Sunday, March 30, 2014

Girl Talks to Pope on Immigration, Then Dad Freed


Amy Taxin of the Associated Press reports on an upbeat immigration story.  After a 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to plead with Pope Francis for help as her father faced deportation, the man was released Friday on bond from immigration detention.  Mario Vargas' release came after his daughter Jersey, of Panorama City, Calif., addressed the pope this week as part of a California delegation that traveled to urge the Vatican to prod President Barack Obama on immigration reform. The girl and a teenager went as part of the group to represent the American children of immigrant parents who are afraid their families will be divided by deportation. The president and the pontiff met for the first time earlier this week.


March 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Punish Putin by opening the door to Russia's best and brightest


Vladimir Putin

MARKOS KOUNALAKIS, research fellow at Central European University and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, in this op/ed proposes an immigration response to recent developments in Russia led by Vladimir Putin:

"While Congress seems unwilling to take on any immigration legislation, the president can invite threatened Russian regime opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, and the broader creative class to the United States before they start facing heightened persecution at home. It should be an integral part of a comprehensive and strategic immigration policy."


March 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Tragedy of America's Failed Immigration System

From Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:

The saga of immigrants in 2014 may go down in history as a blight on America. Tragedies abound, from thousands who have died trying to cross the desert from impoverished Mexican towns, to little children born here and fighting for their parents to remain in the country with them. The government is setting records separating families, approaching 2 million deportations in the past five years.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez wants “a moratorium on any further deportations or immigration raids and arrests, except in cases of violent criminals.” In his archdiocesan newspaper, he noted that “one in every four persons who is being arrested or deported is being ripped out of their homes — taken away from their children, their wives and husbands, all their relatives.”

Children have brought him letters they had written to Pope Francis, and Gomez has sent the writings to the Vatican. He quoted from a letter from a young girl named Jersey, whose dad had been in an immigration detention center for two years and now is being deported.

“Dear Pope Francisco, Today is my birthday. My birthday wish is I would like to have my dad to be with me. … It has been so long that he hasn’t been with me on two of my birthdays, last year and today. … Since my father isn’t here my mom and sister have been trying to find a job. … Since you are the closest to God, I beg you to help my family. … Sincerely, Jersey.”

That’s heart-rending, as are accounts of the more than 6,000 people who have died in the past 15 years crossing the desert to our Land of the Free. On April 1, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and several other U.S. bishops will pray at the border wall in Nogales, Ariz., for those immigrants who have died trying to earn bread for their children. They will also pray for the family members who are without loved ones because of the deportations.

The United States loves data, but I hope it won’t be judged by its damning statistics:

*The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has deported close to 2 million people in the past five years, an average of more than 400,000 persons a year. How many families were wrenched apart?
*The U.S. Office of Management and Budget reports that the budget for the U.S. Border Patrol has increased tenfold since 1993, from $363 million to $3.5 billion. Given that the undocumented population has tripled since 1986 to 11 to 12 million people today, by economic standards that’s a pretty weak return on investment.
*The Department of Homeland Security reports that as of February 2014, almost 700 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing has been completed along the U.S.-Mexico border. Perhaps that’s a boon for the confinement industry.
*The Congressional Research Service reports that 208,939 unauthorized immigrants were prosecuted as criminals under Operation Streamline from 2005 to the end of fiscal year 2012. They are sentenced in “group” trials that provide apprehended immigrants few legal rights. Aren’t guaranteed legal rights one of the hallmarks of our democracy?
*In fiscal year 2012, the Department of Homeland Security incarcerated more than 477,000 people, a record. Yet since 2003, about 2.5 million immigrants have been detained in the U.S. detention system. Surely they did not comprise 2.5 million threats to the U.S.

The data shows that our nation’s effort to cope with undocumented persons does not work. It is costly, most especially, I fear, for the soul of a nation.


March 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Former Immigrant of the Day Signs Multi-Year NBA Contract

Sheriff Joe Arpaio in News Again, Rebuked (Again) by Federal Judge


Despite having been found by a federal court to have systematically violated the civil rights in the name of immigration enforcement, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff's Office refuse to go quietly into the night.  Indeed, the leaders of the MSCO appear to be reacting as the Birmingham Police Department probably reacted to criticism of its use of fire hoses againts African American civil rights marchers in the 1960s. 

Fernanda Santos of the New York Times reports that Judge Murray Snow, appointed to the court by President George W. Bush, earlier this week strongly rebuked Sheriff Arpaio and one of his chief deputies, "saying that they had defied and even mocked the judge’s order last year to stop singling out Latinos during routine patrols, traffic stops and workplace raids."  The article explains why Judge Snow understandably was angry:

 "Judge Snow said that Mr. Arpaio and the chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, had blatantly flouted his order, pointing as evidence to a video of a briefing that the two men held in October for a group of rank-and-file deputies who participated in a crime-suppression operation in southwest Phoenix. In the video, Mr. Sheridan called Judge Snow’s order “ludicrous” and “absurd,” and compared the restrictions the courts had placed on them to those imposed on the beleaguered New Orleans Police Department, whose officers, he said, “were murdering people.” “That tells you how ludicrous this crap is,” Mr. Sheridan of the judge’s order, as a videocamera recorded his every word.

Mr. Arpaio spoke next, telling the deputies, “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve been saying,” adding, “We don’t racially profile, I don’t care what everybody says.”"

Will Sheriff Joe and the MSCO ever learn?  When will the leadership of the office appear on its "Mugshots of the Day" feature?


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

A Bipartisan Attempt to Restore Credibility to the U.S. Border Enforcement System


Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Center for Migration Studies, has this piece in Huffington Post supporting the passage of a "border accountability" bill.  On March 26, 2014, Congressmen Beto O'Rourke (D-TX 16) and Steve Pearce (R-NM 2) introduced the Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act of 2014 (H.R. 4303). The Act would create a bi-partisan Border Oversight Commission, with subcommittees for the Southern and Northern Borders. The Commission would provide input on the impact of federal enforcement programs on local communities and would recommend ways to decrease civil rights violations, reduce border crossing deaths, and increase the safety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. In addition, it would create an Ombudsman for Border and Immigration Related Concerns that would receive, evaluate and resolve complaints against CBP officers, solicit and address the enforcement-related concerns of border residents, inspect border facilities and produce an annual report to Congress with recommendations for systemic reforms. The Act also provides for training to increase the safety of CBP officers and to enhance their ability to detect vulnerable populations like trafficking victims. It would require a much needed assessment of staffing and infrastructure needs at ports of entry, with a focus on increasing security and reducing crossing delays. Finally, it would task CBP with producing a report on migrant crossing deaths (including its plans to reduce deaths) and require a study of federal immigration enforcement "use of force" policies, practices and training.


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

Reviews of Immigration Policing and Federalism Through the Lens of Technology, Surveillance, and Privacy

Friday, March 28, 2014

Remembering the Delano Manongs on Cesar Chavez Day

As Dean Kevin Johnson blogged earlier, today is Cesar Chavez day in California. It is wonderful that students in California (and other states) learn about the advocacy work that Cesar Chavez did to help create better working conditions for farm workers and other immigrant workers. 

To me, this day is also a call to remember the other unsung heroes of the farm labor movement.  There were other advocates who worked alongside Cesar Chavez.  Some of them were Filipino farmer workers known as "Delano Manongs." One of these manongs was Larry Itliong, who was a labor organizer who led a group of 1,500 Filipinos to strike, like Cesar Chavez and other Mexican American workers, against the grape growers of Delano, California. 

Although I have yet to see the new Cesar Chavez movie , my 5th grader saw it today with her classmates and she explained that the movie showed the collaboration between the Delano Manongs and Cesar Chavez and other farm workers.  A new documentary, "Delano Manongs," provides a more in-depth account of the advocacy work of these Filipino farm workers in improving the working and life conditions of immigrant workers.  

Moreover, through a bill (AB 123) that was sponsored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2013, students in California will learn about the contributions of Filipino farm workers to the California labor movement.

So on this Cesar Chavez Day, let us honor not only Cesar Chavez  but also Larry Itliong and the Mexican American and Filipino American workers (and others) who worked alongside to help improve the lives of farm workers in California and the United States. 



March 28, 2014 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Enforcing Masculinities at the Borders by Jamie R. Abrams


Enforcing Masculinities at the Borders by Jamie R. Abrams, University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law April 17, 2013 Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2013 University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2014-05

Abstract: “American men have no history,” declared pioneering masculinities scholar, Michael Kimmel. Masculinities, the study of how men relate to each other and construct their identities, can be used as a powerful sociological and legal tool to understand institutions, power structures, and human relations. While the history of American immigration law has revealed rich multi-dimensional narratives of class, race, and domestic and international politics, sparse historical work has considered the masculinities dimensions of immigration law. This Article considers how unpacking the masculinities dimensions of our paradigmatic shifts in immigration policy might offer an additional - even unifying - dimension to previously disparate and divergent immigration laws worthy of further research. This Article concludes that it is critical to make masculinities visible in immigration law and policy to understand how dominant masculine imperatives shape citizenship itself.


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

The Endless Battle for State Immigration Crimes

The Endless Battle for State Immigration Crimes Monday, March 31, 2014 at 12:15-1:30 p.m. MDT Watch this event live online at 

For a century and a half, states have fought Congress for the power to control authorized and unauthorized migration. The immigrant stream continues to change the demographics of the nation, and immigration’s economic effects are debated in the middle of a tough job market. In this context, a number of states and localities have become intensely interested in using their own police, laws and courts to address what some consider an invasion, taking place in open disregard of the nation’s laws. "What could be wrong," they ask, "with helping the federal government carry out its own laws?"

This lecture will address the constitutionality of the recent wave of state and local laws dealing with immigration, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the matter, President Obama’s administrative amnesties, and the SAFE Act, pending in Congress, which would explicitly allow the states to enact their own immigration laws, so long as they were consistent with federal law.


Lecturer: Jack Chin, Professor of Law

Gabriel "Jack" Chin teaches at the University of California, Davis, School of Law where he specializes in criminal law, immigration and race and law. He is an award-winning scholar whose work has been published in the Cornell, UCLA and Penn law reviews, and the Yale, Duke and Georgetown law journals. His scholarship has been cited four times in the U.S. Supreme Court in cases dealing with prosecution of immigrants. A graduate of Wesleyan, he earned a J.D. from Michigan and an LL.M. from Yale. His hobby is getting legislatures to repeal Jim Crow laws; in 2003 he persuaded Ohio to ratify the 14th Amendment; he is now seeking posthumous admission for a Chinese American denied bar membership by the California Supreme Court in 1890 because of his race.


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

Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

ProBAR Children's Project Positions

ProBAR has two open attorney positions in its Children’s Project. With an ever-increasing number of children detained along the Southwest border, it is more important than ever that the positions be filled quickly and with the best possible candidates. ProBAR needs applicants who are fluent in Spanish and preferably who are licensed in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam. The positions are advertised at the ABA website.


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

Obama's ICE Has Deported a Record Two Million

From Southeast Asian Refugee Action Center:

Sometime in the last few days, the number of people deported under the Obama administration reached 2 million. That's the equivalent of completely deporting the combined populations of Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC, in just six years. On April 5th, advocates around the country will speak out to say "enough is enough" and "not one more." Check HERE for an event near you.

Top 10 (Million) Reasons We're Fighting Deportation - Send your family portraits!

SEARAC will commemorate this terrible milestone by highlighting not only the two million people who have been deported, but also their families - the (at least) 10 million children, spouses, parents, and siblings who have been traumatized by deportation, or who continue to live in fear of deportation every day. Starting Monday, March 31 through Saturday, April 5, we will feature family portraits on our Tumblr blog of families who have been or could be impacted by deportation, along with their Top (x) reasons for fighting deportation (which could include their children, parents, siblings, and other family and friends). Please let us know if you or anyone you know would like to feature your family on our blog in our collective fight against deportation! #2million2many #not1more


March 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Human Rights, Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration: A New Paradigm

Climate change and environmental degradation will likely displace millions of people in the coming years, either directly or indirectly. Although today’s international legal framework provides a degree of protection to certain environmental migrants, major gaps in the framework often prevent recognition of their vulnerability and endanger their rights.

One major problem is that there is little consensus on the definition of environmental migrants, in large part because it is difficult to ascertain the influence of environmental factors, such as degradation and climate change, on migration. In the absence of a precise definition, ambiguity about the legal rights of migrants and the responsibilities of governments and international organizations lead to difficulties in implementing solutions.

This issue in brief emphasizes the need to defend the rights of migrants whose movement is induced by environmental degradation or climate change, particularly in the highly vulnerable Asia-Pacific region, by pursuing an integrated approach to climate change that incorporates rights-based strategies. The brief evaluates the current human rights framework; identifies gaps both in the legal framework and in implementation; and then reviews different legal options available to the international community. Finally, the brief makes recommendations on how to strengthen the “soft law” approach as an interim step before there is broad global consensus on a possible binding framework to protect the rights of environmental migrants.


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

A Precarious Position: The Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in Spain

Spain has experienced dramatic increases in immigration since 2000, entering the millennium with strong economic growth and low unemployment that helped fuel a fourfold increase in its foreign-born population. The economic boom of the early and mid-2000s led to a sharp rise in demand for new workers, particularly in sectors with a high share of low-skilled jobs (such as construction). This demand was in large part filled through immigration, with workers coming from Latin America and Eastern Europe in particular.

A new report, A Precarious Position: The Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in Spain, examines the labor market experiences for immigrants arriving in Spain before, during, and after the recession. The authors find that immigrants who entered before the recession had little trouble finding work immediately—with those arriving between 2000 and 2003 recording employment rates almost 10 percentage points higher than natives within just a year or two of entering the Spanish labor market. Unsurprisingly, those who arrived after 2008 struggled to find work as Spanish unemployment rates skyrocketed.

The flexible nature of Spain's secondary labor market put immigrants in part-time or contract work at greater risk once the recession hit. The authors' analysis of Spanish Labor Force Survey data finds that some immigrant groups started out in a better position than others. Immigrants from Latin America had the easiest time finding work within their first year in Spain, while African immigrants had the hardest. Men started in a better position than women and maintained their advantage over time. The authors assess the trajectory of these workers, finding substantial evidence of immigrants moving out of low-skilled work into middle-skilled jobs. After approximately five years in the Spanish labor market, the share of immigrants employed in middle-skilled work had almost doubled—a reality not seen in other countries studied as part of a series of case studies evaluating the labor market trajectories of new immigrants in Europe and their ability to ascend into middle-skilled jobs.

The research project, conducted with funding from the European Union and in collaboration with the International Labour Office (ILO), is comprised of two phases. The first evaluates the conditions under which new immigrants can find jobs and progress out of unskilled work in the first decade after their arrival. The second phase will analyze the integration and workforce development, training and employment policies, and programs that can best support new arrivals' access to middle-skilled jobs.

The six case study countries are the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The first case study, on the Czech Republic, can be found here. The next study, out within the next two weeks, will focus on Sweden.


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

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies announces launch new and improved case database

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) is pleased to announce the launch of our new and improved case database. We hope you will take a moment to take a look at the new features that will make it easier to request assistance in your asylum cases and to search our case records. We have an improved intake form for asylum cases that will allow CGRS to provide more tailored consultation, and improved search features that will enable you to search for publicly available case information. Most exciting: you will be able to update the case record you create yourself on any decisions reached in your case.

The new database operates through user accounts, and you need to log in to request assistance or update an outcome for a case already in our system. If you are new to CGRS, to log in or create a new account, go to If you have ever submitted an asylum case to us before, a user account has already been created. Simply click on the “request a new password” option, and follow the instructions. If you encounter any problems creating an account, please email


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

15 Journalists Chosen for Immigration Fellowships - Institute for Justice & Journalism

Fifteen journalists have been selected for a fellowship program that will focus on challenges faced by children in immigrant families and how government policy impacts their lives. The Institute for Justice and Journalism will conduct its annual “Immigration in the Heartland” program at the University of Oklahoma April 27-30. The training places special emphasis on the issues developing as more immigrants settle in small towns and suburbs rather than the large cities that have been traditional immigration gateways. This year’s program will feature discussions with experts and data journalism workshops. Among the featured speakers are Sonia Nazario, author of “Enrique’s Journey,” who will discuss the increase in child migrants, and sociologist Joanna Dreby, who will talk about the differences between immigrant children growing up in rural versus urban environments.


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

New York City Bar Association Immigration Committee Weighs in On Immigration Reform

Yesterday, the New York City Bar Association Immigration Committee issued a position letter to U.S. House leaders opposing certain S. 744 immigration reform provisions. These provisions, for the first time, imposed a new penalty on those legalizing—to deny Social Security credit for previously unauthorized work. The letter is available here.

The provisions included in S. 744 Section 2107(d) (as part of the "Corker-Hoeven Amendment") violate basic notions of fairness in denying benefits to those who worked and paid into the Social Security system, as well as their dependent and survivor families in sad cases of disability and death. Moreover, Section 2107 will likely dissuade immigrants from legalizing, further drive immigrants into poverty which shifts social costs onto states and cities, and negate positive economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform.


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

Hold Accountable Customs and Border Protection


An alliance of immigration advocacy groups has launched, a website that catalogues lawsuits and administrative complaints brought against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have joined forces to document litigation that exposes CBP abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures, removals based on coercion and misinformation, and the use of excessive and sometimes deadly force by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers.


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

Life on the U.S./Mexico Border