Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bordering on Legal Limits? A Symposium Analyzing the President's Executive Action on Immigration

The American University Law Review is proud to announce its upcoming Annual Symposium, "Bordering on Legal Limits? A Symposium Analyzing the President's Executive Action on Immigration," to be held on Friday, January 30, 2015. The Symposium will bring together some of the top immigration scholars to discuss immigration enforcement, prosecutorial discretion, and the President's executive action on immigration law. Panelists will also examine the President's recent November announcement and the subsequent responses from various States and opponents. AULR is honored to have Stephen Legomsky as the keynote speaker. Mr. Legomsky is the John S. Lehmann University Professor at Washington University Law School and former United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Chief Counsel.


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Save the Date: Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference June 11-12, 2015

Miami law

University of Miami School of Law

Time: Thursday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and dinner   |   Friday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Registration: Coming soon!

This biennial conference aims to create a space for junior law teachers to share drafts of writing projects, discuss teaching techniques, and get to know one another.

The conference will consist of panel discussions on teaching immigration law (doctrinal and clinical), professional development, scholarship, recent developments in immigration law and policy, and WIP/incubator sessions. It will be open to emerging immigration law teachers (tenure-track and non-tenure track) who have been teaching immigration law for eight years or fewer.

Please send any questions to Anju Gupta agupta@kinoy.rutgers.edu.

Conference planning committee:

Kate Aschenbrenner (Barry)
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Denver)
Anju Gupta (Rutgers-Newark)
Geoffrey Heeren (Valparaiso)
Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore)
Rachel Settlage (Wayne State)
Becky Sharpless (Miami)


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Oral Argument in Mellouli v. Holder

Check out the criImmigration blog for an online symposium on Mellouli v. Holder, which will be argued in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Can a sock -- classified under a state misdemeanor statute as "drug paraphernalia" when used to hide a controlled substance -- result in removal of a lawful permanent resident from teh United States? That is the question that the Supreme Court will address in Mellouli v. Holder. To clarify the case, crImmigration.com is launching an online symposium today featuring several practitioners and scholars with special insight into the key issues Mellouli raises. Today’s contributors are Alina Das, Jennifer Lee Koh, Nancy Morawetz, Maureen Sweeney, and Craig Shagin.

Click here for my preview of the argument on SCOTUSblog.com.  I will be posting a recap of the arguments soon after they are completed.


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorneys General from 12 States, D.C. File Brief in Support of Executive Action on Immigration

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced the filing of an amicus curiae brief in support of the Obama Administration’s recent executive action on immigration policy. The brief was filed in Texas v. United States, a legal challenge by Texas and other states to the President’s legal authority. A preliminary hearing is set in that case for Thursday, January 15. The Washington State Attorney’s General Office authored the brief, which was joined by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

In their brief, Washington and the other states argue that, rather than presenting a burden, the Obama Administration’s actions — enabling working families to participate more fully in American society, earn a fair, legal wage and pay their fair share of taxes — benefit the states by raising revenue and reducing demand for social services. 


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Veto Threat to GOP Threat to Undo Executive Initiatives

ImmigrationProf has previously reported on the jousting between President Obama and Republicans in Congress over immigration.

PoliticusUSA reports on the latest in this imbroglio:  "The House Republican plan to stop President Obama’s immigration executive actions fell apart today as President Obama threatened to veto a House bill that would fund Homeland Security, but stop his executive actions on immigration."

The administration's response:

"The Administration appreciates the Congress’ continued robust funding of the Department, including support for important Federal cybersecurity initiatives, disaster relief and recovery programs, and essential law enforcement activities. These funds are critical for ensuring the Department can help keep our Nation safe from harm.

However, the Administration strongly opposes the addition of any amendments to the legislation that would place restrictions on the Department’s ability to set smart enforcement priorities focused on criminals, national security threats, and recent border crossers, hold undocumented immigrants accountable, and modernize the legal immigration system. The President’s immigration accountability executive actions strengthen our border security, ensure undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents pass background checks to obtain temporary relief from removal, and require everyone to play by the same rules.

If presented to the President with objectionable restrictions, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill."

According to PoliticusUSA, "The nightmare scenario for Senate Republicans is that the Department of Homeland Security gets shut down because House Republicans refuse to move off their demand that President Obama take back his executive actions on immigration."


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Europe’s Intensifying Immigration Debate

The National Review (a conservative "journal of opinion") has an interesting new article: Europe's Intensifying Immigration Debate. Author Tino Sanandaji argues that a European "blackout on facts thought to cast immigration in a negative light has trapped the elites in a cocoon of willful ignorance."

He writes:

[T]here is a tendency to overestimate the role of Islam and to underestimate the role of the economic divide between natives and immigrants. The number of Muslims in Europe and the speed of demographic transformation are often widely exaggerated using unreliable estimates. In Sweden, currently 8 percent of the population originate in Muslim-majority countries. But surveys on religious self-identification show that only 3 percent of Sweden’s population self-identify as adherents of Islam.

  Sanandaji further writes:

The lack of economic integration of immigrants is leading to the emergence of a new ethnic class society in Europe, with occupational status becoming visibly linked to ethnicity. In office environments in Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm, janitors and cafeteria staff increasingly look and speak differently from management and white-color professionals. The so-called visible minorities of Europe are rarely allowed to forget their lower socioeconomic status or that they are outsiders who were never really welcomed by large segments of the native population.

Sanandaji contrasts the economic and cultural isolation of European Muslim immigrants with those who make their way to the U.S. and Canada where genuine economic integration is possible.

But the real focus of Sanandaji's work is Sweedish politics. He talks both about the rise of immigrant populations in Sweeden and the political backlash against the demographic changes in the country.

He ultimately concludes that Sweeden serves as a lesson for the United States:

The conservative establishment in the United States increasingly consists of “Davos men,” who identify more with elites in other countries than with domestic non-elites. Their interests and values increasingly differ from those of the people who have delegated power to them and elevated them to office. This makes elite collusion a real danger to the popular legitimacy of the institutions of representative democracy, a problem that is not limited to the immigration issue.

An interesting read.


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Critical Analysis: National Security and Targeting of Particular Communities Post 9/11 in Canada by Sadiq Al-Ali

Critical Analysis: National Security and Targeting of Particular Communities Post 9/11 in Canada by Sadiq Al-Ali,York University - Faculty of Liberal Arts & Profressional Studies September 1, 2014

Abstract: The central argument that will be advanced within this piece is that particular communities within Canada have been disproportionately targeted and have incurred unequal costs vis-à-vis others in light of the security certificate program within context of post 9/11. The paper will be divided into four sections framed within a Canadian context that looks at how particular communities were affected by the security certificate program. The first section attempts to critically engage with the contested definition of national security, and the relevance of the notion as it pertains to the historical experiences of particular groups, while explicating its applicability in light of identity and immigration policy. The second section addresses how the logic of security found within state legislation, provides the need legitimacy for the state to engage with controversial security measures, that undermine both the legal rights and human rights of the subject targeted (i.e. non-citizen/citizen). The third section brings forth the practice of racial profiling to the forefront in conjunction with how national security measures have impacted racialized communities and individuals in light of Agamben’s ‘state of exception’ concept and the costs of the racial profiling. While the final section examines the role of the judiciary and its treatment of the IRPA as it pertains to refugees in light of international norms by reflecting upon a number of cases. The objective of the latter is to see whether the Court has assigned priority to International Human Rights Law as a way to remedy those disproportionate targeted by the state.


January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Food and Drinks | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Argument in Arizona Ethnic Studies Case


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judges Noonan, Clifton, and Rakoff (by designation) today heard oral argument in Arce v. Huppental, in which plaintiffs challenge Arizona's law barring the teaching of ethic studies in the public schools.  

The headline of an article in the Courtroom News Service reads "Ariz. Raked Over the Coals in 9th Circuit for Banning Ethnic Studies."  According to the article, Arizona's "discriminatory animus toward Mexican Americans" gave rise to its "vague and overbroad" ethnic-studies law, opponents told the 9th Circuit.

Passed in 2010 by the Arizona Legislature, the law prohibits the state's public schools from teaching classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government; promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." The students challenging the law claim it was enacted primarily as a means to kill Tucson Unified School District's (TUSD) Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program. An administrative law judge found the classes violated the law in 2011, and the district scrapped the curriculum under threat of a huge cut in funding.

Representing the students at oral arguments, UC Irvine Law dean attorney Erwin Chemerinsky noted that one of the law's prime movers had "campaigned for this law by saying that he wanted to stop La Raza" - "a synonym for the Mexican American people." Chemrinsky said that former state school superintendents John Huppenthal and Tom Horne, both of whom helped pass the law and later found TUSD in violation of it, had ignored independent studies finding no such violations in the MAS curriculum, as well as years of data showing improved test scores and graduation rates among program participants. Chermrinsky told the panel that only "discriminatory animus" can explain the officials' actions.

A  link to the oral argument can be found here.

Hat tip to Cappy White.



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

Trial begins in one of largest human trafficking cases in U.S. history

Opening arguments began today in a federal lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of guest workers from India who were lured to a Mississippi shipyard by false promises of permanent U.S. residency only to find themselves forced into servitude and living under guard in an overcrowded, unsanitary labor camp. The trial is part of a seven-year legal battle against Signal International, a marine services company that operates in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.  The trial, to be held before a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is the first in a series of suits spearheaded by the SPLC that together comprise one of the largest human trafficking cases in U.S. history.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs intend to show that Signal and a network of labor recruiters and an immigration attorney engineered a scheme not only to defraud the Indian workers but to use illegal coercion and threats to maintain control over them and keep them working at Signal. The recruiters and lawyer received millions of dollars in recruiting fees from the workers and Signal made millions in profits from their labor, but not one of the workers received what he was promised.

The case is a stark example of the shameful exploitation within the nation’s broken guest worker program. The SPLC filed the suit in March 2008. When a judge did not grant class action status – a status that would have allowed the suit to benefit most of Signal’s guest workers – the SPLC coordinated an unprecedented legal collaboration. It brought together nearly a dozen of the nation’s top law firms and civil rights organizations to represent, on a pro bono basis, hundreds of other workers who had been excluded from the original SPLC suit by the denial of class action status. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the company used the U.S. government’s H-2B guest worker program to import nearly 500 men from India to work as welders, pipefitters and in other positions. The workers each paid the labor recruiters and lawyer between $10,000 and $20,000 or more in recruitment fees and other costs after recruiters promised good jobs, green cards and permanent U.S. residency for them and their families. Most sold property or plunged their families deeply into debt to pay the fees. When the men arrived at Signal shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Orange, Texas, beginning in 2006, they discovered that they wouldn’t receive the green cards or permanent residency that had been promised to them, and that Signal viewed them, and treated them as a temporary labor force. Signal forced them to pay $1,050 a month to live in overcrowded, guarded labor camps where as many as 24 men shared a space the size of a double-wide trailer. When some men tried to find their own housing, Signal officials told them the labor camp fee would still be deducted from their paychecks. Visitors were rarely allowed into the isolated camps. Company employees searched workers’ belongings. And workers who complained of the conditions were threatened with deportation, which would be disastrous for those who mortgaged their futures to obtain the jobs.

In March 2007, some of the SPLC’s clients were illegally detained by security guards hired by the company during a pre-dawn raid of their quarters in Pascagoula. They were detained for the purpose of deporting them to India in retaliation for complaining about the abuses and meeting with workers’ rights advocates to understand their legal rights. One of these workers was so distraught he attempted suicide.


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

Students Protest Georgia’s Admissions Ban! Undocumented and Documented Students Hold Integrated Class at the University of Georgia on its 54th Anniversary of Desegregation

Freedom u

On January 9, 2015, on the 54th anniversary of the racial desegregation of the University of Georgia (UGA), undocumented immigrant students protested Georgia’s ban on their enrollment in the state’s top five public universities. Undocumented students held an integrated class with their documented student peers on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, taught by social justice educators and participants of the African American Civil Rights Movement. Under Georgia Board of Regents’ Policy 4.1.6 and Policy 4.3.4, which were implemented in 2011, undocumented students are banned from the top five public universities in Georgia and prohibited from qualifying for in-state tuition. Georgia is one of only three states – including Alabama and South Carolina – to institute an admissions ban against undocumented students in public higher education.


January 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

States Begin New Year by Implementing New Immigration Laws

Immigration Impact reports on how the new year has brought a number of legal changes for immigrants.  Despite federal inaction on immigration reform, state and local officials took pragmatic steps to help undocumented immigrants living in their communities better integrate. Connecticut and California were two of 10 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses; as of January 1, those immigrants can apply for licenses.

In llinois, outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn issued an executive order providing that immigration status alone would not be a valid reason for Illinois state police to detain someone. According to the order, "community policing efforts are hindered” when immigrants who are victims of, or witness to, crimes are afraid of cooperating out of fear that they would be deported. The order only applies to state troopers and conservation police who are under the governor’s control, but it mirrors similar changes in counties and other states that have stopped cooperating with requests to detain a person at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

For analysis of constructive state immigration reform efforts, click here.


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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

ABA President Supports Legal Representation for Immigrants in Removal Proceedings


In the President's Message of the January 2015 ABA Journal, William C.. Hubbard speaks in favor of the American Bar Association and other efforts to ensure legal representation for Central American and other migrants in removal proceedings

"In a process that is unusually complex, unfamiliar and difficult to understand, access to accurate legal information and effective representation can change lives, as it did for a young boy from Honduras who escaped severe physical abuse at the hands of gangs and was granted asylum. And for the woman from El Salvador who fled horrific domestic violence and, because of a lawyer's volunteer service, can now raise her children without fear. Working together, we can provide dignity and hope to the individuals whose cases meet the standard for protection in our country."


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

Santa Barbara Newspaper Headline -- "Illegals Line Up for Driver's Licenses" -- Stirs Controversy


For a number of years, there has been public discussion of the proper term to use in the press for people in the United States without proper immigration authorization.  In 2013, the Associated Press announced that it would no longer use the term "illegal" or "illegal immigrant."  The New York Times later shifted its policy on the proper terminology although it did not ban the use of the term "illegal immigrant."

The Los Angeles Times reports on a recent controversy created by a Santa Barbara newspaper headline about undocumented immigrants being permitted to obtain driver's licenses under a new California law.  Protesters marched outside the Santa Barbara News Press offices this week after the paper ran the headline "Illegals line up for driver's licenses." Santa Barbara police said that protest messages were painted on the newspaper's office building.


Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times and Associated Press

According to one news report, the Santa Barbara News-Press has stood by its headline:  "It is an appropriate term in describing someone as `illegal' if they are in this country illegally."


January 11, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Government Report Blasts Border Patrol Drones as Ineffective, Wasteful

Mark Nofieri on Immigration Impact writes that, over the past decade, as the government has pursued an “enforcement first” strategy, U.S. Border Patrol enforcement has exploded with devastating consequences. Border Patrol has used excessive force without accountability while costing taxpayers $8 billion annually, with little clear impact on migration. Amongst this spending, as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General report recently highlighted, is DHS’ over-spending on its new frontier of border enforcement—drones.

The Inspector General's bottom line:  "U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Unmanned Aircraft System Program Does Not Achieve Intended Results or Recognize All Costs of Operations."


January 9, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: The Sensations

Those of your preparing for the Spring semester may be looking to update your in-class playlist. Or maybe you're just looking for tunes to listen to while revamping your syllabus. Let me recommend the 1962 hit "Let Me In" by The Sensations. It pairs perfectly with admission procedure. Enjoy!



January 9, 2015 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canada's Evolving Immigration Policy


The Economist has a fascinating article about changes in immigration policy in Canada. "Since winning power in 2006 the Conservatives have moved away from the idea of letting in people based on their `talent for citizenship' to admitting workers with job offers. On January 1st the government moved further in that direction. A new `Express Entry system' greatly increases the weight given to offers of employment for people applying to become permanent residents."

Canada is adopting changes followed in New Zealand and Australia. According to The Economist, "critics worry that in shifting from a policy based on civic values to one governed by commercial logic, Canada is making the system more vulnerable to fraud and discrimination. Though more open than other right-of-centre parties, Canada’s Conservatives have been characteristically hard-nosed about letting in refugees and immigrants’ family members."


January 9, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Latino Stats: American Hispanics by the Numbers by Idelisse Malavé and Esti Giordani


Latino Stats: American Hispanics by the Numbersby Idelisse Malavé and Esti Giordani (2015)

At a time when politics is seemingly ruled by ideology and emotion and when immigration is one of the most contentious topics, it is more important than ever to cut through the rhetoric and highlight, in numbers, the reality of the broad spectrum of Latino life in the United States. Latinos are both the largest and fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the country, even while many continue to fight for their status as Americans. Respected movement builder and former leader of the Tides Foundation Idelisse Malavé and her daughter, Celeste Giordani—a communications strategist for the Social Transformation Project—distills the profusion of data, identifying the most telling and engaging facts to assemble a portrait of contemporary Latino life with glimpses of the past and future.

From politics and the economy to popular culture, the arts, and ideas about race, gender, and family, Latino Stats both catalogs the inequities that plague Latino communities and documents Latinos’ growing power and influence on American life. An essential tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers, Latino Stats will be a go-to guidebook for anyone wanting to raise their awareness and increase their understanding of the complex state of our nation.


January 9, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

RIP Writer Michelle Serros -- Remembering Generation Mex


As a NPR story described, "[w]hen Michele Serros burst onto the literary scene in the 1990s, she was a new kind of Latina writer: She didn't speak much Spanish, she listened to ABBA and she was a vegan who liked to surf and skateboard. Her success as a writer, poet and comedic commentator made her an inspirational voice for Chicanas of her generation and beyond."

Serros, who Newsweek once hailed as a "Woman to Watch for the New Century," died of cancer Sunday at her home in Berkeley, Calif. She was 48 years old.  Serros' book How to be a Latina Role Model offers an incredibly funny tale of a Chicana writer who tries to find a way to embrace two very different cultures--without losing touch with who she is. 



January 9, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Barbara Boxer Will Not Seek Releection in 2016


Sen. Barbara Boxer announced today that she will not run for reelection in 2016. Boxer, the 74-year-old Democratic junior Senator from California, said that she is not retiring altogether and will continue working on "the issues that I love" through her political action committee, PAC for a Change. Boxer was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

The progressive Senator explained her decision in a mock interview with her oldest grandson in a video posted to YouTube.

Senator Boxer has supported both comprehensive immigration reform and increased border security.  She also has expressed support for President Obama's executive initiatives on immigration in November.


January 8, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republicans to Trade Off National Security to Attack Obama Immigration Initiatives?

It appears that Republicans in Congress may be facing an interesting challenge in seeking to put a stop to President Obama's November executive action on immigration. 

Kristina Peterson in the Wall Street Journal reports that House Republicans are looking for ways to block President Obama's immigration initiatives. Republicans are considering legislation that would keep the Department of Homeland Security fully operating beyond Feb. 27, when its current funding expires. "While GOP leaders haven't settled on their course, lawmakers and aides say they may attach a provision blocking the department, which oversees immigration activities, from using any funds or fees to implement any elements of Mr. Obama’s action. But GOP lawmakers acknowledged the challenges of trying to thwart Mr. Obama’s immigration plan without threatening to undermine national security-funding at a time when terrorist attacks have provoked concern world-wide."


January 8, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)