Saturday, March 25, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: Stateless in the United States: The United Nations' Efforts to End Statelessness and American Gender Discrimination in Lynch v. Morales-Santana by Rick Zou


Stateless in the United States: The United Nations' Efforts to End Statelessness and American Gender Discrimination in Lynch v. Morales-Santana by Rick Zou, Southern California Law Review, 2016


In 2014, the United Nations initiated a plan to end statelessness, the widely deplored condition in which a person does not have a nationality or the rights conferred by citizenship, which aims to fill gaps in national laws that contribute to statelessness. One such gap exists in the United States' Immigration and Nationality Act—specifically, a gender-based physical-presence requirement that prescribes how American parents can confer citizenship to their children. The Second Circuit, reviewing the physical-presence requirement, held it unconstitutional in Morales-Santana v. Lynch, despite a conflicting ruling from the Ninth Circuit, because the requirement violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Having granted certiorari to Morales-Santana, the Supreme Court must take this important opportunity to affirm the Second Circuit to ensure that no American citizen is made stateless by a wrongful interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This Note explores relevant domestic and international laws and conventions and explains why affirming the Second Circuit in Morales-Santana is consistent with both the United Nations' efforts to end statelessness and the U.S. Constitution.


March 25, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Ineffective Assistance of Counel Case Involving Immigrant


On March 28, the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in an ineffective assistance of counsel case (Lee v. United States) in which a noncitizen faces mandatory removal based on a drug plea bargain


As Manny Vargas on the Huffington Post describes the case,

"Mr. Lee repeatedly asked his lawyer about the risk of deportation if he agreed to plead guilty [to a drug charge.] Again and again, the lawyer reassured Mr. Lee that he would not be deported given, as the lawyer put it, Mr. Lee’s `30 plus years of living in the U.S. and strong ties, in combination with a lack of prior criminal history and the small amount of drugs involved.' So, based on his lawyer’s advice, Mr. Lee agreed to plead.

Unfortunately, the lawyer’s advice was dead wrong. Under immigration laws enacted in 1996, long before Mr. Lee’s 2009 plea, a conviction of such a distribution offense makes a lawfully admitted permanent resident immigrant like him not only deportable, but mandates deportation regardless of extenuating circumstances or any other factors, including long residence, family, or other ties to the U.S., or even contributions to the country such as military service or employment of U.S. workers. Thus, if Mr. Lee pled to this offense, an immigration judge in later removal proceedings would almost certainly have no choice but to order him deported."

The lower courts incredulously ruled that Lee could not establish that he was prejudiced by the ineffective assistance of counsel because the evidence of his guilt was so overwhelming that he would have been convicted and deported anyway. 


March 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: States, the Law and Access to Refugee Protection Fortresses and Fairness, Editors: Maria O'Sullivan and Dallal Stevens


States, the Law and Access to Refugee Protection Fortresses and Fairness, Editors: Maria O'Sullivan and Dallal Stevens

This timely volume seeks to examine two of the most pertinent current challenges faced by asylum seekers in gaining access to international refugee protection: first, the obstacles to physical access to territory and, second, the barriers to accessing a quality asylum procedure – which the editors have termed 'access to justice'.To address these aims, the book brings together leading commentators from a range of backgrounds, including law, sociology and political science. It also includes contributions from NGO practitioners. This allows the collection to offer interdisciplinary analysis and to incorporate both theoretical and practical perspectives on questions of immense contemporary significance. While the examination offers a strong focus on European legal and policy developments, the book also addresses the issues in different regions (Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia). Given the currency of the questions under debate, this book will be essential reading for all scholars in the field of asylum law.


March 24, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death of Teen in Custody Leads to Million-Dollar Settlement

Cruz Velazquez Acevedo was 16 when he sought to enter the U.S. from Mexico carrying two containers of liquid. When he told the CBP officers that the liquid was apple juice, they asked him to drink the liquid to prove his claim.

It wasn't apple juice. It was liquid methamphetamine. And when the teen drank a few sips, he started having convulsions and shouting "my heart, my heart" and "the chemicals!". He died within hours.

The family of Cruz Velazquez Acevedo sued, alleging that their child was "coerced and intimidated" into drinking something that the officers knew or strongly suspected to be dangerous.

The BBC reports that the suit settled for 1 million dollars.


March 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Baltimore Law: Clinical Fellow Opportunities



The University of Baltimore School of Law invites applications for a Fellowship in its Civil Advocacy Clinic to start on or about July 1, 2017. This public interest fellowship program offers practicing attorneys exposure to law school clinical teaching.

The Civil Advocacy Clinic represents low-income individuals and organizations in poverty law litigation, legislative advocacy, and legal reform.  The Clinic handles a wide variety of cases, which include housing, public benefits, consumer, and employment law.  The Civil Advocacy Clinic Fellow's duties include direct supervision of case work by clinic students and clinic classroom teaching in coordination with clinic faculty. Fellows also pursue professional goals in conjunction with his/her clinic director, including opportunities for scholarship. Fellows are responsible for case coverage during school vacations. This position is a contractual appointment for up to two years and can be extended for a third year under certain circumstances.

Qualifications: excellent oral and written communication skills; at least two years of experience as a practicing lawyer primarily in litigation; a strong academic record and/or other indicia of high performance ability; commitment to work for low income clients and a strong interest in teaching. Fellows must be members of the Maryland Bar (currently licensed in Maryland or willing to take the next Maryland Bar exam) in order to supervise law practice by students.

Salary: The current salary is $55,000.  The position includes full benefits, including retirement annuities, research support, and travel allowance.


The University of Baltimore School of Law invites applications for a Fellowship in its Immigrant Rights Clinic to start on or about July 1, 2017. This public interest fellowship program offers practicing attorneys exposure to law school clinical teaching, and is aimed at attorneys who wish to shift from law practice into clinical teaching.

The Immigrant Rights Clinic represents low-income immigrants in a range of direct client representation and immigrant rights policy work. Individual client work includes litigation of asylum and cancellation cases in Baltimore’s immigration court, and preparation of a broad range of applications before USCIS. The policy work has included such projects as state-level legislative amendments that would benefit immigrants in Maryland, building a brief bank for a coalition of clinics, and developing community education materials requested by a community partner. Fellows also have the opportunity to pursue other professional goals, including scholarship, during the Fellowship.  Fellows are responsible for case coverage during school vacations.  This position is a contractual appointment for up to two years and can be extended for a third year under certain circumstances. 

Qualifications: Excellent oral and written communication skills; at least two years of experience as a practicing lawyer primarily in immigration, including both defensive and affirmative work; a strong academic record and/or other indicia of high performance ability; commitment to work for low income and immigrant clients; and a strong interest in teaching. Fellows must be members of the Maryland Bar (currently licensed in Maryland or willing to take the next Maryland Bar exam) in order to supervise law practice by students. 

Salary: The current salary is $55,000.  The position includes full benefits, including retirement annuities, research support, and travel allowance.  


Position is open until filled, and applications submitted by April 20, 2017 will receive priority consideration. For more details about the Fellows’ Program, please view our website

We appreciate your interest in our recruitment. Please review the information at the bottom of the Job Posting here before you visit here to apply.

 We need to receive your electronic application in our system by the vacancy closing date in order to consider you for the vacancy. If you have any questions about the CAC position, please email Prof. Michele Gilman at  If you have questions about the IRC position, please email Prof. Elizabeth Keyes at



March 24, 2017 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remembering Oscar Romero (1917-1980)


From the University of California Press blog:

Remembering Oscar Romero

by Matt Eisenbrandt, author of Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice

Thirty-seven years ago today, a gunman fired a single bullet that took Archbishop Óscar Romero’s life as he said mass inside a small chapel. We just observed the fortieth anniversary of another notorious crime from that era, the murder of Romero’s friend, Rutilio Grande. The 1977 ambush of Father Grande began a string of death-squad attacks on priests and other religious figures in El Salvador, a bloody campaign that lasted more than a decade. The diabolical logic of the killers was summarized in the slogan, “Be a patriot, kill a priest.”

Despite years of slander in some sectors, legacies of Romero and Grande are now being honored. Pope Francis is likely to name Romero a saint of the Catholic Church by the end of the 2017. Religious leaders in El Salvador recently sent the Vatican evidence of a miracle they believe is attributable to Romero’s intercession, the last requirement on the road to sainthood. Rutilio Grande is now being considered for beatification as a martyr, the same hurdle that Romero’s cause cleared in 2015.

My new book, Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice, examines the people who executed Romero and how they did so. Equally important, however, the book explains why the conspirators felt the almost incomprehensible need to target priests, nuns, and lay people who were merely practicing their faith. The answer to that question is found in part in Romero’s own homilies. Despite the danger, Romero regularly criticized the repressive power structure in El Salvador, including the small group of wealthy landowners and businesspeople whose interests were protected by a succession of military governments. Romero referred to them as people “who pile up spoils and plunder in their palaces, who crush the poor, who bring on a reign of violence while reclining on beds of ivory.” Organizations that represented their interests responded by defaming Romero and others, branding them as Communists and traitors. One tabloid, in a 1970s version of fake news, carried the headline “Monseñor Romero Directs Terrorist Group,” with the subtitle, “Archbishop Great Ally of Agents of Subversion.”

The day before his death, Romero delivered his most forceful sermon, calling on Salvadoran soldiers to disobey the orders of their tyrannical commanders. He instead implored them, in the name of God, to “stop the repression.” Father Bill Wipfler, an Episcopalian priest who attended the mass that day in San Salvador and later testified about it in our trial against one of Romero’s killers, turned to a colleague after hearing Romero’s plea and said, “I don’t think that the military is going to let this one pass by.” A day later, Romero was dead.

Despite the devastating impact of Romero’s murder in 1980, today his memory is a source of hope and inspiration to millions in El Salvador and around the world. His canonization will be a historic moment for the country and a validation of his courageous and unflinching message.


March 24, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

After an Immigration Raid, a City’s Students Vanish


The climate of fear created by President Trump's immigration enforcement drumbeat has had deep impacts on immigrant communities across the United States.  Immigrant parents worry what might happen to their children if they are deported.

Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker writes about how students disappeared from the Las Cruces, New Mexico schools after an immigration raid.  On February 15th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conducted a raid in Las Cruces, arresting people at a trailer park on the outskirts of town. The raid came a few weeks after President Trump signed two executive orders, signalling his plans to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Rumors spread that there were further raids planned, though none took place. On February 16th, a Thursday, Las Cruces’s public schools saw a sixty-per-cent spike in absences compared to the previous week—twenty-one hundred of the district’s twenty-five thousand students missed school. Two thousand students stayed away again the next day. Attendance returned to normal the following week, which made the two-day rash of absences all the more pronounced. “It was alarming,” Greg Ewing, the district’s superintendent, told me. News of the raid caused such fear in the community that Ewing wrote a letter to parents on the 16th, in English and Spanish, reassuring them that “we do not anticipate any ICE activity occurring on school campuses.” 

Parents fear dropping their children off at the Las Cruces schools and elementary school absences have spiked.


Walter White, New Mexico high school chemistry teacher in the television show Breaking Bad


March 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Is the Chinese Exclusion Case Still Good Law? (The President Is Trying to Find Out) by Michael Kagan


Is the Chinese Exclusion Case Still Good Law? (The President Is Trying to Find Out) by Michael Kagan, Nevada Law Journal, ForthcomingUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law, March 12, 2017


Though barely mentioned in the early court filings, the lurking issue in the constitutional challenges to Pres. Trump’s immigration bans – what opponents call the “Muslim ban” – is whether the 1889 Chinese Exclusion Case can still guide immigration law in the 21st Century.


March 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Surging violence against transgender and gender nonconforming communities worldwide continue to force a record number of individuals to seek protection at U.S. borders and points of entry.  Many of these people qualify for asylum based on past persecution, but encounter difficulties navigating the complex U.S. immigration system.  The Benach Collopy Fellowship offers the opportunity for an outstanding law student to work side by side with transgender asylum seekers to vindicate their rights and access the legal process in a way that is supportive and affirming.

The Fellowship offers a $5,000 stipend for a 10-week full-time summer internship in Washington, DC during the summer of 2017.  

 Under the supervision of expert asylum attorneys at the respected law firm of Benach Collopy and the Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services Program, the Fellow will represent transgender asylum seekers fleeing persecution based on gender identity.  The fellow will work closely with clients at Benach Collopy LLP and Whitman-Walker Health, both located in Northwest DC.  Whitman-Walker Health is a medical-legal partnership dedicated to providing appropriate trans-affirming services.  

The Fellow will work directly with clients, carrying active caseloads for filing to USCIS and the Immigration Court under the supervision of experienced attorneys.   


  • Current enrollment in an ABA-accredited law school
  • Availability for full-time, ten week term during the summer of 2017
  • Previous experience working with LGBTI or HIV communities, immigrants, and/or survivors of trauma
  • Spanish oral and written fluency
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting
  • Demonstrated commitment to legal services and/or public interest law
  • Experience working with an ethnically, culturally and racially diverse work staff preferred; ability to work harmoniously with diverse groups of individuals
  • Excellent legal research skills, with the ability to grasp complex facts and legal issues
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment
  • Ability to work quickly, independently, and responsibly, with close attention to detail and strong organizational skills
  • Ability to conduct sensitive, empathetic interviews that respect the dignity and diversity of clients
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to work comfortably with clients, volunteers and staff of diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to maintain client records and information in an accurate, timely and confidential manner
  • Willingness and ability to work effectively with computerized intake, record-keeping and case management system\


How to Apply

Submit all applications via email only to Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services Program Attn: Cori Alonso-Yoder,, with the subject line “Benach Collopy Fellowship Application.” Applications must include a cover letter, resume, and list of three professional references.  Please describe your interest in the issues addressed by the Fellowship and specify your desired start and end dates.

Deadlines: Applications must be received by April 30, 2017, but applicants are encouraged to apply early for full consideration.  Position will remain open until filled.

Transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming individuals are encouraged to apply.



March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance by Karina Oliva Alvarado

Us central americans

U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance by Karina Oliva Alvarado editor, University of Arizona Press 2017

In summer 2014, a surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America to the United States gained mainstream visibility—yet migration from Central America has been happening for decades. U.S. Central Americans explores the shared yet distinctive experiences, histories, and cultures of 1.5-and second-generation Central Americans in the United States.

While much has been written about U.S. and Central American military, economic, and political relations, this is the first book to articulate the rich and dynamic cultures, stories, and historical memories of Central American communities in the United States. Contributors to this anthology—often writing from their own experiences as members of this community—articulate U.S. Central Americans’ unique identities as they also explore the contradictions found within this multivocal group.

Working from within Guatemalan, Salvadoran, and Maya communities, contributors to this critical study engage histories and transnational memories of Central Americans in public and intimate spaces through ethnographic, in-depth, semistructured, qualitative interviews, as well as literary and cultural analysis. The volume’s generational, spatial, urban, indigenous, women’s, migrant, and public and cultural memory foci contribute to the development of U.S. Central American thought, theory, and methods. Woven throughout the analysis, migrants’ own oral histories offer witness to the struggles of displacement, travel, navigation, and settlement of new terrain. This timely work addresses demographic changes both at universities and in cities throughout the United States.

U.S. Central Americans draws connections to fields of study such as history, political science, anthropology, ethnic studies, sociology, cultural studies, and literature, as well as diaspora and border studies. The volume is also accessible in size, scope, and language to educators and community and service workers wanting to know about their U.S. Central American families, neighbors, friends, students, employees, and clients.


Leisy Abrego
Karina O. Alvarado
Maritza E. Cárdenas
Alicia Ivonne Estrada
Ester E. Hernández
Floridalma Boj Lopez
Steven Osuna
Yajaira Padilla
Ana Patricia Rodríguez


March 23, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Public Relations Strategy to Paint Immigrants and Immigration as Negatives Embedded Deep Within Trump Executive Orders

In this piece from the Migration Information Source, Muzaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce, and Jessica Bolter look at the public relations consequences of President Trump's immigration executive orders.  Even as the executive orders on immigration signed by President Trump during his first weeks in office have received extensive scrutiny, far less attention has been devoted to the public relations machinery set into motion by these orders. They mandate sweeping data collection and reporting on immigrants and refugees in ways that seek to underscore societal and economic costs with no countervailing attention to positive effects from immigration.



March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russian Signer Barred from International Singing Competition over Illegal Entry


The Eurovision Song Contest is a big deal. It's the longest-running TV singing competition there is. It predates American Idol and the Voice by decades. Participating countries submit a singer with an original song. The singers perform on live TV. The songs are aired on the radio. And the world votes for the best.

This year, Russia nominated Julia Samoilova to sing for them. Julia, who has been confined to a wheelchair since childhood, was the runner-up on season three of Russia's version of the X factor.

But she won't be allowed to compete.

The contest is being held in the Ukraine. And Ukraine has barred her entry.


Because in 2015, Julia performed in Crimea. And she entered the Crimea (then annexed by Russia) without authorization by Ukrainian officials. That was, Ukraine notes, and illegal entry.

Russia, of course, is outraged. But some believe Russia staged this dispute, knowing full well of Julia's prior work in Crimea.

This is some high-intensity immigration drama.


March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Immigration Policies Designed to Terrorize Immigrants


In a piece on The Conversation, Professor Tanya Golash-Boza hits the nail on the head.  She contends that immigration raids are not intended to deport large numbers of people. Instead, her research shows that they are primarily effective in spreading fear among immigrants.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, Golash-Boza interviewed 147 people who had been deported. The current wave of raids under the Trump administration hearken back to that time. Meeting some of the people affected by home raids then can help us understand how people are being targeted today.


March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New DHS Declined Detainer Outcome Report


Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security issued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report required by President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, signed on January 25. This report will be issued weekly to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans. ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges or who are in local custody and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody.

The Declined Detainer Outcome Report is a weekly report that shows those jurisdictions with the highest volume of declined detainers, and includes a list of sample crimes associated with those released individuals. This report is mandated by the president’s executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.

This report comprises four sections:

  • Section I: Highest Volume of Detainers Issued to Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions between January 28, 2017,
    and February 3, 2017
  • Section II: Jurisdictions with Recorded Declined Detainers Broken Down by Individuals Released between January 28, 2017, and February 3, 2017
  • Section III: Table of Jurisdictions that have Enacted Policies which Limit Cooperation with ICE
  • Section IV: Report Scope and Data Fidelity

According to the report, the top 10 non-cooperating counties for declined detainers are Clark County, Nevada; Nassau County, New York; Cook County, Illinois; Montgomery County, Iowa; Snohomish County, Washington; Franklin County, New York; Washington County, Oregon; Alachua County, Florida; Franklin County, Iowa; and Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

CNN reports on the new detainer report.


March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Demographic Changes in Mexico, Latin America Will Slow Immigration of Young Workers to Zero by 2050, Border Wall Unnecessary, According to New Brookings Research


Gordon Hanson

Immigration to the U.S. of young, low-skilled workers will continue to slow until it reverses in 2050, thanks to weak labor-supply growth in Mexico and other Latin American countries—even without changes to U.S. immigration and border policy, according to a new paper presented today at the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity (BPEA). Instead, a more pressing issue is dealing with the aging population of long-term, undocumented residents who are already here, given that many will lack health insurance and could end up in emergency rooms.

In “Along the Watchtower: The Rise and Fall of U.S. Low-Skilled Immigration,” Gordon Hanson, Chen Liu, and Craig McIntosh of the University of California San Diego find that labor market supply—as opposed to other macroeconomic factors—plays a dominant role in influencing migration patterns from Latin America to the U.S., and that a reversal of labor market supply trends will push the U.S. into an era of far more modest low-skilled, undocumented immigration. At the same time, the population of Latin American-born residents over age 40 in the U.S. will grow by 82 percent over the next 15 years.

From the early 1980s to the mid-2000s, the U.S. experienced a huge wave of low-skilled immigration, due in part to several macroeconomic factors—such as high U.S. incomes, relatively stable U.S. GDP growth, and slow U.S. labor-supply growth—that made immigration attractive to young, low-skilled workers from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, the authors note.

However, around the time of the Great Recession, the undocumented population declined by an annual average of 160,000 individuals between 2007-2014. By 2015, 75 percent of low-skilled immigrants had resided in the U.S. for 11 or more years, while the share of the population aged 18 to 33 had dropped to 27 percent. The authors believe that the Great Recession may have simply advanced forward in time a lessening of low-skilled immigration thanks to changing demographic factors. Whereas the U.S. baby boom came to a halt in the early 1960s, Latin America’s baby boom didn’t abate until two decades later. Though the supply of working-age Americans began to slow markedly in the early 1980s, they kept growing in Latin America until the 2000s, creating an incentive for migration that is now disappearing along with the later Latin baby boom. Looking forward, demographic pressures for U.S. immigration are set to weaken significantly; indeed, an easing of pressures is already occurring, the authors find.

In addition to demographic changes reducing incentives for migration, the authors note that there has already been a massive increase in U.S. immigration enforcement. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents policing the U.S.-Mexico border doubled, from 8,600 officers to 17,500 officers, and has since remained at historically high levels. Deportations of non-criminal aliens rose from 116,000 individuals in 2001 to an average of 226,000 individuals per year over 2007-2015.

With demographics, current immigration policy, and other macroeconomic factors working together to slow drastically the growth of unskilled undocumented immigration, the authors argue that policymakers should instead focus on troubling evidence of an aging immigrant population already living in the U.S.

The authors write: “The current U.S. debate about immigration policy has a backward-looking feel to it. The challenge isn’t how to stop large-scale labor inflows, which has largely been achieved, but how to manage a large, settled population of undocumented immigrants. Massive investments in building border barriers or expanding the U.S. Border Patrol are not going to address this challenge.”


March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Rights of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, and the Future of Constitutional Family Law by Kerry Abrams


The Rights of Marriage: Obergefell, Din, and the Future of Constitutional Family Law by Kerry Abrams , University of Virginia School of Law, March 7, 2017


In the summer of 2015 the United States Supreme Court handed down two groundbreaking constitutional family law decisions. One decision became famous overnight: Obergefell v. Hodges declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. The other, Kerry v. Din, went largely overlooked. That later case concerned not the right to marry but the rights of marriage. In particular, it asked whether a person has a constitutional liberty interest in living with his or her spouse. This case is suddenly of paramount importance: executive orders targeting particular groups of immigrants implicate directly this right to family reunification.

This Article argues that neither Obergefell nor Din can be understood fully without the other. The constitutional issues in the cases — the right to marry and the rights of marriage — stem from the same text and doctrines, implicate the same relationships, and reflect cultural understandings of the meaning of marriage and family. Read together, the two cases suggest that the rights of unmarried couples and LGBTQ people will be expanded by Obergefell and that the right to family reunification is a necessary “right of marriage” under the Constitution.


March 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Germany Set To Deport German-Born Terror Suspects

"Germany says it will deport two men born in the country but whose parents are foreign - the first such case in German history," begins the BBC coverage.

The two men - one Algerian and one Nigerian -- were arrested on suspicion of terrorism after police found a gun and an ISIS flag in their homes. While they were not charged with any crime, the police described the men as "dangerous."

Germany agrees. It plans to deport them within the next month and subject them to a life-time ban on reentry.

What's fascinating is that both men were born in Germany. And birth on German soil can lead to German citizenship. Unlike in the US - birth on German soil doesn't automatically confer citizenship; it matters whether a parent has a residence permit and made Germany their "habitual abode" for eight years. 

This is new territory for Germany. And it has the potential to have far-ranging implications.


March 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Following the Lead of the Chief Justice of California, Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts


Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts

The Washington Supreme Court is following the lead of the Chief Justice of California, who issued a similar statement last week.  Here is the press statement: 

In response to a recent uptick in immigration enforcement activities around Washington courthouses, Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst today sent a letter to Secretary John Kelly of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressing concerns and possible solutions. Full text of the letter can be found by clicking here.

Citing reports from lawyers and judges about this increased presence, Fairhurst said, “These developments are deeply troubling because they impede the fundamental mission of our courts, which is to ensure due process and access to justice for everyone, regardless of immigration status.

Highlighting that the fear of apprehension, even for those with lawful immigration status, may deter individuals from accessing courthouses, Fairhurst said, “Our ability to function relies on individuals who voluntarily appear to participate and cooperate in the process of justice.”

“When people are afraid to appear for court hearings, out of fear of apprehension, their ability to access justice is compromised,” she said, adding, “their absence curtails the capacity of our judges, clerks and court personnel to function effectively...and risk making our communities less safe.” Lawyers report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities are occurring at courthouses in Clark, Clallam, Cowlitz, King, Skagit and Mason counties.

In addition to welcoming a meeting to discuss the issue further, Fairhurst encourages the Department to designate courthouses as “sensitive locations” – a term used by the Department of Homeland Security in Policy 10029.2 to guide and limit such activities in locations such as schools and universities, places of worship, community centers and hospitals.

While a “sensitive location” designation does not preclude enforcement actions on these sites, the policy states that these venues will generally be avoided to enhance the public understanding and trust to ensure people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services are free to do so without fear or hesitation.

Designating courts as sensitive locations will, “assist us in maintaining the trust that is required for the court to be a safe and neutral public forum. It will assure our residents that they can and should appear for court hearings without fear of apprehension for civil immigration violations,” wrote Fairhurst.

March 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latinos are reporting fewer sexual assaults amid a climate of fear in immigrant communities, LAPD says


The Trump administration has made it a priority to enlist the assistance of  state and local law enforcement in federal immigration enforcement.  Concerns have been expressed that immigrant communities would be less likely to report crimes if the local police were believed to be part of the federal  immigrant removal machinery.  To facilitate trust by immigrants in local police, some cities have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

New reports from Los Angeles suggest that the fears may be real.  Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said yesterday that reports of sexual assault and domestic violence made by the city’s Latino residents have plummeted this year amid concerns that immigrants unlawfully in the country could risk deportation by interacting with police or testifying in court.  It does not appear that crime rates are down, however.

Beck said reports of sexual assault have dropped 25% among the city’s Latino population since the beginning of 2017 compared with the same period last year, adding that reports of domestic violence have fallen by 10%. Similar decreases were not seen in reports of those crimes by other ethnic groups.

“Imagine, a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother … not reporting a sexual assault, because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” Beck said.

Beck’s comments — which drew criticism from immigration enforcement advocates — came during an event in East Los Angeles in which Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive expanding the LAPD’s policy of not stopping people solely to question them about their immigration status to three other city agencies: the Fire Department, Airport Police and Port Police. The LAPD stopped initiating contacts with people in order to determine their immigration status in 1979. In 2014, the city ceased honoring requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold people in custody for possible deportation.


March 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conference to Mark Centennial of Bisbee Deportation


Striking miners and others being deported from Bisbee on the morning of July 12, 1917. The men are boarding the cattle cars provided by the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.            

The Ninth Circuit Public Information Office has posted a call for conference proposals:

Historians and legal scholars are being invited to submit proposals for papers examining the circumstances of the Bisbee Deportation, an infamous chapter in Arizona history. Selected papers will be presented this fall during a conference at the James E. Rogers School of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

This year marks the centennial of the Bisbee Deportation, which occurred on June 12, 1917. The incident involved the forcible removal of more than 1,000 Arizona mine workers. Rounded up by a citizens’ posse, the miners were marched to waiting railroad cattle cars and transported to the New Mexico desert, where they were left stranded.

The event occurred at the intersection of unique historical factors: the presence of U.S. Army troops along the Arizona-Mexico border in reaction to cross-border raids by the Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa; the tightly-contested (and later overturned) Arizona election of 1916; the run-up to America’s entry into World War I and the need for copper for the war effort; and the presence of the militant International Workers of the World (IWW) and concern over German influence in Mexico exacerbated by a notorious communication between their foreign ministers.

The deportation was unsanctioned by any court order or warrant and all civil and criminal efforts to hold those responsible failed. Players in the surrounding saga included one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, who became one of the most decorated heroes of WWI; a legendary Arizona lawman; the CEO of the largest mining company in North America; an Arizona governor instrumental in the drafting of the Arizona Constitution; and a future Supreme Court Justice dispatched by President Wilson to investigate the events.

Date & Location  of Conference:  Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, Arizona

Sponsors: The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society (NJCHS); The University of Arizona’s College of Law and its Department of History

Call for Papers:  Historians, legal scholars and others are invited to submit proposals for papers addressing the events surrounding the deportation, with a view toward presentations at the Conference and possible inclusion in Western Legal History, a publication of the NJCHS.

Submission Details:  Written proposals, in Word or PDF format and not to exceed 500 words in length, must be submitted by June 1, 2017, and addressed to: Robyn Lipsky, NJCHS Executive Director at:

Notification: Authors of accepted proposals will be notified before July 12, 2017, and invited to attend and participate in Conference discussion panels. Papers should be completed by October 14, 2017, for distribution to other panelists.

Hat tip to Carter White!



March 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)