Monday, July 11, 2016

Areas with low immigration voted mainly for Brexit


The Conversation reports on a survey looking at the Brexit vote.  As has been reported, the EU referendum was, for many British voters, a referendum on immigration. A survey conducted shortly after votes had been cast, showed that 33% stated their main reason for voting Leave was because it “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders”. In addition, 81% of Leave voters regarded multiculturalism and 80% regarded immigration as “forces for ill”, compared to 19% and 20% of Remain voters respectively. Further analysis shows that, in most cases, high proportions of Leave voters were not concentrated in areas of high immigration. The districts with the highest vote for Leave generally were those with the lowest levels of immigration.


July 11, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Migration is [Black Market] Business on Mexico's Southern Border

El Rio Suchiate, photo CARLOS LOPEZ PAULUK/2011

The Suchiate River separates Mexico from Guatemala. As Marketplace reports, the river is a hotbed of clandestine trade.

People cross freely from Guatemala to Mexico, despite urging from the U.S. that Mexico "seal this river."

What you may not realize, however, is the frequency with which goods travel from Mexico to Guatemala. "The spread between the Mexican peso and the Guatemalan quetzal means Mexico's a bargain for Guatemalans." And crossing the river instead of at an authorized checkpoint means saving even more on customs and taxes.



July 10, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Extension of El Salvador's TPS Status


Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador (and those without nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) for an additional 18 months, effective Sept. 10, 2016, through March 9, 2018.

Current TPS El Salvador beneficiaries who want to extend their TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from July 8, 2016, through Sept. 6, 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins.

For background about TPS, which was authorized by the Immigration Act of 1990, click here.  El Salvador has a long history of having TPS status.


July 10, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Luis Enrique, Singer (Nicaragua)


Luis Enriqueis a Nicaraguan-born singer and composer. He attended high School in Whittier, California, near Los Angeles. He started his career in the late 1980s and achieved success in the 1990s earning the title "El Príncipe de la Salsa" (The Prince of Salsa). Enrique was a pioneer in the salsa romántica movement of the 1980s. He received two Grammy Award-nomination for "Best Tropical Latin Performance" for album Luces del Alma and his song Amiga. In 2009, his album, Ciclos, was nominated for numerous Latin Grammy Awards. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.

Enrique immigrated to the United States in 1978  He will be sharing his story as an undocumented immigrant in the United States in an upcoming book, Enrique will tell of his personal journey from Nicaragua to making a home in L.A. He was undocumented for about 10 years. 



July 10, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

SF Immigration Attorney Honored by Ninth Circuit


Robert B. Jobe has been selected to receive the 2016 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit. The award will be presented in July at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference at the Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana, by the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder.

Jobe is in private practice in San Francisco, where since 1990 he has specialized in immigration law. Recognized as one of the nation’s finest immigration litigators, Jobe and his associates have represented clients in more than 60 precedential cases, helping to shape current immigration law. He has litigated at all levels of the federal court system, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jobe has served as counsel in some significant immigration cases.  Specifically, he has influenced such issues as asylum law, suspension of deportation, visa processing, and criminal aliens.

Click here for additional information about the award.


July 10, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Border Corruption Often Has Family Roots


This article by Nicole Cobler in the Texas Tribune offers some interesting insights about how family financial pressures can lead to corruption by Border Patrol officers.  She writes that "one striking hallmark of border corruption cases is how often the drift into illegal behavior begins with family considerations or entanglements. . . . For [one officer], it started when he solicited bribes to fund a costly legal battle to get his wife's son back from his father in Mexico, he says. But once the illicit cash started flowing, he never found the will to turn it off."

It does seem that we read stories regularly about such corruption.

Hat tip to our Texas correspondent, Professor Cappy White.


July 8, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ACLU Report: How the U.S. Has Failed Deported Veterans


The federal government’s failure to help naturalize immigrants serving in the U.S. military has led to the deportation of untold numbers of veterans, all of whom were entitled to become citizens because of their service, according to a report released today by the ACLU of California.

The report, “Discharged, Then Discarded,” found that deported veterans were in the U.S. legally and sustained physical wounds and emotional trauma in conflicts as far back as the war in Vietnam. Once they returned from service, however, they were subject to draconian immigration laws that reclassified many minor offenses as deportable crimes, and were effectively banished from this country.

Much of the current problem dates back to punitive laws enacted nearly 20 years ago, and lawmakers’ unwillingness to fix a broken immigration system that has led to the deportation of veterans, torn families apart and left many living in fear.

For veterans, all of whom served their time for their criminal convictions, deportation is a lifetime punishment that never would have happened if the government had ensured their right to be naturalized. The consequences of deportation include lack of access to necessary VA medical benefits that all veterans are entitled to regardless of immigration status, the report concludes. They suffer permanent separation from their families, including U.S.-born children.


July 8, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

From the Bookshelves: A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America by Oscar Martinez

History of violence

A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America  by Oscar Martinez (2016)

This is a book about one of the deadliest places in the world

El Salvador and Honduras have had the highest homicide rates in the world over the past ten years, with Guatemala close behind. Every day more than 1,000 people—men, women, and children—flee these three countries for North America. Óscar Martínez, author of The Beast, named one of the best books of the year by the Economist, Mother Jones, and the Financial Times, fleshes out these stark figures with true stories, producing a jarringly beautiful and immersive account of life in deadly locations.

Martínez travels to Nicaraguan fishing towns, southern Mexican brothels where Central American women are trafficked, isolated Guatemalan jungle villages, and crime-ridden Salvadoran slums. With his precise and empathetic reporting, he explores the underbelly of these troubled places. He goes undercover to drink with narcos, accompanies police patrols, rides in trafficking boats and hides out with a gang informer. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a region of fear and a subtle analysis of the North American roots and reach of the crisis, helping to explain why this history of violence should matter to all of us.

Here is a review of A History of Violence by Sara Campos.


July 7, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crossing Borders for Food

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.19.47 AM
Táchira is in red

Some 500 women in the Venezuelan state of Táchira left their country without authorization in order to buy food in neighboring Colombia, the BBC reports.

Venezuela has been suffering from severe food shortages as the country, previously subsidized by oil sales, struggles financially in the wake of falling oil prices.

Travel between Venezuela and Colombia is typically strict. Venezuela does not want its citizens selling subsidized goods for profit in Colombia.

But the women who crossed the border this week say they weren't crossing to make money, but to feed their families. "We're desperate, we have nothing: no cooking oil, no sugar, no rice."

The women successfully crossed the border, bought food, and returned to Venezuela.


July 7, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

US: Deaths in Immigration Detention


A demonstrator carries a mock coffin, representing migrants who have died, outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Eloy, Arizona. © 2016 Associated Press


 Newly released United States government records summarizing investigations of the deaths of 18 migrants in the custody of US immigration authorities support a conclusion that subpar care contributed to at least seven of the deaths, Human Rights Watch said today.

The death reviews, from mid-2012 to mid-2015, reveal substandard medical care and violations of applicable detention standards. Two independent medical experts consulted by Human Rights Watch concluded that these failures probably contributed to the deaths of 7 of the 18 detainees, while potentially putting many other detainees in danger as well. The records also show evidence of the misuse of isolation for people with mental disabilities, inadequate mental health evaluation and treatment, and broader medical care failures.

“In 2009, the Obama administration promised major immigration detention reforms, including more centralized oversight and improved health care,” said Clara Long, US researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But these death reviews show that system-wide problems remain, including a failure to prevent or fix substandard medical care that literally kills people.”

The death reviews, released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in June 2016, cover 18 of the 31 deaths of detainees that the agency acknowledges have occurred since May 2012. ICE has not released its reviews of the other 13 deaths in that time period.

The US maintains the capacity to hold 34,000 noncitizens in civil detention at any one time, in an expansive network of more than 200 facilities including county jails, private detention centers, and a handful of federal lockups. Most of the hundreds of thousands of people held in this system each year are subject to harsh mandatory detention laws, which do not allow for an individualized review of the decision to detain them during their immigration proceedings.

The ICE Office of Detention Oversight (ODO) conducted the death reviews and identified decisions it considered violations of the applicable detention standards, but did not reach conclusions about whether identified deficiencies in care contributed to the detainees’ deaths.

Human Rights Watch asked two independent experts to review the circumstances of the deaths, as detailed in the ICE ODO reviews. Dr. Marc Stern is a correctional health expert who is an assistant affiliate professor of public health at the University of Washington and a former subject matter expert for investigations conducted by the US Department of Homeland Security, as well as the former health services director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections. Dr. Allen Keller is an associate professor at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, associate professor at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, and director of the NYU School of Medicine Center for Health and Human Rights and a general internist with an expertise in evaluation and treatment of immigrants and in access to health care for prisoners.

The medical experts identified evidence of substandard and potentially dangerous care in most of the reviews, including failure to follow up on symptoms that required attention, medical personnel apparently practicing beyond the scope of their licenses and expertise, the misuse of solitary confinement for mental health patients, and sluggish emergency responses.

In seven cases, both medical experts agreed that inadequate care may have contributed to the detainees’ deaths. Both experts had serious concerns about the quality of mental health care in three additional cases of people who committed suicide – and in one of those cases the experts agreed subpar care contributed to the person's death.

In 16 of the reviews, the independent medical experts agreed there was evidence of substandard medical practices that could pose a risk to current or future detainees in those facilities, even where inappropriate care did not appear to contribute to the deaths documented in the reviews. The medical experts found no evidence of inappropriate care in only two of the 18 cases.

One of the people the two medical experts identified as having received substandard care was 34-year-old Manuel Cota-Domingo, who died of heart disease, untreated diabetes, and pneumonia in December 2012 at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center shortly after being transferred there from Eloy Detention Center, a private facility run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

The death review contains persuasive evidence that correctional officers did not respond to calls for help for approximately three hours while Cota-Domingo was having trouble breathing. When officers finally notified medical providers of his condition, they delayed evaluating him and finally sent him to the hospital in a van instead of an ambulance. Both medical experts concluded that the combination of these delays likely contributed to a potentially treatable condition becoming fatal.

The other deaths that both medical experts concluded were probably linked to substandard medical practices, were those of Raul Ernesto Morales, Santiago Sierra Sanchez, Peter George Carlysle Rockwell, Lelis Rodriguez, Marjorie Annmarie Bell, and Tiombe Kimana Carlos. In the cases of Tiombe Kimana Carlos, Clemente Mponda, and Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun, all of whom committed suicide after demonstrating signs of serious mental health conditions, the experts concluded that inadequate mental health care or the misuse of isolation may have significantly exacerbated their mental health problems.

In the vast majority of the 18 cases, the reviews revealed evidence of substandard medical practices that could put detainees throughout the facilities in question at risk of serious harm.

The 18 cases relate to a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of immigration detainees held during the period in question, and do not speak directly to conditions in most of 200-plus different facilities ICE uses to house detainees. However, the reviews raise serious concerns about ICE’s ability to detect, respond appropriately to, and successfully correct serious lapses in medical care that arise in any of these facilities – even in cases in which the agency has conducted detailed investigations into detainee deaths.

A prior report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Detention Watch Network (DWN), and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) found that violations of medical care standards played a significant role in another eight in-custody deaths from 2010 to 2012, and that ICE’s inspection and oversight mechanisms had failed to identify or address problems that contributed to the deaths.

“The tragic deaths described in these newly released investigations are disturbingly similar to the 2010-2012 deaths described in our report, Fatal Neglect,” said Jennifer Chan, a co-author of the ACLU/DWN/NIJC report and NIJC’s associate director of policy.

The reviews of these 18 detainees’ deaths demonstrate that the US government continues to fail to ensure that all detention facilities provide adequate health care to immigrants in detention. This failure is all the more egregious because many people in immigration detention should not be there to begin with. The US government makes indefensibly wide use of immigration detention, which should be limited to situations in which an individualized review determines that legitimate government interests cannot be met by other, less restrictive means.

The Obama administration should take immediate action to improve oversight mechanisms and stop using detention facilities that are unable or unwilling to provide adequate healthcare, Human Rights Watch said. The Obama administration should also end the use of solitary confinement for detainees with mental disabilities.

“Many of the dangerous medical practices found in these reviews should have been apparent in routine federal audits of immigration detention facilities,” said Long. “Yet ICE failed to catch or address substandard care before these deaths occurred, and the reviews of multiple deaths at one facility in particular indicate problems were not addressed adequately after the deaths either.”


July 7, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Vladimir Nabokov (Russia)


Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) was a Russian-American novelist. His first nine novels were in Russian, and he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose. His most famous book Lolita (1955) was also controversial.

Nabokov immigrated in New York.  He joined the staff of Wellesley College in 1941 as resident lecturer in comparative literature. The position, created specifically for him, provided an income and free time to write creatively. Nabokov founded Wellesley's Russian Department.

In 1945, Nabokov became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Nabokov left Wellesley in 1948 to teach Russian and European literature at Cornell University, where he taught until 1959. Among his students at Cornell was future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who later identified Nabokov as a major influence on her development as a writer.

Nabokov wrote Lolita while travelling on butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer. In June 1953 Nabokov and his family went to Ashland, Oregon. There he finished Lolita.


July 7, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senate Blocks 2 Bills on Immigration


AP reports that the U.S. Senate has blocked two measures stemming from last year's deadly San Francisco shooting.  The first measure would have barred federal funds from "sanctuary" cities, jurisdictions which restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The second measure, pushed by Senator Ted Cruz, would have increased the maximum sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States, with up to a 10-year penalty for an individual denied admission or deported at least three times.

Congressional Republicans have pressed for restrictions since the July 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. The man charged in her death was undocumented despite a long criminal record and multiple deportations. He had been released by San Francisco authorities.

Each Senate measure faced a 60-vote threshold. The first measure fell short, 53-44. The second measure failed on a 55-42 vote.

July 7, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Happy Birthday Frida Kahlo!

Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Immigrant Minors


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today decided Flores v. Lynch.  In an opinion by Judge Andrew Hurwitz, and joined by Judges Ronald Gould and Michael Melloy (sitting by designation from the Eighth Circuit), affirmed in part Judge Dolly Gee's order allowing for the release of minors, booth accompanied and unaccompanied.  The release of adults was found to be outside  the scope of the settlement.

The case was argued in early June.  Here are some background materials about the case, which currently revolves around a 1997 settlement agreement.  For further discussion of the case, click here.


July 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peter Markowitz: Can Obama Pardon Millions of Immigrants?


Law professor Peter Markowitz offers an approach other than deferred action for undocumented immigrants for President Obama to contemplate:

"President Obama can still act to bring humanity and justice to an immigration system notoriously lacking in both. He can do so by using the power the Constitution grants him — and only him — to pardon individuals for `offenses against the United States.'”

Some more background on the idea can be found on pp. 7-10, 27-32 in Markowitz's forthcoming article, Prosecutorial Discretion Power at its Zenith: The Power to Protect Liberty, forthcoming Boston University Law Review.


July 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York (India)


Preetinder Singh “Preet” Bharara ia the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Earning a reputation of a "Crusader" prosecutor, his office has prosecuted prosecuted nearly 100 Wall Street executives, reached historic settlements and fines with the four largest banks in the United States,  and closed multibillion-dollar hedge funds. He also has prosecuted New York state politicians, including the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the Majority Leader of State Senate,

Bharara was born in 1968 in Firozpur, Punjab, India. His family moved to New Jersey when Bharara was a child.  Bharara went on to attend Harvard College. He attended Columbia Law School, graduating in 1993. 

President Obama nominated Bharara for U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 2009 and he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He runs an office with more than 450 employees, including about 200 attorneys.


July 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deep in the Heart of Texas? The Judge Who Tried to School the Feds

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Is CCA Preventing Immigrants in Detention From Speaking to Their Lawyers?

Rhonda Brownstein, Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, writes in a column in the Huffington Post that immigrant detainees at the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, GA, are being denied their right to speak with their lawyers. The Stewart facility is owned by the Corrections Corporation of America, a for-profit prison company.  Brownstein writes: 

"Anybody who is detained has the right to confer with a lawyer. But for years, CCA guards have prevented attorneys from meeting with detainees by creating unreasonable delays. Even when a lawyer succeeds in setting up a meeting with a detainee, he or she must speak to the client via phone through a Plexiglass barrier - and the phones are often broken, leaving the lawyer to yell his advice through the Plexiglass. A number of lawyers have stopped practicing at the detention center, citing inconsistent practices involving attorney-client meetings and harassment by facility staffers."

According to the column, CCA has also failed to fulfill the terms of a contract that required it to provide video teleconferencing services for detainees to speak with their lawyers, among other things. 

More information about these concerns are available on the SPLC website here, and include a letter sent to ICE officials last March regarding immigrant detainees' access to counsel.  

The allegations are deeply troubling, and exacerbated by the fact that noncitizens have no right to government-appointed counsel in the immigration context.


July 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nate Silver: Trump's Chance of Victory is Only 19 Percent

We all know that if Donald Trump wins the White House, immigration enforcement will be very different and the chances for progressive immigration reform will be even worse.

From Politico:

Nate Silver [predicts that Hillary Clinton will will the presidential election. He] is giving Donald Trump a 19 percent chance of becoming president – and that makes him a little nervous, as well it should
. . .
The unusually large number of undecideds and third-party voters this year threatens to throw off his model, Silver allowed: “That's a big thing that we're looking at.”

But Silver’s confidence wasn’t much shaken by his big Trump miss [in the primaries] -- if anything, it’s only reinforced his belief in the superiority of his math-driven methods over shoot-from-the-lip punditry. Read more....


July 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ANNALS: Issue on Undocumented Migration in a Global Economy


The ANNALS July 2016 Table of Contents

The Challenge of Studying Undocumented Migration

The Potential and Limitations of Cross-Context Comparative Research on Migration by Fernando Riosmena

Social Capital in Polish-German Migration Decision-Making: Complementing the Ethnosurvey with a Prospective View by Frank Kalter and Gisela Will

How Representative Are Snowball Samples? Using the Ethnosurvey to Study Guatemala-U.S. Migration by David P. Lindstrom

Undocumented Latinos in the United States

Double Disadvantage: Unauthorized Mexicans in the U.S. Labor Market by Jorge Durand, Douglas S. Massey, and Karen A. Pren

The Precarious Position of Latino Immigrants in the United States: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnosurvey Data by Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand, and Karen A. Pren

Shadow Labor: Work and Wages among Immigrant Hispanic Women in Durham, North Carolina by Chenoa A. Flippen

The Departed: Deportations and Out-Migration among Latino Immigrants in North Carolina after the Great Recession by Emilio A. Parrado and Chenoa A. Flippen

Undocumented Others: Bangladeshis, Africans, and Chinese

The Effects of Legal Status on Employment and Health Outcomes among Low-Skilled Chinese Immigrants in New York City by Zai Liang and Bo Zhou

Legal Status, Gender, and Labor Market Participation of Senegalese Migrants in France, Italy, and Spain by Erik R. Vickstrom and Amparo González-Ferrer

Different but the Same: How Legal Status Affects International Migration from Bangladesh by Katharine M. Donato, Amanda R. Carrico, Blake Sisk, and Bhumika Piya


July 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)