Sunday, August 17, 2014
Tanzina Vega in the New York Times reports on an uplifting story of Latinos who began as farmworkers and ended up running farm businesses. One of the success stories is of Arturo Flores, president of Central California Flower Growers in Watsonville, a distributor in Santa Cruz County that sells more than 100 varieties of flowers and other plants
Immigrant of the Day: Chrysostomos L. (Max) Nikias From Cyprus | President of the University of Southern California
Since becoming the University of Southern California’s eleventh president in 2010, Dr. Chrysostomos L. (Max) Nikias has articulated a pioneering vision for the elite global research university. His initiatives include recruiting world-class faculty; elevating the university’s academic medical enterprise; expanding its international presence; and setting an ambitious fundraising goal. Nikias is also recognized internationally for his research on digital signal processing, digital media systems, and biomedicine.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Professor David Thronson
photo via MSU
Many professors extoll the virtues of an immigration priorities exercise developed by Professor David Thronson of the Michigan State University College of Law.
Thronson presents a list of potential immigrants and asks you to (1) rank them in order of preference and (2) decide how many, from each potential category, you would be willing to admit.
Last year, I asked my incoming immigration law students to complete the exercise before the first day of class. It led to terrific class discussion.
This year, I am again using the exercise. I have tinkered somewhat with the list of potential immigrants. In response to current events, I've added: "a 9-year old boy from a gang-infested country with the highest murder rate in the world who entered the U.S. by himself and without authorization. He has an undocumented aunt living in Texas."
CNN reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry, who recently sent the National Guard to the U.S/Mexico border, has been indicted for allegedly abusing his power by trying to pressure a district attorney to resign. The two felony counts against Perry, a Republican, stem from his threat to veto funding for a statewide public integrity unit run by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg unless she stepped down. Perry attorney David L. Botsford called the indictment a "political abuse of the court system." He said the action "violated the separation of powers" and "sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a grand jury to punish the exercise of a lawful and constitutional authority afforded to the Texas governor."
Center for Immigration Studies "Scholar" Disciplined For Suggesting that President Obama Be Executed
An immigration policy analyst from a think tank often cited by Republicans suggested to a tea party crowd that President Barack Obama should be executed. This senior policy analyst stated that the impeachment was not sufficient. A sympathetic audience listened.
During a talk at a Tea Party organization in Sebring, Florida, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) analyst Stephen Steinlight said that Obama’s supposed executive overreach couldn’t be reined in by a lawsuit and that “being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him.”
“And we all know, if there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it’s this guy. Alright? And I wouldn’t stop. I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him. But you know, this man who wants to rule by the use of a pen, a telephone, let us not forget his teleprompter … the fact is that it would backfire very badly and we’ve got to be grownups and accept that we can’t have everything we want, you know, [like] his head on a skewer.”
It was later reported that "CIS officials . . . said Steinlight had been disciplined and instructed to avoid similar rhetoric in the future. `I reprimanded him and put a reprimand in his personnel file,' said CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has opined that "Three Washington, D.C.-based immigration-restriction organizations stand at the nexus of the American nativist movement: the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA. Although on the surface they appear quite different — the first, the country's best-known anti-immigrant lobbying group; the second, an "independent" think tank; and the third, a powerful grassroots organizer — they are fruits of the same poisonous tree."
Porochista Khakpour’s 2007 debut novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, which portrays a family that flees Iran during the Iran Revolution to start a new life in Southern California, was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice” and won the California Book Award. Her personal essays appear regularly in The New York Times, and she currently teaches at Columbia University, Fordham University, and Wesleyan University. Khakpour’s second novel, The Last Illusion, was released in 2014.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has an interesting report finding that more than two dozen people have died in violent clashes with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2010. No agent or officer has faced criminal charges – or public reprimand – to date. Yet at least a quarter of the 28 deaths were “highly suspect,” said James F. Tomsheck, the agency’s recently removed head of internal affairs. In an interview with The Center for Investigative Reporting, he said the deaths raised serious questions about whether the use of lethal force was appropriate.
Tomsheck’s statements follow news reports in June that he was removed from his office because of a “lack of aggressiveness,” according to an unnamed Homeland Security Department official in investigating excessive use of force and abuse in the border agency. Instead, Tomsheck said, Border Patrol officials have consistently tried to change or distort facts to make fatal shootings by agents appear to be “a good shoot” and cover up any wrongdoing.
Friday, August 15, 2014
The National Law Journal reports that, as the Ebola outbreak rages in West Africa, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday announced it would provide new options to forestall deportation for people from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. Click here for the official USCIS announcement.
Last week I wrote about ICE enforcement efforts that have resulted in racial profiling and civil rights abuse of the Latino community in New Orleans. Two victims were seeking a stay of deportation. Unfortunately, Wilmer Irias-Palmer was deported. However, yesterday, Yestel Antonio Velasquez was released from custody and granted a one-year deferral of his removal.
From the New Orleans Workers' Center:
We have great news to share: with your support, we have forced ICE to back down and protected Yestel Velazquez from retaliatory deportation.
ICE is releasing Yestel from detention and granting him a new 1-year stay of removal, while the investigation of the racial profiling-based raids he helped expose continues.
This is an important victory against the racial profiling-based raids and a victory against retaliation. It gives us the energy to redouble our efforts to end the raids, and to win a strong new policy that protects defenders of civil and labor rights as part of a broad administrative reform.
We are also reminded that this victory is bittersweet, as Congress of Day Laborer member Wilmer Irias-Palma, also arrested in the raid and whose partner Carla spoke at last Mondays briefing, was deported last Friday.
This situation shows why a new policy, administered by USCIS, is so important. Yestel and Wilmer should never have been arrested in a racial profiling-based raid. And once they exposed the civil rights violations, he should have been immediately released. Instead, it took a strong coalition of labor, civil rights, immigrant rights, and faith leaders—standing with an organized community—to force ICE to follow its own rules.
Civil rights are always defended by organized communities. By standing together, we protected Yestel—and we protected the ability of the Congress of Day Laborers to continue its monitoring and defense of civil and labor rights in New Orleans. Our fight must also continue so that Wilmers deportation was not in vein.
We look forward to sharing with you the next phase of our civil and labor rights defense program, and working with you to make sure immigration enforcement does not interfere with civil and labor rights.
Right now, we’re on our way to the South Louisiana Correctional Center with Yestel’s partner Zunilda and members of the Congress of Day Laborers to pick up Yestel!
The New Orleans Workers’ Center and the Congress of Day Laborers, New Orleans
Pro se litigants in immigration cases have to face the music early and often that there is no substitute for research. You may have no money for a lawyer but you must make time to read the case law relevant to your particular situation, be it a challenge to an expedited removal, an asylum denial, an illegal re-entry, a denial of cancellation of removal or an actual final order of removal. Own your fight.
There is no escape from filing deadlines. You have 30 days after an agency action to file with the appropriate court of appeals. Under current law, there is no equitable tolling; if you miss the deadline, your case is dead. Following the REAL ID Act of 2005, all petitions for review of agency action must go through the court of appeals. Only challenges to expedited removals are filed and heard in the appropriate district court because they are, under 1252 (e)(2), a habeas petition.
One of the great innovations of the internet is Electronic Case Filing (ECF). If the district court or the appeals court allows it for pro se petitioners, sign up immediately. You may have to file a Motion to Leave to File Electronically and undergo a bit of training but it's worth it. If you've already been removed from the United States, you can't trust the mail to deliver your fillings in a timely fashion. ECF is a must because not only can you file quickly, you receive notice of filings from your opponent and the court quickly. In addition, ECF will make you a better pro se filer because you learn to follow protocol and procedures essential to good advocacy.
Writing a solid brief is a very important matter. It's where you get to tell your story from your perspective. But it also is the arena in which you can and must challenge arguments that you think you'll see coming from the other side. Thus, your opening brief should have a coherent structure that includes a well-researched "devil's advocate" overview of other cases like yours. There is strength is being forthcoming about potential problems in your case, including the administrative record of your deportation hearing or previous rulings. Remember: precedent rules the roost. Judges don't make new law; they interpret the law, using past cases to guide and illustrate their judgement of your case vis-a-vis the relevant statutes. As with any narrative, if your story is short, sweet, coherent and comprehensive, you can engage your audience.
If you're writing a brief for the Board of Immigration Appeals, make sure you include every argument you can make as clearly and completely as possible. Same thing for the AAO. Whatever arguments you DON'T make it in these briefs, you ordinarily will not be able to make them if and when you move on to the court of appeals which traditionally are courts of review and do not take new evidence. Hundreds of cases every year are thrown out at the circuit level because of inept and incomplete arguments made in earlier petitions.
Once you've filed a brief, your work is not done. You still need to keep researching because invariably you will find that one case you overlooked or one that has just been decided that may hold the key to your case. Then it's time to file either a Notice of Supplementary Authority (district court) or a Rule 28j Citation of Supplemental Authorities (circuit court). Both of these are addressed to the clerk of the appropriate court.
Supplemental Authorities are a very valuable tool because they are, in effect, additional briefing. That is to say, you get another chance to enhance your argument by illustrating the pertinent aspect of the cited case. Most importantly, this is not a reply brief, the brief you can and should file after you've read the opposition's brief when they issue it. Raising new arguments in reply briefs is ticklish because the reply brief is considered rebuttal and thus any new argument you make is given much less weight or leeway than those in your opening brief.
Any Notice of Supplemental Authority should be very tight. Do not write more than 300 words. Say your thing hot and fast. But do not expect this filing to go unchallenged by the opposition. You may hit a chink in their armour and they will reply. You are allowed to reply back but keep your reply focused on the citation and the opposition's interpretation of it.
Pro se litigation is tough. You're on your own and in the end, it's your fight and yours alone. Good lawyers cost good money and if you don't have it, you're best to fight smart and strong.
Gregory Chamitoff, born in Montreal to a Jewish family of Russian origin, is an engineer and former NASA astronaut. With a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chamitoff joined Mission Operations at the Johnson Space Center in 1995 as a guidance and control flight controller. In 1998, he was selected as an astronaut candidate. Serving in roles such as Mission Specialist on the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, Chamitoff has logged more than 198 days in space. He is currently a professor of engineering practice at the department of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University.
Was the First Justice Harlan Anti-Chinese? by James Wice Gordon, Western New England University School of Law 2014 Western New England University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-11 Western New England Law Review, Vol. 36, p. 287, 2014
Abstract: The first Justice John Marshall Harlan has long been recognized as a defender of Black civil rights. Yet some scholars challenge Harlan’s egalitarian reputation by arguing that he was anti-Chinese. In this Article, the Author discusses the evidence which has been offered to support the claim that Harlan was anti-Chinese and offers additional evidence never before presented to argue against this hypothesis. Harlan’s critics have assembled some evidence in a way that suggests Harlan had an anti-Chinese bias. The Author suggests that the evidence is ambiguous and that it can be assembled to produce a different picture from the one Harlan’s critics create. The Author also argues that Harlan’s critics give insufficient weight to the fact that, sitting as a judge, Harlan was often constrained in his decision-making by stare decisis and his conception of the judicial role. The issues presented by the Chinese cases should be viewed in the context of their time and understood not as abstract statements of the Justices’ personal beliefs but as a series of discrete judicial problems presented to the Court for decision. When one examines both the context and the details of the cases, the picture of Harlan that emerges is more nuanced than his critics have suggested.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Today, the New York Times published a series of interactive charts about migration patterns within the United States since 1900: Where We Come From, State By State. My eldest son and I are, apparently, among the growing population of Oklahomans born in California (currently 4%). I could see these charts being useful in an immigration class to show local demographic changes.
The Department of Justice has posted thirty-two openings for immigration judges.
The are looking to fill positions in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
Brush off those resumes!