Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ACLU Investigation Reveals Rights Violations in SB 1070 Enforcement


In Arizona v. United States (2012), the Supreme Court refused to strike down on its face Section 2(B) of Arizona's S.B. 1070, which requires local police to inquire about the immigration status of persons who they reasonably suspect are in the United States in violation of the federal immigration laws.  As a result, Section 2(B) has been enforced.  There long has been concern about the constitutionality of possible stops under the law.

The ACLU of Arizona is demanding immediate changes to Tucson Police Department (TPD) policies after an investigation of TPD traffic stop records found that officers enforcing Section 2(B) of Arizona’s SB 1070 are in many cases prolonging stops in order to investigate individuals’ immigration status. These practices violate strict constitutional limitations on police involvement in immigration enforcement as well as TPD’s own policies. The ACLU of Arizona’s findings are detailed in a letter sent to Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus on May 2, 2016, and are based on a review of TPD stop records from June 2014 to December 2015, which the ACLU of Arizona obtained through a public records request.

The ACLU of Arizona’s investigation identified clear or potential constitutional problems in more than 75 percent of the stops it reviewed—85 out of the roughly 110 cases that TPD identified in which Border Patrol responded to the scene of a stop. The majority of these incidents were routine traffic stops, many involving minor infractions that led to unlawfully prolonged detention, including transport to Border Patrol custody. More than a dozen records revealed immigration checks producing false positives, or “hits,” resulting in extended detention of U.S. citizens and other lawfully present individuals.  In some cases, families with young children were detained roadside in order for the parents to be handed over to Border Patrol agents.

While the Supreme Court recently held, in Rodriguez v. United States, that a traffic stop extended “seven or eight minutes” past the time required to address the basis for the stop violated the Constitution, TPD’s data shows routine stops lasting anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours before Border Patrol’s arrival. The majority of the stops reviewed by the ACLU lasted between one and two hours.

The ACLU also submitted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding an investigation into Border Patrol’s improper involvement in TPD traffic stops. In addition to rights violations, TPD stop records indicate Border Patrol is disregarding DHS enforcement priorities as well as the Obama Administration’s promises to limit federal participation in the enforcement of SB 1070, including involvement in routine traffic stops.

“TPD’s own records confirm what Tucson community members have been saying for years: in many cases officers are going out of their way to transfer people to Border Patrol, regardless of the delay that results or the fact that SB 1070 does not—and cannot—authorize prolonged detention," said James Lyall, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Arizona. "These practices are blatantly unconstitutional and profoundly undermine the community’s trust in law enforcement.”

The letter highlights more than twenty case examples, including:

  • A mother driving her two children to school was stopped and found to have a suspended license, for which she could have been cited and released. Instead, TPD detained her until Border Patrol arrived to take custody, over an hour after the officer’s immigration check and one hour and twenty minutes after the stop was initiated.

  • Two individuals stopped for speeding identified themselves as “DREAMers.” The officer advised them “they were being detained as they had provided no evidence of being in the US legally” even though that is not a crime and gave the officer no authority to detain them. The officer requested Border Patrol respond to the scene. Border Patrol arrived but declined to take either subject into custody and the stop was concluded—one and a half hours after it was initiated.

  • A driver was stopped and found to have a suspended license. The officer conducted an immigration check, which indicated the driver was undocumented. Border Patrol arrived and determined the driver was a U.S. citizen—one hour after the immigration check was initiated. TPD cited and released the driver four minutes later. 

The records obtained by the ACLU of Arizona also indicate that TPD supervisors have provided inaccurate guidance on officers’ legal authority—including stating, incorrectly, that officers waiting for Border Patrol are not “restrained by time”—and that officers have not received specific training on TPD immigration policy since July 2014, when officers took a 12-page online training course.

“There is no excuse for TPD supervisors providing false and contradictory guidance on the strict limits of officers’ immigration authority, or for providing officers with such minimal training on key developments in relevant case law and numerous revisions to TPD immigration policy in recent years," said Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona legal director. "These fundamental oversight failures are a recipe for abuse.”

Prior to implementation of Section 2(B), the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, community leaders, and government officials all warned the law would result in the very civil rights violations now described in TPD stop records. In upholding Section 2(B), the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States cautioned that “to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status” would “raise constitutional concerns.”

The ACLU of Arizona’s letter to TPD includes a detailed list of policy recommendations and calls on TPD Chief Chris Magnus to conduct an immediate review of TPD immigration policy and to “implement all necessary changes to ensure officers are not exceeding the lawful scope of their authority.” The ACLU of Arizona is also calling for limits to and oversight of Border Patrol involvement in routine stops by local police.

ACLU of Arizona letter to Tucson Police Department.

ACLU of Arizona letter to DHS.


May 3, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ninth Circuit Lifts Injunction in Arizona Identity Fraud Law Enforcement Case


Judge Richard Tallman

Law 360 (login required) reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit yesterday reversed an order enjoining  Arizona laws that criminalize identity fraud for securing employment.  The court held that the Arizona laws are not preempted on their face by federal immigration law because they don’t only apply to unauthorized immigrants. The appeals court rejected the argument by Puente Arizona that the laws are preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

In an opinion by Judge Richard Tallman, joined by Judge Barry Silverman and District Court Judge Robert Lasnik (sitting by designation), the court in Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, the Ninth Circuit lifted an injunction entered by the district court to bar enforcement of the laws through workplace raids by Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other law enforcement agencies.



May 3, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1884-1944: A Digital Archive


The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has a "Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1884-1944:  A Digital Archive."  From 1882 to 1943 ,the United States government severely curtailed immigration from China to the United States. This federal policy resulted from concern over the large numbers of Chinese who had come to the United States in response to the need for inexpensive labor. Congress passed several laws restricting their immigration and naturalization. In its efforts to regulate these matters, the Congress also established federal agencies that created documentation related to those activities and its management of those people under the existing legislation. This website provides an overview of that history and offers an online, searchable index to many of the nearly 200,000 “casefiles” held at NARA which cover the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1880-1943).

May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Puerto Ricans Leaving the Island for Mainland U.S.


Map of Puerto Rico

CNN reports that, continuing a trend over the last several years, Puerto Ricans are leaving the island for the mainland United States at a historic rate. The commonwealth's Institute of Statistics revealed Sunday the results of its analysis on 2014 migration, which found that Puerto Rico lost almost 2% of its population that year. About 84,000 people moved from Puerto Rico to the United States in 2014 while only 20,000 moved back to the island, resulting in a net migration of 1.8%. On average, 230 people left per day -- enough to fill two daily flights out of the island. The result is the highest net migration recorded in the past decade, the Institute said.

"The economic factor is the main factor pushing people towards leaving Puerto Rico," demographer Raul Figueroa, who works as an independent consultant, told CNN. Unemployment, the lack of opportunities, especially for the youth, and quality of life are major factors, he said.

Puerto Rico, now 10 years into a recession, is deep in debt and often compared to Greece and Detroit. More Puerto Ricans now live in the mainland United States than on the island itself. In the 1950s, most Puerto Ricans moved to New York, but Florida has been the main destination in the last 10 years.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.  Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and thus are migrants to the mainland, not immigrants.



May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Strangers at Our Door by Zygmunt Bauman


Strangers at Our Door by Zygmunt Bauman (to be released June 2016)

Refugees from the violence of wars and the brutality of famished lives have knocked on other people's doors since the beginning of time. For the people behind the doors, these uninvited guests were always strangers, and strangers tend to generate fear and anxiety precisely because they are unknown. Today we find ourselves confronted with an extreme form of this historical dynamic, as our TV screens and newspapers are filled with accounts of a 'migration crisis', ostensibly overwhelming Europe and portending the collapse of our way of life. This anxious debate has given rise to a veritable 'moral panic' - a feeling of fear spreading among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society.

In this short book Zygmunt Bauman analyses the origins, contours and impact of this moral panic - he dissects, in short, the present-day migration panic. He shows how politicians have exploited fears and anxieties that have become widespread, especially among those who have already lost so much - the disinherited and the poor. But he argues that the policy of mutual separation, of building walls rather than bridges, is misguided. It may bring some short-term reassurance but it is doomed to fail in the long run. We are faced with a crisis of humanity, and the only exit from this crisis is to recognize our growing interdependence as a species and to find new ways to live together in solidarity and cooperation, amidst strangers who may hold opinions and preferences different from our own.

Bauman discusses the book and the refugee crisis in the New York Times.


May 2, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

May Day Marches for Immigration Reform


Photo of march in Los Angeles courtesy of Whittier Daily News

In May Day marches in Los Angeles (see video), Chicago, New York, Boston, Seattle, and other cities yesterday, marchers advocated for the rights of immigrants. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that thousands of people took to the streets in the annual May Day marches in downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Height to advocate for immigration reform, police accountability and an end to racism.  The diverse array of protesters shared one thing in common: all were offended by something Donald Trump had said. The Republican presidential candidate literally loomed over one of the rallies in the form of a giant balloon effigy carrying a Ku Klux Klan hood.


Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times


May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Republican Immigration Rhetoric Leaves Latino Population Feeling Disenfranchised

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: The Immigration Challenge No One Is Talking About


In TIME, Opal Tometi, Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, writes that "We must repeal the 1996 immigration laws."  Despite the attention that news outlets and presidential candidates are giving the issue, the most devastating policies immigrants face—the 1996 immigration laws—are barely on the radar. As a result of these laws, millions of immigrants have been victims of fast-track deportations and unjust, arbitrary detention; families and communities have been torn apart; and entire generations of immigrants have been criminalized.

April marks the 20th anniversary of these draconian policies. The best thing we can do to mark this anniversary is to repeal them.In the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, President Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996. This legislation expanded the grounds for detaining and deporting immigrants, including long-term legal residents, and was the first law to authorize the now widely used fast-track deportation procedures.

Following AEDPA, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was signed into law in September 1996. The law made sweeping changes to allow for deportations to be retroactive and broadened the types of crimes that could result in deportation. As a result, many immigrants, including those with legal residency, became deportable for non-violent offenses, including relatively minor ones, such as marijuana possession, jumping a subway turnstile or selling bootlegged DVDs. Many of these offenses are not even classified as crimes on the state level.


April 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Solution to Hoffman's Choice for Unauthorized Workers: Creating New Incentives to Report Unlawful Workplace Discrimination by Andrew J. Glasnovich

Solution to Hoffman's Choice for Unauthorized Workers: Creating New Incentives to Report Unlawful Workplace Discrimination by Andrew J. Glasnovich, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, School of Law, Students April 14, 2016 34 Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, Online (2016)

Abstract: This Article will identify how federal law protects unauthorized workers from class-based discrimination and will define the proper scope of relief for violations of these laws. First, this Article examines a conflict in federal law that creates an incongruence between the purported right to a workplace free of discrimination and the corresponding claims for relief available to unauthorized workers. Next, this Article proffers a new analytical framework, based on state law examples, to resolve this legal quagmire, arguing that current jurisprudence does not apply to anti-discrimination statutes. Finally, this Article proposes that Congress amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) to correct the U.S. Supreme Court’s misapplication of immigration law, which stripped unauthorized workers of the basic protections of dignity and workplace security.


April 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 29, 2016

U.S. Capitol Historical Society Annual Symposium Focuses on Immigration Legislation

Immigrants-for-web-rectangleThis 1887 image from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper shows immigrants on the deck of the steamer Germanic. (Library of Congress)

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society is pleased to announce its annual spring symposium, Congress and a Nation of Immigrants, 1790-1990: From the First Naturalization Act to the Simpson-Mazzoli Act.

The symposium opens with a reception and keynote address at 6 pm on Thursday, May 5 in room B338 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It continues on Friday, May 6 in room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Keynote Address
Thursday, May 5 at 6 pm, room B338, Rayburn House Office Building
Speaker: Paul Finkelman, Symposium Director,
Ariel F. Sallows Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan,  Senior Fellow, Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism Program, University of Pennsylvania

Featured Speakers include Gabriel “Jack” Chin (University of California, Davis School of Law), 
Mariela Olivares (Howard University School of Law), and  Kunal Parker (University of Miami School of Law).  Symposium speakers will tackle a range of topics that examine Congress and immigration law through various lenses, including race, quotas, politics, and popular culture. As speakers consider immigration law and related issues, they will detail and challenge popular perceptions of racial, ethnic, and political differences in American society from 1789 and the Alien Acts through the Simpson-Mazzoli Act in 1986.

This event is free and open to the public.  Pre-registration is requested, by clicking here or by calling (202) 543-8919 x38 and leaving a detailed message. See below for the program. Can’t make it to the program? We’ll be live-tweeting as much as we can from @USCapHis #immigrationhistory.


April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Black-Box Immigration Federalism by David S. Rubenstein


Black-Box Immigration Federalism by David S. Rubenstein, Washburn University - School of Law April 13, 2016 Michigan Law Review, Vol. 114, 2016

Abstract: In Immigration Outside the Law, Hiroshi Motomura offers a triumphant account of undocumented immigrants as “Americans in waiting,” with moral and legal claims to societal integration. Central to Motomura’s project, and my focus in this Review, are the hydraulics of immigration authority when the congressional spigot is closed. With Congress gridlocked, the executive branch and subfederal jurisdictions have rushed to the void. These political developments, in turn, have spawned a mix of constitutional questions about how separation of powers, federalism, and individual rights apply, or should apply, to the field of immigration. Motomura blends elements of constitutional structure and rights into a mold that I call “Black-Box Immigration Federalism.”

Outwardly, Black-Box Immigration Federalism reduces to the seemingly simple formula that “federal law” preempts state and local law. The formula looks about right and many commentators seem to accept it on faith. Yet beneath the formula’s tidy veneer is a cache of legal uncertainties, complexities, and potential contractions. More specifically, Black-Box Immigration Federalism treats the federal government as an undifferentiated whole, and from that starting position embeds some or all of the following propositions. First, the federal government can freely choose to make law by statute, regulation, or otherwise. Second, nonbinding federal policies qualify as law. Third, immigration “law in action” takes presumptive precedence over Congress’s laws on the books. Fourth, executive enforcement policies, which are not binding as against the federal government, are nevertheless binding on state and local jurisdictions. Fifth, restrictionist state and local immigration policies are presumptively preempted through incorporation of an “equality norm” into Supremacy Clause challenges.

Black-Box Immigration Federalism is a serious idea with serious intellectual backing. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States hints at something like it, albeit with mixed signals. This Review’s three-fold aim is to bridge some gaps between immigration and constitutional theory, provide alternative views to Motomura’s in these regards, and explain why Black-Box Immigration Federalism should not be taken for granted — perhaps especially by immigrant advocates. If nothing else, caution is warranted before placing faith in structural arrangements that simultaneously consolidate federal power and relax checks against it, which is precisely what Black-Box Immigration Federalism portends to do.


April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant Doctor's Role in Bringing the Health Dangers of NFL Football to Light in Film "Concussion"



Last fall, the film Concussion opened in theaters across the United States.  In the event you missed it, you might catch it on cable, Netflix, or otherwise.  An immigrant is at the centerpiece of the story of the film.  This NPR radio story explains.

 The film put the spotlight back on the dangers of football. Will Smith portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the immigrant from Nigeria who was the first to publish research on the degenerative brain disease he called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Omalu, a forensic pathologist, noticed something strange in 2002 when performing an autopsy of Mike Webster, a famous former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the years following his retirement, Webster suffered from mental and financial problems. He died at age 50 of a heart attack, Omalu said.

Dr.  Omalu came to Seattle, Washington in 1994 to complete an epidemiology fellowship at the University of Washington. In 1995, he joined Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital Center for a residency training program. He next trained as a forensic pathologist at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh. Omalu holds eight advanced degrees and board certifications, including a Masters in Public Health (MPH) & Epidemiology in 2004 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.  Omalu is currently chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California and is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apprehensions of Undocumented Migrants Falling

Check out this chart from Bloomberg (in response to Trumps claims about undocumented migrants "pouring" over the border):



April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside A Georgia Immigration Court, One Man Fights To Stay With His Family


Caitlin Dickerson of NPR offers insights into the goings-on of immigration court.  Thousands of immigrants go through the Lumpkin, Ga., immigration court yearly. More than 97 percent of them lose and are deported. NPR follows the case of one man whose lawyer thinks he has a shot at winning.

The case involves Shawn, who came to the U.S. legally from Guyana in South America when he was 10. He grew up in New York City, married his high school sweetheart. He has three kids, and in 2005, they moved the family to a suburb of Atlanta. Shawn was arrested at home in 2011. He had four ounces of marijuana, two digital scales and plastic baggies. Shawn says he smoked weed but he didn't sell it, but he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He went to jail for a year and a half, and that conviction makes him a priority for deportation. 

Shawn ultimately lost in immigration court and lost an appeal.  He faces removal from the UNited States to a country he has not lived in for many years.


April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016: 183,017; Deaths 1,244

The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today's immigration problem: The immigration reform Hillary Clinton wants could be limited — or even undermined — by a law her husband signed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

LL.M. Program in Immigration and Nationality Law

FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others on marriage fraud charges

Richard Winton and James Queally of the Los Angeles Times report that federal agents arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, on charges of marriage fraud, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators earlier this morning. Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister Mariya Chernykh were all arrested Thursday morning and charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court that centers around a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez, who has been charged with aiding in the deadly December attack in San Bernadino.  In the course of the investigation into the terrorist attack, federal investigators determined that Marquez received money to marry Chernykh, who took part in the wedding only in order to gain legal status in the U.S. FBI agents interrogated Chernykh as part of the probe into the terror attack, and prosecutors say she lied during those interviews, saying she lived with Marquez, when she actually resided in Ontario. All three are expected to appear in federal court later today.


April 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

NYT Video: Raised with Guerillas in Colombia

Raised With Rebels is a short NYT video about Mélida, a young girl kidnapped by Colombian rebels when she was nine. I could see this being a useful classroom tool.


April 28, 2016 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Borderland attachments: citizenship and belonging along the U.S.–Mexico border by Heidy Sarabia


Borderland attachments: citizenship and belonging along the U.S.–Mexico border by Heidy Sarabia. Citizenship Studies, April 2016.

Abstract This article reveals how economic resources and legal status (vis-à-vis the U.S.) shape national attachments and citizenship practices in the context of the U.S.–Mexico border. Through the comparison of middle- and working-class Mexicans, this article highlights how middle-class Mexicans with tourist visas to travel to the U.S. develop what I call transborder citizenship, while deported working-class migrants – legally banned from returning to the U.S. – engage in what I call transnational citizenship. For middle-class Mexicans, transborder citizenship is exhibited through their frequent cross-border experiences and cross-border citizenship practices; however, they remain rooted locally in Mexico. In contrast, for working-class return migrants, transnational citizenship is defined by their restricted mobility even while they retain personal, social, and economic ties with the U.S. Ultimately, return migrants feel dislocated and uprooted in Mexico. The article uses data from observations and in-depth interviews with Mexican nationals living in the border town of Mexicali, Mexico, conducted from June 2009 to August 2010.


April 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)