Thursday, March 26, 2015

Live Blog from UNAM International Immigration Conference

Unam group

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

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

Unam panel 1

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

Unam panel 2

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

Unam panel 3

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

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

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

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

Here is a picture of the participants.

Unam participants


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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OIG Release about Mayorkas and EB-5 Visas Sparks Concern

DHS Dep. Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas

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

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

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

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

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


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

Top 10 Countries Sending International Students to the United States

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

1.  China

2.  India

3.  South Korea

4.  Saudi Arabia

5.  Canada

6.  Japan

7.  Vietnam

8.  Taiwan

9.  Mexico


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

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




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

Saving Migrants In The Mediterranean



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

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

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

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

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


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

International Immigration Conference in Mexico City

Monterrey tech
Uc davis




Monterrey tech 

UC Davis School of Law, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Monterrey Institute of Technology are co-sponsoring an international conference on immigration at UNAM in Mexico City on March 26.

I am joining immigration experts Professors Leticia Saucedo and Cruz Reynoso from UC Davis to participate in a conference with colleagues from Mexico's top universities to explore the history of immigration policy and law, the present context of immigration in labor and the environment, and the human impact of immigration on families, their daily lives, and their human rights. The program will also examine the future of immigration law and policy as it impacts both the United States and Mexico. 

Here is the schedule for the conference.  The Deans of the sponsor law schools (Dra. Maria Castaneda Rivas (UNAM), Kevin Johnson (UC Davis), and Gabriel Cavazos (Monterrey Tech)) will welcome the participants.

Panel 1 is entitled "Overview, History, and Culture of Immigration."  Panelists included Professors Nicolás Foucras (Monterrey Tech) and Gabriela de la Paz (Monterrey Tech).  I am also on the panel and my presentation will focus on the history of immigration law and enforcement in the United States.

Panel 2 ("Undocumented Immigrants in the US:  Impact, Challenges and Enforcement") includes Professors Leticia Saucedo (UC Davis), Cruz Reynoso (UC Davis), and Gregory Hicks (University of Washington).

Panel 3 ("Impact on Individuals") includes Professors Mariana Gabarrot (Monterrey Tech), Dean María Leoba Castaneda Rivas (UNAM), and Leticia Saucedo  (UC Davis).

Panel 4 ("Long Term Immigration Policy") includes Gerry Andrianopoulos (Monterrey Tech) and Victor Hugo Perez Hernandez (UNAM). I will discuss possible reforms to U.S. immigration law and policy.

The conference follows an "Immigration Dialogue" for law deans from the Pacific Rim hosted by UC Davis School of Law in October 2014. The conference provided an opportunity for legal experts to explore challenging issues related to immigration as it impacts both countries.

Beth Greenwood, Executive Director International Programs and the LL.M. program (UC Davis), and Concha Romero were instrumental in organizing the conference.



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

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era


There is a growing consensus that the global refugee system is failing not only those it was designed to protect but also the host states that are providing protection. More than 53 million people worldwide are in a displacement situation as refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons (IDPs)—the highest level since World War II. Ongoing conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Libya and Iraq and the emerging crisis in Ukraine—as well as more long-standing ones in Somalia and Afghanistan—have demonstrated that current mechanisms are not equitably distributing the responsibility for providing protection, nor are they offering efficient and effective access to refuge for those in need.

The Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration today is launching the first in a seven-report series that draws from a recent Council meeting, “Refitting the Global Protection System to Meet the Challenges of Modern Crises.”

The first report, Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era, details the increasing mismatch between the legal and normative frameworks that define the existing protection regime and the contemporary patterns of forced displacement that are driven by tangled webs of crises that include intrastate conflict, poor governance and instability, environmental degradation and resource scarcity. Many forced migrants now fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum apparatus. And the blurring of the lines between voluntary and forced migration, as seen in “mixed” migration flows, together with the expansion of irregular migration, have further complicated today’s global displacement picture.

The report argues for fundamental reform of the protection system, including shifting the emphasis from the status of the displaced to their needs and situating policies to address displacement within a wider strategic framework that encompasses elements of migration management, host-country development and resettlement support alongside traditional asylum.

Forthcoming reports in the Transatlantic Council series focus on current challenges, including the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and rising unaccompanied child migration from Central America to the United States, and propose innovative solutions to rethink global protection—including models that seek to transition refugees from dependence to reliance and the potential of labor mobility to facilitate refugee protection. The series also will feature a policy brief from the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, T. Alexander Aleinikoff.


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

UN to unveil permanent memorial in New York honouring victims of transatlantic slave trade


 Today, a permanent memorial to honor the victims of one of the most horrific tragedies of modern history will be revealed at United Nations Headquarters in New York, when the world marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations, entitled ‘The Ark of Return,’ is designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent. It pays tribute to the courage of slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes while promoting greater recognition of the contributions made by slaves and their descendants to societies worldwide.

The memorial aims to remind visitors of the complete history of slavery, urging them to acknowledge the tragedy and its legacy, and to heighten awareness of the current dangers of racism, prejudice and slavery’s lingering consequences that continue to impact the descendants of slavery’s victims today.


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

200 Years of Immigration to the U.S.


Check this very interesting graphic out.  The chart shows people obtaining lawful permanent resident status by region or selected country of last residence: 1820 - 2013. Hover on the original for details. The data is from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.  The work of Natalia Bronshtein of Insightful Interaction, this chart shows not just immigration growth and contractions, but where that immigration is occurring from.

Ria Misra notes that the chart offers an interesting look at the ways that global history has changed the tide of immigration. While immigration continued through the first World War, you can see a brief chocking off of the flow of new Americans extending through the second World War. When it kicks off again, the points of origin of those new Americans has shifted, with several countries that previously had populations too small to show up on the graph (India, China, the Philippines) now taking a prominent place.


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

Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant

Adam Davidson in the New York Times Magazine has an article ("Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant") well worth reading.


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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How immigrant families go from speaking Spanish to English


No real surprises here.



March 24, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dodgers Continue to Stockpile Cuban Players, Sign Hector Olivera


The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to pick up Cuban ballplayers. Today, confirmed that Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera has agreed to a $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers.  One of the most prolific offensive players in Cuba when healthy, Olivera impressed scouts in open showcases and private workouts in the Dominican Republic last month.

The Dodgers also have Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero, who has impressed this springStar Outfielder Yasiel Puig, also from Cuba, has been a Dodger fan favorite the last two seasons.


March 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Five Worst Supreme Court Justices In American History

2015 Latino State of the Union

Immigration Article of the Day: In Harm’s Way: Family Separation, Immigration Enforcement Programs and Security on the US-Mexico Border by Jeremy Slack, Daniel E. Martínez, Scott Whiteford, Emily Peiffer

In Harm’s Way: Family Separation, Immigration Enforcement Programs and Security on the US-Mexico Border by Jeremy Slack, Daniel E. Martínez, Scott Whiteford, Emily Peiffer, Journal on Migration and Human Security

Executive Summary The Consequence Delivery System (CDS) is a suite of border and immigration enforcement programs designed to increase the penalties associated with unauthorized migration in order to convince people not to return (Rosenblum 2013). Despite its inauguration in 2011, many aspects of the CDS are not new. CDS does however, mark a shift from the deterrent strategy that, in the 1990s that relied heavily on the dangers of the natural terrain to dissuade unauthorized border crossers, to one that actively punishes, incarcerates, and criminalizes them. This article presents findings from the Migrant Border Crossing Study, a random sample survey of 1,100 recently deported migrants in six cities in Mexico conducted between 2009 and 2012. It examines the demographics and family ties of deportees, their experiences with immigration enforcement practices and programs under the CDS, and how these programs have reshaped contemporary migration and deportation along the US-Mexico border. The article covers programs such as criminal prosecutions of illegal entries under Operation Streamline, and the Alien Transfer and Exit Program (ATEP) or lateral repatriation program which returns immigrants to different locations from where they illegally entered. In relationship to these programs, it considers issues of due process and treatment of deportees in US custody. It also examines interior enforcement under Secure Communities, which, during the study period, comprised part of the overarching border security plan, and screened virtually everybody arrested in the United States against immigration databases.

The article concludes that these programs do not have a strong deterrent effect. Instead, immigration enforcement has led to a “caging effect” over the past two decades which has disrupted seasonal migration flows, increased familial and social ties to the United States, and decreased the probability of returning to Mexico once in the United States. The development of strong family and other ties to the United States contributes to a greater resolve to return post-deportation.


March 24, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Timothy Dugdale: RIP Arthur Hartman, Diplomat

 Ambassador Arthur A. Hartman, left, welcoming the pianist Vladimir Horowitz, second from right, back to Russia in 1986. Credit Boris Yurchenko/Associated Press and New York Times

Let us pause for a moment to tip our hats to Arthur A. Hartman, a career diplomat appointed to France and then the Soviet Union by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, respectively. Hartman died in Washington, DC on March 15 at the age of 89. A long, good ride. Hartman is a testament to the best supra-political ideals of the State Department. He gamely went forth into the top echelons of world power brandishing the bounty of mid-century American culture and democratic ideals. An iconic photo features Hartman and the irrepressible Vladimir Horowitz. Here was diplomacy not just in the aid of a country but Western Civilization itself.

I mention Hartman because we now have, thanks to disasterous mid-term elections, a giddy, turnip truck Congress that seems to know nothing of Hartman and his legacy. These are people who can shamelessly author a nativist mutt like The Michael Davis In Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act. Beyond the leaden pandering of the title, the first thing you notice is the damned thing runs over a hundred pages. That's because it's expressly designed to scuttle every single aspect of President Obama's Executive Action on immigration, including criminalizing illegal presence in the United States. What kind of mind can engage in this kind of toil on a bill that has very little chance of passing? You have to assume it's a publicity stunt at best or a device to spook the undocumented into self-deportation at worst.

The War on Terror has wrought many things but amongst the most ominous is the rise of the Department of Homeland Security, the monolithic administrative industrial complex that ate the INS. This bill contains a number of provisions in which the Secretary of Homeland Security is given power over the Secretary of State to make consular decisions. And consular non-reviewability, along with other bars to judicial review, is explicitly spelled out. Trey Gowdy and his crew, when they're not grilling Hillary on Benghazi or mocking John Kerry on Iran, want nothing less than to export their heartless nativism to US embassies and consulates around the world. Ambassador Hartman isn't long in his grave but he must be spinning up a storm.

Timothy Dugdale, Ph.D. Founder, Atomic Quill Media



March 23, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alvaro Huerta: Migration as a Universal Human Right

Ted Cruz is Running....Away From Me

From United We Dream:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he is running for President in 2016.

See video of Ted Cruz on the run from Dreamers here.  When asked a simple question: “Do you want to deport me?” by Dreamers in a Senate elevator, Ted Cruz didn’t have the courage to own up to his own record.

Lorella Praeli, Advocacy Director of United We Dream, issued the following statement,

“Sen. Cruz wasted no time pandering to our community, by launching Spanish ads that focus on his “immigrant” story but let’s be real: Sen. Ted Cruz does not stand with the immigrant community.”

“The immigrant community can see right through his veiled attempts at sounding anything other than what he is: an anti-immigrant extremist.

“My sister Maria asked Ted Cruz whether he really wanted to deport her and he couldn’t even look her in the eye and own up to his vote after vote to deport my family and millions of others in our community.

“Ted Cruz is running alright - running away from his record.”


March 23, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mennonite Pastor Deported: Do You Feel Any Safer?


Human Rights Watch reports that, on March 3, Max Villatoro, a Mennonite pastor in Iowa, a husband, and a father to four US citizen children, was arrested as part of the US government’s “Operation Cross Check.”  This operation targeted immigrants whom Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said “pose the greatest risk to our public safety.”

Villatoro was an unauthorized immigrant from Honduras who had apparently been living in the US for two decades. According to news reports, he was arrested on the basis of two convictions from over 15 years ago – one for buying false identification to obtain a driver’s license, and another for driving under the influence.

Villatoro’s sudden arrest resulted in an enormous outpouring of support from hundreds of local pastors, community members, and a US congressman.

But last Friday, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that Villatoro had been deported to Honduras.

When President Barack Obama announced executive actions meant to provide a temporary reprieve from deportation for millions of unauthorized immigrants, he declared that his administration was focused on deporting “felons, not families.” But Villatoro’s story makes clear how misleading this formulation is. Despite his criminal record, it’s hard to see how deporting Villatoro makes his community – or the country – any safer.

Sadly, Villatoro’s is not an isolated case. Over the years, I have met countless “criminal aliens” whose US citizen families have suffered grievously because their loved ones were deported and barred from returning to the US, often after minor or old offenses and regardless of strong evidence of rehabilitation. Rather than keeping families together, the Obama administration’s deportation strategy has actively torn families apart because of its failure to distinguish between non-citizens who actually pose a threat to public safety and immigrants like Villatoro.


March 23, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: 2nd Edition of the Handbook on Protection Gaps in the Protection of Palestinian Refugees


Handbook on the Protection of Palestinian Refugees, co-edited by Susan Akram and Nidal Al-Azza  

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights has published a new edition of the Handbook on the Protection of Palestinian Refugees in State Signatories to the 1951 Convention. Building on the 2005 edition and the 2011 update, this year’s Handbook provides a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of international legal protection standards applicable to Palestinian refugees – most notably, Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention. As the result of a monumental gathering of evidence, the Handbook examines new developments in international guidelines regarding the application of Article 1D as well as it presents an extensive survey on the protection afforded to Palestinian refugees in 30 countries in Europe, Oceania, the Americas and Africa, with a special focus on legislation and case law related to Article 1D. In the last chapter, BADIL presents its alternative approach to Article 1D, providing a wider ground to grant protection not only to Palestinian refugees, but also to all refugees in secondary movement who seek asylum in a new host country.

This publication constitutes a primary text for lawyers providing legal assistance to asylum seekers in any of the countries surveyed. The Handbook could also be of interest to national and international organizations concerned with refugees and asylum seekers, providing support to advocacy efforts to change national practices vis-à-vis refugees in secondary movement. Furthermore, the Handbook is also of scholarly interest inasmuch as it presents a historical analysis of the circumstances that gave rise to the Palestinian diaspora and the international mechanisms and bodies devised to cope with its challenges, as well as it explains the protection gaps that emerged in the protection regime of Palestinian refugees.


March 23, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)