Friday, August 29, 2014

Documentary and Play about "UndocuAsians"

As Sahra Vang Nguyen of NBC News reported in this article, a group of Asian Americans recently performed a play that portrayed their struggles with being undocumented in the United States.  

"The performance, 'Letters From UndocuAsians,' was written, produced and performed by members of RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), the first pan-Asian, undocumented, youth-led group on the East Coast.'

RAISE has also put together a documentary short, "Why We Rise," which features the experiences of three young Asian Americans who are living in New York without authorized immigration status from the U.S. 

One of RAISE's points in highlighting the experiences of undocumented Asian Americans is to challenge their perception as the "model minorities." “One of the biggest challenges of being an undocumented Asian American is the 'Model Minority Myth,'” said the play’s host, Rhustie Valdizno. “People always think that since we’re Asian, we are doing well.”

Although coming out of the "undocumented" closet is risky, the efforts of these performance artists should be lauded for working to better deepen our understanding of the difficulties faced by those among us who have had to live in the shadows of immigration law.


August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

BuzzFeed: Could You and Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview?

Professor Liz Keyes of the University of Baltimore brought to my attention this terrific BuzzFeed Quiz: Could You and Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview?

I had my Immigration Law students take the quiz with their partners. It was very interesting to hear their reactions to the questions.

Having known my S.O. for more than 15 years, I was shocked by our collective score of 28 out of 46.

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August 29, 2014 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Op/Ed on the DOJ Recusal of Immigration Court Judge Tabaddor


ImmigrationProf previously reported on a lawsuit against the Department of Justice brought by Immigration Court Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and current adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law.   The lawsuit challenges a DOJ order recusing Judge Tabaddor, an immigrant from Iran, indefinitely from all cases involving Iranian nationals.   The dispute apparently all started after Trabaddor sought a day of of leave to attend a meeting of Iranian American leaders at the White House.

For an op/ed on the DOJ order, see Download Daily Journal Article (Dean Johnson)


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foreign Students Contribute Billions to Metro Areas

Immigration Impact reports on a new study about the positive economic impacts of foreign students. International students enrich U.S. colleges and universities, but “only recently, however, have local leaders begun to appreciate that students from fast-growing foreign economies can also be important anchors in building global connections between their hometowns abroad and their U.S. metropolitan destinations,” said Neil Ruiz, author of a new report released by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, The Geography of Foreign Students in the United States: Origins and Destinations. As Ruiz said, “With knowledge of both markets, foreign students can be valuable assets to local business communities that are seeking to expand globally and the wider metropolitan economies in which they sit.”


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Training Videos on Representing Unaccompanied Minors

Immigrant of the Day: Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University

Mohammad H. Qayoumi is the 28th president of San Jose State University, as well as a professor of electrical engineering. As an immigrant who arrived in 1979, he is the first person born in Afghanistan to become president of a major American university. In addition to his three decades of experience as an engineer and an administrator at several universities, he has published eight books and presented at numerous international conferences. He holds four advanced degrees from the University of Cincinnati.


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fom the Bookshelves: Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez


Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez

A myth-busting account of the tragedies, tales of success, and ambiguities of undocumented immigration—the stories behind the overheated rhetoric in the news

“What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?” —anti-immigrant protest sign

Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more hostile.

Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing narrative takes us into Southern churches (which have quietly emerged as the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida, onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala.

A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time.


August 29, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Immigration Council Seeks Your Support For Justice

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Immigration Law and Executive Power on C-SPAN

From the Bookshelves: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain is a Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of short stories by Robert Olen Butler, all of which concern Vietnamese immigrants in Louisiana. 

In my Immigration Law class, I use the following excerpts to illustrate the point that even quota-exempt family members are not entitled to automatic presence in the United States. The process for their entry can, in fact, be quite lengthy.

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August 28, 2014 in Books, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cuellar Confirmation Hearings for California Supreme Court Today

Sugrue_Stanford_Cuellar_040 2

Earlier this summer, California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated a Mexican-born Stanford Law School professor, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, to serve as an Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court. Cuéllar is the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science.

Today, the Commission on Judicial Appointments will hold a hearing on Cuéllar's nomination. The Commission members are Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (a proud alum of UC Davis School of Law), Attorney General Kamala Harris, and soon-to-retire Second District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

I will be attending the conformation hearings, which begin at 9 a.m. at the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco, and will update this post with details later in the day.

UPDATE:  After a short hearing (mostly accolades for soon-to-be Justice Cuellar) with no opposition and a mere two questions for the nominee, the Commission unanimously approved the nomination.  Click here for more details about the hearing.  

There were no statements or submissions in opposition to his confirmation.  Cuellar will be on the ballot in November for confirmation by the voters


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist


Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Liz Balmaseda was born in Puerto Padre in the midst of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. After graduating from Florida International University, she began her career in print and broadcast journalism, working as a reporter and feature writer for the Miami Herald, Central America bureau chief for Newsweek, field producer for NBC News, screenplay writer for HBO, and columnist for the Palm Beach Post. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the first in 1993 for her writing on refugees in Cuba and Haiti, and the second, in 2001, for her reporting on Elián González—she has spent her career reporting on human rights and social justice. She co-authored the book Waking Up in America: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those Who Need It Most. She won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 2001.


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 14 U.S. Hispanic Groups by National Origin

Call for Papers: Feminist Legal Theory CRN at L&S 2015

The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network has issued a call for papers to present at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting in 2015.

The planning committee notes:

"Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform. We would be especially happy to see proposals that fit in with the LSA conference theme, which is the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities. We welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals."

Your submission need only be a 400-500 word abstract. Proposals are due Friday, September 19. Click here for the full announcement.


August 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience, William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors

Binational human rights

Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience, William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller, Editors

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations—particularly the United States.

The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border. Binational Human Rights brings together explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses.

Contributors: Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Timothy J. Dunn, Miguel Escobar-Valdez, Clara Jusidman, Maureen Meyer, Carol Mueller, Julie A. Murphy Erfani, William Paul Simmons, Kathleen Staudt, Michelle Téllez.

William Paul Simmons is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona and author of Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other and An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas's Political Thought.

Carol Mueller is Professor of Sociology and former Director of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. She is coeditor of Repression and Mobilization and Frontiers of Social Movement Theory, among other titles.


August 27, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comedy Break: Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia



Courtesy of

Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia

Peter starts an anti-immigration group; however, he quickly changes his mind when he finds out that he was born in Mexico. Unable to prove his citizenship, pass the naturalization test or convince investigators that his marriage to Lois is for real, he ends up working for Carter as a landscaper, all the while fighting for immigration rights.

Watch here.



August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan From Syria | Federal Judge


Samuel Der-Yeghiayan From Syria | Federal Judge

Samuel Der-Yeghiayan is United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. President Bush appointed him to the position in 2003. He previously served as a judge in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and attorney in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, receiving the INS “District Counsel of the Year” award in 1998. He holds a degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Judge Der-Yeghiayan served in various capacities with the Chicago INS District, including as a trial attorney from 1978 to 1982, district counsel from 1982 to 2000, and acting district director from 1986 to 1987.


August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Inflammatory Statehood by Yxta Maya Murray


Inflammatory Statehood by Yxta Maya Murray, Loyola Law School Los Angeles August 23, 2014 30 Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice 227 (2014) Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2014-40

Abstract: Resistance art made in the former Yugoslavia resembles protest art today answering Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws. Artists reacting to Yugoslav strongmen who ruled from the 1960s to the 1990s expressed dissent by dramatizing self-mortifications. Artists critiquing SB 1070, Arizona’s ban of ethnic studies, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign describe similarly wracked anatomies. Moreover, psychological studies and media accounts link anti-immigrant measures like Arizona’s to mental conditions that trigger self-harming in minorities, a reaction that echoes the Yugoslav images. Art and psychological studies reveal that Arizonan Latinos act as if they suffered under tyrannical repression. Why? Arizona is not a site of mass killings, as was Yugoslavia. However, history teaches that tyrannical states use more than mass murder as a social control. Tyrants — including those in Yugoslavia — also target minorities as enemies, describe them as filthy, mandate and censor their ethnic expression, humiliate and feminize them, and describe these expedients as sacraments of father worship. When democratic actors use these technologies they catalyze dissent and embodied suffering. I call these non-genocidal measures that mimic tyrannical oppressions gestures of inflammatory statehood. In this paper, I show how inflammatory statehood now exists in Arizona because of SB 1070, the ethnic studies ban, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (“MCSO”). Does this matter in law? Federal dissenters occasionally damn state overreaching by comparing it to historical despotism. However, courts appear loathe to employ such comparisons in majority opinions, possibly because this rhetoric smacks of disappointed hyperbolism. This inchoate judicial acknowledgement of U.S. petty tyranny issues from a misguided U.S. exceptionalism, and fails to name the harms caused by laws and policing today found in Arizona. To persuade courts to recognize inflammatory statehood in ruling decisions, I study “artifacts” — that is, artists’ descriptions of Latinos’ suffering in Arizona — to encourage judicial acknowledgment of Arizona’s inflammatory statehood. This recognition will make SB 1070, Arizona educational bans, and MCSO mistreatments vulnerable to challenges under the preemption doctrine and the Eighth and First Amendments.


August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Board of Immigration Appeals Recognizes Domestic Violence as a Basis for Asylum

The UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies issued this press release late yesterday:

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative immigration court in the United States, published a landmark decision today in Matter of A-R-C-G-. This ruling has the potential to affect immigrant women survivors of domestic violence across the country. The BIA found that women fleeing domestic violence can be members of a particular social group, one of the grounds for asylum, and remanded a case involving a Guatemalan woman asylum seeker to the immigration court for a new decision. The Board’s decision signals a move away from restrictive interpretations of the law that have made it difficult for domestic violence survivors to receive protection in the United States. CGRS provided consultation to the attorney in the case and filed an amicus brief.

The case involves a mother of three, Ms. C-G-, who suffered what the decision deems “repugnant abuse” at the hands of her husband, including beatings, rapes, an assault that broke her nose, and an attack with paint thinner that left her with burn scars. Her efforts to get police protection were in vain, as they refused to interfere, and her husband threatened to kill her if she contacted them further. Her husband thwarted her repeated efforts to leave and stay with relatives when he found her and threatened her if she did not return.

“If a woman in this situation cannot count on the U.S. government for protection, when her own government has failed her, who can?” asked Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (CGRS). “We are pleased that the Board of Immigration Appeals finally broke its fifteen-year silence on this issue and recognized through a fair application of the law that this woman, and women like her, can establish eligibility for asylum.”

The case of Ms. C-G- is part of a long history. In 1999, the BIA denied asylum to Rody Alvarado, a Guatemalan woman who, much like Ms. C-G-, fled intimate partner violence and a failed government response. An international outcry led the government to retract the BIA’s decision and issue regulations in 2000 that would have recognized domestic violence as a basis for refugee protection. Although the regulations were never finalized, and the BIA had not issued until today a published decision in a domestic violence case, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to a grant of asylum in 2009 for Ms. Alvarado as well as in the similar and highly publicized domestic violence case of Ms. L-R- in 2010. CGRS represented both women. However, those cases were not precedential and could not, therefore, provide adequate protection to asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence. Although in the cases of Ms. Alvarado and Ms. L-R-, DHS clearly took the position that women fleeing domestic violence can qualify for protection, immigration judges have continued to issue arbitrary and inconsistent decisions due to the years-long void of binding guidance. The result: many women have been ordered returned to their abusers.

In the case of Ms. C-G-, the BIA found that she suffered harms rising to level of persecution, and DHS agreed with this view. An immigration judge had denied Ms. C-G- asylum on different grounds, finding that the abuse she suffered was the result of arbitrary criminality and not on account of her gender-defined social group. On appeal, the BIA recognized that Ms. C-G-’s social group met the (often illusive) requirements of immutability, social distinction, and particularity based on the evidence she presented.

For that reason, the BIA sent the case back to the immigration judge to consider the remaining requirements for asylum, such as whether her government is able or willing to protect her. While Ms. C-G- must still present her claims to the immigration judge in a new hearing, this ruling marks a critical turn in the administration’s interpretation of gender-based asylum claims.

Many of the women who are part of the recent surge of immigrant women and children arriving at the U.S.–Mexico border, including those held in crowded detention centers such as the one in Artesia, New Mexico, are fleeing violence at the hands of intimate partners. In some cases, the partners are gang members who target young women and force them into relationships. “Although hurdles remain, especially for women without an attorney to present evidence on their behalf, this binding ruling provides much needed guidance for immigration judges about how to handle these cases,” said Lisa Frydman, CGRS co-Associate Director and Managing Attorney, “and, ultimately, a better shot at asylum protection for women and their children in similar situations.”

The A-R-C-G- ruling represents an important step in the right direction, recognizing the arguments advocates have put forward for more than a decade. “We hope this decision reflects a renewed commitment on the part of the Obama administration to protect women’s human rights,” remarked Blaine Bookey, CGRS co-Associate Director and Staff Attorney.


August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Child Migrants in the Midst of Our Border Crisis