Thursday, November 17, 2016

Serving Immigrant Families through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches


Addressing the needs of low-income parents and their children simultaneously via two-generation programs that weave together early childhood services with adult-focused programs such as English literacy or workforce training hold great potential to support the successful longer-term integration of immigrants and their children, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report finds.

The report from MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Serving Immigrant Families through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches, finds that programs that offer adult English instruction and build U.S. cultural and systems knowledge — particularly as they relate to parenting, child development and kindergarten readiness — are a key threshold service for many immigrant parents as they work to join the mainstream of economic and civic life in the United States.

Little research exists on the success of two-generation programs in reaching immigrant families. The MPI study, which examined a number of such programs across the United States working with immigrant families, concludes that the field must tailor its approaches to reach a population that faces specific barriers, including limited English proficiency and low levels of formal education. The report, which offers some of the factors for success of the programs studied, also provides an analysis of the sociodemographic characteristics of U.S. parents, whether immigrant or native born, with young children.

“Our analysis reveals that while immigrant parents possess particular strengths that are advantageous to their children, many also face a number of risk factors that make them prime targets for two-generation programs,” said Maki Park, a policy analyst with MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy and lead author of the report.

Immigrant parents lead an increasingly large proportion of U.S. families with young children (age 8 and under) living in poverty, comprising 23 percent (8.4 million) of these parents, according to the report’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data for 2010-2014. Twenty-four percent of these families live below the federal poverty level, compared to 15 percent for U.S.-born parents with young children. The overwhelming majority of young children in immigrant-headed households — 94 percent — were born in the United States and were therefore U.S. citizens at birth.

English and other adult education programs have often been the primary avenue through which immigrant parents with young children become engaged in two-generation programs. For example, Family Literacy and Even Start programs for decades have provided the first interaction that many such parents had with local government and community services. These programs have helped hundreds of thousands of immigrant parents improve their English skills, support their children’s early learning and kindergarten readiness and lead their families along a pathway to greater educational and economic success.

The federal government, in partnership with states, has supported such programs primarily through the Workforce Investment Act, which was reauthorized in 2014 as the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA). However, under the new WIOA performance accountability system, adult education programs are now assessed under the same measures used to judge workforce training programs. These measures, including transition to postsecondary education and attainment of credentials and postsecondary degrees, overlook the important “on-ramp” role played by parent-focused literacy programs, which face a significant risk of appearing to be failing under the law’s accountability metrics. The result could be possible loss of federal funding.

“This new report details key ingredients in the ‘secret sauce’ used by a diverse array of programs that support two-generation success in immigrant families,” said Margie McHugh, a report co-author and director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “And though WIOA’s implementation poses a serious threat to the field’s gateway service for many immigrant parents, states can take action to address the potential crowding-out of these programs, and draw lessons from the strengths of well-tailored initiatives to better leverage their early childhood and anti-poverty investments for the two-generation success of all families.”

The report can be found here.


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

What the Mass Deportation of Immigrants Might Look Like: "Operation Wetback" didn’t merely enforce immigration law—it enforced the idea that American citizens are white.


Ira Gay Sealy/Denver Post/Getty

 Without using its offensive moniker, Donald Trump has spoke fondly of "Operation Wetback," the mass deportation campaign in the Eisenhower administration that resulted in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of persons of Mexican ancestry from the United States.  and remind us of the civil rights consequences of the campaign against Mexican workers.  They conclude:

"To return to the era of Operation Wetback would be to return to an America ruled not by law but by terror. We will not strengthen our economy by persecuting the most vulnerable. Launching a massive deportation drive will not preserve jobs for American workers. What it will do is draw racial borders around our citizenry and restore whiteness as a necessary condition for being a real American."

NPR also summarizes the damage of "Operation Wetback" here.


November 17, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Amanda Frost: How Painful Can Trump Make the Lives of Immigrants? The Answer: Pretty Darn Painful


Amanda Frost on Slate considers just how painful a Donald Trump administration can make the lives of immigrants in the United States as well as the general impacts on immigration.  Her punchline:

"Even if [Trump] cannot quickly build a wall or remove millions of unauthorized immigrants, he can instill fear, driving some immigrants to leave and others not to come in the first place. Fear alone can reduce immigration—both legal and illegal—without the federal government spending a cent. For this, at least, Trump gets all the credit."



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

‘Stay Calm,’ Mexican Officials Tell Fearful Immigrants in U.S.

Kirk Semple of the New York Times writes that Mexico's Foreign Ministry, responding to promises by President-elect Donald J. Trump's promises to greatly increase deportations, announced a plan on Wednesday to provide more protection and support for Mexican immigrants in the United States and urged the Mexican population to “stay calm.”

In a statement and an accompanying video, both titled “We Are With You,” (Estamos Contigo)  the ministry laid out an 11-point plan intended to help Mexicans in the United States get accurate information about possible changes in immigration policy and avoid falling victim to “abuse and fraud.”  Click the link to the story above for details.


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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Donald Trump's team 'discussing plans for Muslim registration system'


The Independent is reporting that the Trump transition team, which includes immigration hardliner Kris Kobach,  is considering a come-back of the "special registration" program for Muslim noncitizens. "Such a programme would echo a registration system created under Mr Bush’s presidency, which [Kris] Kobach also helped design, and which required thousands of Arab and Muslim visitors and temporary US residents to register with the state, but was abandoned in 2011 after it was criticised for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations."


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Refugee, Asylum, and Related Legislation in the US Congress: 2013–2016 by Tara Magner

Refugee, Asylum, and Related Legislation in the US Congress: 2013–2016 by Tara Magner  

Members of Congress have introduced numerous pieces of legislation in recent years related to refugees, asylum seekers, and other populations of migrants seeking protection in the United States. These bills were drafted in reaction to dramatic events within the United States, at its borders, and around the world. For example, roughly 400,000 children traveling alone and mothers with children have arrived at the southern US border since 2013, many seeking protection from organized crime, gang violence, and threats of human trafficking. Similarly, more than a million refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia sought to reach safety on the European continent in 2015 alone. Terrorist attacks fueled attempts to curtail the US commitment to offer protection to those fleeing persecution, even when those attacks had no connection to refugees or only tenuous links. And yet existing US law has been left virtually unchanged throughout this tumultuous period. This article describes the significant attempts to enact legislation related to refugees and international migrants since 2013 and examines the reasons why those attempts have not succeeded. It also describes American attitudes toward refugees and assesses whether those attitudes affected the fate of legislation.

Tara Magner is Director, Chicago Commitment, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The views expressed herein are solely the author’s, expressed in her personal capacity, and do not reflect the views of the MacArthur Foundation.   

Download the PDF of the article


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

Children on the Move: An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority


Throughout the world, children flee peril in their place of origin, but often they exchange one set of dangers for another. A new report published today by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights finds that protection for children on the move, particularly during time of transit, is lacking worldwide.

Children on the Move: An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority, which began as a research project commissioned by the Oak Foundation, documents the dramatic protection failures (including pervasive exposure to sexual exploitation and abuse) of migrant children involved in various forms of distress migration – ranging from refugee flight to humanitarian movement to exploitative labor or sex-related forced migration.  The report details the incomplete patchwork of legal provisions relevant to the protection of these children, along with the social ecology of risk as it manifests itself at different points across the migration trajectory. It includes seven case studies analyzing a range of diverse situations in geographical locations spanning North America to Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.  The report also includes targeted recommendations for improving access to effective child protection for the extensive and growing populations of children of the move. As the report notes, “Although international human rights law requires states to provide each child with a basic level of care and protection, this is too often contingent upon a determination of legality or status. The protection of these individual rights is also impacted when the numbers of children on the move are particularly great.”

Click here for more details.


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

The Election: A Message to My Younger Self

Guest blogger: Andrea Portillo, graduate student, Masters in Migration Studies, University of San Francisco

Here’s something you should know we lost last Tuesday’s presidential elections. We as a people lost. Because unfortunately this country is still embedded with racist and “othering” rhetoric. Because unfortunately we live in a country where race, sexual orientation, citizenship status, and gender are still used as weapons against you. People will continue to stereotype and discriminate against you based on these things. They will say hateful, hurtful and wrong things about you. They will label you things you are not and they will even try to take some of your rights away—some of the rights that you were born with, some of the rights that your people have worked/ and continue to work for.

Here’s something you should know. You are still here. We are still here. We are motivated, now more than ever. We should all be ready to stand with our fists in the air, ready to fight back. Because it’s more important now. It means more now. For the student who is undocumented and whose dreams have just been cut short. For the people of color who deal with racism, and systemic oppression every day. For the women of color who have to work twice as hard to reach their goals. For everyone who continues to be discriminated against based on their gender, race, status and health. Now is not the time for self-pity. Yes things are harder but they have always been hard. We have to go harder. We have to put 150% into everything that we do because our families need it, our communities need it and this country needs it.


November 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Message to Mr. Trump

Guest blogger: Nora Alicia Castaneda, graduate student, Masters in Migration Studies, University of San Francisco

Here’s something you should know about me. I was once an undocumented immigrant. I was born in Nayarit, Mexico. My mother emigrated to the United States and after my first six years as a citizen of Mexico I arrived to the States. I do not remember how it is I crossed. All I can remember was that I had a cousin who let me borrow her passport and proper identification and we did the old switcheroo. I was living as an undocumented immigrant for the majority of my life. Four years ago on November 2012, I became a U.S Permanent Resident. The large part of my family however, remains in the shadows. They remain undocumented. Since the election of Donald Trump, my life has been in a constant haze. I do not know what to say to my family to console them in these difficult times. I want to be strong for them, but it breaks my heart to know that we continue to live in a society that is in fear of immigrants. The United States continues to fear what they don’t know. White supremacy continues to be the law of the land. I am scared that my family can be deported any minute. This is a constant fear that I had to live with and they continue to endure to this day. It seems our country, and I use the words our country because for the majority of my life I have known the United States to be my home; has taken five steps backwards. I do not know where we go from here, but though these last few days have been a constant struggle for me, I continue to find strength and resilience in my Latino community. We are not going anywhere, and it is now more than ever that my passion to serve my community will be of utmost importance. I continue to seek how the work that I am doing in my Master’s program, and the work I will be forever doing as an activist will fit into making the world a better place for migrants everywhere. I do not know what my piece in this puzzle is yet, but I am now more than ever, passionate to find it. So, Donald Trump, though you have won this battle, you have not won the war. In the words of my undocumented community: We are undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic and we will not be going anywhere!


November 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Resistance to Trump's Likely War on "Sanctuary Cities"

Trial in Cuba Baseball Player Trafficking Case


It has been reported (and here) that Court documents filed in U.S. court in Miami list Major League Baseball star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as a possible government witness in the case against Florida sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and his associate Julio Estrada, who are accused of smuggling Cuban ballplayers into the United States.  Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu is also listed as potential witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 3 in Miami.  Hernandez and Estrada have pleaded not guilty.

A grand jury indictment unsealed earlier this year says baseball ballplayers paid more than $15 million to a smuggling ring to leave Cuba. The ring provided the players with phony documents, false identities and secret boat travel from Cuba to Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  The smugglers allegedly took a cut from any Major League Baseball contract signed by the players.


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

Unauthorized Immigrants with Criminal Convictions: Who Might Be a Priority for Removal?


There has been much interest—and confusion—in recent days regarding the number of unauthorized immigrants who could be deported because of criminal convictions when the Trump administration takes charges.

During an interview Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes, President-elect Trump said his administration would seek to deport 2 million to 3 million people with criminal records who he said are in the country illegally.

A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) commentary, which draws from earlier MPI work, examines how many unauthorized immigrants would be priorities for removal under the circumstances outlined by Mr. Trump. The answer: About 820,000, based on MPI estimates drawing from the most recent publicly available information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS last reported on the “removable criminal alien population” in a 2012 report to Congress, estimating that there are 1.9 million noncitizens with criminal records that make them removable. Based on the DHS number, we estimated in a 2015 report that 820,000 of the approximately 11 million people living in the country illegally had criminal convictions. These 820,000 people are a subset of the 1.9 million, with the remainder comprised of people lawfully present in the United States.

The commentary explains how the 820,000 estimate was derived, traces how the U.S. immigration enforcement system has already been recalibrated over recent years to focus on the removal of noncitizens with criminal records, and outlines issues affecting the removal of this population.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What is the Trump Administration's Definition of a "Criminal Alien"?

Following on the heels of Trump's 60 Minutes Interview in which he declared that the Administration would immediately seek to deport between 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants with prior convictions, this Los Angeles Times article reports on what the incoming Administration means when it says it will prioritize the removal of so-called "criminal aliens."

According to two senior officials in the transition team, Trump’s advisors will seek to widen that net to include migrants who have been charged but not convicted, suspected gang members and drug dealers, and people charged with such immigration violations as illegal reentry and overstaying visas, as well as lower-level misdemeanors.

The article also discusses the possible expansion of expedited removal at the border, return of 287(g) agreements with local law enforcement agencies, and return of Secure Communities.


November 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Language Diversity and English Proficiency in the United States


Although the number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English has grown in recent decades, the share of those who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) has fallen: 40 percent in 2015, compared to 44 percent in 1980—even as immigration rose rapidly. This Migration Policy Institute article examines growing linguistic diversity in the country and sketches a profile of the LEP population, including size, location, and socioeconomic characteristics.


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

US GAO Report: Variation Exists in Outcomes of Applications Across Immigration Courts and Judges


Here are the highlights of a Government Accountability Office report on variations in asylum adjudications:

GAO analyzed the outcomes of 595,795 asylum applications completed by the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) between fiscal years 1995 and 2014, and identified outcome variation both over time and across immigration courts and judges. From fiscal years 2008 through 2014, annual grant rates for affirmative asylum applications (those filed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the initiative of the individual and referred to an EOIR immigration judge) ranged from 21 to 44 percent. In the same period, grant rates for defensive asylum applications (those initiated before an immigration judge) ranged from 15 to 26 percent. Further, EOIR data indicate that asylum grant rates varied by immigration court. For example, from May 2007 through fiscal year 2014, the grant rate was 66 percent (affirmative) and 52 percent (defensive) in the New York, New York, immigration court and less than 5 percent (affirmative and defensive) in the Omaha, Nebraska, and Atlanta, Georgia, immigration courts.

GAO found that certain case and judge-related factors are associated with variation in the outcomes of asylum applications. For example, applicants who were represented by legal counsel were granted asylum at a rate 3.1 (affirmative) and 1.8 (defensive) times higher than applicants who were not represented. After statistically controlling for certain factors, such as judge experience and whether or not the applicant had dependents, GAO found variation remained in the outcomes of completed asylum applications across immigration courts and judges. For example, from May 2007 through fiscal year 2014, GAO estimated that the affirmative and defensive asylum grant rates would vary by 29 and 38 percentage points, respectively, for a representative applicant with the same average characteristics we measured, whose case was heard in different immigration courts. In addition, GAO estimated that the affirmative and defensive asylum grant rates would vary by 47 and 57 percentage points, respectively, for the same representative applicant whose case was heard by different immigration judges. GAO could not control for the underlying facts and merits of individual asylum applications because EOIR's case management system was designed to track and manage workloads and does not collect data on all of the details of individual proceedings. Nonetheless, the data available allowed GAO to hold constant certain factors of each asylum application, enabling GAO to compare outcomes across immigration courts and judges.

EOIR provides legal resources to targeted populations, including asylum applicants, through the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) and Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (LOPC). EOIR and its contractor use LOP and LOPC site visits, monthly conference calls, and quarterly reports to monitor these programs. However, EOIR has not established performance measures, consistent with principles outlined in the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, to determine whether these programs are having a measurable impact in meeting program objectives. Developing and implementing performance measures, including establishing a baseline, to determine whether LOP and LOPC are having a measurable impact would better position EOIR to make any adjustments necessary to improve the programs' performance.


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

Call for Submissions: On the Border: A Legal Survey of the Southwest Issue


California Western Law Review is excited to invite submissions for its special spring issue. Entitled On the Border: A Legal Survey of the Southwest, the edition intends to seize upon California Western’s close proximity to the southern border to highlight the myriad legal issues impacting our region.

While we are interested in showcasing new and innovative scholarship on immigration and criminal issues, we also hope to incorporate a more holistic view of the legal terrain of San Diego and the Southwest. Accordingly, we encourage submissions that address environmental and Native American law; legal developments in biotechnology and intellectual property; military and trade issues; and any other topic that might help illuminate the legal dynamism of San Diego and the Southwest.

Submissions from all members of the intellectual community are welcome; our Spring 2017 issue hopes to feature members of the bench, the bar, and the academy.

If you have an article you would like to submit, please email California Western Law Review with a copy of your manuscript and your CV at, with the subject line “Spring 2017 Special Issue.”

If you would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Jake Novack, Editor-in-Chief of California Western Law Review, at


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

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Corrections Industry's Larger Footprint: Migrant Detention


In a post on the NACLA blog (The Corrections Industry's Larger Footprint: Migrant Detention), David Hernández contends that, beyond trying to fix the migrant detention regime with incremental reforms, migrant rights’ activists should demand the detention regime be scrapped all together. This is an especially topical issue in light of the fact that the Trump administration is likely to increase the use of detention as an immigration enforcement tool.


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

MALDEF: Immigrant Rights Under a Trump Presidency

Deportation of Undocumented Persons and DACA Beneficiaries Could Crash this Country


Dina Francesca Haynes addresses the devastating impacts of the elimination of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:

"President Elect Trump has indicated, in his 100–day plan, that he would, on his first day in office, invalidate all unconstitutional Executive Orders issued by President Obama. Those of us who work in the immigration and constitutional law fields understand this to mean that in January, among other actions, approximately one million young people here pursuant to Executive Action and currently in high school, college, or the military, or who have recently completed one of these, will become deportable."

The prospect of the end of DACA has generated great fear, if not panic, in immigrant communities.  Time will tell how President Trump moves forward.


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



Nora Demleitner, JUDICIAL CHALLENGES TO THE COLLATERAL IMPACT OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS:  IS TRUE CHANGE IN THE OFFING?, NYU Law Review Online (2016) is a response to Jason A. Cade, Return of the JRAD,  90 N.Y.U. L. REV. ONLINE 36 (2015)

Abstract:  Judicial opposition to disproportionate sentences and the long-term impact of criminal records is growing, at least in the Eastern District of New York. With the proliferation and harshness of collateral consequences and the hurdles in overcoming a criminal record, judges have asked for greater proportionality and improved chances for past offenders to get a fresh start. The combined impact of punitiveness and a criminal record is not only debilitating to the individual but also to their families and communities. 

A criminal case against a noncitizen who will be subject to deportation and a decade-long ban on reentry and three different requests for expungement will demonstrate how three federal judges struggled with the long-term effects of the current sentencing and collateral consequences regime. These cases exemplify both judicial creativity and judicial impotence, as the courts have to call upon the support of other actors within the executive and legislative branches for change, in these individual cases and systemically. 

These judicial critics of the current approach argue within an emerging normative framework that is coming to dominate the societal discourse on punishment. Increasingly some offenders are deemed “worthy” of receiving our assistance in reintegration. They are generally nonviolent first offenders, those with an unblemished record save for the offense of conviction, those who have been gainfully employed or desperately want to work, and those who have cared for their children. They present no danger to the community, and their continued punishment may negatively impact them, their surroundings, and ultimately the country. On the other hand, those labeled violent or sex offenders or terrorists are being considered dangerous, unredeemable, and deserving of the harshness the criminal justice system has brought to bear on them. The specific categorization of offenses, the definitions of terms, and the categorization of offenders remain fluid, contingent, and subject to constant revision. Still, these judicial efforts expand on the incipient efforts at full reintegration of some of those with a criminal record. Whether their challenges will resonate with their colleagues and in other branches of government remains to be seen.

Jenifer Chacón and myself also have responded to Cade's provocative article.


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