Wednesday, August 17, 2016

HuffPo Op-Ed: The Incarceration of Asylum Seekers and the Immigration Detention Bed Quota

This Huffington Post op-ed by Alexandra Goncalves-Pena, Supervising Attorney with the American Friends Service Committee, links the continuing detention of asylum-seekers with Congressional detention bed quota.  She tells the story of a client, a pro-democracy activist from Togo, who was detained for almost 2 1/2 years (after the Immigration Judge's adverse credibility finding) before being released and granted asylum.

From the op-ed:

"Since 2010, Congress has mandated that ICE maintain space for 34,000 immigrants per day, while paying private companies to do so. Known as the “detention quota,” this policy bears a significant human cost. As the American public becomes aware of the endemic problem of mass incarceration, we can no longer overlook the role of immigrant detention in this larger American tragedy. Mass incarceration of immigrants is psychologically traumatizing for the individual, their family, and their community...

This reality became all too clear to me when I visited with Emmanuel during his years in detention. As the days, months, then years went on, I began to see the physical and psychological toll detention was taking on him. The lines in his face grew deeper, his frame grew smaller, and his hair grew whiter. For Emmanuel, who had been tortured and detained in his home country for a year and a half, his incarceration in the U.S. forced him to relive many of the things he had fled Togo to escape."


August 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: At Home in Two Countries: The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship by Peter J Spiro

At home

At Home in Two Countries: The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship by Peter J Spiro

The rise of dual citizenship could hardly have been imaginable to a time traveler from a hundred or even fifty years ago. Dual nationality was once considered an offense to nature, an abomination on the order of bigamy. It was the stuff of titanic battles between the United States and European sovereigns. As those conflicts dissipated, dual citizenship continued to be an oddity, a condition that, if not quite freakish, was nonetheless vaguely disreputable, a status one could hold but not advertise. Even today, some Americans mistakenly understand dual citizenship to somehow be “illegal”, when in fact it is completely tolerated. Only recently has the status largely shed the opprobrium to which it was once attached.
At Home in Two Countries charts the history of dual citizenship from strong disfavor to general acceptance. The status has touched many; there are few Americans who do not have someone in their past or present who has held the status, if only unknowingly. The history reflects on the course of the state as an institution at the level of the individual. The state was once a jealous institution, justifiably demanding an exclusive relationship with its members. Today, the state lacks both the capacity and the incentive to suppress the status as citizenship becomes more like other forms of membership. Dual citizenship allows many to formalize sentimental attachments. For others, it’s a new way to game the international system. This book explains why dual citizenship was once so reviled, why it is a fact of life after globalization, and why it should be embraced today.
Peter J. Spiro is Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate, among many other publications. A former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk and National Security Council staff member, he is also the author of Beyond Citizenship: American Identity after Globalization.

All books by Peter J Spiro


August 17, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immprof on Vacation: Photos from Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

Having recently returned from a family trip to New York City, where my kids wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty, I was able to also make a trip to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.  It's part of the official Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tour (which attracts approximately 4 million visitors per year).  I was impressed by the number of historical documents -- steamship ledgers, passports, anti-immigrant political propaganda, and photographs -- on display.  The Registry Room, where in-person inspections to determine one's entry, was also worth seeing. It does take a full day for the tour though, and during the summer the whole tour is extremely crowded.  Given the current state of immigration discourse though, it was a good time to reflect (and to see visitors reflecting) on the country's immigration history and our stated commitment to the ideals inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  

IMG_9269 IMG_9253



I was also reminded of Hiroshi Motomura's video comparing the histories of Angel Island near San Francisco, and the long-term detention of mainly Chinese immigrants there, with the comparatively more idealized history of Ellis Island.


August 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Parallels between Mass Incarceration and Mass Deportation: An Intersectional Analysis of State Repression by Tanya Golash-Boza

Abstract:  In the spring of 2014, President Obama’s administration reached a landmark of over 2 million deportations—more in under six years than the sum total of all deportations prior to 1997. Mass deportation has not affected all communities equally: the vast majority of deportees are Latin American and Caribbean men. Today, nearly 90 percent of deportees are men, and over 97 percent of deportees are Latin American or Caribbean. This article explores the global context under which mass deportation has occurred and draws parallels with mass incarceration. Whereas other scholars have characterized mass deportation as a tool of social or migration control, this article argues that mass deportation is best understood as a racialized and gendered tool of state repression implemented in a time of crisis. I argue that the confluence of four factors has created the conditions of possibility for mass deportation from the United States: (1) nearly all deportees are Latin American and Caribbean men; (2) the rise of a politics of fear in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th; (3) the global financial crisis; and (4) the utility of deportees.


August 17, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Day Reading: Psalm by Wisława Szymborska

It can be hard to decide what to assign for your first day of class reading. I humbly submit the following proposal - Psalm by Polish poet Wisława Szymborska.

Oh, the leaky boundaries of man-made states!
How many clouds float past them with impunity;
how much desert sand sifts from one land to another;
how many mountain pebbles tumble onto foreign soil
in provocative hops!

Need I mention every single bird that flies in the face of frontiers
or alights on the roadblock at the border?
A humble robin - still, its tail resides abroad
while its beak stays home. If that weren't enough, it won't stop bobbing!

Among innumerable insects, I'll single out only the ant
between the border guard's left and right boots
blithely ignoring the questions "Where from?" and "Where to?"

Oh, to register in detail, at a glance, the chaos
prevailing on every continent!
Isn't that a privet on the far bank
smuggling its hundred-thousandth leaf across the river?
And who but the octopus, with impudent long arms,
would disrupt the sacred bounds of territorial waters?

And how can we talk of order overall?
when the very placement of the stars
leaves out doubting just what shines for whom?

Not to speak of the fog's reprehensible drifting!
And dust blowing all over the steppes
as if they hadn't been partitioned!
And the voices coasting on obliging airwaves,
that conspiratorial squeaking, those indecipherable mutters!

Only what is human can truly be foreign.
The rest is mixed vegetation, subversive moles, and wind.


August 16, 2016 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Naturalization Trends in the United States

Naturalization, an important milestone in immigrant integration, extends to foreign nationals the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities that native-born citizens have, including the right to vote. More than 653,000 immigrants naturalized in the United States in fiscal year (FY) 2014, bringing the total number of naturalized U.S. citizens to 20 million, nearly half the overall immigrant population of 42.4 million. Over the past decade, the annual number of naturalizations has ranged from about 537,000 to just more than 1 million, depending on factors including processing times and backlogs as well as the financial constraints and personal motivations of immigrants themselves.

Becoming a naturalized citizen is contingent upon meeting certain requirements, such as completing a period of lawful permanent residence, demonstrating basic proficiency in English and knowledge of U.S. history and government, and passing the background check. The benefits of naturalization include the right to sponsor immediate family for immigration, greater access to government benefits, and protection from deportation. In addition, immigrants who naturalize often experience substantial economic dividends, such as higher incomes and homeownership.

This Migration Information Source article examines the latest U.S. naturalization data available, including historical trends and socioeconomic characteristics of naturalized citizens. Unless otherwise noted, data on the number and characteristics of foreign nationals who naturalized during FY 2014 are from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS).

Laws passed by Congress in 1986 and 1996 partly contributed to the upward trend in naturalizations in the second half of the 1990s (see Figure 1). Under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants received lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, which increased the pool of those eventually eligible for naturalization. Three federal laws passed in 1996—the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)—limited access to public benefits and legal protections for noncitizens, thereby encouraging more immigrants to apply for naturalization.

The 59 percent increase in naturalizations (from 660,477 to 1,046,539) between FY 2007 and FY 2008 is the result of naturalization campaigns launched ahead of the 2008 presidential elections and an impending increase in naturalization application fees (which took effect on July 30, 2007). Together, these actions created a backlog in naturalization applications, prompting USCIS to take steps to reduce processing times in late 2007. The number of pending cases subsequently fell significantly from 1.1 million at the end of FY 2007 to 480,000 in FY 2008 and 230,000 in FY 2009 (see USCIS: Backlog in Naturalization Applications Will Take Nearly Three Years to Clear and the MPI brief, Immigration Fee Increases in Context).

Figure 1. New U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, FY 1980-2014

Source: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, DC: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, various years), available online

In recent months, naturalization applications grew significantly. The 440,000 applications received in the first two quarters of FY 2016 (October 2015 to March 2016) represented a 21 percent increase compared to the same period in FY 2015 (363,000). This increase can partly be attributed to the citizenship awareness campaign launched by the White House Task Force on New Americans, as well as a desire to vote in the 2016 national elections.


August 16, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clinical Professor Position Opening: Boston University Law, Human Trafficking and Immigrant Rights Clinic

From Boston University School of Law:

"Boston University is seeking exceptionally qualified and experienced candidates for a full time Clinical Associate Professor position. This is a non-tenure track clinical faculty position with a projected start date of July 1, 2017. Students in the clinical programs have full responsibility for all aspects of the cases to which they are assigned, under the direction of clinical faculty. The person who is hired for this position must be a skilled teacher, clinical supervisor and an experienced attorney in the areas of both Human Trafficking and Immigrant Rights. The successful candidate will display excellent written and oral communication skills, demonstrated knowledge and experience with a variety of lawyering and teaching methods and outstanding lawyering skills. In addition to clinical supervision, the position is responsible for teaching the clinic seminar. The position may also include teaching a class outside the clinics, such as Immigration Law, subject to the curricular needs and the interest of the successful applicant. Furthermore, as Director of the Human Trafficking and Immigrant Rights clinic, the position will oversee all aspects of clinic management, including curriculum design and client intake. Boston University School of Law is committed to faculty diversity and welcomes expressions of interest from diverse applicants.

Applicants should send a letter of interest and a resume before December 1, 2016 to Peggy Maisel, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Boston University School of Law, 765 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215. Email applications are encouraged and should be sent to All open faculty positions are pending budgetary approval. To learn more about the law school, visit our website at We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. Job Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States Position Type: Full-Time/Regular Salary: Based on experience."


August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iraqi Migration to Europe: IOM Report


The International Organization of Migration released today Iraqi Migration to Europe: IOM Report. The report explores the reasons why Iraqi migrants choose Europe, their hopes and expectations, and motives for returning to their home country.

The qualitative study is based on 14 focus group discussions with 86 Iraqis who migrated to Europe in 2015 and subsequently returned to Iraq. The focus group discussions were held in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) between March and April 2016. All participants returned to Iraq through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme.

The findings reveal that the main reasons cited for emigration from Iraq were lack of security (general and personal), perceived lack of equality and social justice, and political instability. Economic instability was mentioned across all locations, but was considered secondary to security concerns in Baghdad.

Reasons behind choosing Europe as a destination included perceived security, equality and social justice. The way to Europe was seen as open, which for migrants implied lower risks and costs, and European countries were thought to have favorable immigration policies.


August 16, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers


South Texas Family Detention Center (Dilley, Texas)

Chico Harlan of the Washington Post reports on the latest chapter of the immigration/industrial complex and immigrant detention.  As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a detention facility for women and children seeking asylum. The four-year, $1 billion contract has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. Arrivals of Central American families at the border have continued while court rulings have forced the administration to step back from its original approach to the border surge.


August 15, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump looking to institute political tests for immigrants, Calls for "Extreme Vetting"


AP reports that Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump in a speech to be delivered today in Ohio will argue that any country that wants to work with the U.S. to defeat "radical Islamic terrorism" will be a U.S. ally, he is expected to say.

Trump also is also expected to outline a new immigration policy proposal under which the U.S. would stop issuing visas in any case where it cannot perform adequate screenings.  It will be the latest version of a policy that began with Trump's call to temporarily bar foreign Muslims from entering the country.  Trump is expected to describe the need to temporarily suspend visa issuances to geographic regions with a history of exporting terrorism and where adequate checks and background vetting cannot occur.

Trump is also expected to propose creating a new, ideological test for admission to the country that would assess a candidate's stances on issues like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights. Through questionnaires, searching social media, interviewing friends and family or other means, applicants would be vetted to see whether they support American values like tolerance and pluralism.

UPDATE (AUGUST 16):  Trump has called for "extreme vetting" and a return to the ideological screening test employed at the height of the Cold War.  He seems to want to exclude all persons with anti-American attitudes:


Trump's proposal has provoked commentary, including The Hill, BBC, Washington Post, and the New York Times.  For a look at the history of ideological exclusion (and the "war on ideas), which for the most part was eliminated from the U.S. immigration laws in 1990,  see this ACLU report and here.  In addition to a revival of "Operation Wetback," Mr. Trump seems to want to return to the immigration methods of the 1950s in excluding "communists" and other political subversives.  Some of the major decisions of that era that might be used to justify ideological exclusion, such as Knauff (1950) and Mezei (1954), remain "good law."


August 15, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tension roils Queens immigrant community after killings


Photo courtesy of Craig Ruttle/AP

Abigail Hauslohner in the Washington Post reports on a troubling set of killings in NYC.  With chants of “We want justice,” in the air, tension is gripping Queens, particularly its large Bengali immigrant community, a day after Al-Furqan Jame’s imam and his assistant were shot at point-blank range in the head on a sidewalk just a few blocks from the mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood.

Maulama Akonjee, the 55-year-old imam, and Thara Uddin, 64, both immigrants from Bangladesh and fathers of three, were walking home from midday prayer when they were killed. Their attacker remains at large.

In an election year marred by anti-Muslim vitriol,  there is a feeling of certainty for many in this Queens community that what happened was a hate crime — a double murder perpetrated because the men were Muslim.


August 15, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant Mothers Stage Hunger Strike for Freedom


Immigrants' advocates demand the release of families detained at Berks County Detention Center.

A hunger strike of immigrant detainees is in the news.  LEESPORT, Pa. — Monday will mark one week since 22 mothers began a hunger strike to demand that they and their children be released from an immigration detention center in the borough of Leesport.

Federal courts have ruled that children, with or without parents, cannot be held in immigration detention for more than 20 days. And the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, recently claimed the DHS detains families for 20 days on average.

But according to attorney Carol Anne Donohoe, the women on hunger strike at the Berks County Residential Center - and their children - have been held much longer.

"Anywhere from 270 days to a year, including two-year-olds,” Donohoe said. "And in any other case, if they had not been detained, they would have been released to family and been able to fight their cases in court."

August 15, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

New TRAC Report and App on ICE Detainers

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has developed what sounds like an innovative and valuable tool related to ICE detainers.  From the TRAC press release:

"A free new web app on ICE detainers that provides users very extensive information about every ICE I-247 form sent to individual state and local enforcement agencies during FY 2003 to FY 2016 has been developed and posted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Available through TRAC's detainer app are month-by-month details about whether the detainer request was refused, any criminal conviction involved, and whether ICE was successful in bringing the individual into custody.

TRAC's findings based upon a review of individual detainer records call into question the assumed linkage between cooperation with ICE by state and local law enforcement agencies and ICE's success in apprehending immigrants it seeks to deport.

* According to ICE data, DHS outreach efforts have drastically curbed reported refusals by law enforcement agencies to transfer custody of individuals over to ICE. During the first two months of FY 2016 ICE reports only 2 percent of the agency's I-247 requests were refused.

* While recorded refusal rates fell sharply, the proportion of occasions where ICE took custody of the individual after issuing I-247 requests has not rebounded. Indeed, this rate has continued to decline. It is now below 40 percent.

The end result is that ICE has not improved its performance through its detainer program in apprehending individuals who the agency seeks to deport.

Examining records state-by-state for the entire FY 2014 - FY 2016 period, the failure to assume custody ranged from a high of 86.9 percent in Indiana down to a low of 29.4 percent in Arizona. Yet both of these states had exactly the same recorded LEA refusal rate - a mere 0.1 percent.

If the proportion of detainer requests that state and local LEAs refused to honor is examined during the months immediately prior to the ending of Secure Communities, California LEAs held each of the top spots. The Santa Clara County Main Jail had the highest recorded refusal rate in the nation at 88.2 percent.

Beyond California, three other law enforcement agencies were among the top ten recording the highest refusal rates before PEP was announced. These were the Philadelphia Detention facility in Pennsylvania (sixth place), the King County Adult Jail in Washington State (eighth place), and the Cook County Jail in Illinois (tenth place) - all facilities located in major metropolitan areas."

The free web detainer app (developed with the support of a new two-year research grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York) and the full report are available online on the TRAC website.


August 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney Position at UNLV Immigration Clinic

Justice AmeriCorps Volunteer Attorney for Unaccompanied Child Migrants

The Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law has a vacancy for one of its two attorneys in its Justice AmeriCorps-funded program to provide legal representation to unaccompanied child migrants. We seek an attorney who is passionate about public service, a determined and creative problem solver, able to work with vulnerable clients, a strong legal advocate, and a reliable team player.

The Boyd School of Law’s Justice AmeriCorps program has won national and local acclaim for helping Southern Nevada respond to the arrival of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America. Our two attorneys advise child-clients, and represent them in state courts and federal immigration proceedings as needed. We also develop pro bono resources in the local legal community. In the coming year, the Justice AmeriCorps program will be increasingly integrated with the law school’s Immigration Clinic, so that the volunteer attorneys will have the opportunity to supervise and teach law students in addition to representing clients.

Specific duties of the Justice Americorps attorneys include (but are not strictly limited to):

•   representation in removal proceedings before the Las Vegas Immigration Court
•   representation in asylum, SIJS, and adjustment of status applications before USCIS
•   representation in guardianship proceedings before the Family Court
•   recruitment and supervision of pro bono attorneys coordinate referrals for counseling, medical, and dental services

This position may be filled by a recent law school graduate, or by a more experienced attorney. A background in immigration law and/or ability to speak Spanish would be an advantage but is not essential. It is essential to be committed to clients, to be able to learn quickly on the job, and to be a flexible colleague in a collaborative, public interest law practice. Justice AmeriCorps attorneys will have an opportunity to attend one week training program in Washington D.C. to learn the basics of unaccompanied child representation. A license to practice law in a state of the United States is required, but Nevada is preferred. (Recent graduates who are awaiting bar results are encouraged to apply, though employment may be conditioned on successfully obtaining  a license to practice.)

Justice AmeriCorps member attorneys receive a stipend and compensation for certain living expenses more than $40,000. Some benefits (including health insurance and retirement) are provided in addition. Details can be provided upon inquiry.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact Immigration Clinic Director Michael Kagan at To apply, please send a letter, resume, and names and contacts of three references to  We will begin reviewing applications after August 23; to ensure full consideration apply before that date. However, we will continue to receive applications until the position is filled.


August 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fifth Circuit Holds Federal “Crime of Violence” Provision Not Void for Vagueness – En Banc Decision Creates Circuit Split

The application of the void for vagueness doctrine to “crimes of violence” continues to make its way through the federal courts (See here, here and here for prior Immprof Blog coverage of this issue).   On August 3, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an en banc decision in United States v. Gonzalez-Longoria, in which a noncitizen who was criminally prosecuted for illegal re-entry received a sentencing enhancement due to the existence of a prior conviction found to constitute a “crime of violence.”   By reversing the Fifth Circuit’s prior Gonzalez-Longoria decision, issued on February 10, the court’s recent en banc opinion has created a circuit split on the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States (holding the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act at 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B) to be unconstitutionally vague) to this sub-part of the federal “crime of violence” definition, which has implications for the civil immigration and criminal sentencing realms.  

The now-invalidated residual clause of the ACCA is similar, but not identical, to the crime of violence definition at 18 U.S.C. § 16(b).  Judge Stephen Higginson’s majority opinion in Gonzalez-Longoria emphasized the textual differences between the two statutes to find that the crime of violence provision was not void for vagueness.  But a dissenting opinion by Judges E. Grady Jolly (joined by Judges Carl Stewart, James Dennis and James Graves) asserted that while the crime of violence provision might not be as vague as the ACCA’s residual clause, it still raises the same indeterminacy problems raised by the Supreme Court in Johnson.  As the dissent puts it, the Fifth Circuit’s decision “drifts from reason—and into the miasma of the minutiae—when it determines that these vagaries suffice to distinguish § 16(b) from the residual clause.”

There is a solid likelihood that the Supreme Court will take up this issue in the upcoming term by granting certiorari in Dimaya v. Lynch, the Ninth Circuit decision that found the crime of violence provision at Section 16(b) to be void for vagueness, in which the Solicitor General has already petitioned for certioriari.  The Ninth, Seventh, Sixth, Second, and Fifth Circuits have now weighed in on the application of Johnson to either the crime of violence provision at §16(b) or to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B), a sentencing provision with nearly identical language (not to be confused with the ACCA’s residual clause.  The Sixth Circuit’s approach to Johnson in particular seems to require clarification, since it held in February of this year that 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) is not vague, United States v. Taylor, 814 F.3d 340, 379 (6th Cir. 2016), but just last month found that the relevant crime of violence provision is void for vagueness.  See Shuti v. Lynch, No. 15-3835, 2016 WL 3632539, at *8 (6th Cir. July 7, 2016).

The impact of Justice Scalia’s departure from the Court will be felt if cert is granted in Dimaya, given that the late Justice had authored the majority opinion in Johnson.


August 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How a Refugee from Viet Nam Became Uber's Chief Technology Officer


CNN reports on Thuan Pham, a refugee from Viet Nam who now is the Chief Technology Officer of Uber.  As summarized in this profile, Thuan demonstrates daily that hard work can be really fun and that success is more achievable with a talented team that is highly aligned and cohesive. He’s scaling Engineering to address the challenges that arise with Uber’s rapid growth. Previously a VP of Engineering at VMWare, Westbridge and Doubleclick, Thuan has proven to be an inspirational leader who can deliver exceptional mission critical software and services. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering and an M.S. in EE/CS from MIT. Beyond being a talented scholar, published author, amazing friend and father, he’s also an avid ping-pong and tennis player.


August 14, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

'Expedited Removal' process as cold as ICE: Response to Jeh Johnson


Lauren Gilbert

Law professor Lauren Gilbert in The Hill responds to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson's description of family detention as a "critical" tool for screening immigrant families to evaluate whether they are a flight risk or have legitimate claims to asylum. She claims that the reality is that bona fide refugees are regularly sent back to their persecutors. Johnson justifies U.S. policy by emphasizing that, “We don’t have open borders, and if we ceased removals, we’d have a humanitarian crisis.”  Detention of asylum seekers is used as deterrence, violating all notions of due process. What Johnson didn’t say is that the willingness of Asylum Officers and judges to dispatch imperiled asylum seekers back into the arms of the gangs they fled constitutes a humanitarian crisis of its own.



August 13, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trial in Kate Steinle Murder Case Delayed Until Next Year

NPR reports that the murder trial of the man accused of killing Kate Steinle, whose 2015 shooting death on a San Francisco pier became part of the national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary city policies, is not likely to start until next year.  Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported back to his native Mexico five times before the July 1, 2015, shooting, will have his trial date set in December of this year.  


Kathryn Steinle is photographed on a trip to visit Prague and Amsterdam in 2009. Steinle died from a single gunshot wound on July 1, 2015, while walking on Pier 14 along San Francisco's Embarcadero with her father. (Courtesy of Nicole Ludwig


August 13, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump's Alienation of the Filipino-American Vote


With all of Trump's other recent gaffs (Obama and Hillary founded ISIS! 2nd Amendment people might be able to do something about Hillary!) you might have missed his alienation of Filipino-American voters.

So, what happened?

On August 4, Trump held a rally in Portland, Maine. He said: "We're letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them." 

Trump followed that statement with examples of migrants from Uzbekistan, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen who were plotting against Americans while living in the US. Among these examples, Trump cited "a legal permanent resident from the Philippines" convicted of "plotting to join Al Queda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible."

Trump said that admitting migrants from such "terrorist nations" is "pure, raw stupidity."

California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, himself Filipino-American, called Trump’s statements “divisive and hateful” and “a direct attack on the Filipino community.”

It certainly won't do anything to help the Republican's weakening hold on the Filipino-American vote, which has been trending towards the Democrats over the past four years.


Here is Trump's full speech. His comments about immigration start at roughly the twenty minute mark and run about ten minutes.



August 13, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Telling Refugee Stories: Trauma, Credibility and the Adversarial Adjudication of Claims for Asylum by Stephen Paskey


Telling Refugee Stories: Trauma, Credibility and the Adversarial Adjudication of Claims for Asylum by Stephen Paskey

Abstract:      When trauma survivors seek asylum in the United States, the deck is stacked against them. In most cases, the applicant’s story is the only direct evidence of the applicant’s claim, and asylum is certain to be denied if a judge finds the applicant not credible. But the stories told by trauma survivors defy cultural norms for a credible story: they are often inconsistent, vague, and both logically and chronologically disjointed. As a result, asylum may be wrongly denied. The problem is inherent in our asylum adjudication system, which subjects most applicants to an adversarial hearing.

This article uses scholarship on trauma and narrative theory to examine the challenges faced by survivors who seek asylum – and the ways a lawyer might inadvertently increase the odds of an adverse decision while drafting a declaration. The article also details original empirical research on 369 appellate cases in which immigration judges found an asylum applicant to be not credible. Overwhelmingly, judges cited inconsistencies in the applicant’s story as grounds for that conclusion – yet research among survivors proves that such discrepancies cannot be taken as evidence of falsehood. As a result, the article recommends that the adjudication of asylum claims should be removed from U.S. immigration courts, and that existing procedures be replaced with a single non-adversarial adjudication for all asylum applicants.



August 13, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)