Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Unauthorized Immigrant Population Profiles

Unauthorized Immigrant Population Profiles

This Migration Policy Institute website has a wealth of information about the undocumented population.  Learn about the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. Where do they live? When did they arrive in the United States, and from which origin countries? What are their levels of education, top industries of employment, incomes, parental and marital status, health care coverage, and more? And how many are potentially eligible for relief from deportation via deferred action? This unique data tool provides detailed sociodemographic profiles for the United States, 41 states (plus the District of Columbia), and 117 counties with the largest unauthorized populations. And estimates of populations eligible for deferred action and their share of the overall unauthorized population are offered for 41 states as well as for the 138 counties with the largest unauthorized populations (see spreadsheets at right).


June 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States

This Migration Information Source publication looks at Middle Eastern and North African immigrants in the United States.

As of 2013, approximately 1.02 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region resided in the United States, representing 2.5 percent of the nation’s 41.3 million immigrants. Migration from the MENA region to the United States, motivated mainly by political instability in the region and economic opportunities abroad, began in the 18th century and has occurred in three phases.  Click the link above to see the full report.

MENA Immigrant Population in the US



June 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Contesting Immigration Policy in Court Legal Activism and Its Radiating Effects in the United States and France by Leila Kawar


Contesting Immigration Policy in Court Legal Activism and Its Radiating Effects in the United States and France (Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society) by Leila Kawar

What difference does law make in immigration policymaking? Since the 1970s, networks of progressive attorneys in both the U.S. and France have attempted to use litigation to assert rights for non-citizens. Yet judicial engagement – while numerically voluminous – remains doctrinally curtailed. This study offers new insights into the constitutive role of law in immigration policymaking by focusing on the legal frames, narratives, and performances forged through action in court. Challenging the conventional wisdom that "cause litigation" has little long term impact on policymaking unless it produces broad rights-protective principles, this book shows that legal contestation can have important radiating effects on policy by reshaping how political actors approach immigration issues.  Based on extensive fieldwork in the United States and France, this book explores the paths by which litigation has effected policy change in two paradigmatically different national contexts.

First scholarly history of contemporary immigrant rights litigation

Based on a unique combination of archival research and more than sixty in-depth interviews with litigators and government attorneys in two national settings

Explicitly decenters the American experience of legal activism, allowing scholars and practitioners to consider alternative models


June 16, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

US: Drug Deportations Tearing Families Apart -- Spike in Cases, Many for Minor Offenses


Thousands of families in the United States have been torn apart in recent years by detention and deportation for drug offenses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Disproportionately harsh laws and policies relating to drug offenses can lead to deportation for lawful permanent residents and unauthorized immigrants alike.

The 93-page report, “A Price Too High: US Families Torn Apart by Deportations for Drug Offenses,” documents how the US regularly places legal residents and other immigrants with strong ties to US families into deportation proceedings for drug offenses. Often, those offenses are decades old or so minor they resulted in little or no prison time. Deportations after convictions for drug possession in particular have spiked, increasing 43 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to US government data obtained by Human Rights Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Even as many US states are legalizing and decriminalizing some drugs, or reducing sentences for drug offenses, federal immigration policy too often imposes exile for the same offenses,” said Grace Meng, senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report. “Americans believe the punishment should fit the crime, but that is not what is happening to immigrants convicted of what are often relatively minor drug offenses.”

The report is based on more than 130 interviews with affected immigrants, families, attorneys, and law enforcement officials, as well as new data obtained from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Deportations of non-citizens with drug convictions, and especially with drug possession convictions, increased significantly from 2007 to 2012. In addition to the 43 percent increase in deportations after convictions for drug possession during that period, deportations after convictions for sales, smuggling, manufacture, or trafficking increased 23 percent. For more than 34,000 deported non-citizens, the most serious conviction was for marijuana possession.

Human Rights Watch requested information on the immigration status of deported non-citizens in its Freedom of Information Act, but ICE in its response claimed not to keep such records. An appeal is pending. Numerous cases were reported to Human Rights Watch, however, in which lawful permanent residents – who have a green card – were put into deportation proceedings for drug offenses.

Many of those we interviewed faced automatic deportation because immigration law defines their offenses as fitting within the aggravated felony of “drug trafficking.” These include several people whose convictions were for low-level offenses, such as sale of $5 worth of crack cocaine. In such cases, the immigration judge is barred from considering the circumstances of the individual’s case such as any evidence of US family ties, rehabilitation, military service, and other factors, and instead must order the immigrant deported.

Some lawful permanent residents with convictions for simple possession are eligible to apply for a form of pardon, to “cancel” their removal. But because drug offenses trigger mandatory detention under US law, Human Rights Watch found legal residents who were forced to spend months in immigration detention fighting their cases. Often, their detention had devastating emotional and financial consequences for them and their families, for convictions as minor as simple possession of marijuana.

Even decades-old offenses can result in mandatory detention and deportation. Human Rights Watch received several reports of immigration authorities arresting legal residents, sometimes in early-morning raids at their homes, for old offenses. In one case, the legal resident was arrested 13 years later for charges that had been dismissed under a California diversion program for first-time drug offenders.

Under US immigration law, expunged or pardoned drug convictions can still result in deportation.

Drug offenses also bar non-citizens from gaining lawful resident status, even if they have close family relationships with US citizens that would otherwise qualify them for green cards. Although it is possible for a non-citizen to apply for a waiver for offenses such as assault or fraud if they can show a US citizen family member would suffer extreme hardship if the non-citizen could not gain legal resident status, the only waiver possible for drug offenses is for a single conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

The US Congress should undertake comprehensive reform to ensure that immigrants with criminal convictions, including drug offenses, are not subject to a “one-size-fits-all-policy,” Human Rights Watch said. Instead, immigration judges should be given the discretion to weigh evidence of rehabilitation, strong family ties, years of residence, and other positive factors, against the seriousness of any convictions.

Meanwhile, states should ensure that reforms to reduce criminal penalties for drug offenses and facilitate rehabilitation for those with drug dependency are designed to allow non-citizens to benefit as well. In California, two pending bills – Assembly Bills 1351 and 1352 – would amend an existing drug diversion program to allow defendants to participate before pleading guilty, and allow people to withdraw guilty pleas if they have already successfully completed the program. These bills, if passed, would help to ensure equal justice for non-citizens arrested for minor drug offenses.

The Obama administration should also stop pursuing a deportation strategy that categorically assumes anyone with a criminal conviction represents a threat to public safety.

“The Obama administration has explicitly recognized the many failures of the US criminal justice system, and particularly its disproportionate impact on minority and poor communities,” Meng said. “But by designating all immigrants convicted in that system as dangerous criminals, the administration is perpetuating these failures and devastating many of the same communities.”


June 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium on Kerry v. Din: Another Choiceless Choice by Elizabeth Keyes


Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Kerry v. Din.  Over the next few weeks, the ImmigrationProf blog will be running an on-line symposium with immigration professors analyzing various aspects of the decision.  The first installment is by Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore):

Justice Scalia’s plurality opinion in Kerry v. Din appears to be more a blow against the role of evolving social norms in rights jurisprudence than it is a response to the pressing issues raised by Ms. Din’s case.  There is an almost nostalgic wistfulness in his use of history in this case, which called to mind his famous argument in Harmellin v. Michigan that mandatory penalties may be cruel, but they are not unusual—and therefore can be permitted, a triumph of formalism over reality. In Kerry v. Din, he employs history with a similar, unsurprisingly conservative result, since small-c conservatism regards change, and changing values, with the utmost suspicion. In this instance, he looks to decades of immigration history that have been critiqued by everyone from legislators to law professors, from presidents to practitioners alike as racist and sexist, as proof that the family interests of Ms. Din, and particularly her marital interests, do not rise to the level of fundamental rights.  Because we did these things for so long and so pervasively, the constitutional matter (for Justice Scalia) is clearly settled: we can continue being the way we were.

His reliance on Kerry Abrams’ thoughtful What Makes the Family Special? makes the Good Justice guilty of the same picking-and-choosing he disdains in, well, anyone else. Professor Abrams lays out the immigration history neutrally, to understand what values it might be expressing, and how those values sometimes complement and sometimes compete with each other. But her conclusion is hardly something social conservatives want to laud: that if we are concerned about issues like integration, labor and social engineering, perhaps the best result would be a system that did not use marriage as a proxy, but instead looked at the multitude of ways people have of raising children inside and outside of marriage—privileging function over form. 

What is lost in the haze of this historic nostalgia is the actual position Ms. Din is in. Ms. Din faces a “choiceless choice,” borrowing the words of Professor David Thronson. Justice Scalia describes as “strange” the idea that Ms. Din has been deprived of something, since—clearly—the Government is not taking away her marriage, just her ability to be with her husband in the United States. But Ms. Din was a refugee, someone whose fear of death or other persecution was so great that the U.S. Government itself found her fears objectively reasonable. To say she has lost nothing because she cannot enjoy the sanctuary of the United States with her husband is to deliberately misunderstand global migration. Perhaps there is a mythic Brigadoon, a town appearing just when needed, where she and her husband could lawfully dwell. But on June 15, 2015, in the non-fictional world, where exactly might they live together? Canada? No, her asylum claim was litigated here first, and under the Safe Third Country Agreement in effect with Canada for more than a decade, she is out of luck. Europe? Recent events and not-so-recent events suggest otherwise. Australia? Not a refuge for those fleeing violence in Asia. As a factual matter, then, Ms. Din has been deprived of something important—something fundamental. By dodging the specifics of Ms. Din’s loss of liberty, Justice Scalia has been able to use Kerry v. Din as a platform for his crusade against “shallowly-rooted” values in American society—a fight he surely senses he is losing as a political, popular and ultimately jurisprudential matter.

While I reserve most of my disagreement for Justices Scalia, Roberts and Thomas, I also find Justices Kennedy and Alito too far from reality in this particular matter (and since Justice Alito was highly concerned with on-the-ground-realities of the complexity of immigration law in his Padilla v. Kentucky concurrence, this is disappointing). With due respect to consular officers who handle high volumes of applications from anxious would-be immigrants and nonimmigrants (more temporary entrants), consular officers make mistakes. This is not a shocking revelation, but a well-documented one. And not all mistakes are equally consequential, or at least not obviously so. But if we see would-be immigrants as having varying levels of claims upon us—and as a constitutional matter we do, from Mr. Fleuti to Ms. Plasencia—we can see a difference between an adjudication of a visitor visa for someone with no family or employment ties in the United States, and that of the husband of a U.S. citizen. Decisions for the latter do merit something more than a cursory citation to an overbroad, under-scrutinized provision. May the next case focus more on that issue of reviewability, and open the door a bit wider to a fair process.


June 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Recap from the 2015 Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference


I had great plans to live blog from the 2015 Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference. Unfortunately, my computer had other ideas. And so, I bring you instead, the recap.

The emerging scholars' conference takes place every other year, in rotation with the law professors workshop. This year, it was held at the University of Miami School of Law.

The conference featured three plenary panels. The first was titled Books, Blogs, and Briefs: The Changing State of Legal Scholarship. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Mark Noferi, and I discussed new ways in which immprofs can expand their legal scholarship to, in the words of César, "do more with the great privilege we have."

The second panel, Change and Transformation in Law Teaching Careers, featured David Abraham, Jennifer Chacón, Nora Demleitner, and Daniel Kanstroom. Nora offered incredible insight into the current and future state of law schools. All spoke about the importance of luck, flexibility, and hard work in creating a successful career.

Geoffrey Heeren moderated the third panel on Law Practice and Social Change in the Academy. Annie Lai, Christopher Lasch, and Maria Woltjen spoke about their clinical programs and the challenges and opportunities they present.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from Ira Kurzban, who needs no introduction. Ira spoke about developments in immigration law - both positive and negative - and how immigration professors might address those developments.

In addition, nearly 40 works-in-progress and incubator ideas were presented at the conference! It was a great moment for collaboration and feedback, the true meat of the emerging scholars conference.

I have to give a special shout out to Dan Kanstroom who strove, throughout the conference, to ensure that emerging scholars were working to situate themselves within the existing state of the literature. Along those lines, Dan has an exciting new project in the works to hold conferences focused just on that issue - the state of the cannon. I, for one, can't wait.

The next emerging scholars conference won't be until 2017. But I encourage new immprofs out there and immprofs-to-be to think about attending this warm and vibrant event. And, to whoever the future planners of the conference may be, I shall make just one suggestion: Cuba. Let's do it.


June 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Immigration Rulings in the 2014 Term

With two decisions today, the Supreme Court decided a total three immigration cases in the 2014 Term.  This is about the average over the last six Terms.  The decisions are:

Mellouli v. Lynch:  The Court ejected a removal order based on a state conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia, in this case a sock used to conceal a prescription drug.  The Court found that the Board of Immigration Appeals ruling was contrary to the immigration statute.  The immigrant, Moones Mellouli, prevailed in this case.

Mata v. Lynch:  In this case, which was no surprise in light of fact that the Solicitor General did not defend the ruling in its favor below, the Court found that the court of appeals had jurisdiction to review a claim of equitable tolling of the time limit on a motion to reopen removal proceedings.  The immigrant Reyes Mata, previously convicted of assault, prevailed in this case.

Kerry v. DinIn this case, a splintered Supreme Court vacated and remanded a court of appeals ruling that a consular officer had failed to provide an adequate justification (simply citing the lengthy "terrorist activity" provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act) for denial of a visa to a spouse of a U.S. citizen.  No opinion commanded a majority.  The doctrine of consular nonreviewability remains intact, as does the exception articulated in Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972) allowing for limited judicial review of visa decisions.  Although the U.S. government prevailed in this case, six Justices agreed that limited judicial review of consular officer visa decisions was appropriate.

All of the decisions applied ordinary modes of statutory interpretation and administrative agency review to immigration decisions of the Executive Branch.  Two of the three cases involved immigrants convicted of crimes, a particular focus of the Obama administration's removal efforts.  The third -- and only one in which the U.S. government prevailed -- involved the specter of "terrorist activity."

In my estimation, there were no real surprises in any of the Supreme Court's immigration decisions from the 2014 Term.  The Roberts Court continues to pursue what I have termed immigration law unexceptionalism in its immigration decisions.


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comment on OLC's Endorsement of DAPA

Mark Jia, photo via China Hands

Harvard Law School rising 3L Mark Jia recently published a short comment for the Harvard Law Review analyzing the Office of Legal Counsel's November 19, 2014 memo defending President Obama's executive order on Deferred Action for Parental Accountability.

The comment begins with a nice summary of the OLC's position. But it offers more, criticizing the memos for "seem[ing] to preclude the legality of DACA" and failing to "grapple seriously enough with the genuine complexities attendant to discerning Congress’s immigration goals."

Jia concludes that the OLC's analysis "remains vulnerable to several internal criticisms that may continue to haunt the Administration’s efforts to place its nonenforcement choices upon firm legal footing."


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Decides Kerry v. Din

This is a big day for immigration in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Besides Mata v. Holder, the Court issued  a ruling in the much-awaited Kerry v. Din case today.   Here is my analysis of the oral argument in the case.

Justice Scalia announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kennedy filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Alito joined.  The plurality concluded that the U.S. government did not deprive Din, the U.S. citizen wife of a visa applicant from Afghanistan, of any constitutional right entitling her to due process of law.

Justice Kennedy, joined by Justice Alito,  concurred in the judgment, concluding that there is no need to decide whether Din has a protected liberty interest, because, even assuming she does, the notice she received satisfied due process as stated in Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972).

Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, dissented and would have found that the U.S. citizen spouse of a visa applicant had a procedural due process right to a meaningful (factually and legally) explanation of a visa denial and that the government failed to provide such an explanation in this case.

Ruth Robson on the Constitutional Law Prof blog sees the debate over the scope of the right to marriage between Justice Scalia for the plurality and Justice Breyer in dissent as possibly foreshadowing the result in the same sex marriage case of Obergefell v. Hodges.  Note that Justice Kennedy does not sign on to the plurality's limited view of the right to marriage (at least with respect to immigration).

Here is my analysis of the opinion on SCOTUSBlog.  Professor Garrett Epps in The Atlantic analyzes Justice Scalia's opinion through the lens of the constitutionality of same sex marriage. 

Stay tuned for an on-line symposium on Kerry v. Din, which will start tomorrow.



June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Decides Mata v. Lynch


The Supreme Court today decided Mata v. LynchHere is the opinion.

The issue in the case was a technical judicial review question:  whether the  Fifth Circuit erred in this case in holding that it has no jurisdiction to review petitioner's request that the Board of Immigration Appeals equitably toll the ninety-day deadline on his motion to reopen as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel.  Mata, who was placed in removal proceedings based on a criminal assault conviction, sought to reopen the proceedings, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.  The Fifth Circuit had ruled that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal.

As previously reported on the ImmigrationProf blog, the outcome was pretty predictable in light of the fact that the Office of the Solicitor General had conceded that the Fifth Circuit was on the wrong end of circuit split. The Court appointed as counsel to defend the decision Beck Redden LLP associate William Peterson.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court.  All but one of the Justices joined her opinion finding.  The Court ruled that the Fifth Circuit erred in declining to take jurisdiction over Mata’s appeal. A court of appeals has jurisdiction to review the BIA’s rejection of an alien’s motion to reopen. (citing Kucana v. Holder, 558 U. S. 233, 253). Nothing about that jurisdiction changes where the Board rejects a motion as untimely, or when it rejects a motion requesting equitable tolling of the time limit. If immigration officials deny that motion, a federal court of appeals has jurisdiction to consider a petition to review their decision. Notwithstanding that rule, the court below declined to take jurisdiction over such an appeal because the motion to reopen had been denied as untimely. The Court holds that was error.

Justice Thomas was the lone dissenter.

Steve Vladeck analyzes the Court's opinion on SCOTUSBlog.com.

The decision in Mata v. Holder seems to me to be consistent with what I see as the Court's pattern of ensuring normal judicial review of immigration rulings of the Board of Immigration Appeals.  Click here for a summary of that analysis and a link to a Social Science Research Network abstract of the paper.


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California, it's time to dump the Bear Flag?


The Bear Flag is the official flag of the state of California.  Alex Abella, in a Los Angeles Times op/ed  ("California, it's time to dump the Bear Flag"), says that it is time for a new state flag.  Abella offers an interesting take on the "revolt" that led to a new state breaking off from Mexico:

"One hundred and sixty nine years ago in a frontier town, a band of thieves, drunks and murderers hoisted a home-made flag and declared themselves in revolt from a government that had welcomed them. Instigated by an expansionist neighboring power, the rebels aimed to take over completely and impose their language, culture and mores on the land. The revolt succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.

That frontier town was Sonoma, the land was California, and the rebels, American settlers spurred on by promises of help from U.S. Army Captain John Fremont. The rebel standard, the flag of the so-called California Republic, became the California State Flag. It's time California dump that flag, a symbol of blatant illegality and racial prejudice. Like the Confederate cross of St. Andrew, the Bear Flag is a symbol whose time has come and gone. . . .

Why did the Bear Flag revolt occur? Because these rogues were also illegal immigrants who feared they might be deported by the Mexican government. They despised the native, Spanish-speaking Californios, whom they called greasers. Refusing to become citizens, a move that would have granted them voting rights and land, they looked to the American takeover of Texas as an example."


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Banking on Detention: Local Lockup Quotas and the Immigrant Dragnet


A report entitled “Banking on Detention: Local Lockup Quotas and the Immigrant Dragnet" was  released last week by Detention Watch Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights explores and exposes the depth of local lockup quotas in immigrant detention in ICE’s field offices under the Obama administration.

Top lines from the report:

  • By requiring ICE to fill a certain number of detention beds on a daily basis at specific facilities, the U.S. government is allowing private interests a hand in setting policy on immigration enforcement and detention, while at the same time padding their bottom line.


  • Guaranteed minimums predate the national quota’s inception and have existed at least since 2003. Guaranteed minimums exist in 12 ICE field offices, half of ICE field offices across the country, and account for a quota of more than 8,500 individuals combined.


  • The guaranteed minimum at the ICE field office in San Antonio is the highest of any in the country at more than 2,000 individuals.


  • GEO Group has been the most successful company in getting guaranteed minimums incorporated into their contracts.  As such, GEO Group facilities may be prioritized in order to fill local quotas.


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Enforcing Immigration Equity by Jason A. Cade


Enforcing Immigration Equity by Jason A. Cade University of Georgia Law School March 11, 2015 Fordham Law Review, Forthcoming


Congressional amendments to the immigration code in the 1990s significantly broadened grounds for removal while nearly eradicating opportunities for discretionary relief. The result has been a radical transformation of immigration law. In particular, the constriction of equitable discretion as an adjudicative tool has vested a new and critical responsibility in enforcement officials to implement rigid immigration rules in a normatively defensible way, primarily through the use of prosecutorial discretion. In this Article, I contextualize recent executive enforcement actions within this scheme. I argue that the Obama administration’s targeted use of limited enforcement resources and initiatives such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) reflect defensible efforts to systematize equitable decision-making principles within the new world of American immigration law.

Having laid bare the practical realities of the modern immigration system, I go on to argue that reliance on executive discretion alone fails to ensure the justifiability of individual deportation decisions. Of particular importance, the Department of Homeland Security under the current administration has all but abandoned any consideration of the normative merits of removal when it comes to noncitizens with any kind of criminal history. Indeed, the administration has used criminal history as an indiscriminate marker of undesirability, regardless of the seriousness of the underlying offense, the passage of time, the permanent resident status of the noncitizen, the severity of hardship that deportation would cause for the noncitizen’s family, and any other mitigating factors. A deportation system that allocates all responsibility for fairness and proportionality to enforcement actors raises other problems, as well, including lack of finality and heightened risk of conflict with other branches and levels of government. These difficulties in turn can stymie the use of enforcement discretion as an effective equitable tool.

The situation cries out for legal redress. The reinvigoration of adjudicative discretion through statutory reform is a goal well worth pursuing. But even in the absence of Congressional intervention, there is much that the federal judiciary can and should do to address this new set of problems. In particular, courts must more closely regulate the operation of the modern deportation system and increase structural opportunities for equitable consideration. I conclude by briefly discussing several recent Supreme Court cases that appear to herald an institutional response to the decline of adjudicative equity in removal proceedings. 

June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for the "Disinvitation" of White House Assistant to the President Cecelia Munoz as AILA Keynote Speaker



A group of members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have made news by demanding that Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, be dropped as the keynote speaker at the the group's annual conference on June 17-20 in Washington D.C.  next week.  Many immigration law professors make the annual trek to this conference. 

The attorneys in a letter claim that Muñoz is part of an administration that has implemented policies hostile and harmful to immigrants.The letter states in part:

"We hereby request that AILA rescind Cecilia Muñoz’s invitation to deliver the keynote address at our annual conference given that she is directly responsible for causing children to suffer severe and prolonged physical and mental harm in detention centers in Artesia, New Mexico; Leesport, Pennsylvania; Karnes City, Texas; and Dilley, Texas.

Additionally, Ms. Muñoz has fully backed President Obama’s multi-pronged policy to prevent Central American children from escaping death, severe bodily or mental harm, and rape. She is one of the principal architects of shocking, widespread, and ongoing human rights violations against vulnerable children fleeing Central America. As such, she should not be elevated or rewarded with the most prominent speech at AILA’s annual conference.

Ms. Muñoz’s actions and words, in part, directly caused the children described below to suffer unimaginable physical and mental harm.

  1. A 1 year old rushed to the hospital with pneumonia only to be sent back to detention immediately upon discharge.
  1. A 7-year-old boy raped and detained for months afterwards in the same facility as his abuser. He was released upon his family paying a $10,000 bond set by an immigration judge.
  1. A 4-year-old girl locked in an isolation jail cell with her mother for 9 consecutive days while suffering from untreated pneumonia and severe decay in all of her teeth.
  1. A 3-year-old who coughed up blood for more than 3 days who was told to just drink lots of water until finally she was brought to the hospital for treatment.
  1. A 2-year-old boy with a 107 fever whom, according to the emergency room doctor, was close to suffering cardiac arrest if he had arrived any later.
  1. A 4-year-old girl placed in foster care for two months after her mother attempted suicide in the Dilley internment camp because ICE extinguished her hope: she faced the certainty that life would end, either with indefinite detention or deportation to death in Honduras.

Dozens and dozens of similar accounts reverberate among us. Children suffer immense pain because of detention, and even death because of deportation. The above accounts are not unknown to Ms. Muñoz. Several high profile news outlets have reported on the physical and mental harm children experience as a direct consequence of detention.

Family detention is not even the worst of Ms. Muñoz’s acts. Starting last summer, she and the White House were desperate to do anything to stop Central American children from escaping into the U.S. in such high numbers. President Obama went so far as to request Congress to gut the 2008 Trafficking and Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) so that unaccompanied children from Central America could be detained pending deportation without even seeing an immigration judge.

In the midst of the crisis, Ms. Muñoz told PBS News Hour that “the vast majority of those kids end up going back. There may be some isolated cases where there is some basis for them to be able to stay, but the borders of the United States are not open, not even for children who come on their own, and the deportation process starts when they get here, and we expect that it will for the vast majority of these kids.”

Contrasted with the reality that the vast majority of recent child arrivals are eligible to remain in the United States lawfully as special immigrant juveniles or asylees, Ms. Muñoz lied to the public to justify the unthinkable: deporting children back to be killed, abducted, raped, or harmed.

Opposed by Democrats in Congress, the White House was unsuccessful in eliminating the law’s protections. The President and his advisors went to plan B: hire Mexico to apprehend and rapidly deport Central American children back home while en route to the safety of the United States.

The White House’s plan is ongoing and the primary cause of the drop in Central American apprehensions in 2015: Mexico deported 3,289 Central American children in January and February of 2015 alone, a 105 percent increase from 2014.

The White House’s plan to trap children in countries torn asunder by a war even reaches the conditions of financial aid designated to ameliorate the crisis. In the 2015 budget bill, any Central American recipient of aid to improve conditions such as safety, security, and education would be stripped of all aid if the respective nations fail to keep their own citizens from fleeing harm to the United States."


AILA Executive Director Crystal Williams said on an online posting that she will keep Muñoz as the keynote speaker at the conference:  

"we will not be disinviting Ms. Munoz.  We will have her come and speak to our conference. We will behave professionally, but we will also challenge her to account for the Administration’s actions. Our mission as an organization requires no less."

Sounds like the annual conference will be interesting indeed.


June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 12, 2015

On-Line Symposium on Supreme Court Decision in Kerry v. Din


Photo courtesy of the Supreme Court of the United States

The ImmigrationProf blog will be posting on-line symposium on Kerry v. Din, the case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court that involves the doctrine of consular nonreviewability. In that case, the Obama administration steadfastly defends the doctrine of consular non-reviewability and its bar to the judicial review of the visa decisions of Department of State consular officers.

We will begin posting as soon as the Court issues the decision.  The case heard oral arguments in the case, which are summarized here, February.  The next orders and decisions will be released on Monday, with the Term ending at the end of June.


June 12, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Immigration Article of the Day: D(E)Volving Discretion: Lessons from the Life and Times of Secure Communities by Juliet P. Stumpf


D(E)Volving Discretion: Lessons from the Life and Times of Secure Communities by Juliet P. Stumpf, Lewis & Clark Law School April 28, 2015 American University Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract: The devolution of immigration authority to line officers, touted as a strength of the Secure Communities program, planted the seeds of the program’s downfall. Rising from the ashes of Secure Communities, the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) set priorities for removal and also unveiled a potential antidote to the devolution of agency discretion. This Article details the rise of Secure Communities and describes the devolution of discretion that ultimately undermined the program. It then spotlights a little-noticed attribute of the PEP — one that addresses head-on Secure Communities’ devolution of enforcement discretion to the lowest level. PEP attempts to recapture federal discretion to make macro-level policy decisions about immigration enforcement by siphoning discretion up the chain to higher-level federal officials. This hydraulic experiment in recapturing agency discretion will ultimately determine whether immigration enforcement priorities are doomed to devolution or poised to find a perch on higher ground.


June 11, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More Takes on Disney

If you just can't get enough of the Disney/H1B story, I feel you! But, rest assured, there is more to read.

Ronil Hira, the Howard University public policy professor whose Congressional testimony was cited by the NYT in their coverage, posted his thoughts about Disney on the Economic Policy Institute's Working Economics Blog. It's a great read. Hira writes:

We may not like it but in the contemporary U.S. business environment, ten out of ten corporate executives will choose to replace Americans with cheaper guestworkers—it would be a dereliction of their fiduciary duty to shareholders if they failed to take advantage of this.

Allissa Wickham over at Law360 has also covered the Disney brouhaha. Wickman cites several immigration attorneys who all say that most H1B employers play by the rules and aren't using the visa to replace American workers.



June 10, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Immigrants

To mark the second annual Immigrant Heritage Month, a month when Americans celebrate their immigrant roots and tell their families’ stories of sacrifice and contribution, the Center for American Progress has published a fact sheet titled 10 Facts You Need to Know About Immigrants Today

Given that immigrants are an important part of the U.S. economy and American society, it remains imperative that the DACA expansion and DAPA program—which are both currently held up in the courts—move forward in order to provide a temporary but much needed sense of relief for millions of American families. Ultimately, Congress must pass a permanent pathway to citizenship, which will add an estimated cumulative $1.2 trillion to the U.S. GDP over 10 years, increase the income of all Americans by an estimated cumulative $625 billion over 10 years, and create as many as 145,000 new jobs per year. Fixing the American immigration system will ensure that all people living in the country can maximize their potential and contribute to a shared American prosperity.

Here are the 10 facts:

1.    There are 41 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States.

2.    The majority of the foreign-born are from Latin America and Asia, with a small number arriving from Europe and Africa.

3.  Latinos and Asian Americans are a growing segment of the American electorate.

4.  Across the country, there are over 904,000 LGBT adult immigrants.

5.  Immigrants play a significant role in the U.S. economy.

6.  There were 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States as of January 2012.

7.  As of March 2015, close to 750,000 people have applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, and 665,000 people have had their applications approved.

8.  An additional 5 million parents and DREAMers will receive temporary work permits and      relief from deportations under the deferred action programs.

9.  The deferred action programs will significantly boost the U.S. economy.

10.  Undocumented  immigrants paid $11.84 billion in state and local taxes in 2012.


June 10, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

First Latino Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera


Breaking news.  The son of migrant farm workers, Juan Felipe Herrera will be the next U.S. poet in chief. The Library of Congress has announced the appointment as the nation's 21st poet laureate for 2015-16. Herrera's parents emigrated from Mexico.  He will be the nation's first Latino poet laureate.

The only child of migrant farm workers, Herrera lived from crop to crop and from tractor to trailer to tents on the roads of the San Joaquín Valley and the Salinas Valley. He graduated from San Diego High School and received a scholarship to attend UCLA, where he received his B.A. in Social Anthropology. Later, Herrera received a Masters in Social Anthropology from Stanford and a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. In 1990, he was a distinguished teaching fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. After serving as chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at Fresno State, Herrera in 2005 joined the Creative Writing Department at University of California, Riverside, as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair.  He also became director of the Art and Barbara Culver Center for the Arts, a new multimedia space in downtown Riverside.


June 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada Edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund


Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada Edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund (University Press of Florida 2015).

For almost two centuries North America has been a major destination for international migrants, but from the late nineteenth century onward, governments began to regulate borders, set immigration quotas, and define categories of citizenship. To highlight the complexities of migration, the contributors to this volume focus on people born in the United States and Canada who migrated to the other country, as well as Japanese, Chinese, German, and Mexican migrants who came to the United States and Canada. These case studies go beyond the confines of national historiographies to situate the history of North America in an international context.

By including local, national, and transnational perspectives, the editors emphasize the value of tracking connections over large spaces and political boundaries and, in so doing, present rich new scholarship to the field. This volume ultimately contends that crucial issues in the United States and Canada, such as labor, economic growth, and ideas about the racial or religious makeup of the nations, are shaped by the two countries’ connections to each other and the surrounding world.

Here is the table of contents.

Benjamin Bryce is assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Northern British Columbia. Alexander Freund is professor of history and chair in German-Canadian Studies at the University of Winnipeg. He is the editor of Beyond the Nation? Immigrants' Local Lives in Transnational Cultures and coeditor of Oral History and Photography.


June 10, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)