Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trump Administration Targets Noncitizen Public Benefits Recipients


Here is the recently released proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security. Leaked versions of the rule have been floating around for several months.  The DHS headline in the online announcement of the proposed rule is revealing:

"DHS Announces New Proposed Immigration Rule to Enforce Long-Standing Law that Promotes Self-Sufficiency and Protects American Taxpayers."

DHS summarizes the proposed rule as follows:

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.

DHS proposes to define `public charge' as the term is used in sections 212(a)(4) of the Act. DHS also proposes to define the types of public benefits that are considered in public charge inadmissibility determinations. DHS would consider an alien’s receipt of public benefits when such receipt is above the applicable threshold(s) proposed by DHS, either in terms of dollar
value or duration of receipt. DHS proposes to clarify that it will make public charge inadmissibility determinations based on consideration of the factors set forth in section 212(a)(4)  and in the totality of an alien’s circumstances. DHS also proposes to clarify when an alien seeking adjustment of status, who is inadmissible under section 212(a)(4) of the Act, may be granted adjustment of status in the discretion of DHS upon the giving of a public charge bond. DHS is also proposing revisions to existing USCIS information collections and new information collection instruments to accompany the proposed regulatory changes. With the publication of this proposed rule, DHS withdraws the proposed regulation on public charge that the former
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published on May 26, 1999."

The criticism of the proposed rule has been withering:

Lenka Mendoza, an immigrant mother who could be affected by this change, and a leader of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, commented:

“No parent should have to choose between feeding their children or staying together. Trump wants to hurt my daughter and make it harder for me to take care of her. But we can’t hide our head under the ground now. We must stand together to protect our children and our families.”

Jess Morales Rocketto, Political Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Chair of the Families Belong Together campaign, said:

“Trump is proposing sweeping changes to our immigration system that could impact over 20 million children. He’s changing the rules only to put children at risk and divide our country. Tearing families apart is a choice that we don’t have to keep making. We now have 60 days. It’s up to us to raise our voices and demand that this change not be forced through.”

CNN reports the following reactions to the proposed rule:

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued a statement critical of the news on Saturday following reports on the proposed rule.

"How you contribute to your community — and not what you look like or the contents of your wallet — should be what matters most. This proposed rule does the opposite and makes clear that the Trump administration continues to prioritize money over family unity by ensuring that only the wealthiest can afford to build a future in this country," Hincapié said.

Melissa Boteach at Center for American Progress also criticized the proposal, telling CNN, "This is an attack on working families and says that you would have to achieve the American dream somewhere else before you even come here."

For discussion of the rule and its genesis, click here and here.


September 23, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Veteran who was deported to Mexico returns home -- to the U.S.


Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG 

Brooke Staggs of the Orange County Register reports (and here is a Los Angeles Times report) on U.S. Army veteran Fabian Rebolledo inside his family home in Azusa on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Rebolledo, who served in Kosovo, was deported to Mexico in 2012. After a three-year legal battle, he returned home to Azusa with help from the UC Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic

The Trump administration reportedly has been increasingly rejecting please of veteran immigrants for relief from removal.

Hat tip to Dan Kowalski!


September 22, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estimating the Undocumented Population


Migration Policy Institute and Penn State researchers today took issue with a newly published academic exercise that suggests the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population is at least several million larger than demographers in and out of government have independently estimated.

Responding to a method unveiled in a PLOS One article, the MPI and Penn State researchers find the claim by several academics that the unauthorized population stood somewhere between 16.2 million and 29.5 million in 2016 was built on a foundation of faulty assumptions. Demographers at the Department of Homeland Security, Pew Research Center and Center for Migration Studies of New York, using the same methodology that MPI employs, estimate the unauthorized population ranges from 10.8 million to 12.1 million.

In a commentary and a companion article in PLOS One, the MPI and Penn State researchers, who were asked to peer review the new method, carefully outline why it significantly overstates the number of people who entered the country illegally in the 1990s and who remained.

“We believe these new numbers represent at most an interesting academic exercise but are ultimately greatly off base and thus counterproductive to the public’s very real need to understand the true scope of illegal immigration and how best to address it,” they write in the MPI commentary.

As they note, even researchers in immigration restrictionist groups have concurred there cannot be millions upon millions of extra unauthorized immigrants hidden in the United States, because, in short, people leave footprints that are seen in statistical records—namely in birth, death, school enrollment, housing, and other records.

Read the commentary here.

MPI’s estimates of the unauthorized population, at U.S., state and top county levels, are here.


September 22, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration and the Constitution


Ilya Somin and Jack Chin, with John Eastman soon to join, discuss the power to regulate immigration in the U.S. Constitution on CATO Unbound.   I think it is fair to say that whether the power to regulate immigration can be found in the Constitution is a more difficult question than one might think.


September 22, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 21, 2018

The President's Nevada Stump Speech

President Trump delivered a stump speech in Las Vegas last night. Here's the video (his remarks start at 39:20):

Don't feel like watching the whole thing? CNN has a rundown of the 35 most mind-blowing lines. Of interest to immprofs might be the following:

  • "The new platform of the Democrat Party is radical socialism and open borders."
  • "I won't allow the United States of America to become the next Venezuela. That's what they want to do."
  • "I'm not thrilled, but after the election, they're all telling me were getting our wall the way we want it, so let's see what happens. Let's see what happens. Let's see if they produce."
  • "I could knock it out, because I do that well. That's what I do well. I build. We could knock that wall out in one year if they gave us the funds."


September 21, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Bookshelves: Melting Pot or Civil War?

Reihan Salam, photo by Larry D. Moore

Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders is a forthcoming book (Sept. 25 release date) by National Review executive editor Reihan Salam.

The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt from the book and it's quite the read.

Salam is a member of the second-generation, the child of immigrants from Bangladesh. Salam confronts the "ways that rapid demographic change has affected America’s political psyche."

Here is the first eye-popping paragraph: "we need to recognize that the immigration debate isn’t really about immigrants. In truth, it’s about the children of immigrants."

Salam notes that if the U.S. implemented a guest worker program for single individuals with high skill levels, something akin to programs in Singapore or Qatar, immigration wouldn't be a hot button issue. "But that’s not how America works," Salam writes. "If we welcome you in as part of the flock, we also welcome your offspring." 

So, if the immigration debate is about the children of immigrants, and fears that those children will outnumber the children of "natives," what should be done? Salam argues that "The key to averting a civil war over immigration is for the U.S. to do everything in its power to make sure that the children of natives and the children of immigrants alike are incorporated into a common national identity and, just as importantly, that they’re in a position to lead healthy and productive lives as adults. We need, in short, to make America a middle-class melting pot."

How does he propose doing this? He has three steps. First, "the key policy priority has to be integration, as opposed to opening our borders. This would mean, in the first place, an amnesty for the long-settled unauthorized immigrant population."

Second, "This amnesty must be contingent, however, on the adoption of a more selective, skills-based immigration system. The U.S. needs to give priority to the earning potential of applicants over their family ties, thus breaking with our current approach. Doing so will help to ensure that new arrivals are in a position to thrive in a changing U.S. labor market and that they can provide for their children without relying on programs meant to help the poorest of the American poor, not those who have chosen to make their homes here."

"Finally, and most important, we must invest the time and money it will take to ensure that all of America’s youth can grow up to lead decent lives. If that means higher taxes on the high-income professionals who have profited so mightily from immigrant labor, so be it."



September 21, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Music: Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence, immigration in videos


A new video release by the group  The Black Eyed Peas is in the news.  In videos for their new song "Big Love," the group looks at gun violence at schools and immigration..  The videos were released today. Proceeds from the song will benefit the student-led March for Our Lives organization, calling for stricter gun laws, and Families Belong Together, which opposes the Trump administration policy of separating children from families in immigrant detention.


September 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Senator Feinstein (D-CA) faces attack on immigration, this time from the left


Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been in the news in recent weeks connection with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.

Back in California, Senator Feinstein is running for reelection against Democrat )and California State Senator) Kevin De León.  Immigration is one of the issues that De León has focused on in his campaign.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times, released a campaign video online (see above) that

"recreates scenes from De León’s childhood, being raised by a single immigrant mother who worked as a housekeeper. It goes on to show how De León’s life would have changed had he lived in present-day America and been separated from his mother by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The video includes two clips of Feinstein, one from 1994, where she says: `The illegal immigrants who come here and commit felonies, that’s not what this nation,' before it cuts off. The second clip, from 1993, begins mid-sentence, and includes her saying, `I say return them to their own country where that country may be.' The video then cuts to a clip of Trump referring to immigrants as rapists."


September 20, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Removal Defense Skills Workshop (El Paso) October 6, 2018

El Paso by Eric E. Johnson

I already have plans for October 6 (see you at SALT maybe?) but I would otherwise be standing in line for this amazing CLE: a Removal Defense Skills Workshop. It's being offered by the Immigration Justice Campaign, which is a joint initiative of AILA and the American Immigration Council, started in early 2017 to mobilize more attorneys to fight for due process for non-citizens, with a special focus on detainees.

The CLE is "aimed at teaching newer removal practitioners how to be 'fearless lawyers' in immigration court. There are three sections, on bond, pleadings, and contested hearings. We have 6 expert faculty, and a student:faculty ratio of 4:1. There are mock hearings with debriefs afterwards." As a professor of immigration law and trial advocacy I coudln't be more excited.

Here's hoping it's offered again soon (might I suggest in Dallas?). I'm in!


September 20, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Beat Goes On: Attorney General Reviews More BIA Rulings


Under fire from the President, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has once again exercised his authority to review a BIA decision.  So far, he has been more active than any Attorney General in recent memory in reviewing BIA rulings.  In Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-, the Attorney General concluded that

(1) Consistent with Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018), immigration judges have no inherent authority to terminate or dismiss removal proceedings.
(2) Immigration judges may dismiss or terminate removal proceedings only under the circumstances expressly identified in the regulations, see 8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(c), (f), or where the Department of Homeland Security fails to sustain the charges of removability against a respondent, see 8 C.F.R. § 1240.12(c).
(3) An immigration judge’s general authority to “take any other action consistent with applicable law and regulations as may be appropriate,” 8 C.F.R. § 1240.1(a)(1)(iv), does not provide any additional authority to terminate or dismiss removal proceedings beyond those authorities expressly set out in the relevant regulations.
(4) To avoid confusion, immigration judges and the Board should recognize and maintain the distinction between a dismissal under 8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(c) and a termination under 8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(f).

In another matter issued yesterday, Matter of M-G-G-, the Attorney General "referred the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to himself for review of issues relating to the authority to hold bond hearings for certain aliens screened for expedited removal proceedings, ordering that the case be stayed during the pendency of his review." 

Tal Kopan on CNN reports on the AG's latest immigration actions.


September 20, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How Midwestern Suffragists Used Anti-Immigrant Fervor to Help Gain the Vote


Here is an interesting historical tidbit that I did not know. A recent essay on Zocalo Public Squareby Sara Egge on the roots of the suffrage movement showcases how suffragists used nativist arguments, as far back as 1914, to create the political leverage that ultimately won women the right to vote in South Dakota. Renowned suffragist Anna Howard Shaw was instrumental in this campaign. She spoke at rallies, presenting “undeniable truths” that American women were “more deserving” than “ignorant male immigrant neighbors,” mostly German immigrants at the time.  the concluding paragraph:

"While Shaw’s speech was meant for an audience living in an important historical moment and place, it also resonates today. Suffragists had no qualms about using nativism to open democracy to women. They were willing to skewer immigrants in their decades-long quest for political equality. Shaw’s remarks also remind us how many assumptions Americans have made—in 1914 and today—about the rights and responsibilities that accompany citizenship."


September 19, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iowa Struck Again by Tragic Death: The Death of Champion Golfer from Spain


Photo courtesy of Iowa State Daily

Just weeks ago, Iowa experienced tragedy and controversy in the wake of the discovery of the body of Mollie Tibbetts, who allegedly was killed by an undocumented immigrant.   Shortly after the discovery, President Trump sought to capitalize politically on the tragic death.

Tragedy has hit Iowa again.  ESPN reports that a 22-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, the 2018 Big 12 champion and the school's female athlete of the year. Born in Spain, Barquin Arozamena, 22, was found dead earlier this week at a golf course in Ames, Iowa. Ames police on Monday night announced that Collin Daniel Richards has been charged following an investigation by several law enforcement agencies. Richards made his initial appearance at the Story County Courthouse in Nevada, Iowa, at 9 a.m. Tuesday; bond was set at $5 million during a brief hearing.

Safety understandably now is the focus of discussion after the latest death.  


September 19, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Index of American Cities by Welcomeness to Migrants


New American Economy is a self-described "a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans."

The group recently released a Cities Index, evaluating "immigrant integration by measuring local policies and socioeconomic outcomes across the 100 largest cities in the United States."

It's a fascinating tool. I found out that my current hometown (broad defined), Oklahoma City, is pretty low down - 89th out of 100 on the integration scale. Dallas, to the south, wasn't a whole lot higher at #87. (Not one North Dakota city makes the list.) Heck, folks in Miami were surprised to find themselves out-performed by St. Petersberg.

It's an interesting tool to play around with, with data points that students might enjoy exploring.


September 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Weaponizing Misery: The 20-Year Attack on Asylum by Kari E. Hong


Weaponizing Misery: The 20-Year Attack on Asylum by Kari E. Hong, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 22, No. 541, 2018


The Trump Administration is attacking asylum seekers—both in words and in deeds. In Attorney General Sessions’s speech against “dirty immigration lawyers”, for whom he blames for the rampant “fraud and abuse” in the system, the Attorney General highlighted policy initiatives undertaken by the Trump Administration to deter, delay, and deny asylum applicants who are seeking protections. This Article identifies the Trump administration’s new policies and practices and criticizes those that impose irrational or unnecessary burdens on asylum seekers.

More salient, however, is that the Trump Administration’s attack on asylum is not a break from past practices. To the contrary, for over 20 years, the preceding three administrations have imposed significant burdens on asylum seekers, because they either caved to irrational political pressures or lacked the political will to protect those who need more.

Change is needed and concrete policy reforms exist. But the precondition to reform is the recognition that many newly-arriving immigrants who are poor and persecuted, ironically, are the unique guardians of the American values that our country holds dear. Those who gave up everything for freedom, anti-corruption principles, or a refusal to abet a repressive regime hold and transmit the core democratic principles our country needs to thrive. Through policy initiatives that have been weaponizing misery, we have been deterring and denying legitimate asylum claims. We continue to do so at the detriment of our own country’s future.


September 18, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

El Salvador: Civil War, Natural Disasters, and Gang Violence Drive Migration


Flag of El Salvador

Migration from El Salvador long has been a phenomenon in the United States. Cecilia Menjívar and Andrea Gómez Cervantes for Migration Information Source look at the drivers of migration from that Central American country.


September 18, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks on Refugee Policy


Here are the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks on the latest refugee admissions numbers:

"The United States anticipates processing up to 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Fiscal Year 2019. We propose resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the new refugee ceiling, as well as processing more than 280,000 asylum seekers. They will join the over 800,000 asylum seekers who are already inside the United States and who are awaiting adjudication of their claims. These expansive figures continue the United States’ longstanding record of the most generous nation in the world when it comes to protection-based immigration and assistance."

Robert O'Malley and Stephen Pomper on Politico note that the 30,000 refugees "is the lowest number in the history of the nearly 40-year-old resettlement program. In so doing, he answered the depressing question experts have been asking for the past several weeks: Would the administration stay put at the record-low level it set for itself in 2018 — 45,000 refugees — or seek to plumb new depths in the coming year?"

Julie Hirschfeld Davis in the New York Times reports that "[t]he number represents the lowest ceiling a president has placed on the refugee program since its creation in 1980, and a reduction of a third from the 45,000-person limit that Mr. Trump set for 2018."



September 18, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Music Break - Make America Great Again


The controversial Russian band "Pussy Riot" provides a scathing social criticism of the Trump administration's immigration policies in this video.

UPDATE (Sept. 2919):  The band made the news this week when it was reported that a member, Pyotr Verzilov. may have been poisoned. Verzilov is in the hospital in Germany. 




September 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lauren Gilbert: Trump doesn’t need a wall — he has Jeff Sessions


Professor Lauren Gilbert on The Hill opines that "[t]he Trump administration has systematically dismantled the right to seek asylum and turned the process at our southern border into a dystopian gauntlet that few can survive." Check it out.



September 16, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Send Them Back by Irwin P. Stotzky


Send Them Back by Irwin P. Stotzky (2018)

Send Them Back tells part of the story of a remarkable attempt, which spanned four decades, to bring the rule of law to refugees from the troubled nation of Haiti. It discusses several of the cases that civil rights lawyers, working directly with Haitians and other activists, filed and litigated for Haitian refugees, and the legal, social, and political aspects of such litigation. The litigation fostered structural legal changes, policies meant to cure the inequities in the treatment of refugees, and a determined political opposition to unfair and illegal immigration decisions. 



September 16, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lessons About the Future of Immigration Law from the Rise and Fall of DACA


Here is a link to a paper about the implications of the rise and fall(?) of DACA.  It will be published in an immigration symposium in the UC Davis Law Review.


September 15, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)