Monday, August 22, 2016

Trump to Soften his EXTREME Immigration Positions?


Donald Trump has made news for his extreme positions on immigration, including vilifying Mexican immigrants as criminals, calling for a "big beautiful wall" along the US/Mexico border, advocating "extreme vetting" of Muslim immigrants, and more.  Now, he may be moderating his tune.  Is he or isn't he?

Jay Solomon of the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump’s campaign suggested yesterday that the Republican presidential candidate is prepared to soften his stance on immigration. 

Trump has made a tough stand on immigration a signature issue of his campaign, pledging among other things to create a “deportation force” to rapidly remove some of the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. On Sunday, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, dialed back on that pledge, suggesting the deportation force might not be set up after all. Asked on CNN if Mr. Trump would mobilize this deportation force in the White House, Ms. Conway responded: “To be determined.”

Stay tune to see if Trump pivots on immigration as the election nears.


August 22, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nasty Note to Latina Server at Restaurant Goes Viral


fA customer left a nasty note for Sadie Karina Elledge at a Harrisonburg, Va., restaurant on Monday, saying, “We only tip citizens.” (Courtesy of John Elledge)

Cleve Wootson Jr. of the The Washington Post reported on a story about a message on a receipt that stung Sadie Karina Elledge.  Instead of leaving a tip, a couple eating at the Harrisonburg, Virginia restaurant wrote “We only tip citizens.”  Sadie, 18, was born in America (and thus is a U.S. citizen) and is of Honduran and Mexican descent.

Sadie's grandfather, John Elledge, who lists on his Facebook page that he attended Antonin Scalia School of Law (formerly George Mason), took a photo of the note left for his granddaughter and posted it on Facebook.  It has gotten lots of attention.  Elledge is white.  He told the Washington Post he’s particularly sensitive to slights directed at his multicultural family.

Here is a video featuring Sadie.



August 22, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrtaion Article of the Day: Beyond Deportation: Understanding Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion and United States v. Texas by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


Beyond Deportation: Understanding Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion and United States v. Texas by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law July 5, 2016 Immigration and Nationality Law Review

Abstract: This article places the Supreme Court case of United States v. Texas into a broader context by describing the history and legal authority for prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and highlighting the contents and recommendations in my book, Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases. Part I of this article offers a primer on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and also describes two related programs announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014 and the subject of litigation for nearly two years as of this writing. Part II provides a history and analysis of United States v. Texas, a lawsuit originally brought by the state of Texas and twenty-five other states and decided on June 23, 2016. This section offers highlights from the oral arguments held at the U.S. Supreme Court and my position on the winning arguments. Part III raises normative questions about the implementation, legitimacy, and continued enforcement of immigration law against “priorities” identified by the government. Part IV discusses my book Beyond Deportation, which includes a history about discretion, my efforts to obtain data about the individuals who receive discretion and recommendations moving forward.


August 22, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It’s Children Against Federal Lawyers in Immigration Court

Fernanda Santos of the New York Times writes:

"Every week in immigration courts around the country, thousands of children act as their own lawyers, pleading for asylum or other type of relief in a legal system they do not understand.

Suspected killers, kidnappers and others facing federal felony charges, no matter their ages, are entitled to court-appointed lawyers if they cannot afford them. But children accused of violating immigration laws, a civil offense, do not have the same right. In immigration court, people face charges from the government, but the government has no obligation to provide lawyers for poor children and adults, as it does in criminal cases, legal experts say.

Having a lawyer makes a difference. Between October 2004 and June of this year, more than half the children who did not have lawyers were deported. Only one in 10 children who had legal representation were sent back, according to federal data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group connected to Syracuse University."


August 21, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Popular Character on NBC Comedy Superstore is Undocumented

Via Define American:



August 21, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue

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Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy

Named one of BuzzFeed’s “Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer”

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Imbolo Mbue is a native of Limbe, Cameroon. She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for over a decade, she lives in New York City.

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS is her first novel.  Here is a review in the Washington Post. NPR interviewed Mbue about the book.

August 21, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Day My Mexican Father Met Cesar Chavez

Huerta Huerta2
Alvaro Huerta    Salomón Chavez Huerta

Professor Alvaro Huerta tells the story about how his Bracero father, Salomón Chavez Huerta, met the civil rights icon Cesar Chavez in this Huffiington Post piece.  Chavez and Dolores Huerta of course founded the United Farm Workers Union.  The story ends:

“Look at your name tag,” my father proudly recollected Cesar Chavez telling him, “your middle name ‘Chavez’ is like my last name and your last name ‘Huerta’ is like Dolores’ last name.”


August 21, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: David Hernández, Surrogates and Subcontractors: Flexibility and Obscurity in U.S. Immigrant Detention

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David Hernández. "Surrogates and Subcontractors: Flexibility and Obscurity in U.S. Immigrant Detention," in Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader, edited by Nada Elia, David Hernández, Jodi Kim, Shana Redmond, Dylan Rodriguez, Sarita See, Duke University Press, 2016.

This recent book chapter ( Download Surrogates and Subcontractors CES Reader) critically analyzes privatized federal immigrant detention.   Here is the conclusion to the introduction:

"This chapter briefly contextualizes contemporary securitization efforts providing examples of cumulative precedents and patterns in immigrant detention that help explain this regime's ongoing obscurity and challenge its exceptionalist foundation. I illuminate the continuities of racial criminalization by exploring the detention regime's historic reliance on surrogate partners domestically and internationally. I also problematize prevailing logics of reform and resistance to detention expansion such as the use of prosecutorial discretion to prioritize so-called criminals and grant relief to low-priority detainees1 often referred to as noncriminal or "innocent" noncitizens. Overall I seek to unmask the obscured discursive and institutional formations of immigrant detention in the United States1 checking its flexible and coercive technologies used to exercise state power and violence far beyond the control of undocumented migration."

Given the Department of Justice's recent decision to eliminate private contracting of prisons (but not immigrant detention), this chapter is timely.


August 21, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Daily Show Asks Trump Supporters About Extreme Vetting

I'll never understand why people sign releases to the Daily Show. This is a total cringe-fest. But this segment does a remarkable job of highlighting the contrast between Trump's call for ideological vetting (we want folks who believe in religious freedom,  equality for women, gay rights) and how some voters have interpreted those same topics.


August 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Editorial Cartoon by Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune titles this editorial cartoon "Trump proposes 'extreme vetting' for refugees."



August 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Finally, a True Elements Test by Rebecca A. Sharpless


Finally, a True Elements Test by Rebecca A. Sharpless, University of Miami - School of Law August 8, 2016 University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-34

Abstract: The fate of defendants facing lengthy federal sentence enhancements often turns on what the U.S. Supreme Court calls the categorical approach. The approach controls whether a federal defendant might face an additional decade or longer in prison based solely on having prior convictions of a certain type. At a time when many question the wisdom of the War on Crime started in the 1980s, the Court has taken great care to delimit the circumstances in which a federal sentencing judge can lengthen sentences based on recidivism. The categorical approach also governs most immigration cases involving deportation for a crime. As Congress has cut back deportation defenses for lawful permanent residents with criminal records, the Court has demanded that convictions used for deportation strictly correspond to a federal removal ground.

In both Descamps v. U.S. and Mathis v. U.S., recent Armed Career Criminal Act opinions authored by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court interpreted the categorical approach as requiring a true elements test, declaring that at least two decades of the Court’s precedent required this result. Yet, Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg, two justices who had been in the majority in Descamps, dissented in Mathis.

This Essay analyzes the trajectory of the Court’s categorical approach decisions, using the Mathis dissent authored by Justice Breyer, and joined by Justice Ginsburg, to explain an ambiguity in the Court’s jurisprudence that Descamps and Mathis have now settled. While Justice Kagan’s penchant for hyperbole oversimplifies the relationship between the Court’s early and late decisions regarding the categorical approach, the holdings of Descamps and Mathis are not only correct. They are likely constitutionally mandated.

August 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal Judge Refers Sheriff Joe Arpaio to US Attorney for Possible Criminal Contempt Charges. Read the Order!

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Big news from Arizona! 

A federal judge yesterday referred Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three of his aides to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to decide whether to prosecute them for criminal contempt of court.​ The 32-page order comes after U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found that Arpaio intentionally violated orders in a racial profiling case, Melendres v. Arpaio.  

Here is the order.   CNN looks at the order and Arpaio's history in the courts.

The district court order p. 12 concluded with respect to Sheriff Arpaio that

"[i]n light of the seriousness of this Court’s orders and the extensive evidence demonstrating the Sheriff’s intentional and continuing non-compliance, the Court refers Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio to another Judge of this Court to determine whether he should be held in criminal contempt for:  (1) the violation of this Court’s preliminary injunction of December 23, 2011,3  (2) failing to disclose all documents that related to the Montgomery investigation in violation of this Court’s specific order entered orally on April 23, 2015, . . . , and the Monitor’s follow-up ITRs  for this material in violation of this Court’s orders requiring compliance with the Monitor’s requests, . . ., and (3) his intentional failure to comply with this Court’s order entered orally on April 23, 2015 that he personally direct the preservation and production of the Montgomery records to the Monitor, . . . . " (emphasis added).

The order also referred further proceedings on the contempt matter to another federal judge .  US. District Court Judge Susan Bolton was assigned the matter. She is perhaps best-known for her handling of several cases challenging Arizona's SB 1070, the state's immigration enforcement law that was invalidated in large part in Arizona v. United States.    Her rulings enjoining major parts of the law from going into effect were largely affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The latest order in this long saga raises many questions:

•    Will the U.S. Attorney’s Office accept the recommendation? If so, what will the charges) be?

•    If Arpaio is found guilty, will he resign?

•    Could Arpaio end up behind bars?

•    Will Snow's decision affect Arpaio's odds for a seventh term?

In an order separate from the contempt ruling, Judge Snow laid out the ways and means of compensating victims of racial profiling.



August 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump's First General Election Ad Is All About Immigration

Check it out:


As my husband said: "I had no idea that Hillary would just sit there watching, head in hand, as trainloads of Mexican criminals come into the United States to collect Social Security. I'm might vote for her if she managed to look vaguely scolding. But now, no way! Wow, I'm so glad Trump has explained the issues." (Ahem, for the speed readers: That's his very dry sense of humor.)


August 19, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A New Evidence Rule in California Levels the Playing Field in Litigation Involving Undocumented Immigrants

Jerry brown Jerry brown portrait

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown with little fanfare signed into law A.B. 2159, which could have important impacts on undocumented immigrants seeking to vindicate their rights in the courts.

As described in the bill,

"Existing law provides that all relevant evidence is admissible in an action before the court, including evidence relevant to the credibility of a witness or hearsay declarant, subject to specified exceptions.
This bill would provide that, in civil actions for personal injury or wrongful death, evidence of a person’s immigration status is not admissible and discovery of a person’s immigration status is not permitted. The bill would also provide that these restrictions do not affect the standards of relevance, admissibility, or discovery under other specified provisions of law." (emphasis added).
By barring evidence of a litigant or witnesses' undocumented status, the bill helps ensure that a jury or judge is not prejudiced by a person's immigration status.  This will tend to level the playing field in adjudicating disputes when undocumented persons are involved in litigation. The bill is a move in the right direction.  It is one of a number of recent bills passed by the California legislature designed to better integrate immigrants into society.


August 19, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Immigration Article of the Day: Is Immigration Law National Security Law? by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


Is Immigration Law National Security Law? by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law July 15, 2016 Emory Law Journal, Forthcoming Penn State Law Research Paper No. 21-2016

Abstract: The debate around how to keep America safe and welcome newcomers is prominent. In the last year, cities and countries around the world, including Baghdad, Dhaka, Istanbul, Paris, Beirut, Mali and inside the United States - have been vulnerable to terrorist attacks and human tragedy. Meanwhile, the world faces the largest refugee crises since the Second World War. This article is based on remarks delivered at Emory Law Journal’s annual Thrower Symposium on February 11, 2016. It explores how national security concerns have shaped recent immigration policy in the Executive Branch, Congress and the states and the moral, legal and practical implications of these proposals. Finally, this article examines the parallels between these proposals and immigration policies enacted after September 11, 2001.


August 19, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is this America? Photos Of Overcrowded Immigrant Detention Facilities Released


Men cloaked in Mylar sheets at a Tucson facility. (Credit: National Immigration Law Center)

Law 360 reports that immigration advocacy groups yesterday released pictures showing people crowded into immigration detention facilities in the Tucson area, after a judge overseeing a class action challenging “harsh and degrading” conditions in such facilities partly rejected the government’s bid to seal key case documents. 

The National Immigration Law Center and other groups, which are helping to litigate the case, posted a series of still images from surveillance video that show people packed into border patrol facilities, often wrapped in sheets of Mylar. “These photos show the harm people suffer in these facilities, from having to sleep on the floor for days to needing to huddle together just to stay warm,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Travis Silva of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in a statement. “These conditions should not exist in a facility operated by the United States government.”

The border patrol holding facilities, which sometimes are called “hieleras” or “ice boxes,” are the subject of a class action suit launched by the advocacy groups last June. Detention facilities operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Tucson region are rife with inhumane conditions, including cold, crowded holding cells in which the lights are kept on, according to the complaint.

Here is the NILC statement about the released photos.



American Immigration Council September 2015; Douglas facility; woman changing a child’s diaper on top of Mylar sheets on concrete floor in a trash-strewn cell.


August 19, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Refugee or Migrant? #WordsMatter

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders


Linda Valdez, columnist and editorial writer for the Arizona Republic, is coming up on the 28th anniversary of her marriage to Sixto, who unlawfully came across the U.S./Mexico border.  In her words, "We were married two weeks later. Our love story is the antidote to the ugly rhetoric about Mexico and Mexican immigrants. It goes beyond the politics to look at the people."  Valdez has written a book about her immigration story.

Crossing the line


August 18, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Toddler Boys of Syria

Omran Daqneesh is the name of the little Syrian boy whose bloody and dust-covered image has gripped the world today. In case you're interested in using the video for class, I'm including the original video - from the Aleppo Media Center - below.


You might also consider using this drawing by Khalid Albaih, poignantly tying together Omran's story with that of Alan Kurdi, which so gripped our attention nearly one year ago.



August 18, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Judges Decide 57 Percent Entitled to Remain in U.S.

A new report from TRAC Immigration shows that, during the first ten months of FY 2016, immigration judges have determined that 96,223 noncitizens against whom Homeland Security sought removal orders were entitled to remain in this country. By the end of this fiscal year this pace is on track to surpass the record set last year of 106,676 noncitizens that the court found could remain in the U.S. These outcomes account for 56.8 percent of all cases that judges have decided so far this year. See Figure 1. 

Figure 1. Individuals allowed to stay, FY1998-FY2016
Go to Immigration Court Deportation Outcomes tool for details

One in four individuals (25%) allowed to stay was from Mexico. Over four out of ten (44%) were from the three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — where in recent years large numbers of unaccompanied children and women with children have come to this country seeking asylum. These figures are based upon case-by-case court records updated through the end of July 2016 obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

There are a number of reasons why an individual may be allowed to remain in the country. For example, the judge can find that the government did not meet its burden to show the individual was deportable. Or, the judge may have found that the individual was entitled to asylum in this country, or may grant relief from removal under other provisions of the law. A person also may be allowed to remain because the government requests that the case be administratively closed through the exercise of ICE's prosecutorial discretion, or for some other reason.



August 18, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)