Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Immigration Consequences of Marijuana Convictions

Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch: The Potential Sleeper Case of the Supreme Court Term, by David Feder


On Notice and Comment (Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch: The Potential Sleeper Case of the Supreme Court Term), David Feder previews important issues in a cert petition currently pending before the Supreme Court:

"You might never have heard of Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch, but it’s potentially the darkhorse case of this year’s Supreme Court Term. Judge Gorsuch’s recent concurrence in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch questioned the soundness of the Chevron doctrine itself—and in doing so kicked the hornet’s nest of administrative law scholars. Yet Esquivel-Quintana threatens to take a big bite out of Chevron—and has gone almost entirely under the radar. It’s worth your attention.

At issue in Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch is whether a conviction for consensual sexual intercourse between a twenty-one-year old and a seventeen-year old constitutes the “aggravated felony” of “sexual abuse of a minor” under the Immigration and Nationality Act—thereby trigging the Act’s mandatory removal provision. Under federal law, the Model Penal Code, and the laws of forty-three states (plus Washington D.C.), this conduct would not even be illegal—let alone an aggravated felony.

A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit, however, concluded otherwise. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a noncitizen may not seek discretionary relief from removal when he or she has been convicted of a crime that the Act classifies as an “aggravated felony.” The Act defines “aggravated felony,” in turn, to include the “murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(A). And the Board of Immigration Appeals, in turn, interpreted “sexual abuse of a minor” to include California Penal Code § 261.5(c), which makes it a crime for an adult to have sex with an individual “under the age of 18 years” whenever the age difference between the parties is more than 3 years.

Although acknowledging that this civil statute also had criminal applications, the majority deferred to the Board’s interpretation under Chevron based on a footnote in Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon, 515 U.S. 687 (1995), which explained that the Court had “never suggested that the rule of lenity should provide the standard for reviewing facial challenges to administrative regulations whenever the governing statute authorizes criminal enforcement,” id. at 704 n.18.

On this point, Judge Sutton dissented. He would have applied the rule of lenity rather than Chevron deference and construed the ambiguity in the term “aggravated felony” in favor of Mr. Esquivel-Quintana, rather than against him—as the Board did. There are two pillars to his analysis. First, Chevron deference is inappropriate when it comes to criminal statutes, which “are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.” Abramski v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 2259, 2274 (2014). Second, statutes have only one meaning, whether in a criminal or civil context. See, e.g., Leocal v. Ashcroft, 543 U.S. 1, 11 n.8 (2004). As Judge Sutton memorably put it in an earlier case, “[s]tatutes are not ‘chameleons’ that mean one thing in one setting and something else in another.” Carter v. Welles-Bowen Realty, Inc., 736 F.3d 722, 730 (2013) (Sutton, J., concurring). Putting these two principles together, he concluded that Chevron deference was inappropriate to a hybrid civil-criminal statute."


Here is the punchline:

"I think that it is likely that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari in Esquivel-QuintanaProfessor Jeff Fisher has written an excellent certiorari petition, there are a two independently certiorari-worthy issues, and the Supreme Court needs more cases which aren’t likely to split 4-4."


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

California Gov. Jerry Brown expands overtime pay for California farmworkers



California Governor Jerry Brown

As the Los Angeles Times reports, California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation Monday that would gradually require California farmworkers to the be paid overtime after eight hours on the job or 40 hours in a single week.  The bill signing closed out one of the year’s most intense political battles in Sacramento.


Assemblywoman Loren Gonzalez

Leaders of the United Farm Workers of America, which sponsored the overtime bill, called Brown’s decision a victory for farm workers. Growers lobbied heavily against the bill, saying the new law would hurt a valuable state industry on the decline.

Assembly Bill 1066 (see the text), authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), calls for a phase-in of new overtime rules over four years beginning in 2019.



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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

From the Crimmigration Blog: Judge Dana Marks on Independence in Immigration Courts

The Crimmigration blog is currently featuring a video of a lecture given by Immigration Judge Dana Marks (President of the National Association of Immigration Judges) at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law on the merits of restructuring the immigration courts, specifically to make immigration courts an Article I entity (as opposed to belonging to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, a sub-agency of the Department of Justice).  Congratulations to César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, who helped organize the talk (and runs the Crimmigration blog).


September 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Mathis, Descamps, and the End of Crime-Based Deportation by Kari E. Hong


Mathis, Descamps, and the End of Crime-Based Deportation byKari E. Hong, Boston College - Law School September 2, 2016 UC Davis Law Review, Forthcoming 2017 Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 413

Abstract: The belief that immigrants are crossing the border, in the stealth of night, with nefarious desires to bring violence, crime, and drugs to the United States has long been part of the public imagination. Studies and statistics overwhelmingly establish the falsehood of this rhetoric. The facts are that non-citizens commit fewer crimes and reoffend less often than citizens. But facts do not stop the myth. Even supporters of immigration reform often will point out that they will help deserving immigrants but will deport those with criminal convictions, or at least those who committed violent crimes.

My Article counters that there will be — and should be — an end to crime-based deportation. It is already happening quickly and quietly in federal courts. Beginning in 2013, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Descamps, and in 2016, Mathis v. United States. These cases are highly technical decisions relating to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) and immigration law’s Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIRIRA”).

This Article draws upon empirical data to show that, as predicted by the Justices, a faithful adherence to Descamps and Mathis will be eliminating numerous offenses from having ACCA and IIRIRA consequences on a case-by-case, statute-by-statute basis.

As a normative matter, I contend that this result is the proper one. Prosecutors, judges, and policy makers are embracing this reality in the ACCA context, in part because the federal court can tailor the sentence to the type of conduct underlying the offense without regard to prior crimes. The same result should be embraced in the immigration context. IIRIRA’s reliance on crimes to serve as immigration grounds is too arbitrary, too unjust, and simply out of proportion to how the criminal courts considered the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the crime. For example, a man who had been in the United States with a green card for 40 years was deported over stealing a $2 can of beer. Although a federal court reversed the deportation, the case illustrates that figuring out who is dangerous and who isn’t based on a criminal record is not an efficient or effective method of immigration enforcement.


September 13, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haitian Migrants Seeking Asylum at San Ysidro Port of Entry

One story that doesn't seem to have received much media attention (but caught my attention on my social media feed) is the sharp increase in Haitian migrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. 

KPBS has a video covering the work of migrant shelters in Tijuana that unpacks some of this recent development: 



September 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fun With Derivative Citizenship

Ireland from space, courtesy of NASA

BBC reporter Simon Maybin recently set out to discover just how many how many Britons might be entitled to Irish citizenship. He'd heard estimates as high as 1-in-4 but, as it turns out, that number tracks a Guinness pool about whether folks had any Irish ancestry or saw themselves as Irish. Since everyone sees themselves as a little bit Irish after a Guinness or two, that wasn't the most accurate assessment of citizenship.

So Maybin called Ireland's Citizens Information service. He learned that he himself was qualified for Irish citizenship because his mother was born in Ireland - despite the fact that she never held an Irish passport herself. Her very birth in Ireland made her a citizen. Maybin further found that "The same rules apply if you have a grandparent born on the island of Ireland." Though, he qualified: "There are a few other subtleties to the rules on getting Irish citizenship, including a change for people born after 2005."

With this broad legal knowledge under his belt, Maybin set out to estimate how many Britons had a parent or grandparent born in Ireland. Some maths later, Maybin concluded that nearly 6.7 million people in the UK might quality for Irish citizenship. That's well in excess of Ireland's 4.6 million population and nearly 10% of Brits.

It's an in-class problem on steroids! Super fun.


September 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexican Senator Questioning Donald Trump's Immigration Status During Visit to Mexico


Here is one from Snopes and The Daily Caller that falls into the "what goes around, comes around" category. A Mexican senator is demanding that the country's federal government look into whether U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump legally traveled to Mexico in August 2016.

Luis Humberto Fernández Fuentes, who is with Mexico's Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD), says that Trump's lightning-turnaround trip to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto before traveling back to the United States, all on 31 August 2016, may have violated Mexico's immigration laws by entering the country without the proper documentation

Senator Fernández Fuentes explained that Article 37 of the Migration Act provides that in order for aliens to enter the country, they must be submitted through an immigration filter before the INM [the National Institute for Migration] and submit their documents — in this case a passport, since U.S. citizens do not require a visa for a stay of less than 180 days in our country.

He said that in the case of Trump's visit, it is important to clarify whether the Republican bypassed Mexico's mandatory migratory filters or if he was given a waiver to land his private plane at the presidential hangar, and if so, in what capacity.


September 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stand As One Exhibition

Are you in London for a few days? If so, head over to 4 Holywell Lane to check out the Stand as One Exhibition, an "immersive film and photography exhibition in support of refugees worldwide."

The event is free and sponsored by Oxfam. 

The Guardian has published several of the photos from the event. Check out this one by Sam Tarling.


You can see a few more via BBC to get the virtual experience.


September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Policy for a Post-Brexit Britain


Photo courtesy of Don Roth

By now, we have fully absorbed the implications of the Brexit vote.  The question now is what the United Kingdom's immigration policy will be. 

The Bloomberg editorial board notes that the UK should adopt immigration policy that makes sense for the English economy. 


A key demand of Brexit voters was to take back control of the U.K.’s immigration policy. Prime Minister Theresa May has promised that she will -- but hasn’t said what she’ll do with this control once she has it.

Many Brexit supporters are hoping for a severely restrictive system. However, the Bloomberg editorial board thinks that this would be a mistake, and May ought to say so. Liberal rules on immigration, exercised at Britain’s discretion, would best serve Britain’s interests. As things stand, the ruling Conservative Party is pledged to bring net migration down to the “tens of thousands.” A figure in the lower part of that range would certainly be too tight. Even if such a policy were feasible, which it isn’t, it would injure the economy and make friendly post-Brexit relations with the European Union all the harder. Control doesn’t require, and shouldn’t mean, excessively tight restrictions.


September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times Room for Debate: Is Any Immigration Reform Possible in This Political Climate?


Donald Trump:  Advocate for Immigration Reform?

Today's New York Times Room for Debate focuses on immigration reform.  Last week, Donald Trump laid out a hardline immigration plan and promised to achieve it in “a matter of months” after taking office. In reality, immigration reform has been stymied, with no major reforms passed in decades. Multiple bills have failed to make it through Congress, and the courts have blocked President Obama’s executive actions to shield unauthorized immigrants from deportation and allow them to work.  With congressional and executive actions stalled, what immigration reform can be accomplished in the U.S.?


Professor Dan Kanstroom

Six commentators offer their opinions, several of which focus on the need for governmental action to help assist the integration of immigrants into civil society.  Law Professor Dan Kanstroom advocates an end to the removal of immigrants for minor criminal offenses.


September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

George Borjas: Neither Candidate is Telling the Whole Immigration Truth


Illustration by Brian Stauffer

Economist George Borjas in Politico, who has made a career out of highlighting the costs of immigration on certain segments of the American labor market, has critical words for the positions of both major Presidential nominees in Election 2016:

"Here’s the problem with the current immigration debate: Neither side is revealing the whole picture. Trump might cite my work, but he overlooks my findings that the influx of immigrants can potentially be a net good for the nation, increasing the total wealth of the population. Clinton ignores the hard truth that not everyone benefits when immigrants arrive. For many Americans, the influx of immigrants hurts their prospects significantly."

Click the link above to read the rest of Borjas' article.


September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers: Law and Society Annual Meeting 2017, Mexico City

We invite you to participate in the panels sponsored by the Citizenship and Immigration Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in 2017. The Citizenship and Immigration CRN seeks to bring together law and society scholars across a range of fields who are interested in immigration, broadly defined. In past years, we have been one of the largest and most prolific CRNs. Information about the Law and Society meeting is available.
This year’s meeting is unique in that it brings us to together in Mexico City, one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America, and it invites us to explore the theme Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World. The locale and theme are particularly relevant to our CRN. We are interested in proposals that explore immigration both in the US and abroad, with a special interest in sessions engaging cross-border activities and migration in the Global South. All stages of production are welcome, as are papers from multiple disciplines and career stages – indeed, we encourage you to pair graduate students and junior faculty with senior faculty on panels. We are also interested in papers that will permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN, Feminist Legal Theory CRN, and other sections.
PANEL PROPOSALS: We strongly encourage you to submit completed panels and to affiliate them with the CRN during submission. A completed panel requires 4-6 papers, a chair, and a discussant (can be the same person). Completed panels tend to be the most coherent and have the best chance of being accepted by LSA. Associating your session with the CRN helps to avoid scheduling conflicts and builds interest across sessions through the linking of related topics. You might find it helpful to use the CRN email list to solicit participants and self-organize in the weeks leading up to the submission deadlines (
·       The duty of the presenter is to submit a paper approximately one month prior to the panel and to make a presentation at the conference. Papers must be in English, though presentations may be in Spanish given the international aspect of this year’s conference and Mexico City locale.
·       The duties of chairs are to organize the panel logistically; including registering it online with the LSA, and moderating the panel. Chairs will develop a 100-250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before their deadline of October 18. This will ensure that each panelist can submit their proposal, using the panel number assigned.
·       The duties of discussants are to read the papers assigned to them and to prepare a short commentary about the papers that discusses them individually and perhaps collectively.
INDIVIDUAL PAPER PROPOSALS: If you prefer to submit individual papers to the CRN, the Planning Committee will group individual papers into panels based on subject. You can submit individual papers to LSA unaffiliated with the CRN, though again it is advantageous to submit as a CRN panel.
·       Following the LSA format, we will also assign a chair and one or two commentators/discussants for each panel.
·       In exchange for participating as a panelist, we urge you to consider serving as a chair and/or commentator/discussant for another panel or participant. If willing, please let us know of your areas of expertise and topic preferences.
OTHER FORMATS. In addition to the paper and panel format, we can also use some of the other formats that the LSA provides: the author meets readers sessions for books published in 2016 (multiple formats available, including the very successful CRN New Book Session to supplement the solo-AMR session and salon-style AMR session option), salon paper session (2-3 participants, 1 facilitator), or roundtable discussion (4-8 participants, 1 chair). If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please let us know. Please note that for roundtables, organizers are now required to provide a 500-word summary of the topic and the contributions they expect the proposed participants to make.
Please note before making commitments to join a session that LSA rules limit you to participating only once as a paper panelist or roundtable participant. The CRN New Book Session does not count against your program participation. See LSA submissions guidelines for more details on this important rule.
CRN SUBMISSION DETAILS: Please send your proposal to Ming, Shannon, and Miranda (emails below):
·       Your name and whether proposing a panel or paper (or both)
·       If panel or roundtable: A 100-250 word panel description and names of other interested participants (specify whether confirmed)
·       Paper titles and abstracts, up to 4-6 total (you will need to include 250-500 word paper abstracts for LSA, not needed for roundtables) [updated from 1000 word abstract previously circulated -- we're matching the LSA requirements, which changed from last year]
·       A list of your areas of interest and expertise within immigration and citizenship (to facilitate selection of additional respondents)
LSA SUBMISSION DETAILS: For more details about LSA proposals and constructing abstracts, read both sets of guidelines.
Please submit all CRN proposals by Friday, September 30. This will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s anticipated deadline of October 18. In the past, we have accommodated as many panelists as possible. If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you ASAP so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.
We hope you’ll join us in Mexico City to share and discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on immigration and citizenship.
2016-17 LSA Citizenship and Immigration CRN 2 Planning Committee
Ming Hsu Chen, University of Colorado Law School and Political Science Department (
Shannon Gleeson, Cornell Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History and Sociology (
Miranda Hallett, University of Dayton Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work (

September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: How Robust Refugee Protection Policies Can Strengthen Human and National Security by Donald Kerwin

How Robust Refugee Protection Policies Can Strengthen Human and National Security by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies of New York


This paper makes the case that refugee protection and national security should be viewed as complementary, not conflicting state goals. It argues that refugee protection can further the security of refugees, affected states, and the international community. Refugees and international migrants can also advance national security by contributing to a state’s economic vitality, military strength, diplomatic standing, and civic values. The paper identifies several strategies that would, if implemented, promote both security and refugee protection. It also outlines additional steps that the US Congress should take to enhance US refugee protection policies and security. Finally, it argues for the efficacy of political engagement in support of pro-protection, pro-security policies, and against the assumption that political populism will invariably impede support for refugee protection.

Here is a special podcast on the report.


September 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Demore v. Kim, Immigrant Detention, and Incorrect Data Provided by the U.S. Government to the Supreme Court by Law Student Katie Kelly

On August 25, 2016, Jean C. King, General Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), issued a letter to Acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn advising of errors in calculating statistical data sent to the United States Supreme Court and relied upon in Demore v. Kim.  Acting Solicitor General Gershengorn then drafted a letter to the Honorable Scott S. Harris, United States Supreme Court Clerk, advising of the erroneous information.  Click here for details.  The Supreme Court ultimately held in Demore that the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides that immigrants with certain criminal convictions can be detained without bond pending removal from the United States, does not violate a lawful permanent resident’s liberty.  The Court relied upon and quoted the referenced EOIR report in its decision.

The report relied upon in the 2003 case include incorrect estimates of the length of removal proceedings for aliens who are mandatorily detained during removal proceedings under Immigration and Nationality Act § 236(c), 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c). The original report stated that immigration judges completed removal proceedings for aliens who did not contest their removal orders within an average time of 47 days and a median time of 30 days; however, upon revisiting the data, EOIR found that these numbers should have reflected 34 days and 15 days, respectively. Further, original reports received by the Supreme Court stated that when aliens did challenge their removal orders, proceedings took an average of approximately four months and a median time of 114 days; the corrected estimates are 141 days and 119 days, respectively.  Most important, though, was EOIR’s failure to consider 15,000 applicable cases in its analysis of immigration court completions. 

Also of note is EOIR’s change in defining a “completion.”  For its original report, all changes of venue and case transfers were considered completions, but the updated definition excludes changes of venue and case transfers.  When applying this revised definition to the 2001 data used for the original report, the number of completions decreases by 6%.

In King’s letter, EOIR assured that measures have been placed to prevent similar mishaps going forward.  Acting Solicitor General Gerhsengorn’s letter advised that Demore is relevant to a case for which the Supreme Court granted certiorari in June 2016.  Information from this revised report may affect the court’s treatment of Jennings v. Rodriguez.  There, the Supreme Court will decide, among other issues, whether an immigrant who is mandatorily detained under § 1226(c) for longer than six months is entitled to a bond hearing and release, unless the government demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community. 


September 11, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Edgar and Brigitte: A German Jewish Passage to America by Rosemarie Bodenheimer


Edgar and Brigitte A German Jewish Passage to America by Rosemarie Bodenheimer

Edgar and Brigitte: A German Jewish Passage to America is the fruit of an extraordinary archive of personal journals, letters, speeches, and published writings left by Edgar and Brigitte Bodenheimer, who emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1933 and became American law professors. More German than Jewish, highly educated, and saturated to the core in the German cultural ideal of Bildung, Edgar and Brigitte embody many of the qualities of their generation of German Jews in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
The couple’s encounters with the strange new dynamics of race, religion, and the workplace in their new American home offer a compelling account of the struggles that faced many immigrants with deep German roots. It is also an intimate portrait of a now-vanished German Jewish culture as it played out in the lives of Bodenheimer’s parents and her grandparents from the 1920s to the late 1960s, a story of emigration, assimilation, and the private struggles that accompany those forced shifts in orientation.
The Bodenheimers’ letters and journals offer engaging perspectives into their personal lives that retrospective memories cannot match. Braiding intimate biography together with history and memoir, Edgar and Brigitte will appeal both to historians of the European Jewish diaspora and to readers interested in the struggles and resilience of people whose lives were upended by Hitler.
Rosemarie Bodenheimer is a professor emerita of English with a focus on Victorian Studies at Boston College. She is the author of Knowing Dickens and The Real Life of Mary Ann Evans: George Elliot, Her Letters and Fiction, which was chosen as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book.

September 11, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Professors Other Groups Urge President to Grant TPS to Central Americans


American Immigration Council's Immigration Impact reports that that this week over 100 law professors and nearly 400 civil, faith, immigrant, labor rights, and legal services organizations urged the President to use temporary protected status (TPS) to provide temporary refuge in the United States to Central Americans. TPS would provide nationals of these countries who are already in the United States with a temporary stay of removal and employment authorization to support themselves and their families while their country is too dangerous to return to safely. Although Honduras and El Salvador currently have TPS designations due to natural disasters in 1998 and 2001 no one who has come to the United States since those years can benefit from TPS.

Endemic levels of violence have continued to pervade the Northern Triangle region of Central America, which includes these countries. Since 2014, El Salvador’s murder rate has increased 70 percent, making the small country the murder capital of the Western hemisphere, while Honduras and Guatemala are ranked third and fifth, respectively. This trend continued during the first quarter of 2016 with El Salvador averaging “nearly one homicide per hour.” In January 2016 U.S. Peace Corps volunteers withdrew from El Salvador for the first time in 40 years, which followed the September 2012 withdrawal of volunteers from Honduras. Those fleeing violence face tremendous obstacles along the way, including trafficking, rape, and a fierce enforcement crackdown in Mexico, which only increases the risks they face in seeking protection.

The dire situation facing nationals from the Northern Triangle has concerned members of Congress with 22 Senate Democrats and 146 House Democrats sending repeated letters to the President calling for TPS for Central Americans this year. Hundreds of faith-based organizations and leaders have also echoed this call to protect these Central Americans from dangerous deportations.

Unfortunately, as a knee-jerk response to the influx of women and children fleeing violence in Central America in 2014 the Obama Administration rapidly propped up family detention facilities. Families and others from the region have been apprehended, detained in poor conditions, and rushed through removal proceedings with little due process. Many have been deported back to the dangerous circumstances from which they originally fled. The Administration’s hope was that detaining families would deter others from coming to the United States, effectively ignoring the U.S.’s long-held commitment to providing protection to those fleeing persecution. Moreover, as described in the report, Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis: Why They are Fleeing, a survey of Central Americans considering migration concluded that crime and violence have the most powerful impact on someone’s decision to migrate, and knowing about migration risks had no significant impact on this decision.

There are signs that the Administration is coming to understand the protection needs of this population, signaled by the recent announcement to expand its Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole program and commence regional refugee processing by the Department of Homeland Security of individuals from the Northern Triangle in need of resettlement in the U.S. or a third country. Those who cannot safely wait out the lengthy processing and who instead flee to the United States to seek protection should also be treated no differently. TPS designation for this region is one tool among others to protect those who cannot be safely returned home – and it is long overdue.

Photo Courtesy of Global Partnership for Education.


September 11, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Employment Authorization, Alienage Discrimination and Executive Authority by Leticia M. Saucedo


Employment Authorization, Alienage Discrimination and Executive Authority by Leticia M. Saucedo, University of California, Davis - School of Law September 1, 2016 Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Forthcoming UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 504

Abstract: Undocumented individuals with deferred action find themselves in a kafkaesque position, and neither scholars nor courts have persuasively addressed how their liminal immigration status affects their rights in the workplace. Many begin with the intuitive assumption that immigration and employment law are in a fundamental and unresolvable tension with each other. On one hand, anti-discrimination principles protect noncitizens from alienage discrimination in the workplace. On the other hand, Congress enacted employer sanctions precisely to keep undocumented noncitizens out of the workplace. In the face of this dilemma, the default approach is to conclude without analysis that employers (and states) must be able to deny rights and benefits to undocumented noncitizens. This creates a true dilemma for the employment-authorized undocumented worker, and challenges the federal government’s acknowledged power to authorize employment for noncitizens. In this Article, I argue that employment-authorized undocumented workers are protected from workplace discrimination even though they do not have legal status in the eyes of immigration law. If a purpose of employment law is to balance the “inherent inequality of bargaining power between employer and employee,” then employment authorization should offer protections that achieve bargaining equality, including protections for undocumented immigrants against discrimination based on their foreign-born status. On the other hand, in an increasingly anxious society concerned with growing numbers of undocumented noncitizens, the urge to limit rights and benefits that come with liminal immigration status such as deferred action is heightened. Recent Supreme Court holdings, both in and outside the immigration arena, however, support an evolving theory of workplace protection for workers in liminal immigration categories. I draw from these cases to suggest the revival of a theory that fuses liberty and equality principles with federalism and structuralism to protect noncitizens as historically disadvantaged groups. Toward this end, I explore three concepts – employment authorization, executive authority and alienage nondiscrimination principles – that together provide the foundation for protecting the employment authorized undocumented worker.


September 11, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 11, 2001: 15 Years After



Fifteen years have passed since that fateful morning on September 11, 2001.  The tragedy had immediate consequences, with a country and its leaders in grief searching for answers. 

The nation saw American law enforcement agencies almost immediately engage in a massive dragnet targeting Arabs and Muslims for law enforcement scrutiny, interrogation, and detention.  That day also had long term immigration consequences, including but not limited to special registration (see below) for certain Arab and Muslim noncitizens, greatly increased deportations (mostly on grounds other than terrorist activity), and an increase in state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Such responses resulted from the equation in the minds of many Americans of immigration and national security. Perhaps most visibly, September 11 dramatically transformed the security procedures at American airports.  See also here.  Willa Frej on Huffington Post reviews with a broad brush some of the long term immigration consequences of September 11. 

SpacerSeptember 11 contributed generally to a greater focus on immigration enforcement over the next 15 years, with especially devastating impacts on immigrants from Mexico;  the nation tightened its borders in many respects and ramped up removals in the name of public safety.   Immigration and national security became deeply related in the minds of many American leaders.  As readers of this blog well know, the nation has seen record levels of removals during the Obama administration.

As it has evolved, Donald Trump's proposed "extreme vetting" for terrorists builds in certain respects on the special registration program.  Upheld by the courts, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), or Special Registration, required registration of certain noncitizens within the United States; it was initiated in September 2002 as part of the "war on terror." Portions were suspended in April 2011. This system had two separate components: port-of-entry registration and domestic registration. In each case, those who register were fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. Port-of-entry registration was required for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria (including those that were born in these countries but had a passport from a different country).  Certain noncitizens who were in the United States before September 10, 2002, were required to register in person at an Immigration and Naturalization Service office. This procedure was required of males over the age of sixteen who entered the United States legally on particular types of visa (primarily student, work, and tourist) from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, and Kuwait.

As the Migration Policy Institute summarized, the special registration "program drew criticism from various civil and human-rights groups, members of Congress, and at least one committee of the United Nations. Specifically, NSEERS was censured for its focus primarily on nationals of Muslim-majority countries, its alleged inability to identify terrorist threats, and the strict legal and immigration consequences put in place for participant noncompliance."

Fortunately, passions generally have cooled since the days immediately following September 11.  Still, as we experience a turbulent Presidential campaign with high profile debates over immigration and terrorism, we must take care to avoid policy extremism in the name of national security.  Proposals for "extreme vetting" of Muslims seeking admission, or an outright prohibition on their entry, into the United States are the kinds of excesses that are inconsistent with our national commitment to equal justice for all.

President Obama offers remarks on the legacy of September 11 in his weekly address to the nation.  In this week’s address, the President marked the 15th anniversary of September 11 and paid tribute to the victims, survivors, first responders, and those who have served our country. The President said that although a lot has changed over the past 15 years, the core values that define us as Americans have remained the same. As Americans we are resilient, we will never give into fear, and we will always look out for one another. Our strength is in our diversity, our welcoming of all talent, and our fair treatment of everyone – no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or faith. The President said that’s part of what makes our country great – and if we uphold those values, we will carry on the legacy of those we lost and keep our nation strong and free.  



September 11, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Immigration Article of the Day: Is There Any Blood on My Hands? Deportation as a Crime of International Law by Vincent Chetail


Is There Any Blood on My Hands? Deportation as a Crime of International Law by Vincent Chetail, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI) August 23, 2016 Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016, 29, pp. 917-943

Abstract: The present article revisits international criminal law as a tool for sanctioning the most patent abuses against migrants. Although deportation is traditionally considered as an attribute of the state inherent to its territorial sovereignty, this prerogative may degenerate into an international crime. The prohibition of deportation has been a well-established feature of international criminal law since the Nuremberg trials following the Second World War. This prohibition has been further refined over the past 15 years by an extensive jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court.

Against such a background, this article demonstrates that, in some circumstances, deportation may amount to a war crime, a crime against humanity or even a crime of genocide, depending on the factual elements of the case and the specific requirements of the relevant crime. This article accordingly reviews the constitutive elements of each crime and transposes them into the context of migration control. It highlights in turn that, although its potential has been neglected by scholars and practitioners, international criminal law has an important role to play for domesticating the state’s prerogative of deportation and infusing the rule of law into the field of migration.


September 10, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)