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.


April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

USC Law Student, Faculty, and Staff Immigrant Legal Advice Project


Here is a new immigration project at USC Law:

USC Law Student, Faculty, and Staff Immigrant Legal Advice Project

What the Project Does:

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 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 We are providing general Know Your Rights presentations addressing changing immigration laws and policies.


April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Eleanor Brown Moves to Penn State Law


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.


April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The FedEx Immigration Commercial You Need

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.


April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thousands rally in Dallas for overhaul of immigration system


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?"




April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Deportation as a Crime Against Humanity


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."


April 9, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fulbright-Schuman 70th Anniversary Migration Research Award


Fulbright-Schuman 70th Anniversary Migration Research Award

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.

In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars will be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary research or teaching activities‎.
For details, click the link above.

April 9, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Famed NYC bakery's immigrant workers defy Trump

Logo Tom-cat-logo

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.


April 9, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Twitter Sues Homeland Security To Protect Anonymity Of 'Alt Immigration' Account

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hiroshi Motomura -- Immigration Professor, 2017 Guggenheim Fellow


Hiroshi Motomura -- Immigration Professor, 2017 Guggenheim Fellow

Current 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?


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some see risks rising for undocumented who pay their taxes

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.


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

To Help Syrians, Trump Should Let Refugees Into US


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.


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportations

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.






Estefany Ortiz discussing ICE’s arrest of her father at their home. (CBS)


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, he was subsequently detained.


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.PNG


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.”


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York State Becomes First in the Nation to Provide Lawyers for All Immigrants Detained and Facing Deportation

The Vera Institute of Justice and partner organizations today announced that detained New Yorkers in all upstate immigration courts will now be eligible to receive legal counsel during deportation proceedings. The 2018 New York State budget included a grant of $4 million to significantly expand the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), a groundbreaking public defense program for immigrants facing deportation that was launched in New York City in 2013.

New York has become the first state to ensure that no immigrant will be detained and permanently separated from his or her family solely because of the inability to afford a lawyer. Without counsel, a study shows, only 3% of detained, unrepresented immigrants avoid deportation, but providing public defenders can improve an immigrant’s chance of winning and remaining in the United States by as much as 1000%.

NYIFUP has been operating in two of the four affected upstate immigration courts on a limited basis since 2014 with funding from the New York State Assembly and the IDC. In the just-ended fiscal year, the funding was sufficient to meet less than 20% of the need upstate. In New York City, NYIFUP has been representing all financially eligible, otherwise unrepresented detained immigrants since 2014 with funding from the City Council.

Research has shown that keeping immigrant families together saves money for the state’s taxpayers in increased tax revenues and less need for families left behind to draw on the social safety net. New York State employers also receive significant economic benefits from avoiding the loss of productivity when their employees are detained and deported, and the consequent need to identify and train replacement workers.

The first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation, the NYIFUP Coalition includes Vera, the Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School, the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Make the Road New York, and The Center for Popular Democracy. The Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project is a NYIFUP Coalition partner upstate. Brooklyn Defender Services, the Legal Aid Society, and The Bronx Defenders are Coalition partners in New York City.

Several cities and states, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and California have recently begun efforts to design similar programs.


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Rev. Mousin Talks Refugees & More

DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts has a Visiting Artist Series. Rev. Mousin was recently featured in that program which involved a discussion accompanying a screening of the documentary on Syrian refugees, Exodus.

Here's a short taste of the program - beautifully edited, not that I'd expect anything less from a film school!


You can watch the whole program here.


April 7, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

DHS No Longer Looking to Detain Women/Children Separately

Sec. Kelly addresses USO; photo via National Guard

Just last month, DHS Secretary John Kelly confirmed that he was considering the possibility of a new detention policy for those who cross the U.S. border with Mexico without authorization: separately detaining mothers from their children.

He has now changed his tune. Kelly no longer plans to separate women and children. HuffPo reports:

Kelly said he would separate families apprehended at the border “only if the situation at that point in time requires it” ― for example, if a mother is sick or addicted to drugs. He said he “can’t imagine” doing it unless there is reason to believe a child is in danger.

This is welcome news.


April 7, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Perspective on the Vietnamese Community and the Cognitive Dissonance of Refugees

Guest blogger: Henry Trinh, law student, University of San Francisco:

We are in the early part of April--a time that holds painful memories for millions of Vietnamese Americans currently residing in United States. The end of the month will be the forty second anniversary of the fall of Saigon. In the Vietnamese community, this event is commemorated as Black April; marking the end of the Vietnam War and the mass influx of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. During Black April, members of the Vietnamese Community gather together to share their stories of how they escaped (usually by boat), and the following struggles they endured as they assimilated into a society that did not want them here. Candles are lit and tears are shed as these stories are told for the community to hear. Following Black April, life returns to normal and the cold lack of sympathy that characterizes Vietnamese (and Asian) culture returns. As refugees, surely the older members of the Vietnamese American community could relate and sympathize with the Syrian refugees who themselves are escaping from a civil proxy war. However, this is simply not the case.

            Why? Why is it so difficult for a group of people who suffered through a similar horrendous experience to sympathize and support the migration of Syrian refugees? Perhaps it has to do with how older Vietnamese Americans tend to have more conservative views in response to attributing their pain and suffering to Communism. Maybe they believe Donald Trump when he accuses Muslims of being a national security threat. The same have been said of the Vietnamese refugees; they were accused of being secret Communist agents. The bombings of Syrian homes and the escape by boats should feel awfully familiar to these Vietnamese Americans. The analogy between their past situation and the current situation in Syria feels like a perfect analogy. Yet, it still seems that there is a large amount of support for Trump’s immigration policies regarding Syrian refugees from the Vietnamese community.

            The main theory that I would like to advocate is along the lines of critical race theory. In the United States, there is this perceived racial hierarchy with whiteness being seen as the top and most dominant status. There is a tendency for Asian Americans to align themselves with whiteness and to embrace anti-blackness as a tool to elevate their status. This is done in part to soften their assimilation into American society and achieve a privileged status that is not at the same level as whiteness, but still much more privileged than other minorities or groups of color (model minority status). As a part of this process, Asian Americans often accept the beliefs of the dominant white majority. Donald Trump, as a symbol and mouthpiece for white nationalism, announces that the United States will stop accepting Syrian refugees because of the perceived danger and threat to national security. Asian Americans are willing to accept this claim and adopt it within their personal beliefs to further assimilate and align themselves with whiteness.         

            I am not completely certain of the reason(s) behind the lack of support and acceptance of Syrian refugees, but there is hope. Among younger, second generation Vietnamese Americans, there is greater support for the Syrian refugees. Vietnamese Americans who grew up in American society often have drastically different beliefs from their parents. Their attitudes are more tolerant and welcoming of other minorities, especially in the context of supporting Syrian refugees. As Black April approaches and the Vietnamese American community once again reflects on its experiences as refugees, let us take a step further and apply our experiences to the current day world. You were once a refugee and there was once a person standing where you are now, afraid of everything you might do to them if allowed to stand where they are.             


April 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Making American Great Again ...But for Whom? Consider the Wall

Guest blogger: Alexandra Iova-Negoescu, law student, University of San Francisco

Make America Great Again. The slogan that became Donald J. Trump’s campaign mantra and tag line he shouted for over a year and a half to anyone who would listen. For a man so adamant about making that slogan a reality, he sure knows how to back right out of it. Maybe Donald Trump really is a politician…But that really is not the point here. The point is that Mr. Trump is hell bent on building the border wall between the United States and Mexico. He is so narrowly focused on this, that he cannot be bothered with the fact that in his quest to “make America great again” he is actually hurting U.S. citizens.

            According to an article published by CNN on April 3, 2017, building the promised wall will require taking private property away from thousands of U.S. citizens. Suddenly, funding the wall does not seem to be the worst of our problems. How does a citizen lose their property? The federal government has the authority to invoke a doctrine called “eminent domain.” The U.S. Constitution allows the government to seize property for public use, but only if the property owners are fairly compensated. Generally, no private citizen is ever fairly compensated for their land – hence all the litigation that occurs.

            CNN conducted an analysis of federal lawsuits that stemmed from the 2006 border fence where the government also seized private land from property owners. In 442 lawsuits, CNN found that property owners always lost their land, with 93 cases remaining open. The lawsuits involved at least 678 owners. One man, against the building of the wall, owns a 580 acre ranch that has been in his family for nearly 100 years. Now he stands to lose his family legacy, but he is not willing to go down without a fight. It is estimated that this border wall will produce litigation that far surpasses what happened in 2006.

            In Brownsville, Texas, residents of the River Bend resort and golf club also are preparing to fight for their land. The property houses more than 300 residents who live in mobile homes or brick houses that have been strategically placed around the golf course. Most of them are over 65, trying to enjoy retirement, and not very wealthy. Unfortunately for them, their only possible saving grace would be if Mr. Trump owned this particular golf course.  

            The lawsuits will inevitably cause massive delays and a ton of money. Those who cannot afford attorneys are usually steam-rolled by the government, and most if not all of the property owners can expect their government check to be much smaller than what their property is actually worth. According to federal authorities, as cited in the CNN article, only roughly one-third of the border property is currently owned by the federal government. During his time on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has had no issue in spewing alternative facts that property owners are compensated a fortune for their property.

            After the 2006 battles commenced, the government spent a fortune to acquire control. More than $78 million was spent and some additional $25 million is expected to be spent to settle unresolved transactions and litigation expenses. If the battle that is about to begin now is going to be greater than that of 2006, imagine the amounts that will be spent, that really should be going towards other more meaningful and helpful scenarios, such as immigration reform.

            A border wall built on a foundation of misinformation, induced fear, improper assumptions and overall ignorance stands about as much chance of succeeding as learning to breathe underwater indefinitely.


April 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Food & The Immigrant Experience

Food and immigration. A delectable combination. Check out this piece by Lisa Ko: What ‘White’ Food Meant to a First-Generation Kid. I'll give you just a taste:

I was the first in my family to be born in the United States, so the decision had been made for me. I was expected to betray Chinese food for American food: junior Whoppers, Quarter Pounders with cheese, White Castle sliders with onion breath. And that I did. For my relatives, Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, this was evidence of how I’d assimilated and they hadn’t.


April 6, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Malibu officials denounce prank 'sanctuary city' placard bolted to roadside sign