. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled in Flores v. Lynch -- a case that was originally settled decades ago -- on Inauguration Day that such "unaccompanied" minors are entitled to go before an immigration judge in accordance with the terms of the 20-year-old legal settlement.On Friday night before the three day weekend, the Justice Department filed an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit requesting a stay of Gee's order the appeal is pending.
Gee's "order unquestionably diverts the agencies’ time, resources, and personnel away from the reunification process provided in [a 2008 law] and away from the already-burdened operations of the immigration courts thus interfering with pressing immigration adjudication and enforcement priorities," Justice Department lawyers wrote in their request for an emergency stay.
Attorneys for the detained minors responded Monday with a filing calling the government's arguments "legally and factually specious."
The immigrants' lawyers say that in some instances teenagers have been held for more than a year without hearings, only to be released by an immigration judge soon after they turn 18. "It is virtually self-evident that needlessly detaining children is profoundly injurious," the minors' attorneys wrote. University of California at Davis law professor Holly Cooper is one of the lawyers for the immigrant children.
The Ninth Circuit decided an appeal in Flores v. Lynch in July 2016, largely affirming Judge Gee's central rulings in the case. The court described the case as follows:
"In 1997, the plaintiff class (“Flores”) and the government entered into a settlement agreement (the “Settlement”) which “sets out nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors in the custody of the INS.” Settlement ¶ 9. The Settlement creates a presumption in favor of releasing minors and requires placement of those not released in licensed, non-secure facilities that meet certain standards.
In 2014, in response to a surge of Central Americans attempting to enter the United States without documentation, the government opened family detention centers in Texas and New Mexico. The detention and release policies at these centers do not comply with the Settlement. The government, however, claims that the Settlement only applies to unaccompanied minors and is not violated when minors accompanied by parents or other adult family members are placed in these centers.
In 2015, Flores moved to enforce the Settlement, arguing that it applied to all minors in the custody of immigration authorities. The district court agreed, granted the motion to enforce, and rejected the government’s alternative motion to modify the Settlement. The court ordered the government to: (1) make “prompt and continuous efforts toward family reunification,” (2) release class members without unnecessary delay, (3) detain class members in appropriate facilities, (4) release an accompanying parent when releasing a child unless the parent is subject to mandatory detention or poses a safety risk or a significant flight risk, (5) monitor compliance with detention conditions, and (6) provide class counsel with monthly statistical information. The government appealed, challenging the district court’s holding that the Settlement applied to all minors in immigration custody, its order to release parents, and its denial of the motion to modify.
Although the issues underlying this appeal touch on matters of national importance, our task is straightforward— we must interpret the Settlement. Applying familiar principles of contract interpretation, we conclude that the Settlement unambiguously applies both to accompanied and unaccompanied minors, but does not create affirmative release rights for parents. We therefore affirm the district court in part, reverse in part, and remand."
It is hard to see how the U.S. government hopes to win the emergency stay motion. Is it a part of a political strategy to file and lose motions and appeals in the Ninth and then blame the "ultra-liberal" Ninth Circuit for trying to put the kibosh on the Trump's immigration plan?
The Immigration Court has steadily increased the number of cases it has completed. According to the latest court data updated through the end of January 2017 and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, case completions during the first four months of FY 2017 are above the comparable period from last year. If this pace continues, this will mark the third year in a row that has seen an increase, and will represent a 17 percent rise since FY 2014. Removal orders after seeing little increase in their numbers since FY 2014, are up so far this year.
Unfortunately, this growth in case completions has been insufficient to stem the growing backlog of cases still waiting for resolution before the Immigration Court. At the end of January 2017, the court's backlog had increased to a record 542,411. Even if no additional cases were filed, the backlog now represents over a two and a half year workload for the court's judges, based upon its current capacity to handle the matters before it.
For more details, including the top ten states with the largest number of removal orders issued so far this FY, see this month's snapshot report here. Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and New York at the top five states in terms of removals.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Countries affected by Trump travel suspension accounted for more than 900,000 U.S. entries since 2006
A Pew Research Center study shows that the seven nations affected by the January 27, 2017 executive order that prevents many of their citizens from entering the United States for 90 days accounted for 904,415 legal U.S. entries between fiscal years 2006 and 2015. This group includes visitors, students and diplomats as well as refugees and new lawful permanent residents.
Entries from the affected countries made up 0.2% of the more than 517 million total entries to the U.S. over the same period. (Entries include individuals visiting the U.S. as well as new lawful immigrants and refugees. They do not include unauthorized entries or asylum seekers. One person may account for multiple entries.)
The order, signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 27, specified that most citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could not enter the U.S. until security procedures used to evaluate visa applications have been reviewed. (Diplomats and those traveling with visas for government officials are exempt from the ban.) The president’s new order also temporarily halted the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days and indefinitely banned most Syrian refugees.
Prior to the executive order, citizens of the seven restricted countries were able to legally enter the U.S. in several ways. Official data are available on three categories of legal entrants: temporary immigrants, refugees and new lawful permanent residents.
In response to a court injunction barring the implementation of the executive order, President Trump reportedly will issue a new one, with more narrow travel restrictions on noncitizens from the same seven nations.
The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly in recent years. The migration pressures of this century can only be dealt with through comprehensive policies that give consideration to issues such as migration and development, forced migration and the challenges to migration. Successful international migration management also requires a highly cooperative approach across countries.
The International Centre for Parliamentary Studies is offering its professionally accredited specialist five-day training programme on how to best manage migration flows, the Professional Certificate in Strategic Migration Management which will take place in London from 15th - 19th May 2017 in London, UK.
Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for enquiries or registrations on either of these programmes on +44 20 3137 8648, or at email@example.com.