Friday, September 18, 2015

Forced Labor in the Fishing Industry


Ian Urbina of the New York Times , who previously did a series on 'The Outlaw Ocean," has been working on a new series on forced labor on the high seas

Last week, a group of consumers filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Mars, accusing the company, among the biggest producers of seafood-based pet food in the world, of failing to disclose its dependence on forced labor. A similar lawsuit was filed in late August against Nestlé, also a major producer of seafood-based pet food.

Legislators are considering legislation on forced labor on the seas.  


September 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Citizens: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Celebrations


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is launching new efforts to highlight U.S. citizenship and immigrant civic integration to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. These initiatives will also improve customer service and support aspiring citizens on their path to naturalization.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17 on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Congress first highlighted the significance of U.S. citizenship in 1940 when it designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.” In 1952, Congress shifted the date to Sept. 17 and renamed it “Citizenship Day.” Congress changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” in 2004.

USCIS invites new citizens and their families and friends to share their experiences from the ceremonies via social media using the hashtag #newUScitizen.  Read the list of featured 2015 Constitution Week naturalization ceremonies.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Urges Those Eligible to Naturalize

Today is Constitution Day. And President Obama is taking the occasion to urge those who are eligible to naturalize.

It's not about changing who you are, it's about adding a new chapter to your journey as an American citizen. And to our journey as a nation of immigrants....

If you're eligible, commit to becoming a citizen today. Help others who are ready to take this step as well. It's an important step for you, and an important step for our nation. Join us, together we can make this nation even stronger.

There's another slick video on Facebook that would be a great conversation started in class as well as a link to


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

$17 Million Verdict for Undocumented Workers in Vile Sexual Harassment Case

In a case of appalling allegations --  migrant women farm workers leered at, groped and raped by multiple supervisors at a vegetable farm in Florida, a federal jury in Miami awarded five of the victims—four of whom are undocumented—$17.4 million. The case reminds us that undocumented workers in fact have rights under the law.  

The case was brought in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by the EEOC with Florida Legal Services and Mesa & Coe Law representing the women as intervenors.KJ

September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook is the new travel guide for Iraqis headed to Europe


Erin Cunningham in the Washington Post has an interesting feature on how Facebook is the new travel guide for Iraqi refugees headed to Europe.  Inspired by Syrians arriving to Germany’s cheering crowds, Iraqis have used the social network to crowdsource their own voyages to the continent — sharing tips, maps and contacts in public and private groups now established across the site. They have recruited travel companions, connected with smugglers, documented their travel and urged others to flee.

I guess that social media has some positive uses.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Brian Soucek: Syrian Refugee Crisis: Response From The United States


With 4 million Syrians displaced by a civil war and the so-called Islamic State, the eyes of the world are on the United States and Europe to see how it will respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Germany has accepted more Syrian refugees than any other country, now at 800,000 people this year. The U.S. has accepted 1,500 this year and President Barack Obama said last week that he’s directing the state department to accept up to 10,000 refugees next year. UC Davis law professor Brian Soucek, who specializes in immigration law and policy, joins us to talk about the U.S. role in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. He’ll also explain how the U.S. has responded to past refugee crises, dating back to WWII.  Click here to listen to Professor Soucek's thoughts on the Syrian refugee crisis.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legitimacy and Cooperation: Will Immigrants Cooperate with Local Police Who Enforce Federal Immigration Law?

Legitimacy and Cooperation: Will Immigrants Cooperate with Local Police Who Enforce Federal Immigration Law?  by Adam B. Cox (NYU) and Thomas J. Miles (Chicago) 

 Abstract:  Solving crimes often requires community cooperation. Cooperation is thought by many scholars to depend critically on whether community members believe that law enforcement institutions are legitimate and trustworthy. Yet establishing an empirical link between legitimacy and cooperation has proven elusive, with most studies relying on surveys or lab experiments of people’s beliefs and attitudes, rather than on their behavior in the real world. This Article aims to overcome these shortcomings, capitalizing on a unique natural policy experiment to directly address a fundamental question about legitimacy, cooperation, and law enforcement success: do de-legitimating policy interventions actually undermine community cooperation with the police? The policy experiment is a massive federal immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities. Secure Communities was widely criticized for undermining the legitimacy of local police in the eyes of immigrants, and it was rolled out nationwide over a four-year period in a way that approximates a natural experiment. Using the rate at which police solve crimes as a proxy for community cooperation, we find no evidence that the program reduced community cooperation — despite its massive size and broad scope. The results call into question optimistic claims that discrete policy interventions can, in the short run, meaningfully affect community perceptions of law enforcement legitimacy in ways that shape community cooperation with police.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

President Reagan and Central American Refugees


A new television ad is pushing President Ronald Reagan as a positive visionary on immigration, a contrast to the views being expressed by Donald Trump and other Republican candidates for President.  Although President Reagan did sign into law the last piece of comprehensive immigration reform (Immigration Reform and Control Act), the Reagan administration took tough positions toward Central American asylum-seekers fleeing civil war, including mass detention in remote locations where it was extremely difficult to secure representation.  The administration also criminally prosecuted a number of sanctuary workers who provided assistance to Central American refugees.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Talks Immigration in Iowa

This week, President Obama traveled to Iowa as part of his "2015 Back-to-School Tour." On Monday, he spoke at North High School in Des Moines on college access and affordability. He ended with comments about immigration:

[T]his whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from someplace else. ...

So the notion that now, suddenly, that one generation or two generations, or even four or five generations removed, that suddenly we are treating new immigrants as if they’re the problem, when your grandparents were treated like the problem, or your great-grandparents were treated like the problem, or were considered somehow unworthy or uneducated or unwashed -- no.  That’s not who we are.  It’s not who we are.

We can have a legitimate debate about how to set up an immigration system that is fair and orderly and lawful. ...  [W]hen I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids, or less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care -- I think that’s un-American.  I do not believe that.  I think it is wrong.  And I think we should do better.  Because that’s how America was made -- by us caring about all our kids.

You can watch the video of his remarks here.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clamp Down on Refugees in Hungary


Map from Wikipedia


Al Jazeera reports that under a new immigration law that came into effect following the failure of European Union ministers to agree on a common strategy, refugees face deportation and jail terms if they enter Hungary illegally. Hungary has seen almost 200,000 people traveling up from Greece through the western Balkans and entering the country this year, most of them seeking to travel on to Germany. On Monday, Hungary closed the main crossing with Serbia and more states imposed border checks in the face of the continent's ongoing refugee crisis. Hungary will also reject asylum seekers entering from Serbia who have not previously sought asylum in its southern neighbor.

To enforce the new law, Hungary reportedly has begun mass arrests of migrants seeking to cross the nation without authorization.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump: US is the "dumping ground for the rest of the world"


Former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association David Leopold writes that

"It’s not clear what was the most shocking about Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in Dallas, Texas: his description of undocumented immigrants as part of a `dumping ground for the rest of the world,' or the reaction of the nearly all-white crowd who awarded his rhetoric with a standing ovation and chants of `USA, USA.'”

Click here for more on Trump's speech in Dallas.



September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking by Cheryl Nelson-Butler


The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking by Cheryl Nelson-Butler, Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law,  2015 UCLA Law Review, Vol. 62

Abstract: This Article explores the role of race in the prostitution and sex trafficking of people of color, particularly minority youth, and the evolving legal and social responses in the United States. Child sex trafficking has become a vital topic of discussion among scholars and advocates, and public outcry has led to safe harbor legislation aimed at shifting the legal paradigm away punishing prostituted minors and toward greater protections for this vulnerable population. Yet, policymakers have ignored the connection between race and other root factors that push people of color into America’s commercial sex trade.

This Article argues that race and racism have played a role in creating the epidemic of sex trafficking in the United States and have undermined effective legal and policy responses. Race intersects with other forms of subordination including gender, class, and age to push people of color disproportionately into prostitution and keep them trapped in the commercial sex industry. This intersectional oppression is fueled by the persistence of myths about minority teen sexuality, which in turn encourages risky sexual behavior. Moreover, today’s antitrafficking movement has failed to understand and address the racial contours of domestic sex trafficking in the United States and even perpetuates the racial myths that undermine the proper identification of minority youth as sex trafficking victims. Yet, the Obama administration has adopted new policies that raise awareness about the links between race and sex trafficking. These policies also facilitate the increased role of minority youth as leaders and spokespersons in the antitrafficking movement. Their voices defy stereotypes about Black sexuality and call upon legislators and advocates to address some of the unique vulnerabilities that kids of color face with respect to sex trafficking.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Trump is a madman who must be stopped



Hmm.  It seems fair to say that, based on this CNN commentaryLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a competitor for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, is no fan of fellow contestant -- I mean candidate -- Donald TrumpAlthough not criticizing any of the Donald's positions (including on immigration), Governor Jindal levels some harsh words his way:

"Like all narcissists, Trump is insecure, weak and afraid of being exposed. That's why he's constantly telling us how big and rich and great he is, and how insignificant everyone else is."

"Conservatives need to say what we are thinking: Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped. Failure to speak out against Trump is an endorsement of Clinton."

"We do need to Make America Great Again. We do need to burn down Washington. We do need to eradicate political correctness. But we will not achieve that by nominating a walking punch line.'


September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lessons from 1994

This morning, NPR's Ina Jaffee takes us back to 1994 and Governor Pete Wilson's anti-immigration attack ad.


Jaffee connects the Wilson campaign, and the anti-immigrant Prop 187 of the same year, to the steady decline in Republican registrations within the state of California. Political scientist David Damore, of Latino Decisions, makes the connection explicit:

"The moment when the Latino population is about ready to explode in California and have an impact on politics, the Republicans were pushing a very, very hostile agenda," said Damore. "The end result is, it's no longer a competitive state."

The question is, what does the "California example" mean for the national Republican party?

Following the lead of presidential hopeful Donald Trump, immigration, and, specifically, unauthorized migration, is taking center stage. And it's meeting a hard line set by Republican hopefuls. In response, Latino attitudes toward Republican nominees are "shifting," and not in the party's favor.

All this talk of 1994 calls for a little Jason Aldean to round out your afternoon.



September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)



Photo courtesy of Hispanic Heritage

During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.

Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

President Obama issued this proclamation yesterday on Hispanic Heritage Month.



September 15, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music, Religion, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Links Between Food Security, Violence and Migration in North Triangle of Central America




Millions of Central Americans   live outside their countries, with 80 percent of them living in the United   States, according to new research into the connections between food   insecurity, violence, and migration in the region. El Salvador alone has the   highest percentage of its population living outside the country's borders at   over 18 percent, the research shows. Further, during the period 2011-2013,   the number of unaccompanied minors entering the United States from El   Salvador increased by 330 percent. Worse, that number reached 593 percent for   unaccompanied minors coming from Honduras.

In a report, Hunger Without Borders: The hidden links between food insecurity, violence and migration in the Northern Triangle of Central America, coordinated by the World Food Program (WFP), researchers found that migration in Central America can be a highly lucrative phenomenon. Unaccompanied minors gained notable momentum in recent years, becoming the "new form" of the irregular business of migration, according to the Ministry of Social Development in Guatemala. The new research has shown that with the perception that minors have a greater chance of being granted asylum than adults, coyotes - smugglers -- have been increasingly promoting it as a way to regularize migration of parents as well.

 The report is a compilation of two studies conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Both focus on the correlation between two push factors - food insecurity and violence - and migration in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. It is the first report that combined these three variables in one analysis.

 Main findings:

 Existence of positive correlation between food insecurity and migration in the three countries considered: the higher the food insecurity, the greater the   chances that people migrate in search of better conditions.

  • Violence is a push factor for outward migration in Guatemala and Honduras but not necessarily in El Salvador.
  • Migratory patterns vary depending on the type of violence and groups affected.
  • People have become accustomed to violence, and in some cases it no longer influences  their decision to migrate or not.
  • Along with violence, economic well-being, employment, and family reunification remains among the most commonly cited motives that induce people to migrate.
  • Migration of women and children are on the rise as compared to past years.


September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Scholarship Applications for DREAMers Due on Oct. 26


Applications for scholarships up to $25,000 are being accepted from undocumented youth who will be first-time college students or who will transfer to a four-year university to finish a bachelor’s degree, TheDream.US, a national organization with $32 million to help young people, announced on Sept. 4. The scholarships – to which individuals can apply online through Sunday, Oct. 26 by 11:59 p.m. (Central Standard Time) – can be used to pay for college tuition, as well as books and fees. The scholarship amount depends on a young person’s financial need and the cost to attend a university or college.



September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Federal Prosecution of Immigration Crimes by Kit Johnson


A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Federal Prosecution of Immigration Crimes by Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma - College of Law 2014 Denver University Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 4, 2014

Abstract: Immigration crimes are the most prosecuted federal crimes in America. This Article examines the benefits of the federal prosecution of immigration crimes (training, deterrence, and signaling/expression) and balances those benefits against the costs of such prosecutions (court-house costs, alternative prosecution, and incarceration). I conclude that deportation immediately following a conviction for an immigration crime appears to capture the key benefit of this system (signaling/expression) while alleviating its greatest expense (incarceration).


September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 14, 2015

National Email List-Serv for DACA/DREAMer Law Students, Law Graduates & Attorneys

Legislative action in the States of California and Florida, and a judicial ruling in the State of New York, could open the door for more individuals – including those with no or limited immigration status - to potentially gain admission to the bars of those states.  As a result, law schools across the country can expect more students who self-identify as undocumented, DACAmented, and/or DREAMers to pursue JDs in the future.  In fact, a small but growing community of such law students, graduates and admitted attorneys exists.  Law school can be hard enough, but the challenges of being a law student without formal immigration status are unparalleled, and include ineligibility for federal financial aid.  A number of excellent resources and organizations already exist to serve students and lawyers without immigration status, such as Educators for Fair Consideration, UCLA’s Bruin Resource Center Undocumented Student Program, and the Dream Bar Association.


To supplement existing resources, and with a specific focus on law students, graduates and attorneys, Prof. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Penn State Law) and I have created a national email list-serv for law students, law graduates, and attorneys who identify as undocumented/DACAmented and/or DREAMers to connect with each other and share resources and experiences.  (We recognize that the terms “undocumented,” “DACAmented,” and “DREAMer” are distinct, complex, and potentially overlapping categories).  To join, please send an email to “”  (For the time being, this list is limited to individuals already enrolled at or who have graduated from law school, but not aspiring law students).



September 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace Donald Trump as 'Celebrity Apprentice' host