Monday, March 30, 2015

Where Unauthorized Immigrants Can Get Driver’s Licenses and In State Fees at Public Universities

Present and Future of Civil Rights Movements Conference


The Center on Law, Race and Politics at the Duke University School of Law will hold its Present and Future of Civil Rights Movements Conference on November 20-21, 2015. This symposium will examine the future of American civil rights through the interdisciplinary lens of critical race studies, bringing together scholars and practitioners from the legal and social science communities to engage with each other and create conversations towards a more equitable future.  We encourage paper and panel proposals on a wide range of topics including, but not exclusively encompassing, the following:

Present and Future of Civil Rights Movements in relation to

    • Race and criminal justice
    • Minority communities, wealth, and access to credit
    • Race and healthcare
    • Affirmative action
    • Undocumented students and immigration reform
    • School disciplinary policies and the school-to-prison pipeline
    • Reproductive rights
    • Passing and assimilation      
    • Discourses about post-racialism      
    • Multiracial identity
    • Race and the Workplace      
    • Race and the Family      
    • International conceptions of equality law

 Each proposal must include a cover page with paper title, presenter, affiliation, and a current email contact, along with a C.V. of each presenter and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Please submit materials via email to with the subject line: CRS Symposium Proposal.

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2015. Scholars whose submissions are selected for the symposium will be notified no later than July 15, 2015. We encourage early submissions, as selections will be made on a rolling basis.

Please visit the Center website for more information.


March 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chinese Mexican Food in the US/Mexico Border Region


Photo of Chinese Restaurant in Mexicali courtesy of Wikipedia

Guess what very popular kind of food is available in Mexico along the border with the United States?  Chinese food Check out this KQED radio report.

If one asks people in Mexicali, Mexico, just across the border from Calexico in the Imperial Valley of California, about their most notable regional cuisine, they won’t say street tacos or mole. They’ll say Chinese food. There are as many as 200 Chinese restaurants in the city. North of the border, in Imperial County, the population is mostly Latino, but Chinese restaurants are packed. There are dishes in this region you won’t find anywhere else, and a history behind them that goes back more than 130 years.

There’s a specific legal reason for all of this, according to Professor Robert Chao Romero, author of The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940 (2010) “The restaurants you see now are remnants of the Chinese population that used to fill the U.S./Mexico borderlands in Mexicali and in Baja California,” he says. Romero teaches in both the Chicano Studies and Asian American Studies departments at UCLA.   “The Chinese started to go to Mexico after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in the United States,” he says.  Many Chinese immigrants later came to the United States.


March 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dairy Farmers Suffer Due to Congressional Failure to Pass Immigration Reform


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tina Susman reports in the Los Angeles Times on the complaints of dairy farmers about how the the current immigration laws makes it hard to get workers.

Mike McMahon's Latino employees need to go to the bank, the pharmacy or the grocery store, he makes sure someone drives them to town, waits while they run errands, and then brings them safely back to his dairy farm.  The risk of deportation of dairy workers is a risk that dairy farmers in this agricultural region have faced for years, but it is hitting them harder as immigration reform languishes in Washington and the nation's demand for milk-heavy products like Greek yogurt soars.

"It's just crazy," said McMahon, who has several hundred cows at his farm more than 200 miles north of New York City. "I'm a lifelong Republican," he said, shaking his head. "But I'm telling you, there are days when I think about switching."

Most people think of border and immigration issues as happening in the Southwest, but it's a real across the entire country.  Locals won't do the dirty, manual jobs, farmers say, and immigration laws limit farmers to importing only seasonal agricultural employees. That does not help dairy farmers, who need year-round workers. "The nation's food system is at risk if we can't get this fixed," McMahon said.

Last month, Dean Norton, a dairy farmer who is president of the New York Farm Bureau, traveled to Washington to argue for reform, including a guest-worker program catering to dairy farmers.


March 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Remote Adjudication in Immigration by Ingrid V. Eagly


Remote Adjudication in Immigration by Ingrid V. Eagly, UCLA School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies March 19, 2015 Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 109, No. 4, 2015, Forthcoming UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 15-09

Abstract: Increased reliance on televideo technology is a central challenge to the legitimacy of modern courts. Supporters view televised adjudication as an essential tool that has no negative effect on judicial decisionmaking, whereas critics urge that it unfairly biases judges against litigants who must pursue claims over a television screen. What has gone unnoticed in this judge-focused discourse is the potential for remote adjudication to discourage litigant participation in the adversarial process. This Article is the first large-scale, empirical analysis of the consequences of televideo on judges, lawyers, and litigants in immigration cases. Based on a natural experiment with televideo adjudication in the federal immigration courts, it reveals an outcome paradox: detained televideo litigants are more likely than detained in-person litigants to be deported, but not because judges unfairly disadvantage televideo cases at trial. Instead, these inferior results occur because detained litigants assigned to televideo courts exhibit depressed engagement with the adversarial process — they are less likely to retain counsel, to apply to remain lawfully in the United States, or to seek an immigration benefit known as voluntary departure.

Drawing on interviews of stakeholders and court observations from the highest-volume detained immigration courts in the country, this Article advances several explanations for why televideo litigants are less likely than other litigants to take advantage of procedures that could help them. These include: (1) litigants’ perception that televideo is unfair and illegitimate; (2) technical challenges in litigating claims over a television screen; and (3) the literal barrier that remote adjudication places between the immigrant respondent and other courtroom actors. These findings invite reexamination of the conventional judge-focused theories about remote adjudication and begin an important conversation about technology’s threat to meaningful litigant participation in the adversarial process.


March 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Immigration Geography"

The NYT today covers states taking different approaches to immigration. "This is immigration geography: Some states are reluctant to accept undocumented immigrants, while others are moving to incorporate them," writes Julia Preston.

The accompanying info-graphics are not to miss.


For a nuanced read on state approaches to immigration, check out immprof Stella Burch Elias' terrific work The New Immigration Federalism.


March 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen”


In response to murmurings about Senator Ted Cruz's candidacy for President (Cruz was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen mother), Neal Katyal and Paul Clement in the Harvard Law Review Forum have this to say about the U.S. Constitution's "natural born Citizen" requirement for the Presidency:

"There are plenty of serious issues to debate in the upcoming presidential election cycle. The less time spent dealing with specious objections to candidate eligibility, the better. Fortunately, the Constitution is refreshingly clear on these eligibility issues. To serve, an individual must be at least thirty-five years old and a “natural born Citizen.” Thirty-four and a half is not enough and, for better or worse, a naturalized citizen cannot serve. But as Congress has recognized since the Founding, a person born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent is generally a U.S. citizen from birth with no need for naturalization. And the phrase “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution encompasses all such citizens from birth. Thus, an individual born to a U.S. citizen parent — whether in California or Canada or the Canal Zone — is a U.S. citizen from birth and is fully eligible to serve as President if the people so choose."

March 29, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

In the hunt to be the 2016 GOP pick, top contenders agree on 1 thing: Guns


As we have seen on ImmigrationProf, the GOP presidential hopefuls cannot agree on immigration reform.  This Washington Post article reports that the candidates do agree on guns:

"Some of them have been building their collections since childhood. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) is up to 12 now, including an AR-15 assault weapon that he has talked about using if law and order ever breaks down in his neighborhood. Former Texas governor Rick Perry is so well-armed, he has a gun for jogging. Others were city kids who didn’t own guns until later in life. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) bought a .357 magnum revolver in 2010, the year he ran for Senate, saying the gun was for protection. Two other city-bred presidential hopefuls — former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — don’t own a gun at all."

“We need to defend the Second Amendment!” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said at a recent “Lincoln-Reagan” dinner for Republicans in Lincoln, N.H. . . .  “I’m pretty sure New Hampshire’s definition of gun control is kind of what it is in Texas. Gun control means hittin’ what you aim [at].”


March 29, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stalemate on Immigration Reform Symposium

Saturday, March 28, 2015

EU Policies on Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Sea


ImmigrationProf recently reported on efforts to save migrants making the journey to Africa on the Mediterranean Sea.  This report, EU Policies on Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Sea by Julia Gour, considers the tragic deaths of over 300 people off the coast of Lampedusa in 2013 and many other incidents involving migrants from Middle East and North Africa (MENA) crossing the Mediterranean in order to seek refuge in Europe.  The deaths have led to a debate in the European Union on asylum policies and how to deal with irregular migration. However, no concrete policy has been agreed since the tragic events at Lampedusa in 2013 and continuous crossings that have resulted in many more deaths.

This background brief provides an overview of the existing EU policies on asylum seekers and in addressing irregular migration and some of the actions which the relevant Member States take when confronted with continuous flows of irregular migrants. This brief concludes that the EU should delink the rescue of irregular migrants from security concerns, provide a legal basis which offers protection to irregular migrants, and create a transparent working environment in which member states are better able to support each other when dealing with such events.


March 28, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


Beyond Deportation:  The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (NYU Press, 2015)

When Beatles star John Lennon faced deportation from the U.S. in the 1970s, his lawyer Leon Wildes made a groundbreaking argument. He argued that Lennon should be granted “nonpriority” status pursuant to INS’s (now DHS’s) policy of prosecutorial discretion. In U.S. immigration law, the agency exercises prosecutorial discretion favorably when it refrains from enforcing the full scope of immigration law. A prosecutorial discretion grant is important to an agency seeking to focus its priorities on the “truly dangerous” in order to conserve resources and to bring compassion into immigration enforcement. The Lennon case marked the first moment that the immigration agency’s prosecutorial discretion policy became public knowledge. Today, the concept of prosecutorial discretion is more widely known in light of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, a record number of deportations and a stalemate in Congress to move immigration reform.

Beyond Deportation is the first book to comprehensively describe the history, theory, and application of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. It provides a rich history of the role of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration system and unveils the powerful role it plays in protecting individuals from deportation and saving the government resources. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia draws on her years of experience as an immigration attorney, policy leader, and law professor to advocate for a bolder standard on prosecutorial discretion, greater mechanisms for accountability when such standards are ignored, improved transparency about the cases involving prosecutorial discretion, and recognition of “deferred action” in the law as a formal benefit.


March 28, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Migration Controls and Travel from the US to Mexico City (One Hour in Migration and Customs Each Way)


Welcome to Mexico City!  Poster as I approached the immigration check after a flight from SFO to Mexico City


Given what I know about immigration law and enforcement, I find it interesting to travel internationally and experience immigration controls firsthand.  This week, I made a trip to Mexico City for an immigration conference and had some fun.

Having grown up in Southern California, I have traveled to Mexico for years, often on short vacations to the beaches in Baja California.  Travel to Mexico from the United States for U.S. citizens has changed significantly in recent years, with U.S. citizens now required to present passports upon return to the United States.  It goes without saying that migration controls are tighter on both sides of the border than they once were.

Outside of the migration controls, there have been changes in how one thinks of trips to Mexico.  Namely, safety is a concern.  The U.S. Department of State issued its most recent a travel advisory in December 2014, warning of crime (including kidnappings) in certain parts of Mexico.  (I must say that, during my short stay, Mexico City seemed as safe as any other metropolis that I had visited in recent years; the police on the streets and roads appeared very well-armed).

As the sign pictured above indicates, Mexico, like many other nations (including the United States), has taken steps to stop the spread of the Ebola virus and calm public fears.  I am not sure if any sign that has "EBOLA" in capitals will calm anyone, however.

The Mexican immigration and customs officials were efficient and respectful.  It was a relatively quick and easy entry.  I had to fill out a couple of forms, one for immigration purposes, the other for customs.  I must say that I was less worried about the encounter than I was on trips to Germany and China (perhaps because I can speak a tad bit of Spanish and effectively no German or any dialect of Chinese).   The overall time for the inspection was less than an hour, with most of the time waiting in line with other travelers.

The return to the United States was uneventful enough.  Respectful and professional, if not warm and friendly, are words that best describe the U.S. immigration and customs officers.  The immigration check was a matter of seconds and I was waved through customs.  Overall, I cleared immigration and customs in about one half hour, with relatively short waits in line with other U.S. citizens.

The most challenging part of the entire trip was not immigration, customs, or the airports.  Rather, it was dealing with the traffic gridlock in Mexico City, which makes traffic in my hometown of Los Angeles truly look like a picnic.  Traffic jam doesn't quite capture the scene of clogged cars at a standstill in Mexico City streets and roads.  A trip from the airport to UNAM at around 7 in the evening took about 2 hours; it took 1.5 hours on the way back to the airport in the morning. 

In any event, the trip was well worth the amazing immigration conference at UNAM.  


March 28, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Accused of Flip Flop on "Amnesty"


Presidential campaigns are always fun to watch.  It is early in the 2016 campaign but it seems that Republican presidential hopefuls continue to muddle through attempts to come up with a coherent and consistent position on immigration reform.  Yesterday, ImmigrationProf noted that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had entered the immigration fray in Texas v. United States on the side of the states challenging the Obama administration's expanded deferred action program.

AP now reports that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, already accused of flip flopping on his views on immigration reform, now has stepped in it again.   Walker has opposed any "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.  In a closed meeting with New Hampshire Republicans, Walker reportedly supported a path to legalization but not a path to citizenship. Walker later emphasized that he does not in any way endorse a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

European Union and the Geopolitics of Migration

Eu paper

Is the European Union, which permits labor migration among the member nations, a possible model for future immigration?  Commentators have suggested that possibility since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994.

This paper charts the challenges facing the EU in the field of migration, and suggests how Brussels might promote its own form of order. For twenty years now, Europeans have been encouraged to view migration as the epitome of globalisation, the triumph of global economic drive over territorial order. Read the paper European Union and the Geopolitics of Migration for details.

Roderick Parkes, the author, is a research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) where he is working on immigration policy. He is also a senior fellow (non-resident) of the German Institute of International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). In 2014, he co-authored the European Global Strategy.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: "States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth" by Laila Hlass


"States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth" by Laila Hlass, Boston University School of Law, November 8, 2014 Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 266, 2014

ABSTRACT:  This article looks at the legal and practical challenges arising out of a particular immigration protection for abandoned, abused, and neglected child migrants called “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status” (SIJS). This benefit, which is a pathway to legal permanent residence and citizenship, is the only area within federal immigration law that requires a state court to take action in order for immigration authorities to consider an individual’s eligibility for relief.

Using an original data set of roughly 12,000 SIJS applications from the Department of Homeland Security in June 2013, this article describes trends over time and by state regarding the number of SIJS applicants. After considering population differences, the article examines application disparities among states and identify a subset of seven particularly high- and low-application states, as well as states that have had significant increases in the number of applications. The article discusses how factors such as states’ family laws, child welfare policies, and specialized legal resources may affect the ability of potential SIJS applicants to access protection. Ultimately, this article proposes a variety of reforms that seek to improve the law: increasing the screening of potentially eligible children, ensuring that these children have access to counsel, and creating a federal safeguard to address disparities created by differences in states’ laws.


March 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Live Blog from UNAM International Immigration Conference

Unam group

UC Davis Delegation:  Cruz Reynoso, Beth Greenwood, Leticia Saucedo, Kevin Johnson

I will be blogging live today from an immigration conference at UNAM in Mexico CityStay tuned!

Unam panel 1

After a welcome from the three cosponsoring law school (UNAM, Monterrey Tech, UC Davis) deans, the first panel (Overview, History and Culture of Immigration) offered an excellent foundation for the day.  Professor Nicolas Foucras (Monterrey Tech) talked about migration as a reflection of global economic pressures.  I offered an overview of contemporary U.S. immigration law.  Professor Gabriela de la Paz (Monterrey Tech) discussed the implementation of U.S. immigration policies in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations based on her interviews with U.S. immigration enforcement officers in the border region, including McAllen and Laredo, Texas).

Unam panel 2

The second panel (Undocumented Immigrants in the US:  Impact, Challenges and Enforcement) began with Professor Leticia Saucedo talked about the history of U.S. immigration law resulting in the emergence in the modern undocumented immigrant population in the United States.  She also documented the record-setting removals of immigrants from the United States during the Obama administration.  Offering a personal as well as historical account, Professor Cruz Reynoso provided thoughts on the challenges facing undocumented immigrants in the United States and offered his opinions on the various immigration policies of the Obama administration (including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program).  Professor Gregory Hicks ended the panel with a discussion of the common environmental dangers faced by immigrants in agricultural work far from the border, with a focus on California.

Unam panel 3

Panel 3 (Impact of the Immigration Laws on the Individual) began with Professor Mariana Gabarrot (Monterrey Tech) looked at transnational space and family and considered exclusion in education and health opportunities for, as well as the prevalence of poverty among, migrants in the United States.  Professor Gerry Andrianopoulus (Monterrey Tech) discussed national security considerations in the U.S. immigration debate and reviewed public opinion polls showing less concern today than a few years ago with border security; he also analyzed the politics that led to the border fence (or border wall if you are against it)..  Dean Maria Leoba Castaneda Rivas (UNAM) discussed humanitarian legal assistance for immigrants.   Professor Leticia Saucedo (UC Davis) looked at  the impacts of U.S. immigration laws on the employment of Mexican citizens and offered insights based on interviews of Mexican immigrant workers. 

Panel 4 considered future immigration policies.  Professor Victor Hugo Perez Hernandez (UNAM) offered an insightful Mexican perspective on DACA and the new DAPA as well as the Obama administration's immigration record.  I concluded the panel with a review of possible immigration reforms and a possible regional approach to migration in North America modeled after the European Union.

The discussions were rich and everyone literally was on the same page as English talks were translated into Spanish for the native Spanish speakers and Spanish talks were translated into English for the native English speakers.  The question and answer sessions after each panel were particularly illuminating, with a rich exchange of ideas from a variety of national and disciplinary perspectives.

Much thanks to Dean Maria Loeba Castaneda Rivas, Dean of UNAM, for her gracious hospitality and ensuring that all participants were treated like royalty.  Thanks also to Dean Gabriel Cavazos, Monterrey Tech, for cosponsoring the event and ensuring that it was successful. Beth Greenwood, Executive Director of International Programs (UC Davis School of Law), and Concha Romero, both were instrumental in making the event a successful international collaboration on one of the most pressing public policy issues of our time.    

Here is a picture of the participants.

Unam participants


March 26, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Jersey Sides with Texas, Other States in Texas v. United States

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OIG Release about Mayorkas and EB-5 Visas Sparks Concern

DHS Dep. Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas

Yesterday, the Office of Inspector General released the following statement:

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has concluded its investigation into allegations that former USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas exerted improper influence in the normal processing and adjudication of EB-5 immigration program benefits.

In three matters pending before USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, now Deputy Secretary of DHS, communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders. Mr. Mayorkas’ conduct led many USCIS employees to reasonably believe that specific individuals or groups were being given special access or consideration in the EB-5 program.

An extraordinary number of DHS employees came forward to the Inspector General’s office to report these events and cooperate with our investigation. The OIG will protect the confidentiality of these courageous employees, and we hope that their actions will set an example for all potential whistleblowers that look to the Office of Inspector General to give them a voice.

Congressional lawmakers are not pleased. Representative McCaul (R-TX) has indicated that he will hold hearings tomorrow and may investigate further.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 10 Countries Sending International Students to the United States

According to the latest data, 76 percent of all international students were from Asia. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students were:

1.  China

2.  India

3.  South Korea

4.  Saudi Arabia

5.  Canada

6.  Japan

7.  Vietnam

8.  Taiwan

9.  Mexico


SEVIS by the Numbers,” a quarterly report on international students studying in the United States, was released today by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The report highlights February 2015 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-based system that includes information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States. Users can also visit the Study in the States website to review international student data from “SEVIS by the Numbers” via an interactive mapping tool.

Based on data extracted from SEVIS Feb. 6, 1.13 million international students, using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa, were enrolled at nearly 8,979 U.S. schools. This marked a 14.18 percent increase in international students when compared to January 2014 data. The number of certified schools remained relatively static, increasing just more than one percent, during the same time period. Seventy-six percent of all international students were from Asia.




March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saving Migrants In The Mediterranean



ImmigrationProf has reported in the past about the death of migrants en route to Europe (as well as those seeking to cross the southern border into the United States).   NPR offers the latest on this worldwide humanitarian story.

Christopher Catrambone, a businessman from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and his Italian wife Regina invested about $8 million of their money to buy a ship and hire a crew to save lives on the Mediterranean Sea. Record numbers of people from the Middle East and Africa are crossing waters to try to get to Europe. And human rights groups say European countries don't do enough to rescue them when they run into trouble at sea.

The millionaire husband-and-wife team decided to take on the task during a yacht cruise in the Mediterranean.The catalyst came when Regina saw a jacket in the water during the cruise. She asked about it and was told it might belong to a dead migrant who was trying to find safety in Europe. And that was that. They founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which began operations last year. "We're the only game in town at the moment," Christopher Catrambone says.

In just 60 days, they saved about 3,000 of migrants crossing the sea in rickety wooden boats or dinghies. They then coordinated with Italy and Malta in bringing the migrants to shore.

Last year, a record of about 218,000 people made this journey. Some 3,500 drowned. The numbers are growing. Amnesty International says rates of those crossing are 50 percent higher than last year and hundreds have drowned already this year.


March 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)