Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Demands More Federal Immigration Prosecutions -- Costly Immigration Enforcement Measures Send Message of Fear
ImmigrationProf reported earlier today that criminal immigration prosecutions were going up -- and up! That is apparently not enough for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He announced today that he submitted a memorandum to federal prosecutors to require the prioritization of immigration offenses in order to criminalize these violations and implement stricter enforcement practices.
“Criminalizing immigration violations among individuals who are peaceably living in and contributing to our communities only will sow fear and chaos.
“Immigration enforcement should prioritize violent criminals and traffickers. Yet this new policy does just opposite by requiring federal prosecutors to prioritize immigration violations rather than violent criminals and threats to community safety.
“Already we are seeing the rate of crimes reported in cities across the U.S. fall because immigrants do not trust law enforcement. Today's announcement further undermines local law enforcement's mission to serve and protect the entirety of their communities."
“Even before this announcement, the majority of federal prosecutions concerned immigration violations, more than prosecutions for drugs, weapons and fraud combined. These measures depart from our values as a country and do not adequately address the situation at our borders.
“These enforcement practices send a terrible message to immigrants throughout our nation. Law enforcement resources must be used in ways that target actual threats. There are better ways to ensure our safety.”
Call for Applications: 2018 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise
The Vilcek Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2018 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise! The Creative Promise Prizes are awarded annually in biomedical science and in the arts and humanities; in 2018, the arts prize will recognize the field of architecture and building arts.
The Creative Promise Prizes were established to support early- to mid-career immigrant artists and scientists who have demonstrated exceptional promise. Three winners will be selected in each category, each receiving a $50,000 unrestricted cash award.
In the field of architecture, professionals working in a broad spectrum of categories—including architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, and architecture criticism—are invited to apply. Candidates should hold a professional degree in architecture or in a field related to the built environment (license not required).
In biomedical science, eligible candidates must be independent researchers directly responsible for the design and execution of the work submitted for consideration. They should hold a full-time position at an academic institution or other organization, as an assistant or associate professor, research scientist, or equivalent.
All applicants must have been born abroad, and be no older than 38 years old as of December 31, 2017 (born on or after January 1, 1979). Applications will be accepted from April 3 to May 31, 2017. Apply today, and share widely!
Wildlife habitat may not be the first thing that you think of when you're contemplating the construction of a "big, beautiful" wall between the United States and Mexico. But, according to science editor Eliza Barclay at Vox, you should.
Barclay reports that Trump's wall will be an "ecological disaster."
Today there are 25 million acres of protected US public lands within 100 miles of the line. That includes six wildlife refuges, six national parks, tribal lands, Wilderness Areas, and Conservation Areas — all of them managed by various federal agencies and tribal governments.
And that's just the U.S. side. On the Mexico side of the border there are also protected lands - designed to conserve dwindling wildlife populations that cross the border between the two nations.
Ellen Brooks, a special prosecutor, said that Bentley quit in connection with a plea agreement on two misdemeanor charges: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use. Bentley, a Republican, acknowledged in March 2016 that he had made sexually charged remarks to his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Governor Bentley signed HB 56, a harsh immigration enforcement measure, into law in 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice and immigrant and civil rights groups filed successful legal challenges to the law. Bentley was a supporter of the law. For analysis of the civil rights impacts of H.B. 56, click here.
On April 18 in San Francisco, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral argument in Jenny Flores v. Jefferson Sessions, III in which the U.S. government seeks an emergency stay in an action involving the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which addressed the treatment of minors in custody of the Department of Homeland Security. The Flores litigation has been going on for years and this appears to be a last ditch attempt by the U.S. government to detain noncitizen minors -- which increased with the increase in Central American asylum-seekers in 2014. Click here for background.
The panel for the argument will be Judges Stephen Reinhardt, A. Wallace Tashima, and Martha Berzon. Some respected court watchers have mentioned to me that the panel does not favor the U.S. government in this high profile immigration case.
For information on the case, click here.
Lyle Denniston reports that the 15-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered review before the full court on the legality of President Trump’s 90-day suspension of entry into the U.S. of foreign nationals from six Mideast nations. That action could speed up the process of moving this major constitutional controversy on to the Supreme Court.
Under review is a new executive order, replacing one previously issued on January 27 that had been barred by the courts from going into effect. A federal district court in Maryland issued a ruling barring enforcement of the 90-day suspension of entry by anyone from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Under review by the appeals court is the ruling last month by Maryland District Judge Theodore D. Chuang that the presidential order suspending admissions from the six Muslim-majority nations was a form of unconstitutional discrimination based on religion, Meanwhile, Judge Chuang refused on Monday to expand his ruling to block enforcement of the Trump initiative that suspended for 120 days any refugees from entering the U.S. from anywhere in the world.
The Trump Administration had already gained review by the Circuit Court on an expedited schedule, and the case has been scheduled for a hearing on May 8.
Here is the Fourth Circuit's special page for the case, with briefs, orders, etc.
Federal law enforcement agencies are making more arrests for immigration-related offenses and fewer arrests for other types of offenses – including drug, property and gun crimes – than they were a decade ago, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Half (50%) of the 165,265 total arrests made by the federal government in fiscal 2014 – the most recent year for which statistics are available – were for immigration-related offenses, such as crossing the border illegally or smuggling others into the United States. A decade earlier, immigration-related offenses accounted for 28% of all federal arrests.
At the same time, arrests for drug crimes fell from 23% of the total in 2004 to 14% in 2014. Those for supervision violations, such as probation or parole infractions, fell from 17% to 14%. Arrests for property crimes, including fraud and embezzlement, declined from 11% to 8%. And arrests for weapon offenses, such as possession of an unregistered firearm, fell from 7% to 4%.
Monday, April 10, 2017
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Lee Francis Cissna to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
On Saturday, the White House blog posted the following:
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate Lee Francis Cissna to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
If confirmed, Lee Francis Cissna of Maryland will serve as Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mr. Cissna is currently a Director of Immigration Policy in the Office of Policy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this capacity, he develops and coordinates Departmental policy, with particular emphasis on temporary worker, immigrant, and other immigration benefits programs. Before serving in his current position, Mr. Cissna served in the Office of the Chief Counsel at the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Prior to that he was an attorney in private practice in the immigration group of the law firm of Kaufman & Canoles in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Cissna has also served in the U.S. Department of State as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer stationed in Port au Prince, Haiti and Stockholm, Sweden. Prior to that he was an attorney in the international trade practice group at the law firms of Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP. Mr. Cissna graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a BS in physics and political science, Columbia University with an MA in international affairs, and the Georgetown University Law Center with a JD.
Here is a new immigration project at USC Law:
USC Law Student, Faculty, and Staff Immigrant Legal Advice Project
The Legal Advice Project provides free, confidential legal consultations and referrals to USC students, faculty, and staff who may be at risk of deportation, who are seeking to naturalize, or who have questions regarding their legal status and legal rights under the immigration laws. The Project is funded by the Office of the Provost.
Who staffs the Project?
The Project is staffed by USC Gould clinical faculty who are attorneys, Gould staff and Gould law students enrolled in the Immigration Clinic.
Who Does the Project Assist?
The Project provides assistance to USC students, faculty, and staff with the following types of issues:
- Individuals outside of the US with visas or LPR (green card) status who are having difficulty returning to the US;
- Individuals with DACA or who previously had DACA and who are seeking to renew DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals);
- Undocumented individuals;
- Individuals arrested by immigration authorities or who believe they are in danger of being arrested by immigration authorities;
- Individuals seeking to naturalize and become US citizens;
- Individuals who otherwise have a need for advice or representation.
International students and scholars should continue to seek advice from USC's Office of International Services, and international faculty and staff should continue to seek advice from Faculty/Staff Visa Services (FSVS).
How do I contact the Project?
Please contact us by telephone or email. Call the Project at 213-740-0497 (collect calls accepted) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
If you contact us by email, please provide a short description of your issue in order to facilitate our response to your needs. If you have an urgent need, please be sure to make that clear if you leave a voicemail message or send an email.
What will the Project do for me?
When you contact us, we will conduct a short screening interview over the telephone to determine whether we can assist you directly with advice, brief service, assistance with completing certain immigration applications and petitions, or provide you with a referral.
If we are able to provide you with advice, brief service, or assistance with completing and filing an immigration application, we will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your case in more depth and provide you with advice or assistance. Our office is located in the USC Gould School of Law, Musick Law Building, on the University Park campus.
If needed, we can also provide referrals to other legal organizations and attorneys, including pro bono attorneys.
Group Legal Advice Presentations:
If you would like the Project to provide a group presentation to a student organization or to a unit or department within USC, please contact us by email at email@example.com. We are providing general Know Your Rights presentations addressing changing immigration laws and policies.
It was announced today that Eleanor Brown, a leading scholar of property, migration, globalization, development, and the law, will join the Penn State faculty, effective July 1, as a professor of law at Penn State Law, a professor of international affairs in the School of International Affairs (SIA), and a senior scientist in the Rock Ethics Institute.
Brown is currently a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School.
“We are delighted to welcome Eleanor Brown to the faculties of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs,” said Interim Dean and Distinguished Scholar in Residence James W. Houck. “Her scholarship and expertise—particularly in the area of migration and immigration law—are a great fit for both schools and bolster our faculties’ considerable strengths in these disciplines.”
“I am thrilled that Eleanor Brown will be joining us at Penn State," said Dean Designate Hari Osofsky, who will become dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs on July 1. "She brings so much to our community as both a scholar and human being. Her cutting-edge scholarship at the intersection of property and migration provides important insights into how property ownership influences patterns of success, and her forthcoming book will make a major contribution to these fields. Her work has many synergies in the law school and SIA, and across the University, and I look forward to what we will build together with her.”
Brown’s forthcoming book, to be published by Oxford University Press, roots black West-Indian migrant success in the United States in the early development of property rights among slave communities and the extension of these rights to slave women in the British-colonized Caribbean.
This commercial is flat out adorable. Tiny products fly around the world heading to new homes, with some help from FedEx. I'm thinking of using :21 to :31 in class - watch the robot stand in line for immigration control, present a passport, get checked over by the official, and have his passport stamped. It's 10 seconds students will love.
The Boston Globe reports that thousands of people joined a march and rally in downtown Dallas to call for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and an end to what organizers say is an aggressive deportation policy.
Organizers, who called Sunday’s event the “Dallas Mega March,” said President Trump’s executive orders restricting travel from predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East are discriminatory.
The marchers demanded an end to hate crimes and hate speech, which they contend have risen since the November presidential election.
The march began at the Dallas Catholic cathedral and ended about 1½ miles away with a rally at City Hall, where speakers included Martin Luther King III, son of the slain civil rights leader.
I must admit that I wondered "why Dallas?"
Sunday, April 9, 2017
JURIST Guest Columnist Ali Khan discusses the potential deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, and international documents' and treaties' prohibition on state actions like deportation. Here is the conclusion:
"President Trump's policy decision to deport undocumented immigrants is a crime against humanity, particularly with respect to families who have settled in the US for long periods of time, have established homes, or have minor children. It is irrelevant whether these residents entered or stayed in the US illegally. Deportation of a settled family or community is a violation of right to life, right to family, right to property, right to privacy, and numerous other rights protected under customary international law, human rights treaties, due process, and fundamental legal principles that sustain the concept of law. If the US fails to enforce its immigration laws for years and allows families to lay their roots, the balance of equities shifts in favor of resident families to claim adverse citizenship. Through laches, the US loses its power to remove undocumented immigrants openly living, working, and paying taxes for decades."
Here is a Fulbright opportunity for migration and refugee scholars.
Europe has recently experienced one of the most significant influxes of migrants and refugees in its history. Driven out by civil war and terror and attracted by the promise of a better life, huge numbers of people have fled the Middle East and Africa, risking their lives along the way. More than one million refugees poured into Europe in 2016, sparking a crisis of global proportions as countries struggled to cope with the influx and creating divisions in the EU over how best to deal with genuine refugees and asylum seekers as opposed to economic migrants. The crisis is continuing and remains the most serious challenge that the EU has faced in his history. The issues relating to the migration crisis are substantial, touching on social, political, economic, and ethical concerns. Many of the most sacred tenets of the European experiment, like the Schengen Agreement on open borders, have come under question.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program, recognize the tremendous challenges raised by the migration issue, and highlight the contributions made in Belgium, Greece, France, Italy and the UK, the five Fulbright Commissions have joined forces to create a Fulbright award that would address the migration issue from a comparative perspective.
The idea is to attract a leading American scholar who addresses migration from a comparative, multidisciplinary perspective. The scholar should be prepared to take a cultural anthropological approach to the issues, produce a serious scholarly account of the many varied challenges posed by the migration crisis, and further document his/her work through a visual narrative. The incumbent would spend time in at least three of the five participating countries. The distribution of the scholar’s time will be determined by his/her project; though, as a practical matter, the time should be spend relatively equally between the partner countries. The successful candidate would spend a maximum of 8 months collecting data and recording her/his impressions of Europe as it struggles with these critical defining issues. As a practical matter, this exercise could result in a powerful testament to the current situation which may be as significant a crisis as the Second World War, which gave birth to the Fulbright program, and a way to share these issues with people in America.
News of immigration resistance from the Big Apple. Workers at a famed New York bakery, who face a deadline to produce immigration papers, are instead defying the government in public — at President Donald Trump's Manhattan home.
The 31 employees of the Tom Cat Bakery will be fired and could be deported if they cannot prove by April 21 that they're working in the country legally.
The mostly Spanish-speaking workers and about 100 supporters rallied outside Trump Tower to protest what they called the Trump administration's "bullying."
The Department of Homeland Security set the deadline for the workers to show their employment documents.
Many have worked on the gourmet bakery's production line for much of its 30-year existence.
NPR reported a couple of days ago that Twitter is suing the Department of Homeland Security after the agency demanded to know the identity of the person behind the "@ALT_uscis" or "Alt Immigration" Twitter account, one of several "rogue" accounts ostensibly created by anonymous employees of the federal government.
The lawsuit from Twitter alleges that DHS demanded to know the name, login information, phone number, mailing address and IP address of the user behind the account and threatened that failure to comply could lead to court actions.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Hiroshi Motomura -- Immigration Professor, 2017 Guggenheim Fellow
Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Law
Hiroshi Motomura is the Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. He is a leading scholar of immigration and citizenship law, with influence across a range of academic disciplines and in federal, state, and local policymaking.
Professor Motomura has addressed many of today’s pressing immigration policy issues in his scholarship. His book, Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States (Oxford 2006), won the Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PROSE) Award from the Association of American Publishers as the year’s best book in Law and Legal Studies, and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for its Suggested Reading List for Foreign Service Officers. He is a co-author of two immigration-related casebooks: Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (8th ed. West 2016), and Forced Migration: Law and Policy (2d ed. West 2013), and he has published many widely cited articles on immigration and citizenship. His most recent book, Immigration Outside the Law (Oxford 2014), won the Association of American Publishers' Law and Legal Studies 2015 PROSE Award.
Motomura has served as co-counsel or as a volunteer consultant in numerous significant policy matters and litigated cases. He was the first Lloyd Cutler Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, has served on the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina Press, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Migration Review. He has received several teaching honors, including the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014, and was one of 26 law professors nationwide profiled in What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard 2013).
While a Guggenheim Fellow, Professor Motomura will work on a book examining and connecting several of today’s most vexing immigration policy questions. First, are immigrants’ rights best understood by applying a framework based on civil rights, human rights, or something else? Second, how do mass migrations of people fleeing war, the breakdown of civil society, or environmental degradation challenge traditional perspectives on immigration? Third, what are the implications of admitting immigrants who have no path to citizenship? And fourth, how should economic inequality in a destination country influence its immigration policy?
For many years, undocumented immigrants have paid billions of dollars of federal income taxes annually through the use of a Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). Many hope to someday regularize their immigration status and hope that paying taxes will help in that regard. Beth Healey for the Boston Globe writes that some immigrants are rethinking that strategy in light of President Trump's threats to remove all undocumented immigrants.
Hat tip to Professor Francine Lipman who is my prime source of immigrant tax news.
President Donald Trump on April 6, 2017, used strong words to describe the horrors the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has inflicted on children and families in Syria for years. Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, co-director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch: stated that “If Trump is genuinely concerned about Syria’s thousands of victims, he should take back the executive order that would halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the US.”
Through his executive orders and other actins, President Trump to this point has made it difficult for Syrian refugees to come to the United States. Will his recent statements about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government change his policies toward Syrian refugees? Time will tell.
A little more than a month ago, the Democratic National Committee launched a program Tuesday that intends to shift the debate over President Trump’s immigration policy to the harm it is doing to communities and families. Called the “Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportation Plan,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said the new initiative will highlight the “real stories” of well-meaning immigrants that have been negatively impacted by the recent immigration crackdown. Here is a sample:
Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportations
Roberto Beristain arrived to the United States in 1998 through a Mexican border crossing. He was deported Wednesday despite having no criminal record, a family attorney says (CNN)
UPDATE – DEPORTED: CNN: Roberto Beristain – husband of Trump voter, no criminal record
Helen Beristain voted for Donald Trump even though she is married to an undocumented immigrant. In November, she thought Trump would deport only people with criminal records - – people he called "bad hombres" - – and that he would leave families intact. "I don't think ICE is out there to detain anyone and break families, no," Beristain told CNN affiliate WSBT in March, shortly after her husband, Roberto Beristain was detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On Wednesday, Beristain was proven wrong as ICE split her family across two countries. Roberto Beristain, 44, was deported back to Mexico despite having no criminal record, family attorney Adam Ansari said.
NEW: CBS: Carlos Ortiz – father, arrested even though ICE was looking for another man
Nineteen-year-old Estefany Ortiz says Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents came to her house in Pasadena, California, last month looking for someone who did not live there. They arrested her father, Carlos Ortiz, instead. He was in the country illegally, but had no criminal record. “Why did we open the door,” Estefany said. “Nobody is going to want to open the door. Everyone is scared.”
NEW: ABC 11 (Raleigh-Durham, NC): Edwin Guillen – 26-year-old painter, no criminal record
Edwin Guillen has lived in Durham for four years, and works as a painter. The 26-year-old has no criminal record. His attorney, Becky Moriello, questions why he was detained by immigration officers in the first place. "The fact that he is brown or the fact that he does not speak English does not mean that he is necessarily an immigrant," Moriello said… Thursday, Moriello, argued in court filings that Guillen was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – since he was not initially accused of any crime, nor does he have a past criminal record.
NEW: WBUR (Boston, MA): Green Card applicants
Five people were arrested and detained yesterday at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Lawrence when they showed up for scheduled appointments. Some were looking to begin their green card application process.
NEW: BBC: Jose Coyote Perez – father of 4, New York resident for 17 years, no criminal record
Mr. Perez is a dairy farm employee and an advocate for migrant workers…Born in Mexico, he has lived in Livingston County, New York, for 17 years and has four children, three of whom are US citizens. Mr Perez had a deportation case against him that was administratively closed in September 2016. He had no criminal record, and possessed a social security number, and a work permit. When Ice officials asked him to come into a local office for a routine check-in this year, .
NEW: NPR: Deportation Fears Prompt Immigrants To Cancel Food Stamps
Groups that help low-income families get food assistance are alarmed by a recent drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some families are even canceling their food stamps and other government benefits, for fear that receiving them will affect their immigration status or lead to deportation. Many of the concerns appear to be unfounded but have been fueled by the Trump administration's tough stance on immigration. Officials at Manna Food Center in Montgomery County, Md., report that about 20 percent of the 561 families they have helped apply for food stamps, or SNAP benefits, in the past few months have asked that their cases be closed.
The Atlantic: Natividad Gonzalez – mother of 2, fears deportation and leaving young, U.S. citizen daughters behind in America
When Natividad Gonzalez packs her daughters’ homework and lunches for school each morning, she slips a freshly charged cell phone into her eldest child’s bag. The 11-year-old knows the plan: If she and her younger sister, age 8, walk home from the bus to find an empty house, she’s supposed to call Gonzalez’s friend who will come get them. Her daughter also knows the combination to the family safe, inside which is an ATM card and a quickly drafted power-of-attorney letter granting custody to the family friend in case Natividad and her husband are arrested and sent back to Mexico. “These are things that an 11-year-old shouldn’t have to be thinking about,” says Gonzalez, age 32, who came to Clanton, Alabama with her husband nearly 13 years ago, and is still undocumented.
Juan Vivares, 29, an electrician in the Bronx, was detained after meeting with immigration agents on Tuesday. (New York Times)
New York Times: Juan Vivares – father, escaped expected murder in Colombia, faces imminent deportation
Juan Vivares, 29, a Colombian electrician who was caught crossing the southern border into the United States illegally in 2011 and was ordered deported after losing his bid for asylum. He said he had come to the United States to escape paramilitary forces in Medellín who had tried to kill him over his political work for a mayoral candidate. Mr. Vivares’s lawyer, Rebecca Press, has asked immigration agents to delay his deportation for family reasons, explaining that he is needed to care for the baby he has with his wife, Yahaira Burgos, an American citizen who works overnight shifts as a doorwoman at an apartment building on the Upper East Side. But his previous appeals for leniency have failed.
The Atlantic: Graciela – mother of 3, fear of deportation taking toll on health
Graciela, a 51-year-old mother of four who declined to give her last name, made a plan to leave her two teenagers, ages 13 and 14, with her 24-year-old daughter, if she’s forced to return to Mexico after living in Phoenix since 2004. “I want them to be able to finish their studies, but she won’t be able to handle them for very long,” says Graciela. “She has two kids of her own, and it’s a lot to ask her. I’ve got to be prepared to take them back with me.” Graciela is also devastated by the idea of leaving her older children behind. “I can’t imagine not seeing my grandkids grow up,” she says. “Since Trump became president, I’m so depressed. I’m eating out of control, and I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I have bags under my eyes. It’s really starting to wear on me.”