Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: Inclusive Immigrant Justice: Racial Animus and the Origins of Crime-Based Deportation by Alina Das,


Inclusive Immigrant Justice: Racial Animus and the Origins of Crime-Based Deportation

Alina Das,  52 U.C. Davis Law Review (2018 Forthcoming)


This is one of the papers to be published in the UC Davis Law Review Symposium on "Immigration and Resistance." 

The merger of immigration and criminal law has transformed both systems, amplifying the flaws in each. In critiquing this merger, most scholarly accounts begin with legislative changes in the 1980s and 1990s that vastly expanded criminal grounds of deportation and eliminated many forms of discretionary relief. As a result of these changes, immigrant communities have experienced skyrocketing rates of detention and deportation, with a disparate impact on people of color. Despite increasing awareness of the harshness of the modern system, however, many people still view criminal records as a relatively neutral mechanism for identifying immigrants as priorities for detention and deportation. Drawing on the early history of crime-based deportation, this essay argues that criminal records have never been a neutral means for prioritizing immigrants for detention and deportation from the United States. Rather, as this essay sets forth, racial animus has driven the creation and development of crime-based deportation from the beginning.


November 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Latest Assault on Immigrants and the Need to Preserve TPS

Last week, the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans.  Debbie Smith, Associate General Counsel for Immigration Law, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on the American Constiytution Society Blog responds to the Trump administration's decision and the threats to TPS for noncitizens from countriies from other than from Nicaragua.  Smith concludes:

"Congressional representatives have introduced two bills to provide a path to legal residency for TPS beneficiaries and another bill is expected. Representative Carlos Curbelo, (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to grant legal permanent resident status Nicaraguan, Honduran, Salvadoran and Haitian migrants. A second bill sponsored by Representative Velázquez (D-NY) would provide a pathway to legal resident status and citizenship for immigrants from all of the TPS countries and well as those granted another humanitarian benefit, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).  

Advocates continue to fight to preserve TPS and prevent the wholesale removal of hundreds of thousands of TPS beneficiaries from the ten TPS countries, El SalvadorHaitiHondurasNepalNicaraguaSomaliaSudanSouth SudanSyriaYemen. Without public pressure and congressional intervention, the decades-old bipartisan understanding that the U.S. should offer a safe landing to those in critical need will be broken and our national pride diminished." 


November 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ninth Circuit Allows Part of Travel Ban 3.0 to Go into Effect


ninth-circuit-logoYesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (order here) restored the latest travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump. Jonathan Turley, who has criticized (here and here) the challenges to the travel ban, opines here that "the Ninth Circuit is on solid ground in ruling the government can bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States."

The connection to the United States are defined as family relationships which  include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.  The term can also include and “formal, documented” relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies.

The decision reverses parts of the lower court decision by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu.


November 14, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Duckworth: Investigate ICE Violations of Sensitive Locations Enforcement

Duckworth Joins Call for Investigations into Reported Violations of Immigration Enforcement at Sensitive Locations

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Following reports that a young girl with cerebral palsy was detained on her way to receive surgery, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and 12 other senators today in calling for an investigation into ongoing violations of federal policies regarding immigration enforcement at sensitive locations like schools, hospitals and religious institutions. Senator Duckworth has been outspoken about the harmful effects of invasive U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforcement actions in personal spaces like schools, churches and hospitals.

“If these reports are accurate, these actions are not only horrifying—they are also an egregious violation of established Department policy,” the Senators wrote. “We ask that the Department launch an investigation into possible violations of the sensitive locations policy.”

The Senators’ letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Acting Customs and Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan details the reported detention of a 10-year-old girl who was stopped by immigration authorities on her way to the hospital for gallbladder surgery. Armed agents later arrested her directly from her hospital bed as she was recovering from the surgery. Last month, following a National Public Radio report on the parents of a two-month-old baby who were apprehended at a hospital while seeking lifesaving medical care for their son, Duckworth and a group of 20 Senators wrote Duke to seek answers about the Department’s current immigration enforcement policies. The Senators have not yet received a response to their inquiry.

The ICE and CBP sensitive locations policies state that enforcement actions at sensitive locations should be avoided whenever possible and require either exigent circumstances or prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official. Last year, federal agents arrested an undocumented immigrant after luring him out of a church service in Schaumburg, Illinois. Duckworth raised concerns at the time of the incident and continues her work today to ensure DHS does not violate ICE and CBP sensitive locations policies. Today’s letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tom Udall (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Al Franken (D-MN).

The full text of the Senators’ letter is available here and copied below.


November 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Equality, Sovereignty, and the Family in Morales-Santana by Kristin A. Collns


Equality, Sovereignty, and the Family in Morales-Santana

by Kristin A. Collins, Harvard Law Review (Supreme Court Issue, November 2017)

In Sessions v. Morales-Santana, the Supreme Court held that the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows unwed U.S.-citizen mothers — but not U.S.-citizen fathers — to transfer citizenship violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Professor Collins argues that while the opinion develops a progressive vision of gender equality for the non-marital family, it levels-down by not providing unmarried fathers and their children the benefit of the more generous standard afforded to mothers in the citizenship statute. This remedy, Collins argues, demands clarification as it may leave the particular statute at issue undisturbed, and other illiberal forces that shaped the statute at its conception unexamined.


November 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands by Julian Lim


Porous Borders

Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

By Julian Lim

With the railroad’s arrival in the late nineteenth century, immigrants of all colors rushed to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, transforming the region into a booming international hub of economic and human activity. Following the stream of Mexican, Chinese, and African American migration, Julian Lim presents a fresh study of the multiracial intersections of the borderlands, where diverse peoples crossed multiple boundaries in search of new economic opportunities and social relations. However, as these migrants came together in ways that blurred and confounded elite expectations of racial order, both the United States and Mexico resorted to increasingly exclusionary immigration policies in order to make the multiracial populations of the borderlands less visible within the body politic, and to remove them from the boundaries of national identity altogether. 

Using a variety of English- and Spanish-language primary sources from both sides of the border, Lim reveals how a borderlands region that has traditionally been defined by Mexican-Anglo relations was in fact shaped by a diverse population that came together dynamically through work and play, in the streets and in homes, through war and marriage, and in the very act of crossing the border.


November 13, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Kagan Recuses Herself in Jennings v. Rodriguez

Oblique_facade_2 _US_Supreme_Court Th

The saga of Jennings v. Rodriguez, an immigrant detention case that has been languishing in the Supreme Court for two Terms, has taken but another bizarre twist.  Unable to reach a decision after the death of Justice Scalia last Term, the Court ordered re-argument in the case, which was held in the first week of the new Term

Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog reports that the fate of the challenge to the long-term detention of immigrants facing deportation without a bond hearing appeared less certain tonight, with the announcement – made over a month after oral argument – that Justice Elena Kagan would no longer participate in the case. In a letter sent to lawyers for the two sides in Jennings v. Rodriguez, the clerk of the Supreme Court indicated that Justice Kagan had learned only today that “while serving as Solicitor General, she authorized the filing of a pleading in an earlier phase” of the case.  

This evening’s announcement was significant for two reasons. First, it raises the possibility that, with Justice Kagan recused, the justices may not be able to reach a decision on the merits of the case. The justices first heard oral argument in the case in November 2016, before Justice Neil Gorsuch was nominated and confirmed. But – presumably because they were deadlocked four to four, although there is no way to know for sure – the justices ordered reargument last summer. If the justices had hoped that Gorsuch could break the stalemate and allow them to resolve the case, Kagan’s absence could throw a wrench into the works.


November 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fewer Foreign Students Are Coming to the United States

Open Doors 2017 cover

Many wondered what impacts the election of President Trump would have on the flow of international students to the United States.  Stephanie Saul of the New York Times reports that the first new college class since the election of Donald J. Trump has arrived on campus, and new numbers confirm what the higher education industry had feared: Fewer foreign students are coming to the United States.

The number of newly arriving international students declined an average 7 percent in fall 2017, with 45 percent of campuses reporting drops in new international enrollment, according to a survey of nearly 500 campuses across the country by the Institute of International Education.

Experts cited an uncertain social and political climate in the United States as part of the reason for the decline in enrollment.


November 13, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Anniversary of Ellis Island's Closing


Ellis Island holds an iconic status in the history of immigrants and immigration in the United States.  Andrew Glass on Politico reminds us that, on this day (November 12) in 1954, the federal government shut down the Ellis Island immigrant reception station in New York Harbor.

From 1892 to 1924, the facility processed some 12 million immigrants. Nowadays, some 40 percent of Americans can trace their familial roots to this gateway to the New World, named for Samuel Ellis, a merchant who owned the land in the 1870s.The island has been administered by the federal government since 1808 and has been operated by the National Park Service since 1965.

On Jan. 2, 1892, Annie Moore, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant, became the first person to pass through the newly opened facility. Two years earlier, President Benjamin Harrison had designated it as America’s first federal immigration center. Before then, individual states took responsibility for processing newcomers to the United States.

The closure came after Arne Peterssen, a seaman detained there for having overstayed his shore leave, became the last person to be processed there. He returned to his native Norway. 


November 12, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Detailed Account of the Dismantling of DACA


This New Yorker article by Jonathan Blitzer offers interesting insights into the operations within the Trump administration that culminated with the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  As the article details,

"a handful of officials in the White House, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security have spent the past year attempting to realize President Trump’s vision of an America that is less welcoming of foreigners. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff; Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General; and Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior adviser, have led this effort. A crucial role has also been played by a lesser-known figure: Gene Hamilton, a lawyer in his mid-thirties who works as a top aide to Sessions at the Justice Department. Federal officials, congressional staffers, advocacy groups, and think-tank researchers know that Hamilton has helped shape Trump’s various travel bans, changes to refugee policies, and the implementation of an aggressive new approach to immigration enforcement. And yet, as one immigration lawyer told me of Hamilton, he’s had such a light footprint.” Hamilton has rarely spoken to the press, and his relatively short career means that few can claim to know the exact nature of his beliefs or goals."

It sounds like  we should learn more about Gene Hamilton if we are interested in understanding the Trump administration's immigration policy initiatives.


November 12, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY LAW REVIEW CALL FOR PROPOSALS -- The Return of Sanctuary Cities: The Muslim Ban, Hurricane Maria, and Everything in Between


The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review is pleased to announce its annual academic Symposium to be held on March 23, 2018 at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  This Symposium will contemplate a broad range of issues associated with Sanctuary Cities – presentations may focus on a specific era – past, present, or future – or may discuss a subject through the past, present and propose future solutions.

Presentation topics could include, but are not limited to:
• The potential consequences of Trump’s immigration policies (including the Muslim Ban);
• The ability or inability of Trump and ICE to carry out these immigration policies;
• The constitutionality of Trump’s and ICE’s policies and actions;
• The efficacy of Program 287(g) and the potential consequences thereof;
• The impact of the Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”) program;
• The efficacy of states’ Sanctuary legislation, like (pro) California and (anti) Texas;
• The ability or inability of cities and states to provide protection to undocumented citizens;
• The rights that undocumented citizens, particularly youth, should enjoy;
• Strategies and policies that cities and states can adopt to protect their undocumented citizens;
• The potential benefits or consequences for cities and states who adopt Sanctuary laws;
• The consequences for the changes made to the DACA program and possible solutions; and
• The position that SCOTUS would take on these issues, including existing legislation & DACA.

The Law Review invites interested individuals to submit an abstract for an opportunity to present at the Symposium. Those interested should send an abstract of 300-400 words that details their proposed topic and presentation. Included with the abstract should be the presenter’s name, contact information, and a copy of their resume/curriculum vitae. Since the above list of topics is non-exhaustive, the Detroit Mercy Law Review encourages all interested parties to develop their own topic to present at the Symposium. In addition, while submitting an article for publication is not required to present at the Symposium, the Law Review encourages all speakers who are selected to submit a piece for publication in the 2018-2019 edition of the Law Review.

The deadline for abstract submissions is December 3, 2017. Individuals selected to present at the Symposium will be contacted by December 10, 2017. Law Review editorial staff will contact those selected for publication in 2018 regarding details and deadlines for full-length publication.

The submissions, and any questions regarding the Symposium or the abstract process, should be directed to Law Review Symposium Director, Jessica Gnitt at gnittje@udmercy.edu. Please cc the Detroit Mercy Law Review Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Tapia, at tapiama@udmercy.edu.


November 12, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: Led Zeppelin

I can't imagine a more rousing way to kick off or end the semester of immigration law than with Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song.

The song is put to excellent use in Thor: Ragnarok. That means this will be a song that your students will actually know, even if they had no clue of its immigration tie!


November 12, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Carlos Donjuan (Mexico)

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 11.14.46 AM

Carlos Donjuan is a Chicano artist and art professor living in Dallas, Texas. Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he immigrated to the US without authorization at the age of three, brought by his parents searching for better opportunities.

His work is arresting - surreal and beautiful. And much of it is explicitly about immigration. Note this statement from his website:

These works invite visitors to journey with Donjuan as he continues to explore his personal narrative of societal constructs and perceptions of illegal immigration.
A product of illegal immigration himself, Donjuan often reflects on his upbringing and the consequences associated with illegal immigration. He continues to redefine and contextualize the terms he has heard as a youth with the goal of a visual translation that everyone can relate to. His work is acutely personal, often referencing family and friends in hopes of gaining a better understanding of his fears of not belonging, failure, and even mortality. A young father himself, he is concerned that his son will face the same moral impressions that perplexed Carlos in adolescence.
This new body of work aims to take on the pejorative term “alien” and looks to playfully appropriate its meaning with figures cloaked in sprightly shapes and patterns. The masked hybrid characters of people and creatures found in Donjuan’s work allows the viewer to be comfortably confronted.

If you're interested in learning more about Carlos Donjuan, check out this interview and this one.


November 11, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2017

No News Here: President Trump, His Immigration Policies Unpopular in California


Cathleen Decker for the Los Angeles Times reports that, a year after his election, President Trump remains wildly unpopular in California, and the state’s voters are split over whether members of Congress should work with him when possible, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has found.

Most California voters praised immigrants and rejected negative characterizations of them that have come from the president and some of his supporters. Eight in 10 said immigrants here without proper documentation were seeking work, not “a handout,” and that they improve the communities in which they live.

Those sentiments were not shared by the bulk of Republicans, a strong majority of whom remain loyal to Trump. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans said they approved of the job he was doing as president; overall only 22% of California voters gave Trump positive marks as president.

Overall, only 21% said California should cooperate completely with Trump’s immigration policies, and 19% said California should cooperate most of the time. Sentiment against cooperation was more extreme, with 33% saying the state should never cooperate and 27% saying it should not cooperate most of the time.

 But the responses differed sharply by political affiliation — 86% of Republicans favored cooperation, while only 16% of Democrats did. Nonpartisan voters were in the middle, with 43% saying cooperation should occur all or most of the time.

Part of the reluctance flowed from the multiethnic makeup of California, where Latinos have become a powerful voting bloc and Asian voters, also often affected by immigration policies, are growing in prominence.

Californians of every demographic description, for example, said that immigrants here without papers had come not for benefits but for work. Even among Republicans, a majority, 57%, said immigrants sought work, while 43% said benefits were their goal. (Immigrants in the country illegally do not qualify for most paid government benefits.) 

Strong majorities of Californians in many groups defended specific criticisms of immigrants in the country illegally.

Most Californians said immigrants strengthen the economy rather than take jobs that would otherwise be filled by citizens. By almost 2 to 1, Californians also said such immigrants help revitalize their communities rather than increase crime.

Republicans took exception to those views. Almost 3 in 4 said immigrants here illegally take jobs that otherwise would be filled by citizens. And 73% of Republicans said immigrants increase crime rather than serve as a positive in their communities


November 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day!  And don't forget our immigrants who served in the armed services.

The U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants reminds posted the following:

In Recognition of Veterans Day

“…I felt I had an obligation to serve the country that helped give my family a new life. It was my way of thanking America.”

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Jamal S. Baadani, a native of Egypt and founder of the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans.

Join us as we recognize and honor the courage and sacrifice of all the men and women, currently serving and those who have served, many of whom are immigrants, who chose to defend our nation. We especially remember the legacy of all the service members we have lost. We thank veterans across the country and honor their unique gifts and histories that together make the mosaic of America.

From the beginning of military conflicts on U.S. soil, refugees and immigrants have served in and fought for our nation.
In 1860, about 13% of the U.S. population was born overseas but one in four members of the Union armed forces was an immigrant. Foreign-born soldiers composed over 18 percent of the U.S. Army during World War I.  As an example, this image portrays the diversity of names of those lost in service to our country.

More recently, over 100,000 immigrants who, since Sept. 11, 2001, have become citizens while wearing the uniform of the United States military have strengthened and protected our nation. In 2016, approximately 2 million veterans, 11% of all veterans, were from an immigrant background. Some currently serving were not born here but they are willing to give their lives for the country they love.  They are part of the 1 percent of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of live who comprise our military and for each and everyone who serves, we are grateful.

More immigrants in the military quotes can be found here.


November 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amid Immigration Crackdown, Cities Step In With Free Legal Aid

Teresa Wiltz on the Huffington Post reports that, because immigration proceedings are civil rather than criminal, participants don’t have a right to a lawyer. But having one is a huge advantage for immigrants seeking to stay here, so as President Donald Trump’s administration tightens enforcement of immigration laws, some cities and states are providing free legal assistance to immigrants facing deportation.

In April, New York became the first state to guarantee legal representation to every noncitizen who has been detained by immigration officials, allocating $10 million in fiscal 2018 for an immigrant defense fund. And in June, California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, earmarked $15 million to provide assistance to noncitizens seeking legal immigration status.

Cities are taking action, too. In 2013, New York City moved to establish the country’s first public defender system for immigrant detainees. This year, the City Council agreed to allocate $10 million for legal aid to immigrants facing deportation in 2018, up from $2.7 million last year.

Over the past year, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., are among the cities that have started offering free legal aid to immigrants in danger of being deported.

But the cities’ efforts aren’t helping immigrants in rural areas, where the dearth of immigration attorneys is especially stark. Immigrants held in federal detention facilities are the least likely — about 14 percent — to have legal representation because they’re more likely to be held in remote locations that are difficult to get to.


November 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

White House Pressures DHS to End TPS for Hondurans

Celebrating Veterans Day 2017 with Naturalization Ceremonies


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will host 23 Veterans Day-themed naturalization ceremonies across the country this year, welcoming veterans, service members and military spouses as America’s newest citizens. More than 1,600 people will take the Oath of Allegiance in these ceremonies that honor the sacrifices military members and their families make by serving our country.

USCIS is committed to bringing immigration services to members of our military and their families. We serve current and former military members wherever they are, offering an expedited naturalization application process and overseas processing for military members, as well as specialized customer service with a dedicated phone line (877-CIS-4MIL) and email support. Since Oct. 1, 2001, USCIS has naturalized more than 125,000 members of the military, with more than 11,300 of those service members becoming citizens during USCIS naturalization ceremonies in over 35 foreign countries.

 “Supporting our military members, veterans and those currently serving, as well as their families, is of utmost importance to our agency,” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said. “I am honored to be part of USCIS on this important day, and I thank all our military members for their duty to this great country.”

USCIS’ Veterans Day activities this year will feature a special naturalization ceremony at Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum in South Carolina on Nov. 13, among other special ceremonies. View a complete list of 2017 Veterans Day-themed naturalization ceremonies.

USCIS invites new citizens, their families and friends to share their experiences and photos from the ceremonies through Twitter and other social media using the hashtag #newUScitizen. Read about military and veteran immigrants we have highlighted on Instagram with hashtag #MeetUS.

This year USCIS is participating in the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission’s countdown to Veterans Day anniversary campaign by posting historical photos related to WWI. The hashtags used for this campaign are #USCISHistory and #CountdownToVeteransDay. The campaign began six weeks before Veterans Day.


November 9, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Wilmot Collins (Liberia), New Mayor of Helena, Montana


Photo courtesy of the Independent Record

The Associated Press reports that voters in Montana's capital have elected a Liberian refugee as their next mayor.

Wilmot Collins ousted four-term Helena Mayor Jim Smith 51 percent to 48 percent Tuesday.  Collins campaigned for more affordable housing, addressing homelessness among military veterans and teens and for increasing staffing for the police and fire departments.

Collins is a state child protection specialist and an adjunct instructor at Helena College — University of Montana. He is also a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves. He fled the civil war in Liberia in the early 1990s.

The Montana Historical Society says Collins is believed to be the first black mayor of Helena in since 1874.


November 9, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

This News Anchor Just Broke A Major Barrier For Afro-Latina Journalists