Sunday, June 17, 2018

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Issues Letter to Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Denouncing Separation of Immigrant Families


The Trump administration's family separation policy along the border was subject of a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Issues Letter to Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Denouncing Separation of Immigrant Families.



June 17, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused of political bias in hiring immigration judges


A lengthy article in The Guardian reviews claims that Attorney General Jeff Sessions engaged in political bias in hiring immigration judges.  As found by the Department of Justice Inspector General, the Bush administration engaged in similar political vetting. 


June 17, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Scholar's Circle: Immigration Policy and Human Rights Crisis


This Scholar's Circle podcast, with Maria Amoudian, considers the question whether America is facing a human rights crisis with its immigration policy? With reports of indefinite detentions and separating children from their families, the show explores how we got here, what the political and legal ramifications are, and what happens next for America. [ dur: 35 mins. ]  Sociologist David Kyle joins me in discussing the issues.


June 17, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Billionaire Tom Steyer investing $1M to help immigrants fight deportation


Earlier this week, billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer announced his plans to invest an additional $1 million in efforts to help immigrant legal aid groups fight deportation cases. Steyer made the announcement while delivering remarks at an annual gathering of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the outlet reported.

"Legal services are an indispensable resource for our immigrant families, and until we address the immigration system in a comprehensive and humane way, it is vital that these programs be expanded and strengthened," said Steyer.

For details, see this article in The Hill.


June 17, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Father's Day Protest of Trump's Family Separation Policies

VIGIL: Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, 3700 W Ursula Avenue, South McAllen, TX 78503

On Father’s Day, Families Gather at Detention Center to Protest Trump’s Family Separation Policies

#FamiliesBelongTogether #JusticeOnFathersDay

South McAllen, Texas –  On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17 at 1 p.m. CTPeople’s Action will join families, advocates, and allies holding a vigil in front of the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center in South McAllen, Texas in support of all the children held inside without their parents.

People’s Action Director George Goehl will be at the border vigil along with other People’s Action families. We are joining in demanding that the Trump administration end its cruel policies of separating parents from their children at the border and traumatizing immigrant families.

“We are witnessing a whole new level of attack on migrant families,” said Goehl. “There is no question the race and ethnicity of those who are seeking asylum is the determining factor in the crisis that Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump have manufactured. Our country’s history is marked by moments where we stood down racism and hatred and moments where we didn’t.  As a nation, let’s get it right this time.”

What to expect:

  • During the Sunday vigil, an 11-year-old girl from Florida will share messages of support from children in her community.
  • Fathers and grandfathers, faith leaders and community members from around the country are leaving their home to attend the vigil.
  • People’s Action participants are traveling from as far away as New York and the mountains of North Carolina, many bringing their children.

WHERE: Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center: 3700 W Ursula Avenue, South McAllen, TX 78503

WHEN: Sunday, June 17 at 1 p.m. CT

WHO: Families, activists and representatives of National Domestic Workers Alliance,  People’s Action, United We Dream, ACLU, America’s Voice,Women’s Refugee Commission, Faith in Action and Fuerza del Valle

Background: The family trauma is unfathomable in McAllen:

  • Authorities ripped a baby from the arms of her Honduran mother, as she was breastfeeding;

  • More than 1,500 children are being housed in a former Walmart;

  • As reported by Nick Miroff of the Washington Post, Marco Antonio Muñoz, a Honduran father who was separated from his wife and child, committed suicide while in detention. Muñoz fled violence in Honduras.


June 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Every Picture Tells a Story: Family Separation Policy's Human Impacts


A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border ( John Moore/Getty Images )

This compelling photograph reveals the human costs of the Trump administration's family separation policy.  The policy is creating a world-wide reaction.


June 16, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stephen Colbert Takes on Family Separation Policy


Just like daytime television, late night television is focused on the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant families.  The Late Show with Stephen Colbert took on the issue earlier this week:  "The United States is using cruelty as a deterrent on our southern border. But don't worry, Jeff Sessions found an applicable bible verse."

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is a late night talk show on CBS.


June 16, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Jimmy Kimmel Welcomes Immigrants to America


Jimmy Kimmel celebrates Flag Day:  Flag Day was started in 1916 and it is a day for patriotism. We have heard a lot lately about immigrants and immigration, and we seem to have forgotten that this is a nation of immigrants. People who come to this country because they believe they can build a better life. Every week immigrants from all over the world take the oath of citizenship in courthouses, libraries and auditoriums across the country, without much pomp or circumstance. Becoming an American shouldn't feel like a visit to the DMV. It's a big deal and we think it deserves a big deal, so we invited a group of brand new citizens to come to the show for the introduction to this country they deserve.

Kimmel serves as host and executive producer of Emmy-winning "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC's late-night talk show.

Hat tip to Professor Carter "Cappy" White!


June 15, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexico seeks to become ‘country of refuge’ as US cracks down on migrants


Mexico has been doing the U.S.‘s 'dirty work’ on immigration for too long, says the front-runner in the country’s July 1 presidential election. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo          

Luis Gomez Romero for The Conversation looks at changing immigration enforcement policy in Mexico.  Immigration is an issue in the presidential campaign.  None of the candidates are taking a Trump-like stance with respect to Central American migration.


June 15, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration: Something "Biblical" to Separating Immigrant Families?


Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House spokesperson see something "biblical"  in enforcing the laws by separating immigrant families as a matter of policy. For more on this story, click here.



June 15, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Read: House Republicans release their draft “compromise” immigration bill


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Ella Nilsen on Vox reports on one or two immigration bills that the House will vote on next week.  House Republicans have released a first draft of their new “compromise” immigration bill, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.”

Nilsen describes the bill as follows:

"The nearly 300-page bill is one of two that the entire House will vote on next week. It is considered a moderate alternative to the conservative bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Most importantly, the new bill provides a pathway to citizenship for young unauthorized immigrants known as DREAMers, allowing legalized immigrants to apply for green cards after five years, based on a points system.

The new bill also contains $25 billion to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and it contains a provision that the government can cancel Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals visas if the wall funding is rescinded. It also contains a number of other things that likely won’t be palatable to Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans, including ending the diversity visa lottery program.

As there’s been an uproar about the new Trump administration policy of separating undocumented families — including those seeking asylum — at the border, the bill includes a provision that would prevent family separation."

The Hill reports that President Trump has stated that he will not sign the more "moderate" bill.


June 15, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

HONY: Diversity Visa

Humans of New York recently interviewed this young man from Benin:


Here's what he had to say:

“I’m from a small country in Africa called Benin. I won the visa lottery to come here. I didn’t even know I was eligible. My brother entered my name and didn’t even tell me. I was studying to be a psychiatrist at the time. I assumed that I’d be able to continue with medical school. But when I arrived here, I found out that none of my credits would transfer. I had a choice: either go home and become a doctor, or start from the bottom. I didn’t speak any English. I didn’t have any money. But I knew if I could somehow make it here, my degree would be much more valuable. So I made the choice to stay. I began practicing English with my young nieces. The first thing I learned was: ‘I’m going to kick you.’ I got a job with a catering company and learned how to say ‘I’m here to deliver your food.’ I studied as many YouTube videos as I could during my free time. It’s been three years now. I’m almost finished with my bachelor’s degree. Just two classes left. At nights I work as a behavioral specialist in a mental health facility. I’m going to take the MCAT in September. My friends back home have all become doctors already, but I try not to think about them. I don’t want to lose my focus. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m making it.”

This kind of first-person story-telling might be a great addition to your discussion of the diversity visa.


June 15, 2018 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)