Saturday, February 18, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: Improvised Transnationalism: Clandestine Migration at the Border of Anthropology and International Relations by Noelle K. Brigden


Improvised Transnationalism: Clandestine Migration at the Border of Anthropology and International Relations by Noelle K. Brigden


To travel undetected by state authorities and criminal predators, Central Americans pass as Mexican during their journey to the United States. This ‘passing’ underscores the ambiguities of social roles, such as nationality. Over time, these performances partially reconstruct imagined communities, blurring the boundaries between foreigners and citizens. However, international-relations scholarship tends to overlook how uncoordinated everyday practice complicates borders in a globalized world. By tracing the co-constitutive relationship between migration policing, national performances, and transnational routes, this article reveals the makeshift nature of the identities that underscore distinctions between citizens and foreigners. I argue for the continued inclusion of ethnography as a method for exploring the dynamic relationship between territory, state, and nation. Migrants complicate borders, but also suffer the very real, material consequences of both state and nonstate violence. My analysis of clandestine transnationalism therefore chronicles challenges to, and reconfigurations of, sovereignty.


February 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 17, 2017

AP: Trump weighs mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups

The Associated Press is reporting that

"The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly . . . ."

Here is the memo, which, among other things, calls for the expansion of the 287g program.


After the news of the proposal broke, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that the administration was considering anything like it. 


February 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fearing deportation, undocumented mother seeks refuge in Denver church



Hans Meyer, the lawyer for Jeanette Vizguerra, addresses supporters and the news media as Vizguerra seeks sanctuary at First Unitarian Society in Denver on Feb. 15. (Marc Piscotty / Getty Images).  Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

The world is watching Jeanette Vizguerra, who is now living a life of sanctuary in a church basement in Denver to avoid deportation.  Seeking sanctuary in a church, a tradition dating to the middle ages, has been accepted in America for generations, with government officials, in most instances, honoring the practice.  President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement promises and recent raids and roundups around the country have immigrants frightened and concerned

"We really have no idea what to expect from ICE this time around,” said the Rev. Mike Moran of the First Unitarian Society of Denver.  Moran’s church is Vizguerra’s sanctuary. The same church also gave sanctuary to Arturo Hernandez Garcia in 2014.


February 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At The Movies: Out of Status

About ten years ago, we told you about a new documentary film called Out of Status. It's just been released on youtube.

The film highlights how, post 9/11, Muslim immigrants were profiled, held, subjected to abusive treatment, and deported. Keep an eye out for immprofs Mike Wishnie and Nancy Morawetz who both appear in the film.


February 17, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Art Museum Without Immigrant Art? Davis Museum at Wellesley College


The Davis Museum at Wellesley College announced that it will demonstrate the critical role that immigrants to the United States have played in the arts, both in their creative contributions as well as their stewardship of the visual arts, with an initiative called, Art-Less.
In support of the American Association of Museum Director’s statement on President Trump’s recent executive order, the Museum will de-install or shroud all works of art in its permanent collections galleries that were either created by or given to Wellesley’s art collection by immigrants to the United States. This means approximately 120 works of art—roughly 20 percent of the objects on view in the Museum’s permanent collections galleries—will be either taken down or covered in black cloth.
“Every permanent collections gallery will be affected by the subtraction of works created by or given to the Museum by an immigrant to the United States,” said Claire Whitner, Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Collections, and overseer of the project. 
“Art-Less demonstrates in stark and indisputable terms the impact of immigration on our collections,” said Lisa Fischman, the Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis, “and we proudly take the opportunity to signal that impact, to honor the gifts of creativity and generosity that make the Davis Museum and the Wellesley community great.” 

At the Davis Museum, paintings will be taken off the walls, and objects under cases will be covered in black cloth. Paintings, bronze and wood sculptures, ceremonial masks, and more from the European, American, African, contemporary, and modern collections will be disrupted by this intervention.  Absences created by the removal or obscuring of works from view will be marked with labels that indicate “made by an immigrant” or “given by an immigrant.”

In one particularly poignant example, the space that is usually occupied by a stately portrait of George Washington will be bare, even as President’s Day takes place next Monday. 


February 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

On a ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ Workers Show Their Presence by Staying Home


Liz Robbins and Annie Correal of the New York Times report on the "Day Without Immigrants" protests across the United States.  It first spread on social media, rippling through immigrant communities: a call to boycott. In the New York region and around the country, many cooks, carpenters, plumbers and grocery store owners decided to answer it and not work on Thursday as part of a national “day without immigrants” in protest of the Trump administration’s policies toward them.


February 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Power of a Presumption: California as a Laboratory for Unauthorized Immigrant Workers' Rights by Kati L. Griffith


The Power of a Presumption: California as a Laboratory for Unauthorized Immigrant Workers' Rights by Kati L. Griffith, Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 3, 2017  

February 2, 2017

Abstract:  In recent years, California has served as the primary laboratory for policy experimentation related to unauthorized immigrant workers’ rights. No other state, to date, has advanced comparable policy initiatives that preserve state-provided workers’ rights regardless of immigration status. Through close examination of two open Supremacy Clause questions under California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the article illustrates that states can, as a constitutional matter, and should, as a policy matter, serve as laboratories for unauthorized immigrant worker rights. Exploring the outer boundaries of state action in this area is particularly compelling given the significant labor force participation of unauthorized immigrants in low-wage jobs in the United States, given the disproportionate labor rights violations experienced by this population and given thirty years of federal legislative inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.


February 17, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

President Trump says new travel ban is on the way


Breaking News!  President Trump said today that his administration will soon release a new, narrower executive order on travel to replace his January 27 immigration executive order that the courts temporarily barred from implementation.  In a brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today, the Department of Justice argued that the court was wrong in its move to not reinstate the travel ban but that the U.S. government did not seek a reconsideration of the decision because a new executive order, which would supersede the old, is in the works.

The relevant section of the brief reads as follows:

"the United States does not seek en banc review of the merits of the panel’s ruling. Rather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns. Cf. Op. 24 (declining to narrow the district court’s overbroad injunction because “[t]he political branches are far better equipped to make appropriate distinctions”). In so doing, the President will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation. Under the unusual circumstances presented here—including the extraordinarily expedited proceedings and limited briefing to the panel, the complexity and constitutional magnitude of the issues, the Court’s sua sponte consideration of rehearing en banc, and respect for the President’s constitutional responsibilities—the government respectfully submits that the most appropriate course would be for the Court to hold its consideration of the case until the President issues the new Order and then vacate the panel’s preliminary decision. To facilitate that disposition, the government will notify the Court of the new Order as soon as it is issued."



February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Noncitizens Are Not Voting. Here Are the Facts

Immigration Law & Border Enforcement: A One Week Summer Program for Law Students

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Immigration Law and Border Enforcement is a one-week, 3-credit class open to law students around the country. The program is c0-sponsored by Hofstra Law and UC San Diego's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and will be held in San Diego, California. Classes begin on Sunday May 21 and will run through Saturday May 27, with students returning home on Sunday May 28.

The program features field trips to the border, a detention center, a consulate, and immigration court. Students will have the opportunity to meet with CBP officers, ICE lawyers, Department of State consular officials, and EOIR judges, as well as immigration attorneys and advocates.

Interested students should apply by April 7, 2017.


February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Celebrating Presidents Day with Naturalization Ceremonies


On February 20, we celebrate Presidents Day to honor the birth of our nation’s first president, George Washington, and all presidents who have led this country.

Each year, USCIS marks this holiday with naturalization ceremonies across the country. This year, we will welcome more than 25,000 new citizens in 162 naturalization ceremonies between February 14 and 22. A list of highlighted ceremonies is below.

We encourage you to share your experiences and photos from naturalization ceremonies through Twitter and other social media, using the hashtag #newUScitizen. You can also follow @USCIS on Twitter, and @uscis on Instagram.


Date Location City, State
February 14, 2017 Oregon State Capital Salem, Oregon
February 14, 2017 History Colorado Center Denver , Colorado
February 15, 2017 Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles, California
February 15, 2017 Brentwood Community Center Brentwood, California
February 15, 2017 Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles, California
February 16, 2017 USCIS West Palm Beach Field Office West Palm Beach, Florida
February 16, 2017 USCIS Chicago Field Office Chicago, Illinois
February 17, 2017 Lilburn Branch Library Lilburn, Georgia
February 17, 2017 Iwo Jima Memorial Monument Harlingen, Texas
February 17, 2017 Beaverton City Library Beaverton, Oregon
February 20, 2017 Chicago City Hall Council Chambers Chicago, Illinois
February 21, 2017 Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Site Buffalo, New York
February 21, 2017 Maidu Community Center Library Roseville, California
February 21, 2017 USCIS Fort Myers Field Office Fort Myers, Florida
February 21, 2017 Washington Crossing Historic Park Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
February 21, 2017 Meeker Middle School Tacoma, Washington
February 22, 2017 USCIS Newark Field Office Newark, New Jersey
February 22, 2017 USCIS Chicago Field Office Chicago, Illinois
February 22, 2017 Edmunds Middle School Burlington, Vermont
February 22, 2017 George Washington's Mount Vernon Mount Vernon, Virginia


February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Korean Immigrants in the United States


Korean Immigrant Population in the United States, 1980-2015

This Migration Information Source Spotlight on Korean Immigrants in the United States reports that approximately 1 million Korean immigrants (overwhelmingly from South Korea) lived in the United States in 2015, representing 2.4 percent of the U.S. immigrant population. While earlier waves consisted largely of unskilled laborers and their families, contemporary Korean immigration boasts high socioeconomic standing and Koreans are generally considered among the most successful immigrant groups.


February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why a Wall Won't Stop Immigration

The last two posts (here and here) both dealt with why it is that walls are ineffective in halting migration. Let's let #AdamRuinsEverything break it down for you in an even more palatable way:

While a "college humor" broadcast, this clip is heavily footnoted by way of an online list of all sources used in the video (including a shout out to Mae Ngai!). Impressive.


February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Big, beautiful’ walls don’t stop migrants in the US or Europe

Why tens of thousands of kids from El Salvador continue to flee to the United States


Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times describes the rampant violence in El Salvador that drives so many Salvadorans to flee their native land for the United States.  Here is a capsule summary:

"Although a fierce military crackdown on El Salvador’s two main warring gangs has chipped away at violent crime in the last year, this tiny Central American nation remains one of the most dangerous places on Earth, with a per capita homicide rate more than 15 times that of the United States.

Children as young as 9 are recruited for gang membership. Extortion is rampant, with gangs squeezing street vendors, restaurant owners and even grandmothers for cash.

Last year, nearly 1 in 4 people were victims of a crime, according to a poll conducted by Central American University, which also found that more than 40% of Salvadorans hoped to leave the country within a year. In certain areas . . . , located on a strategic drug route on the Pacific Coast, many people rarely venture out after dark."


February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Migrants Resist Systemic Discrimination and Dehumanization in Private, For-Profit Detention Centers by Elvia R. Arriola and Virginia M. Raymond

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Migrants Resist Systemic Discrimination and Dehumanization in Private, For-Profit Detention Centers by Elvia R. Arriola and Virginia M. Raymond, Santa Clara Journal of International Law (2017)

Abstract:  In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiated a policy of detaining women and children asylum-seekers in detention centers across the country, rather than releasing them after arrest to pursue their claims while living in the community with extended family members, churches, shelters run by non-profit organizations, or other private individuals. Human rights advocates at the local, national, and international levels have condemned the fact of detention, the pretense that these refugees pose any “threat to national security,” the length of detention, and the conditions of detention facilities.  Moreover, many of the detention facilities are run by private, for-profit prison corporations, meaning that their operations are even less transparent than federal or state operated institutions.  Despite harsh conditions, women asylum-seekers and immigrants have consistently resisted their incarceration.  In explaining the origins and consequences of this policy, as well as of the burgeoning phenomenon of “crimmigration” (the intersection of criminal law with immigration law) this article argues that there is a punitive character to the supposed “civil” immigration detention process.  The article argues that the punitive and inhumane aspects of for-profit based immigration detention can and should be linked to broader historical and political aspects of U.S. racial history, including the rise of the prison industrial complex and the social construction of the undocumented border crosser into a presumptive criminal identity. The article explains that once in detention arrested migrants face a range of inhumane consequences stemming from the overall impact of recent changes in Department of Homeland Security policy. The article argues that the harshest impact of these changes in law and policy by immigration authorities is on members of vulnerable groups who turn themselves in at the border and request asylum.  Once in the system they must overcome obstructive, procedural barriers while also being detained and treated like presumed criminals by staff in for-profit detention centers who are not accountable for their mistreatment of detainees. The article draws upon the words of women and LGBT detainees themselves to illustrate the discriminatory effects of the government’s continued reliance on for-profit prison corporations to operate immigration detention centers.  The narratives herein were gathered by the authors’ first-hand knowledge, either from Dr. Raymond’s representation of formerly detained refugees or from an educational delegation produced by Professor Arriola which included first-hand meetings and interviews with migrants at the South Texas Detention Center.

February 16, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Summer School on Global and Regional Migration Governance in Geneva


Learn about migration governance from leading international organizations and experts

  • Gain an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Network with experts working in the field
  • Visit the leading organizations in international Geneva
  • Learn about regional migration initiatives

The summer school offers a unique opportunity to learn and discuss about structures, actors, processes and challenges of global and regional migration governance in dialogue with international academic experts and practitioners from pertinent international organizations and NGOs based in Geneva. This will be achieved through lectures from academics and experts in the field and visits of leading organizations and NGOs like ILO, IOM, UNHCR and ICRC in combination with targeted workshops.

A Global perspective…

Next to lectures on the causes, forms and implications of forced and voluntary migration, the focus will be on the multi-layered governance of international mobility, migrant rights, and refugee protection. Academic lectures will include inputs from different social science disciplines including law, political science, sociology and international relations. Students will learn about the main commonalities and differences in how states regulate the entry and stay of the different categories of international migrants before getting to know the principal structures and regulations addressing these questions at the level of regions and international institutions.

... in combination with regional insights

Benefiting from targeted lectures by regional experts and representatives of international organizations, particular emphasis will be put on the role of regional initiatives in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe in interaction with multilateral institutions in promoting international cooperation on migration governance. Herewith, the Summer School directly addresses the agenda laid down by the United Nations' New York Declaration on Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees adopted on 19 September 2016.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course, participants will have a profound understanding of the state of play of international (regional and global) migration policy, politics and law today and will have established a network of contacts with academics and practitioners working in the field. This will allow them to either orient their future studies or refresh and extend existing knowledge.


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

Witnessing the Impact of the Border Security EO on One Immigration Detention Facility, by Lauren Gilbert


In this guest post, Lauren Gilbert describes the impact of the Executive Order on Border Security on one immigration detention facility:

"With all attention on the Muslim ban and building The Wall, the Trump Administration seems to have diverted our attention from their other plans to roll out the January 25, 2017 Executive Order on Border Security.  Although that Executive Order includes a lot of language regarding The Wall, there's also other troubling language that the Administration already appears to be implementing.  Two of my students and I spent all of Friday at a detention facility with students and a faculty member from another area law school.  We were amazed by the number and diversity of folks in detention.  Our students did know-your-rights presentations to different groups, intakes, and talked with as many folks as we could.  I would summarize my observations about what we saw as follows.  While the Executive Order on border security appears to authorize immediate construction of the wall, it also does the following:

  • Calls for the expansion of expedited removal to anyone not in U.S. for the last two years
  • Build and expand use of detention facilities and contracts with local law enforcement Detain Central American asylum seekers with pending claims, even those who've been released on parole and passed credible fear
  • Dramatically limit use of parole to humanitarian situations
  • Use ICE/ERO and alternatives to detention to round up parolees
  • Use local law enforcement to arrest and detain immigrants and asylum seekers

This implementation is bound to affect many of the women and children we served at Karnes, Texas last December, both those women who passed their CFIs as well as the women who were released on their own recognizance.  It also affects many other immigrants in our community without secure immigration status.   

One Guatemalan I spoke with who was out on parole and who had passed credible fear was taken back into detention when he went to his ICE/ERO appointment.  He went to the appointment with his wife and three kids, who had recently arrived and had been paroled for a year.  They took him into detention, but not his wife and kids, who have no means of support.  A Salvadoran with a pending asylum case in Texas whose motion to change venue was denied by an IJ in Texas seemed to be lost in the system and didn't know how he could present his case.  A group of about a dozen Mexican construction workers who one of my students met with were rounded up at the construction site at the end of the day.  Other people had been picked up on traffic violations.  ICE came to the home of a Middle Eastern student who was trying to transfer to another school, asked him about terrorist activities, and ordered him to appear at a local office, where he was arrested and detained.  And these were just a handful of the people we spoke with.   

The message that they are no longer welcome here appears to be getting through, and many folks who otherwise appear eligible for some form of relief just wanted to go home.   

The level of cruelty exhibited by this Administration is staggering, even though not unexpected."


February 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Argument preview: Justices take on issues arising out of cross-border shooting


Sergio Hernández at his elementary school graduation (Courtesy of the family of Sergio Hernández)

The militarization of the U.S./Mexico border in the name of immigration enforcement has had casualties.  Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog previews the oral argument on February 21 in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that deals with one of the casualties.  In Hernández v. Mesa, the parents of Sergio Hernández, a Mexican teen shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent while standing on Mexican soil, are seeking to sue the agent responsible for their son’s death in U.S. courts. Supporting Mesa, the federal government insists that allowing suits like this one could “significantly disrupt the ability of the political branches to respond to foreign situations involving” the U.S.’s national interest, while the Mexican government – supporting the parents – suggests that shutting the lawsuit down could harm U.S.-Mexico relations.

The questions presented to the Court are

(1) whether a formalist or functionalist analysis governs the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unjustified deadly force, as applied to a cross-border shooting of an unarmed Mexican citizen in an enclosed area controlled by the United States;

(2) whether qualified immunity may be granted or denied based on facts – such as the victim’s legal status – unknown to the officer at the time of the incident; and

(3) whether the claim in this case may be asserted under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents.


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

Trump Administration Seeks to Remove DACA Recipient, Alleges He is a Mexican "Gang Banger"


During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump commenced his campaign by labeling Mexican immigrants as criminals (later referring to them as "bad hombres") and later promised to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created by President Obama through executive action.  DACA recipients, who number in the millions, have been fearful of when and how DACA might be dismantled.  Although he has issued three immigration executive orders, President Trump has not yet addressed DACA.

The Los Angeles Times now reports that immigration agents have detained and threatened to deport a 23-year-old immigrant in Washington state who came to the U.S. without legal authorization as a 7-year-old and later received protection under DACA.  He has filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court, signed by a group of prominent attorneys, including constitutional law scholars Laurence Tribe and Erwin Chemerinsky

Daniel Ramirez Medina  was arrested at his father’s home south of Seattle last Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to the lawsuit. Ramirez is being held at a federal immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Washington.

ICE officials said Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member” who was detained as a “risk to public safety.”  Ramirez’s attorneys, who say Ramirez has never been convicted of a crime, denied the gang claim “unequivocally” and said he was “repeatedly pressured by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation.

For more details, click here and here.




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