Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Should Immigrants Move to Hawaii? Where You Live Impacts Ability To Obtain Representation in Immigration Court

Nnteresting news from TRAC!  Newly obtained case-by-case court records show that depending upon the community in which the immigrant resides, the odds of obtaining representation in Immigration Court deportation proceedings vary widely. If you happen to live in Honolulu, Hawaii, the odds are over 90 percent that you will be able to find an attorney to represent you. The odds are also high if you live in Manteca, California or in Pontiac. Michigan.  However these odds drop to less than 30 percent if you reside in Roma-Los Saenz or Huntsville, Texas, or in Coral Springs-Margate, Florida, or even in Atlanta-Decatur, Georgia.


August 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haitian Immigrants in the United States


This Migration Information Source "Spotlight" on Haitian Immigrants in the United States reports that the number of Haitians in the United States has tripled since 1990, reaching 676,000 in 2015. Most Haitians entered the United States before 2010, the year of a devastating earthquake from which Haiti is still working to recover. This Spotlight article offers the latest data on Haitian immigrants, including the number holding Temporary Protected Status, top states and cities of residence, demographic information, and more.




August 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California State Sues Trump administration over sanctuary-city threat


The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the state of California joined the city of San Francisco yesterday in taking legal action challenging a Trump administration threat to withhold federal public safety grants from cities that refuse to cooperate to the extent sought by the U.S. government in immigration enforcement.

A lawsuit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra makes California the first state in the country to take on the U.S. Justice Department’s plan to pull the grant money. San Francisco filed its own lawsuit Friday, the second such legal action it has filed against the Trump administration.

Becerra said the state’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, was based on the same grounds as the city’s — that President Trump and his administration can’t withhold money from a congressionally approved program without Congress’ agreement.

Here is the statement issued by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its unconstitutional attempt to force California law enforcement officials to engage in federal immigration enforcement, rather than allow them to use their discretion to determine how best to keep their communities safe.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice placed unlawful and inappropriate immigration enforcement conditions on certain public safety grants for law enforcement.  This action jeopardizes critical crime fighting resources and threatens the safety of California residents.  More than $28 million in federal funds that California uses for programs supporting law enforcement, recidivism prevention, crime victims and witnesses, and at-risk youth are at issue.

“The Trump Administration cannot manipulate federal grant fund requirements to pressure states, counties or municipalities to enforce federal immigration laws,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “By placing unconstitutional immigration enforcement conditions on public safety grants, the Trump Administration is threatening to harm a range of law enforcement initiatives across California. This is pure intimidation intended to force our law enforcement into changing the policies and practices that they have determined promote public safety. It’s a low blow to our brave men and women who wear the badge, and to the communities they serve. We will fight these unlawful federal actions that would make California less safe.”

Congress has appropriated $28.3 million in law enforcement funding grants to California through the Edward Byrnes Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program (JAG). Every state is entitled by law to a share of these formula JAG funds. For the first time, however, the U.S. Department of Justice is imposing two so-called “special conditions” on receipt of JAG funds to force state and local law enforcement to engage in federal immigration enforcement.

President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 25 seeking to withhold federal funding for so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions.” This Executive Order has been the subject of legal challenges. Pursuant to a court order, the Executive Order is subject to a nationwide injunction at this time.

Attorney General Becerra has consistently pushed back on the federal government’s threats over so-called “sanctuary jurisdiction” policies. In June, he led nine states and the District of Columbia in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, in support of the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Santa Clara, and the City of Richmond in their challenge to the Trump Administration’s executive order targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions.” In March, Attorney General Becerra filed two separate amicus briefs in support of the City and County of San Francisco and the County of Santa Clara, respectively, as they challenged the Trump Administration’s Executive Order.

In May, Attorney General Becerra joined four other states and the District of Columbia in releasing a report that refutes the Trump Administration's claims on so-called “sanctuary jurisdiction” policies. The “Setting the Record Straight on Local Involvement in Federal Civil Immigration Enforcement: The Facts and The Laws,” report outlines how the experience of many local law enforcement agencies has led them to conclude that public safety is better served by focusing their time and resources on combatting and apprehending dangerous criminals and establishing trust and cooperation with law-abiding immigrant communities rather than focusing on immigration enforcement.


August 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: A Common-Law Privilege to Protect State and Local Courts During the Crimmigration Crisis by Christopher N. Lasch


A Common-Law Privilege to Protect State and Local Courts During the Crimmigration Crisis by Christopher N. Lasch , Yale Law Journal Forum, Forthcoming


This essay examines the current impasse over courthouse immigration arrests. Part I briefly describes the “crimmigration” crisis that has been ongoing for three decades, and Part II situates the courthouse-arrest issue in that context, as the latest front in the federalism battle brought on by federal efforts to coopt local criminal justice systems to serve the immigration enforcement mission. Part III examines a longstanding common-law doctrine establishing a privilege against courthouse arrests, and Part IV suggests this common-law privilege gives states and localities the authority needed to break the current impasse.


August 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Humanizando la Deportación/Humanizing Deportation


Check out this amazing digital storytelling project "Humanizando la Deportación" (Spanish)/ "Humanizing Deportation" (English). There are 32 stories up already.


Here is a description of the project:

In response to general lack of first-hand knowledge regarding the experience of deportation and removal, and the consequent dehumanized narratives on the topic, we are producing an online open access archive  of personal stories about deportation. Policy debate on deportation tends to be driven by statistics, with little attention to human experience. This project will make visible a range of humanitarian issues that mass human displacement has generated as the result of its management on both sides of the US-Mexico border.  It employs digital storytelling, a digital genre that puts control of content and production in the hands of community storytellers (deportees and others affected by deportation and deportability), to produce a public archive that will give a human face to the deportation crisis.




August 15, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pardon Me?


This just in: President Trump is "seriously considering" a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt.

As FOX News reports, Trump remarked that Arpaio: “has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Exploitation of “Beautiful Kate”: How Donald Trump and his conservative allies twisted the facts of a deadly San Francisco shooting to stoke America’s xenophobia.


Jeremy Stahl on Slate looks at how President Trump turned Kate Steinle’s tragic death in San Francisco into a piece of propaganda, and how the president's lies about immigration have become our national agenda:

For Trump, the death of Kate Steinle was a branding opportunity—a chance to mark himself as the candidate who’d stood up to a supposed immigrant scourge, and to advertise to voters that he’d been right about an issue that everyone else was too “politically correct” to talk about. Steinle’s death also gave Trump an opening to stoke the fears of primary voters. If “beautiful Kate in San Francisco”—a young, innocent white woman—could be murdered in cold blood by a Mexican “animal,” so could any young, innocent white woman in any town in the United States. 


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Miguel Sanó


Miguel Sanó is the heavy hitting third baseman for the Minnesota Twins - my local team. (Yes, at five hours and another state away, they're still local. You can buy Twins gear at our Target. 'nuf said.)

Dominican-born Sanó is featured on B/R today in an in-depth and very sweet story about Sanó's struggles in the big leagues.

It was hard for Sanó just to get to the United States. Amateur players must be 16 before they can come to the U.S., and there were allegations that Sanó wasn't old enough. After an official investigation that included bone-density and DNA testing, the Twins were allowed to bring Sanó stateside as an amateur free agent. That was in 2009.

There's a documentary you can watch about this period of Sanó's life. It's called Ballplayer: Pelotero.

Sanó made it to the states, but he didn't escape hardship. In 2014, Sanó's first child, a daughter named Angelica, died just a week after her birth. Sanó struggled with suicidal thoughts following her death.

In 2015, Sanó went pro. His first season was a smashing success, but 2016 was less so as Sanó struggled emotionally and physically.

Sanó is now back on track. Last month, he was named an All-Star and competed in his first Home Run Derby, finishing second. Sanó has also welcomed a second child, a son, who is now 10 months old.

Here is Sanó's walk out music. It's a Reggaeton track by Ceky Viciny called “Klok Con Klok.”


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Conversation about Immigration


As discussed in this news story, the premise of the Talking Across Borders project is that progress will come when we figure out how to talk about the issue with civility — and the warring sides at least listen to the concerns of people with whom they disagree.

Making that conversation happen is the mission of Spaceship Media, a Bay Area nonprofit whose aim is to use journalism to bridge divides and reduce polarization. The media partners in the new project include the Bay Area News Group, the Southern California News Group and Univision, a national Spanish-language TV network.

As part of the project, more than 60 people across California will take part in a closed Facebook group over the next month. About half of them support greater enforcement of immigration laws. About half oppose increased enforcement. A smattering of those in the group have staked out middle-ground positions.

During the monthlong discussion, participants will be able to suggest topics and questions for the group to address. The effort will be moderated by Spaceship Media founders Eve Pearlman and Jeremy Hay, two veteran journalists who will also prompt conversation. Reporters from the media partners will write about the project and supply research to inform the discussions.


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Rhetoric Pits New Immigrants Against African Americans and Latinos


P.R. Lockhart for Mother Jones analyzes how President Trump has tapped into time worn allegations of how immigrants have injured African American workers.  Among others, labor economist Vernon Briggs has championed such arguments for many years.

Announcing his support for the RAISE Act, which would drastically reduce legal immigration into the United States, President Trump appealed to two segments of the electorate. African Americans and Latinos.  He claimed that they have suffered economically from competition from immigrant workers and would benefit from reduced immigration.

“Among those who have been hit hardest [by current levels of immigration] in recent years are immigrants and, very importantly, minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals,” Trump said, joined by Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the sponsors of the RAISE Act. The claim was repeated later that day by White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who said that legal and illegal immigration have “had a deleterious impact on African American employment in general and certainly African American males.”


Trump first raised the issue on the campaign trail, incorporating it into his appeal to African American voters. “Illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African Americans,” he said in Charlotte last October. “No group has been more economically harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African American workers.” A similar argument appeared earlier this year in a draft executive order aimed at limiting undocumented immigration and preventing visa overstays.


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Unreviewable Executive? National Security and the Limits of Plenary Power  by Shawn Fields


The Unreviewable Executive? National Security and the Limits of Plenary Power  by Shawn Fields

Date Written: July 25, 2017


This Article explores the weakened foundations of plenary power as a coherent doctrine in immigration, and asserts that a continued if limited role for the doctrine exists in the national security context. With reference to recent litigation over the Trump travel bans, the Article calls for a two-tiered level of review of challenged immigration action: 1) a searching evidentiary inquiry regarding the central motivation behind the action, and 2) a more deferential inquiry into the action's constitutionality when the action was driven primarily by national security interests.


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Hard Choices for Immigrants in the Heartland


Jack Healey for the New York Times reports on the heart-wrenching decisions being made by immigrants in the Midwest, where increasing numbers had settled in recent years: 

"Now, at this tense juncture for immigrants and their adoptive hometowns [Hampton, Iowa] across the conservative swaths of rural America,[Edith] Rivera [whose husband had been deported to Mexico] planned to sever one last tie. She was returning to Mexico — and to her husband — with Steven, 13 years old and American-born.

Some politicians call it `self-deportation.' She called it her family’s only hope of being together.

The heartland is freckled with Hamptons and Ediths. In small agricultural towns that supported President Trump by 20-point margins, residents are now seeing an immigration crackdown ripple through the families that have helped revive their downtown squares and transform their economies."






August 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law Professors Defend Legal Authority for DACA in Letter to President Trump

Racial Profiling in Immigration Enforcement? Trump Administration Accused Of Falsely Saying Immigrant Teens Have Gang Ties


NPR reports on an American Civil Liberties Union class-action alleging that the Trump administration is falsely accusing immigrant teens of gang affiliations in a concerted effort to deport them.  The ACLU claims that the U.S. government is unlawfully detaining immigrant teens from Suffolk County, New York based on unsubstantiated claims that they are members of transnational gangs.  The civil rights group also says the young immigrants were detained without notice to their parents or lawyers, and without giving them a chance to challenge the allegations.

According to the lawsuit, the U.S. government is profiling Latino teens "as gang members based on the neighborhoods they live in and their countries of origin."


August 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

APNewsBreak: Grandmother in travel ban flap arrives in US


Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu

AP reports that the Syrian grandmother at the center of Hawaii's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from six mostly Muslim countries arrived in Honolulu Saturday night.

Ismail Elshikh, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, said his 52-year-old mother-in-law Wafa Yahia received approval from the U.S. government several weeks ago. She arrived in Honolulu last night on a flight from San Francisco in a trip that started in Lebanon.

Elshikh is a plaintiff in Hawaii's challenge to the travel ban. The lawsuit argues that the ban prevented his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting.    The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.


August 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Zone of Nondeference: Chevron and Deportation for a Crime by Rebecca Sharpless


Zone of Nondeference: Chevron and Deportation for a Crime by Rebecca Sharpless, Drexel Law Review (Forthcoming)


The U.S. Supreme Court lacks a jurisprudence for when courts should defer to immigration agency interpretations of civil removal statutes that involve criminal law terms or otherwise require analysis of criminal law. This Article represents a first step toward such a jurisprudence, arguing for an expansive principle of nondeference in cases involving ambiguity in the scope of crime-based removal statutes. The zone of nondeference includes not only statutes like the aggravated felony provision that have both civil and criminal application, but all removal grounds premised on a crime. The animating principles of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. as well as the rationales behind both the ban on deference to criminal prosecutors and the criminal and immigration rules of lenity all support the conclusion that courts should not defer to agency interpretations of crime-based removal grounds.


August 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Janet Napolitano: Congress has the power — and the responsibility — to protect the ‘dreamers’

Alt-Right Rally at UVA: One chant heard -- "blood and soil" and "one people, one nation, end immigration"



CNN reports that Alt-right activists held torches and marched late yesterday through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville.  

Chanting "blood and soil" and "one people, one nation, end immigration," the group rallied around a statue of Thomas Jefferson before they clashed with counter-protesters.

Many Alt-right activists are coming together in Virginia for the Unite the Right rally, which is being held to protest Charlottesville City Council's decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville.

Here is how the Southern Poverty Law Center describe the event:

"Hundreds of Alt-Right activists and white nationalist extremists are set to descend on the small community of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday in what’s shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.

“Unite the Right” is expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency."

UPDATE (AUGUST 14):  CNN reports on "How a White Nationalist Rally Turned Deadly in Charlottesville." 


Photo courtesy of CNN

Here is President Trump's statement about the violence:



August 12, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration Article of the Day: Crimmigration: The Missing Piece of Criminal Justice Reform by Yolanda Vázquez


Crimmigration: The Missing Piece of Criminal Justice Reform by Yolanda Vázquez

University of Cincinnati - College of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies


Over the last decade, a new push for criminal justice reform has taken hold. While the moral and fiscal costs have been exorbitant over the last forty years, failing state budgets and bipartisan recognition of the “broken” system have finally caused legislatures, politicians, and advocates to reassess the costs and benefits of the criminal justice system. Breaking the “tough on crime/soft on crime” binary, the “smart on crime” motto has become a helpful tool in reform efforts aimed at reducing the number of individuals incarcerated and ensuring its fairness, regardless of race and socioeconomic status. Little attention, however, has been given to the criminal justice system’s shifting focus to noncitizens, targeted as “criminal aliens.” Notwithstanding that the interrelationship between the immigration and criminal justice system raises similar concerns about race, racial profiling, severity in sentencing, hyper-incarceration and cost, it has been largely overlooked as a significant component of the criminal justice system and its reform efforts.

This Article discusses this failure. By recognizing the role that the criminal-immigration relationship, also known as crimmigration, plays within the criminal justice system, advocates, politicians, and scholars can enter into a dialogue on criminal justice reform that recognizes its true impact and establish better mechanisms for criminal justice reform that will attack the changing structure of the criminal justice system in the 21st century. Without taking into account its expanding focus, successful reform will not only fail but also exacerbate the issues it alleges to combat.


August 12, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Anti-Wall Texas Republican Congressman


Congressman Will Hurd represents the 23rd District in Texas. That's border country stretching some eight hundred miles from San Antonio to El Paso. In point of fact, as Mother Jones notes, Hurd "represents more of the Mexican border than any other member of Congress."

Hurd is a Republican. He also spent nearly a decade working for the Central Intelligence Agency, including spending years undercover in Pakistan.

And this Republican with national security heft is adamantly opposed to President Trump's plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, calling it "the most expensive and least effective way to do border security." He believes that "a better use of American taxpayer dollars" would be to invest in improving intelligence, hiring more Border Patrol agents, and increasing the use of technology like radar, drones and lidar.

It's an opposition message that Hurd is currently taking directly to his constituents. He's spending August holding town halls at Dairy Queens in his district - talking often of the wall.


August 11, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)