Sunday, December 14, 2014

Controversy over "Censorship" of Immigration Video Game


Here is an out-of-the-ordinary story that should appealks to the gamers in the crowd.

Yesterday, Papers, Please made its debut on iPad, but the game was missing a key aspect: all nudity had been removed after Apple considered it to be pornographic. According to the game's developer, it turns out it was a mistake and not censorship.

Papers, Please puts you in the role of an immigration officer, and the offending bits involved scanning potential immigrants with an x-ray, which allowed you to see them in the nude. That feature was present in the original PC version from last year, but when Pope submitted the game to Apple it was rejected for containing "pornographic content." A revised version, featuring characters in their underwear instead, was released today.

The game is described below:

"A Dystopian Document Thriller.

The communist state of Arstotzka has ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin.

Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested."




December 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senator Ted Cruz Plays Politics With Government Shutdown in the Balance


Talking Points Memo reports that members of the Senate is fuming over objections by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) that held up a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill meant to avoid a shutdown of teh federal government.  The objection was fueled by the two conservatives' desire to fight President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration. The objections by Cruz and Lee mean that the Senate must slog through procedural votes Saturday on nominees and also vote to end a filibuster on the omnibus bill at 1 a.m. on Sunday.

Senator Cruz defended himself on Facebook:

"While the Senate considers the CRomnibus spending bill, all we've done was simply request to hold a vote on a measure to stop President Obama's amnesty. Instead, Majority Leader Harry Reid is holding a series of votes today for the sheer purpose of blocking that vote on Obama's amnesty.

Harry Reid's last act as Majority Leader is to, once again, act as an enabler for President Obama, by blocking this vote on the President's amnesty. He is going to an embarrassing length to tie up the floor to obstruct debate and a vote on this issue because he knows amnesty is unpopular with the American people, and he doesn't want the Democrats on the record as supporting it.

No one wants a government shutdown. We are only seeking a vote. As soon as the Majority Leader allows a vote on a measure to stop President Obama's amnesty, we can and should move forward on this bill to fund the government. If he does not, then we will continue to insist upon regular order and use every tool at our disposal to ensure there is a vote."


December 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Prosecuting a Refugee for 'Smuggling' Himself by James C. Hathaway


Prosecuting a Refugee for 'Smuggling' Himself by James C. Hathaway University of Michigan Law School; Melbourne Law School; University of Amsterdam December 2014 U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 429

Abstract: During the summer of 2010, a Thai-registered ship operated by human smugglers – the MV Sun Sea – arrived on Canada’s west coast. The nearly 500 persons aboard, most of whom were Sri Lankan Tamils, sought recognition of their refugee status. Those claims that proceeded to adjudication on the merits were overwhelmingly successful.

Some of the refugee claimants, however, had sought to maximize their chances of surviving the perilous voyage on a grossly overcrowded and barely seaworthy vessel by accepting an offer of better food or living quarters in exchange for the provision of services onboard – for example, by assisting with food preparation or operation of the ship. One such refugee claimant testified that he found the food he was being given was inadequate, especially as he was recovering from being sick. He learned that he would only be given extra food if he performed tasks assigned to him by the captain of the ship. In testimony found by Canadian authorities to be credible and trustworthy, he stated that he performed the tasks assigned to him because he feared offending the captain and having his food rations reduced.

In this and a number of similar cases, the Canadian government invoked s.37(1)(b) of that country’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which denies access to protection to persons who have “engag[ed], in the context of transnational crime, in activities such as people smuggling...,” the latter notion defined at the relevant time in Canadian law as “... knowingly organiz[ing], induc[ing], aid[ing] or abet[ting] the coming into Canada of one or more persons who are not in possession of a visa, passport or other document required by [Canadian law].” A person found to be inadmissible under s.37(1)(b) is not allowed to make a refugee claim, meaning that his deportation becomes enforceable. While still eligible to apply for a “pre-removal risk assessment,” no reliance may be placed in that assessment on the risk of being persecuted, and the rights afforded fall short of those required by international refugee law.

The question I address here is the international legality of the prosecution of and de facto exclusion from Convention refugee status of a refugee claimant deemed to have engaged in “people smuggling” by virtue of collaborating with smugglers as a survival strategy.


December 14, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Three Decades of Engendering History: Selected Works of Antonia I. Castañeda


Three Decades of Engendering History: Selected Works of Antonia I. Castañeda  Editor: Linda Heidenreich with Antonia I. Castañeda

Three Decades of Engendering History collects ten of Antonia I. Castañeda's best articles, including the widely circulated article "Engendering the History of Alta California, 1769-1848," in which Castañeda took a direct and honest look at sex and gender relations in colonial California, exposing stories of violence against women as well as stories of survival and resistance. Other articles included are the prize-winning "Women of Color and the Rewriting of Western History," and two recent articles, "Lullabies y Canciones de Cuna" and "La Despedida." The latter two represent Castañeda’s most recent work excavating, mapping, and bringing forth the long and strong post-WWII history of Tejanas. Finally, the volume includes three interviews with Antonia Castañeda that contribute the important narrative of her lived experience—the "theory in the flesh" and politics of necessity that fueled her commitment to transformative scholarship that highlights gender and Chicanas as a legitimate line of inquiry.


December 14, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Immigration Article of the Day: Making Civil Immigration Detention 'Civil,' and Examining the Emerging U.S. Civil Detention Paradigm by Mark L. Noferi


Making Civil Immigration Detention 'Civil,' and Examining the Emerging U.S. Civil Detention Paradigm by Mark L. Noferi, American Immigration Council November 27, 2014 27 J. Civ. Rts. & Econ. Dev. 101 (2014)

Abstract: In 2009, the Obama Administration began to reform its sprawling immigration detention system by asking the question, “How do we make civil detention civil?” Five years later, after opening an explicitly-named “civil detention center” in Texas to public criticism from both sides, the Administration’s efforts have stalled. But its reforms, even if fully implemented, would still resemble lower-security criminal jails. This symposium article is the first to comprehensively examine the Administration’s efforts to implement “truly civil” immigration detention, through new standards, improved conditions, and greater oversight. It does so by undertaking the first descriptive comparison of the U.S.’s two largest civil detention systems — immigration detention and sex offender civil commitment — to ascertain the value of the “civil” label of detention reform. It finds the emerging civil detention paradigm to be an incarcerative model presuming round-the-clock confinement but with lower security, as well as increasing, near-criminal procedural protections. Thus, the “civil” label of reform has little meaning, either to the individual’s deprivation of liberty or the expressive message communicated. More meaningful and more “civil” reform would be to implement a system that detains less, not just better. Looking forward, I offer a prescriptive framework for a civil detention system — one that detains far less frequently, for shorter periods, and in non-secure facilities not constituting “detention” as traditionally conceived.


December 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congratulations to Professor Barbara Hines on Her Retirement


After many years in the immigration trenches, Professor Barbara Hines, co-director of the renowned University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic, is retiring.  Here is a nice profile of Barbara in the Austin Chronicle.

Professor Hines has practiced in the field since 1975 and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1992 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Jack Wasserman Award for Excellence in Litigation; the 1993 AILA Texas Chapter Litigation Award; the 2002 Texas Law Fellowships Excellence in Public Interest Award; the 2007 AILA Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award; the 2009 MALDEF Excellence in Legal Services Award; and the 2010 National Lawyers Guild Carol King Award. In 2000, she was named one of the 100 best lawyers in the state by the Texas Lawyer publication. Professor Hines was a Fulbright scholar in Argentina in 1996 and 2004. She focused her research on Argentine immigration law.

Professor Hines served as the first Co-Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law of Texas, Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. She has litigated many issues relating to the constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts including the lawsuit leading to the closure of the Hutto immigrant family detention center. She frequently lectures and publishes on topics related immigration law and immigrants’ rights.


December 13, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Frontiers of Immigration International Conference at UC Davis


Immigration has a deep impact on the economy, society and culture in the US and in the World. This conference brings together top world scholars who have analyzed the economic, demographic, political and social consequences of migrations. Their research will provide the facts and in-depth understanding that is much needed to inform immigration policies. A group of policy advisors and experts will then provide their perspective on the present and future of immigration reforms in the US.

Thursday, January 22 – Friday, January 23, 2015

8am – 4:30pm

ARC Ballroom, UC Davis

Confirmed sessions and speakers include:

The Economic Effects of Immigrants George Borjas, Harvard University Christian Dustmann, University College London Giovanni Peri, UC Davis

Foreign Scientists, Students and US Education and Innovation   William Lincoln, Johns Hopkins University John Bound, University of Michigan

Is the Second Generation Integrating? Rubén G. Rumbaut, UC Irvine Philip Kasinitz, CUNY Jennifer Lee, UC Irvine Alejandro Portes, Princeton University

Round Table: Asian and Latin American Immigration and Migration Policies Erike Lee, University of Minnesota Natalia Molina, UC San Diego Rose Cuison Villazor, UC Davis Gabriel “Jack” Chin, UC Davis Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis 


Migration and Economic Development in Sending Countries Michael Clemens, Center for Global Development Hein de Haas, International Migration Institute, University of Oxford David McKenzie, World Bank J. Ed Taylor, UC Davis

The Origins and Consequences of Migration Policies Roberto Gonzales, Harvard University Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State University David FitzGerald, UC San Diego Marc Rosenblum, Migration Policy Institute

Panel: Innovative Views for the Next 20 Years of Migration Policies Philippe Legrain, Author, European Spring Manolo Abella, COMPAS Kevin Johnson, UC Davis Tim Kane, Hoover Institution

Concluding Remarks by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi


December 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Full Speed Ahead: Applying for Immigration Relief Could Begin in Mid-February

Immigration Article of the Day: Policing Wage Theft in the Day Labor Market by Stephen Lee


Policing Wage Theft in the Day Labor Market by Stephen Lee, University of California, Irvine School of Law November 25, 2014 UC Irvine Law Review, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2014, Forthcoming UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-70

Abstract: In recent years, workers’ rights advocates have turned to a novel tactic in the fight against employer exploitation: pushing for the criminalization of wage theft. In a growing number of jurisdictions, advocates have persuaded lawmakers to pass laws imposing criminal sanctions — hefty fines and the possibility of imprisonment — onto employers for engaging in these bad acts. In this Essay, I focus on the challenges of enforcing wage theft laws within those industries dependent on unauthorized immigrant labor. I argue that federal immigration enforcement programs — ranging from funding inducements to information-sharing schemes to collateral penalties — dampen the promise of turning to the police as allies in the effort to eradicate wage theft. Specifically, local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that consider protecting unauthorized immigrants (through the enforcement of wage theft laws) must do so amid competing pressures to identify and detain unauthorized immigrants (through the enforcement of federal immigration laws). The structure and design of these federal immigration enforcement programs make it difficult for LEAs to fully withdraw from the larger enterprise of identifying and removing immigrants, which is necessary to effectively enforce wage theft laws in immigrant-dominated communities. My point here is not to dissuade labor rights advocates from ever turning to the criminal justice system for help in the fight against workplace exploitation. But assessing whether the police can solve the problem of wage theft in the day labor market requires further study. Thus, I conclude the Essay with a research agenda of sorts in which I lay out further research trajectories to help answer the question of when policing wage theft can be both effective and desirable.


December 12, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jorge Ramos, Sean Hannity Clash Over Immigration Reform

At the Movies: 14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez

14 dred scott

A documentary film "14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez" is finished and available for Educational Use and Public Performance Licensing. The 67-minute documentary is an excellent resource for Constitutional Law courses.

The film explores the recurring question about who has the right to be a U.S. citizen. It examines the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment through compelling personal stories and expertly-told history. The 14th Amendment provides that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The film tells the history of the 14th Amendment through the lives of three ordinary and extraordinary American families who changed history by their courageous challenges to the powerful status quo. Descendants of Dred and Harriet Scott and those of Wong Kim Ark tell the stories of how their ancestors fought all the way to the Supreme Court and changed American history. Rosario Lopez and her daughter Vanessa are both activists in the immigrant rights youth movement. Born in the United States and a citizen under the 14th Amendment, Vanessa wants to be “either an artist, a photographer, a lawyer, or a marine biologist” and President of the United States. It is the citizenship of millions of children like Vanessa Lopez, born in the United States to undocumented parents, that is at stake now.  

In United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), the U.S. Supreme Court held, generally speaking, that a person -- even the child of undocumented immigrants -- born in the United States is a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment.  This decision established an important precedent in its interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment.



December 11, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Medical-Legal Partnerships Helping UACs

In A Child, an Immigration Hearing, and a Doctor's Testimony The Atlantic reports on ways in which medical-legal partnerships have been helping unaccompanied minors in their fight to obtain asylum.

New York lawyer Brett Start put it this way:

“I could say to the judge, ‘Your honor, this child is fleeing gangs in his home country and because of that, he’s eligible for asylum,’” Stark explains. “But what’s more powerful and has more impact is to say, ‘Here’s a letter from Dr. Alan Shapiro, where he reports this child has a bullet lodged in his spine in the L6 region.’ And the judge can look at this and say, ‘This corroborates what you’re saying, and we can put this in a legal context.’”

Medical testimony - whether about the child's physical or mental health - can "greatly bolster" asylum claims.


December 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of states challenging Obama on immigration grows to 24

Top 10 Migration Issues of 2014

The Migration Policy Institute's online journal, the Migration Information Source, has kicked off its annual countdown of the Top 10 Migration Issues of 2014.  It is working backwards from Issue No. 10 through No. 6 this week, and will reveal the Top 5 migration issues of the year next week.

The countdown begins:

10. Migration with Chinese Characteristics: Hukou Reform and Elite Emigration

9. The Points System is Dead, Long Live the Points System

8. Changing Landscape Prompts Mexico's Emergence as a Migration Manager

7. Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Asia

6. Governments Fear Return and Intentions of Radicalized Citizens Fighting Abroad

Be sure to check back next week for the Top 10 Migration Issues of 2014 to see what made the top of the list!


December 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Law and Practice of Expulsion and Exclusion from the United Kingdom Deportation, Removal, Exclusion and Deprivation of Citizenship Edited by: Eric Fripp Associate Editor: Rowena Moffatt, Ellis Wilford


The Law and Practice of Expulsion and Exclusion from the United Kingdom Deportation, Removal, Exclusion and Deprivation of Citizenship Edited by: Eric Fripp Associate Editor: Rowena Moffatt, Ellis Wilford

Resort by the state to measures of exclusion and expulsion from the territory of the United Kingdom and/or from British citizenship have multiplied over the past decade, following the so-called ''war on terror'', increased globalisation, and the growing politiciszation of national policies concerning immigration and citizenship. This book, which focuses on the law and practice governing deportation, removal and exclusion from the United Kingdom, the refusal of naturalisation, and deprivation of British citizenship, represents the first attempt by practitioners to assess the law and practice in these areas as a cohesive area of state activity. The undertaking is a vital one because, whilst these areas of law and practice have long existed as the hard edge of immigration and nationality laws, in recent years they have expanded beyond secondary existence as mere mechanisms of enforcement. The body of law, practice and policy created by this process is one which justifies treatment as a primary concern for public lawyers. The book provides a comprehensive analysis of the law in these areas. This involves a consideration of interlocking international and regional rights instruments, European Union law and the domestic regime. It is a clear and comprehensive everyday guide for practitioners, and offers an invaluable insight into likely developments in this dynamic area of public law.


December 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Human Rights Day!

Huamn rights day

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention "of the peoples of the world" the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.


December 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CIA Torture Report and the Dehumanization of the Victims


The techniques employed by the Central Intelligence Agency to interrogate detainees documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee report released yesterday have made international news.  CNN identifies the "most shocking passages" of the disturbing report.  The New York Times identifies its own "key points."  The Daily Beast lists the report's "most gruesome moments." 

It should not be forgotten that the victims of what President Obama and others have chacarterized as "torture" were members of certain distinct racial, ethnic, or religious groups associated with terrorism in the eyes of many Americans.  They were dehumanized in the media and by their interrogators.  Similarly, as is well-documented, Arabs and Muslims in the United States were subjected to interrogation, detention, and new immigration requirements (such as spoecial registration) after the events of September 11, 2001.  Note also that the new Obama administration guidelines on racial and other profiling exempt federal law enforcement officers from relying on profiles based on race, national origin, religion, etc., in national security (as well as immigration enforcement) matters.



December 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

President Obama Holds a Town Hall Meeting on Immigration


The short town hall, with President Obama explaining the deferred action program in a nutshell, was held in Nashville, Tennessee.


December 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reagan-Bush Family Fairness: A Chronological History

Is there precedent for the Obama administration's deferred action initiatives?  Today, the American Immigration Council releases Reagan-Bush Family Fairness: A Chronological History. From 1987 to 1990, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr. used their executive authority to protect from deportation a group that Congress left out of its 1986 immigration reform legislation—the spouses and children of individuals who were in the process of legalizing. These “Family Fairness” actions were taken to avoid separating families in which one spouse or parent was eligible for legalization, but the other spouse or children living in the United States were not—and thus could be deported, even though they would one day be eligible for legal status when the spouse or parent legalized. Publicly available estimates at the time were that “Family Fairness” could cover as many as 1.5 million family members, which was approximately 40 percent of the then-unauthorized population. After Reagan and Bush acted, Congress later protected the family members. This fact sheet provides a chronological history of the executive actions and legislative debate surrounding Family Fairness.


December 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Racial Profiling in the 'War on Drugs' Meets the Immigration Removal Process: The Case of Moncrieffe v. Holder

In light of the new racial profiling guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Justice yesterday, the following article is especially timely. 

Racial Profiling in the 'War on Drugs' Meets the Immigration Removal Process: The Case of Moncrieffe v. Holder by Kevin R. Johnson University of California, Davis - School of Law December 1, 2014 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Forthcoming UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 401

Abstract: This paper is an invited contribution to an immigration symposium in the Michigan Journal of Law Reform.

In 2013, the Supreme Court in Moncrieffe v. Holder rejected a Board of Immigration Appeals order of removal from the United States of a long-term lawful permanent resident based on a single criminal conviction involving possession of a small amount of marijuana. In so doing, the Court answered a rather technical question concerning the definition of an “aggravated felony” under the U.S. immigration laws.

Because the arrest and drug conviction were not challenged in the federal removal proceedings, the Court in Moncrieffe v. Holder did not have before it the full set of facts surrounding the state criminal prosecution of Adrian Moncrieffe. However, examination of the facts surrounding the criminal case offers important lessons about how the criminal justice system works in combination with the modern immigration removal machinery to disparately impact communities of color. By all appearances, the traffic stop that led to Moncrieffe’s arrest is a textbook example of racial profiling.

This Article considers the implications of the facts and circumstances surrounding the stop, arrest, and drug crimination of Adrian Moncrieffe for the racially disparate enforcement of the modern U.S. immigration laws. As we shall see, Latina/os, as well as other racial minorities, find themselves in the crosshairs of both the modern criminal justice and immigration removal systems.

Part II of the Article provides details from the police report of the stop and arrest that led to Adrian Moncrieffe’s criminal conviction. The initial stop for a minor traffic infraction is highly suggestive of a pretextual traffic stop of two Black men on account of their race.

Wholly ignoring the racial tinges to the criminal conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court only considered the conviction’s immigration removal consequences – and specifically the Board of Immigration Appeals’ interpretation of the federal immigration statute, not the lawfulness of the original traffic stop and subsequent search.

The police report describes what appears to be a routine traffic stop by a police officer who, while apparently trolling the interstate for drug arrests in the guise of “monitoring traffic.” The officer stopped a vehicle with two Black men – “two B/M’s,” as the officer wrote – based on the tinting of the automobile windows. Even if the stop and subsequent search did not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, Moncrieffe appears to have been the victim of racial profiling. A police officer, aided by a drug sniffing dog, in drug interdiction efforts relied on a minor vehicle infraction as the pretext to stop two Black men traveling on the interstate in a sports utility vehicle with tinted windows.

The Moncrieffe case exemplifies how a racially disparate criminal justice system exacerbates racially disparate removals in a time of record-setting deportations of noncitizens. Although he was fortunate enough to stave off deportation and separation from an entire life built in the United States, many lawful permanent residents are not nearly so lucky.


December 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)