Thursday, June 14, 2018

Video of Casa Padre Detention Facility

As Kevin noted earlier today, journalists have been given a tour of the Casa Padre detention facility in Brownsville, TX, which houses undocumented children. The government did not allow video or photographs inside the facility but journalists were provided with video. Here is the coverage from CBS with much of that video:


June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canadian Immigrants in the United States

Canadian Immigrants in the United States

Though small, the population of Canadians in the United States is quite diverse, and includes students, highly skilled professionals on H-1B or NAFTA visas, family migrants, and retirees. Canadian immigrants have much higher educational attainment and incomes than the native- and overall foreign-born populations. This Migration Information Source article offers an interesting data snapshot of Canadians in the United States.

Canadian migration has generally been a small share of immigration to the United States, historically fluctuating according to economic factors in the two countries. In 1960, Canadian immigrants made up about 10 percent of the total U.S. foreign-born population. Though the number of Canadians in the United States has decreased and levelled off since then, this population has grown more diverse, and today includes students, family migrants, skilled professionals, and retirees. As of 2016, about 783,000 Canadians lived in the United States, accounting for less than 2 percent of the roughly 44 million U.S. immigrants.




June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breastfeeding Mother Says Officials Took Her Baby At Immigrant Detention Center

Hard to believe but the immigration hits just keep on coming. Here is a story going viral.

An undocumented immigrant from Honduras recounted a story of federal agents separating her from her baby as she was breastfeeding, CNN reported yesterday

The unnamed woman said she was in an immigrant detention center  when federal authorities took her daughter from her while she was trying to feed her. Attorney Natalia Cornelio, with the Texas Civil Rights Project, told CNN that in her interview with the migrant mother, the woman said she was handcuffed for resisting the separation.




June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants 2018


At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, according to the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today. Migrant smuggling occurred in all regions of the world and generated an income for smugglers of up to US$7 billion, equivalent to what the United States or the European Union countries spent on global humanitarian aid in 2016.

The study describes 30 major smuggling routes worldwide and finds that demand for smuggling services is particularly high among refugees who, for lack of other means, may need to use smugglers to reach a safe destination fleeing their origin countries. Data suggests that many smuggling flows include unaccompanied or separated children, who might be particularly vulnerable to deception and abuse by smugglers and others. In 2016, nearly 34,000 unaccompanied and separated children arrived in Europe (in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain).

“This transnational crime preys on the most vulnerable of the vulnerable,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Director of Policy Analysis and Public Affairs. “It’s a global crime that requires global action, including improved regional and international cooperation and national criminal justice responses.” According to the International Organization for Migration, there are thousands of deaths due to migrant smuggling activities each year. Many smuggled migrants die from drowning, whereas others perish due to accidents or extreme terrain and weather conditions. According to records, the Mediterranean appears to be the deadliest route, with around 50 per cent of the total number of deaths.

This is the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants from UNODC.


June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tour of Texas Migrant Shelter


Murals of presidents, with quotations in English and Spanish, appear on walls at the migrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas. (Health and Human Services)

Molly Hennessy-Fiskereports for the Los Angeles Times about a tour of a Texas migrant youth shelter.  What do you think about the mural in the facility with President Trump?  See above.

Here are some snippets from the article:

"The former Walmart that’s been converted into a migrant shelter housed 1,469 youths Wednesday, enough to fill the high-school-style cafeteria and require added cots in dorm-style bedrooms to handle the overflow.

The Casa Padre shelter in Brownsville drew national attention this month when officials refused to let U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) enter. Merkley, who had shown up at the shelter unannounced, later questioned conditions in the facility and whether the children were properly cared for.

On Wednesday, reporters were allowed to take a quick tour of the facility, run by Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Southwest Key, one of the country’s largest shelter providers for migrant children. Another tour of a Southwest Key shelter is scheduled for Friday in El Cajon, Calif."

"Hallways were also lined with murals. One featured a group of migrants at the foot of a train labeled in Spanish, “The train of hope.” In Mexico, the train migrants hop on for the dangerous ride north to the border has another name, La Bestia, or the Beast.

Each shelter wing was named for a president, with a mural of each and a quote, in English and Spanish. The tour passed Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy and Trump, whose face was pictured with the American flag and outline of the White House."  What the heck -- Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, and . . . . . Trump?


June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: No Restoration, No Rehabilitation: Shadow Detention of Mentally Incompetent Noncitizens by Sarah Sherman-Stokes


No Restoration, No Rehabilitation: Shadow Detention of Mentally Incompetent Noncitizens by Sarah Sherman-Stokes

Villanova Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 4, 2017


This article examines the burgeoning mental competency regime in immigration removal proceedings, as well as its shortcomings. While some strides have been made in the last six years to identify noncitizen detainees who are incompetent, and to implement safeguards, including appointed counsel, to protect their rights, the current mental competency framework fails to protect some of the most vulnerable. Specifically, this article explains that mentally incompetent, noncitizen detainees for whom no adequate safeguards are available, face a kind of shadow, prolonged and potentially indefinite detention. These detainees’ continued detention is wholly without process – despite their incompetence, they are not provided with meaningful opportunities to request release from custody to seek treatment, nor are there any concerted efforts to either restore or rehabilitate their competency. As a result, I argue that this group of noncitizen detainees is denied meaningful access to the court system in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This article proposes a regulatory change to ensure compliance with the Rehabilitation Act and further explores why alternative solutions are unreliable, inefficient or implausible.


June 14, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Republican leadership reaches deal to put off immigration rebellion, will vote on 2 bills next week

CNN reports that Republicans leaders late yesterday night managed to pull together a long-awaited immigration agreement that satisfied both moderates and conservatives in their ranks, just moments before a self-imposed but significant deadline expired for a moderate-led insurrection on the issue.

The deal involved an agreement to vote on two immigration bills next week -- a conservative proposal that is not expected to have enough support to pass and a to-be-written bill that leadership is drafting based on weeks of closed-door negotiations among the two wings of the party. The proposal is aimed at offering a solution for recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as well as additional resources for border security.

June 13, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Passports in the Time of Trump by Leti Volpp


Passports in the Time of Trump by Leti Volpp

25 Symploke: Theoretical, Cultural and Literary Scholarship 155-174 (2017)


This essay examines the public reaction to President Trump's three executive orders on immigration ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry," "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," and "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements") from their January 2017 inception through summer 2017. While the latter two executive orders arguably threaten the most dramatic impact, the first executive order elicited the strongest outcry. Charting the legal shifts presaged and engendered by these three orders, as well their human costs, I posit several reasons for the difference in reaction.

While there are many factors at work, underlying the muted reaction to the border and interior orders is a tacit acceptance of the fact of deportation, in particular of those considered disposable. This acceptance is made clear by examining the reaction to deportations under President Obama and under President Trump (outcry against deportations under Trump seem more about Trump than about deportations). It appears in the monikers for border and interior orders ("The Wall" and "Sanctuary Cities") which emphasize concern for U.S. taxpayers and not for the many other ways these two orders drastically change life for immigrants. It is also evident even in the proposal of a radical ecotopia submitted to the design competition for Trump's border wall, which would create a new, independent co-nation in the US/Mexico borderlands – but which would limit free movement to "law-abiding North American citizens." Deportation is engrained in our vision of the "nation of immigrants"; deportation is part of our everyday.


June 13, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Discharge Petition Key to Immigration Legislation?

U.S. Capitol no. 6605 by Eric E. Johnson

It's okay. You can admit it. You have no idea what a "discharge petition" is. That's fine. Neither did I. According to Wikipedia, a discharge petition is "a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee by 'discharging' the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution."

So far, so good. But that does that have to do with immigration legislation?

As WaPo reports, moderate Republicans are currently considering whether to back a discharge petition, a maneuver that would force votes on several immigration bills later this month - covering issues from Border Security to DACA.

The petition is just THREE VOTES AWAY from forcing a floor vote on June 25. But those votes are needed today. Those living in Florida, Washington and Texas might consider calling Dennis A. Ross (R-FL), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) who are reportedly thinking about joining the petition.


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Immigrant Success Story: How Family-Based Immigrants Thrive in America


The Trump administration has attacked family-based immigration and called for the end of "chain migration."  In a timely report, the American Immigration Council today released The Immigrant Success Story: How Family-Based Immigrants Thrive in America.

Immigration based on family ties has been, since 1965, the main criterion for admitting new immigrants to the United States. Despite this longstanding practice, in recent years, lawmakers have repeatedly sought to cut back certain categories of family immigration while advocating for a more “skills-based” admissions system.

The rationale underlying this policy preference tends to stress economic reasons. However, this line of thinking focuses almost exclusively on presumed immediate labor market needs, overlooking the fact that family-based immigrants adapt to the U.S. labor market, add economic flexibility, and bring innovation to the economy in ways fundamentally different from immigrants who come to fill specific job openings.

This special report examines the earnings gains over time of all immigrants, as well as the earnings gains experienced by family-based immigrants compared to employment-based immigrants. Among its main findings, the report shows that since 1965 the earnings of immigrants in general have increased dramatically during their first decade in the country. Additionally, working-age immigrant men who come to the United States via family-based channels tend to experience a much greater rate of earnings growth over time than those who come through employment-based channels.


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Racist History of Illegal Immigration | Racist America History


Food for thought.  Where did the concept of illegal immigration even come from?

If you look at who has been kept out of the U.S. over the decades, being "illegal" has a lot to do with race.

The video was produced by Splinter.





June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Sessions Defends Family Separation Policy


This morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Hugh Hewitt radio show defends the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant parents and children.   One telling part of the interview:

"HH: But General, what I’m pressing on, because I’m disturbed by this. I don’t think children should be separated from biological parents at any age, but especially if they’re infants and toddlers. I think it’s traumatic and terribly difficult on the child. Is it absolutely necessary to do so? Can’t we have facilities where parents remain united with kids?

JS: Well, we can, we’d be glad to work at that, and actually, to keep them as close as possible, and then they’re deported. But the law requires us to keep children in a different facility than we do for adults. And every time somebody, Hugh, gets prosecuted in America for a crime, American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children. We don’t want to do this at all. If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We’ve got to get this message out. You’re not given immunity. You have to, you will be prosecuted if you bring, if you come illegally. And if you bring children, you’ll still be prosecuted."

Hewitt, who is an unabashed conservative, sounded to me much more reasonable than the Attorney General in discussing the issues.  Hewitt, for example, was concerned that counsel is not guaranteed immigrants facing removal.  Sessions did not express concern.


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration to Commence Denaturalization Campaign?


As Kit Johnson blogged yesterday (Just Sad), the bad news in immigration keeps coming.  While the world yesterday was focused on the US/North Korea summit, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna told The Associated Press in an interview that his agency is hiring several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of immigrants who were ordered deported and are suspected of using fake identities to later get green cards and citizenship through naturalization.

Cissna said the cases would be referred to the Department of Justice, whose attorneys could then seek to remove the immigrants’ citizenship in civil court proceedings. In some cases, government attorneys could bring criminal charges related to fraud.

Until now, the agency has pursued cases as they arose but not through a coordinated effort, Cissna said. He said he hopes the agency’s new office in Los Angeles will be running by next year but added that investigating and referring cases for prosecution will likely take longer.


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

After Malta and Italy Balk, Spain Offers to Accept More than 600 Refugees on Ship


Al Jazeera reports on a big refugee story from Europe.  Spain's new government has stepped up and offered to take in a rescue ship that is drifting in the Mediterranean sea with 629 refugees and migrants, including 123 unaccompanied minors, on board after Italy and Malta refused to let it dock.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a socialist who took office just over a week ago, gave instructions for the humanitarian vessel to be admitted to the eastern port of Valencia, his office said in a statement yesterday.

The Aquarius took the people, including seven pregnant women, from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya.


The Aquarius picked up nearly 630 migrants, including over 120 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women on Saturday (09/06).  Photo: Getty


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressional Republicans Push on Immigration Reform Vote

As the mid-term elections near, Congress is seeing a push from moderate Republicans on immigration reform.  Sarah D. Wire for the Los Angeles Times reports on the dance among Republicans in Congress on immigration reform and relief for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Will something break in the next few weeks? 

Wire writes that

"GOP House leaders have bumped up against the Tuesday deadline set by moderate Republicans to come up with a compromise immigration proposal. Otherwise, the dissidents intend to act to force a vote on four immigration bills later this month.

Moderate and conservative Republicans have struggled for years to come together on immigration. In recent weeks, Republicans frustrated by Congress’ failure to resolve the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children have pushed the issue back into the spotlight."



Republican Congressmen Jeff Denham (Turlock, CA) has been a leader in the effort to push an immigration bill..


June 12, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Just Sad

Sad Mumby, photo by angela n.

Yesterday, my mom asked me what I thought about the death of Marco Antonio Muñoz. Muñoz, 39, came to the U.S. from Honduras with his wife and three-year-old son. According to the Washington Post, Muñoz "lost it" when Border Patrol informed him that the family would be separated. He was booked into jail because of his extreme combativeness.  That's where he committed suicide.

I'd seen the story about Muñoz, but I just couldn't deal with it. I certainly couldn't talk to my mom about it.

The past few weeks have just been one terrible piece of news after another. A zero-tolerance policy on the border with 100% prosecution of § 1325 crimes. Family separation at the border. The shooting of Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez. Forced labor as material support of terrorism. The suicide of pro-immigrant chef Anthony Bourdain. The detention of pizza delivery man Pablo Villavicencio. Cutting back on domestic violence as the basis for asylum. That's just since MAY 7, people. Thirty-five days.

It's all left me feeling a bit like Sad Mumby.


June 11, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Narrows Asylum Eligibility for Battered Women and Persons Who Flee Gang Violence in Matter of A-B-


In reviewing a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruling, Attorney General Jeff Sessions today issued his ruling in Matter of A-B-.  As the Washington Post succinctly describes the ruling, Sessions concludes that "Victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally won’t qualify for asylum."  The article goes on to state that "Sessions’s ruling overturned a 2016 decision by the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals that said an abused woman from El Salvador was eligible for asylum. The appeals board is typically the highest government authority on immigration law, but the attorney general has the power to assign cases to himself and set precedents."

Attorney General Sessions discussed the ruling today in a training program of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which houses the immigration courts and BIA.  The emphasis of his remarks was on reducing the backlog of cases in the system (not on humanitarian relief to people fleeing violence in their homelands).

Criticism of the ruling was swift.  Former BIA chair Paul Wickham Schmidt on his blog offered critical thoughts about Attorney General Sessions' ruling.  Retired immigration judges and former BIA members responded in a joint statement.  Download Reax to AB 6-11-18 (1)

The following is a quote from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“This narrow interpretation asylum law is a deliberate decision to turn our backs on survivors of domestic abuse and gang violence.

“The United States and this administration are able to afford relief to these individuals under the existing asylum law, but instead are choosing to send them back to countries where their governments and law enforcement cannot protect them.

“Much like the Justice Department’s policy of ripping children from their parents, sending women back to their abusers will not make our nation safer or stronger.”


The following is from a statement from Michelle Lapointe, acting deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center:

“Today’s cruel and heartless decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions – ordering immigration authorities to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence in their home countries – strikes at the heart of longstanding protections guaranteed to asylum seekers, and will condemn tens of thousands of men, women and children to death.

“By declaring that the lack of policing of domestic and gang violence in other countries cannot be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., Sessions is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from seeking refuge in America."


The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:

“From its earliest days, the United States has opened its doors to individuals fleeing oppression and persecution. Today’s decision by the Attorney General is yet another attempt to close our doors. Through our work serving detained mothers and children in Dilley, Texas, we see firsthand the trauma of domestic and gang violence and the desperate need for protection. The Attorney General’s decision—if permitted to stand—will no doubt result in sending countless mothers and children back to their abusers and criminal gangs. Turning our backs on victims of violence and deporting them to grave danger should not be the legacy sought by any administration.”

Stay tuned to this blog for analysis of the ruling in A-B-.


June 11, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

From the Bookshelves: Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together by Andrew Selee


Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together by Andrew Selee

Wall or no wall, deeply intertwined social, economic, business, cultural, and personal relationships mean the US-Mexico border is more like a seam than a barrier, weaving together two economies and cultures.

Mexico faces huge crime and corruption problems, but its remarkable transformation over the past two decades has made it a more educated, prosperous, and innovative nation than most Americans realize. Through portraits of business leaders, migrants, chefs, movie directors, police officers, and media and sports executives, Andrew Selee looks at this emerging Mexico, showing how it increasingly influences our daily lives in the United States in surprising ways--the jobs we do, the goods we consume, and even the new technology and entertainment we enjoy.

From the Mexican entrepreneur in Missouri who saved the US nail industry, to the city leaders who were visionary enough to build a bridge over the border fence so the people of San Diego and Tijuana could share a single international airport, to the connections between innovators in Mexico's emerging tech hub in Guadalajara and those in Silicon Valley, Mexicans and Americans together have been creating productive connections that now blur the boundaries that once separated us from each other.


June 11, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: IMMIGRATION AND CRIME AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF IMMIGRATION by Rubén G. Rumbaut, Katie Dingeman, and Anthony Robles


IMMIGRATION AND CRIME AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF IMMIGRATION by Rubén G. Rumbaut, Katie Dingeman, and Anthony Robles.   The Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies, , edited by Steven J. Gold and Stephanie J. Nawyn, in press


Historically in the United States, periods of large-scale immigration have been accompanied by perceptions of threat and stereotypes of the feared criminality of immigrants. A century ago major commissions investigated the connection of immigration to crime; each found lower levels of criminal involvement among the foreign-born. The present period echoes that past. Over the past quarter century, alarms have been raised about large-scale immigration, and especially about undocumented immigrants from Latin America. But over the same period, violent crime and property crime rates have been cut in half.


June 11, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Raids Worry Some Employers


The Bush administration conducted immigration raids, with the raid at a poultry processing plant in Postville, Iowa in 2008 a fampus example. The Obama administration moved away from workplace raids as an immigration enforcement tool.  The Trump administration has returned to raids as part of "zero tolerance" immigration enforcement.  Jon Seewer of the Associated Press reports on the impacts of a raid last week in Ohio.

"Aleady facing a severe labor shortage, landscaping businesses that can’t keep up with booming demand for backyard patios and fire pits worry that an immigration raid that rounded up over 100 people last week will make it even tougher to persuade Congress to allow more foreign workers into America for seasonal jobs.Owners of landscaping companies near Tuesday’s sting in the Lake Erie resort city of Sandusky and nearby Castalia, which targeted workers with forged documents in one of the largest actions at a workplace in recent years, said it sent a shiver of apprehension through their industry."

If the Trump administration conducts raids on farms and dairies, we can expect similar concerns to be expressed.


June 11, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)