Friday, May 6, 2016

President Obama Hosts a Cinco de Mayo Reception


In his remarks at the event, President Obama reminded us about the need for immigration reform:

"Together, we continue to fight to fix our broken immigration system.  The fact that we weren’t able to get it through Congress has been one of the most frustrating aspects of my presidency.  But our ability to take actions within my legal authority to make our immigration system fairer and smarter and more just I continue to believe are going to help pave the way for us to finally get the law passed through the next Congress.
And I got to tell you, I’m going to keep on working on this not just as President, but as a citizen -- once I’m leaving here -- because I think it’s one of the most important things we can get done.  (Applause.)"




May 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The girl who hugged the Pope is at the White House. Her parents, who are undocumented, can’t join her.


The Washington Post reports that Sophie Cruz, the young woman who darted past security last fall to deliver a letter to Pope Francis, visited the White House today on Cinco de Mayo.  Unfortunately, her parents could not accompany her because they are undocumented and could not pass the required background checks. Asked what she planned to do at the Rose Garden celebration, six-year-old Sophie was emphatic. “Talk to the president,” she said. She contacted her parents via Facetime from the event, telling them that the Mexican rock band Maná was playing and “tres leches” cake was among the refreshments.


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Highlights from the AALS Clinical Conference

Earlier this week, clinical law professors from around the country gathered for the annual American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Clinical conference.  This year's conference theme was, "Clinics and Communities:  Exploring Community Engagement Through Clinical Education" and was held along the Baltimore, Maryland waterfront.  

As with every AALS clinical conference, the program offered a rich set of sessions focused on immigration-related topics, with strong participation from those of us who teach in immigration/immigrants' rights clinics.  This year, the Clinical Law Review held a concurrent symposium on the first two days of the conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Gerald Lopez's seminal work, Rebellious Lawyering.  The symposium, entitled "Rebellious Lawyering at 25," included a breakout session on Immigrants' Rights that featured the work of Ramzi Kassem (CUNY) and Diala Shamas (Stanford) discussing their work around national security and immigration-related advocacy on behalf of Middle Eastern immigrant communities in New York City as well as Brenda Montes, (Franco Law Group) discussing the application of rebellious lawyering principles to her private immigration law practice in Los Angeles.  I had the pleasure of moderating the immigrants' rights session.  The print version of the symposium will also include articles by Bill Ong Hing (USF) and Karla McKanders (Tennessee).  A number of other symposium panelists, including Betty Hung (Asian Americans Advancing Justice), Martha Gomez (MALDEF) and Alfredo Mirande (UC Riverside - Sociology) highlighted immigration-related themes.  Sameer Ashar (UC Irvine) served on the planning committee for the symposium.

Concurrent sessions during the conference raised the challenges, opportunities and practical implications of teaching in law school clinics that engage with communities, conduct broader advocacy, and respond to crisis.  One concurrent session, entitled "Reimagining Advocacy:  Adapting Clinical Models to Meet Community Needs," focused on various responses to the human rights crisis related to Central American migration and the return of family detention, and was presented by  Farrin Annello (Seton Hall), Kate Evans (Minnesota, but soon to join Idaho Law), Denise Gilman (Texas), Jennifer Lee (Temple), Ranjana Natarajan (Texas), Sarah Paoletti (UPenn), Elissa Steglich (Texas), Philip Torrey (Harvard), Michael Vastine (St. Thomas), and Sheila Velez-Martinez (Pittsburgh). (Most of whom are pictured below)  


Another session focused clinics that prioritize individual representation and run for one semester, and the challenges associated with including community advocacy projects into those clinics, and was facilitated by Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore), Sarah Rogerson (Albany) and me (Western State).  Immprofers appeared throughout the rest of the program, including (but not necessarily limited to) Christopher Lasch (Denver), Katie Tinto (Cardozo), Beth Lyon (Cornell), Julia Vasquez (Southwestern), Annie Lai (UC Irvine), Michael Kagan (ULNV). 

The conference also included a number of works-in-progress presentations from Immprofers.  Sarah Sherman-Stokes (Boston Univ.) presented on mental competency findings by Immigration Judges, with commentary from Ragini Shah (Suffolk).  Emily Torstveit Ngara (Baltimore) presented on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention, with Christine Bustany (Suffolk) serving as discussant.  Jenny Brooke-Condon (Seton Hall) presented on immigration federalism, with commentary from Denise Gilman.  Suzan Pritchet (Wyoming) spoke on protecting undocumented crime victims, with commentary from Maureen Sweeney (Maryland). Geoffrey Heeren (Valparaiso) presented his paper on immigrants and the right to work, which Jason Parkin (Pace) commented on.  Medha Makhlouf (Penn State) spoke on immigration law's treatment of married children, with feedback from Elizabeth Keyes.  And, Becky Sharpless (Miami) presented on "Cosmopolitan Democracy and the Detention of Immigrant Families," with discussion led by Sarah Rogerson.

Finally, immigration clinicians met periodically throughout the conference for working group discussions, led by Maureen Sweeney and Emily Torstveit Ngara. As always, those groups provided for the exchange of ideas, strategies, challenges and the joys of clinical teaching. 

(Check out the Twitter hashtag #AALSClinical for more on the conference).


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Past Week Alone: Two Deaths in Immigration Detention

Immigration Impact reports that two individuals have died in immigration detention in the past week alone, one at the Krome Detention Center in Miami, FL, and another at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, CA.


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

USCIS Issues Proposed Rule on Immigration Petition Fees (Mostly Increases)

USCIS has published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would lead to various revisions of the fee schedule governing immigration applications.  Comments on the proposed rule are due July 5, 2016.  Although the proposed fees involve a reduction of the fee for naturalization applications (along with a 3-tier fee structure), a number of other fees would increase significantly.  As USCIS explains on its website, the agency's bienniel review "indicates a 21 percent weighted average fee increase is necessary to ensure full cost recovery," and that immigration fees comprised "approximately 94 percent of USCIS’ FY 2015 funding."


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero



In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by

The star of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin presents her personal story of the real plight of undocumented immigrants in this country

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother (who were visa overstays) were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.

In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman's extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven't been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families like the author's and on a system that fails them over and over.
Click here for a USA Today interview with Guerrero about the book.

May 5, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

DUMP TRUMP: Latino students win battle to wear Dump Trump shirts to school


Photo courtesy of the Guardian

The Guardian reports that Latino students at Newport Harbor High School in the heart of Orange County, California are fighting power.   Latino students said derogatory graffiti and verbal harassment made them feel under attack – they fought back by wearing their political views on their sleeves or, more accurately, on Dump Trump tee shirts.  A school security guard asked a group of students to remove the tee shirts "for their safety."  The students refused.


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Throwback Thursday: Michael Walzer

Walzer throwback style

If you haven't read Michael Walzer's 1983 book Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, put it on your summer reading list. I myself am grateful to immprofs Steve Legomsky and David Martin for introducing me to it some years ago.

Walzer is a political theorist and moral philosopher. In Spheres of Justice, he tackles "distributive justice," that is, how goods of every kind can and should be allocated worldwide. 

Chapter two of his book is particularly important for immprofs. It considers "membership" from a distributive justice perspective. The discussion includes assessment of immigration restrictions as justified elements of community building and membership identification. He writes:

The members of a political community have a collective right to shape the resident population...

That right is not unbounded. Walzer outlines obligations owed to current members and "mutual aid" (think refugees).


May 5, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Labor and Output Declines from Removing All Undocumented Immigrants

Comprehensive Plan to Address Central American Refugee Situation with Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Recommendations


Children from El Salvador and Guatemala board a bus after being released from a family detention center in Texas on July 7, 2015.  SOURCE:  AP/GETTY

The Center for American Progress released today two reports that together offer short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations to address th“e Central American refugee situation.

Immigration and international policy experts worked together on these reports to lay out a comprehensive approach to the situation that would ensure that refugees fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle are treated in a fair and orderly manner and that the United States works with countries in Central America and neighbors to the north and south to help address the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.

One report lays out short-term recommendations for ensuring that all asylum seekers who reach the United States receive a full and fair shot at protection. The recommendations are structured to follow the process that children and families go through when seeking protection: arrival in the United States, custody determinations and detention, and proceedings in the immigration courts.

The accompanying report lays out a series of medium-term recommendations, with a focus on refugee processing solutions—both in the countries of origin and across the region—that would give children and families a safe place to flee in the region and be processed as refugees and for resettlement without having to make the dangerous journey to the United States. It also provides long-term recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of violence, poverty, and insecurity plaguing the Northern Triangle countries. These focus on integrating U.S. efforts—within U.S. bureaucracy and across the Northern Triangle—as well as efforts by the United States and Central America to enhance economic development, promote the rule of law, and target illicit networks.

Read “A Short-Term Plan to Address the Central American Refugee Situation” by Philip E. Wolgin

Read “A Medium- and Long-Term Plan to Address the Central American Refugee Situation” by Dan Restrepo and Silva Mathema


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jill Family on the APA Issues in United States v. Texas

Immigrant children kept from enrolling in school, investigation shows

In 1982, the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe held that Texas could not effectively deny a K-12 education to undocumented students.  More than 30 years later, the Court's decision continues to be under attackProfessor Michael Olivas has written the classic book on Plyler v. Doe.

The Obama administration has taken a tough stance toward Central Americans fleeing widespread violence in their native lands in recent years.  In a recently released study, the Associated Press has found that in at least 35 school districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs — essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law, including the letter and the spirit of Plyler v. Doe


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Displaced: A Proposal for International Law to Protect Refugees, Migrants, and States by Jill I. Goldenziel


Displaced: A Proposal for International Law to Protect Refugees, Migrants, and States by Jill I. Goldenziel, Harvard Kennedy School; Harvard University April 21, 2016 Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Forthcoming

Abstract: How can international law better protect both international security and the human rights of people fleeing violence? International refugee law protects only the refugees: those fleeing across borders due to a well-founded persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The world’s other 42.3 million people displaced by violence have few protections under international law. This article proposes and sketches new international law to address this crucial human rights problem. I argue that a new Displaced Persons Convention to protect people fleeing violent conflict is needed to supplement the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Refugee Convention must be preserved because of the critical protections it provides for the rights of minorities and political dissidents. Adding a new Displaced Persons Convention would better protect the human rights of individuals fleeing violent conflict and state failure, further state interests, and improve international security.


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Human Impacts of DAPA: A Student's Insights



The US Supreme Court is weighing a decision over President Obama’s DAPA Program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, in the case of United States v. Texas. 

The high court heard oral argument on April 18 on the Obama Administration’s deferred action program.

On Insight, we’ll talk about the case, its potential impact, and likely outcome with the law school dean of UC Davis Kevin Johnson and UC Davis undergraduate student Lizbeth Cuevas who attended a rally outside the Supreme Court on the day of oral argument.  Lizbeth, who talks about the real human impacts of the deferred action programs, is the person work listening to on this interview.  I am proud that she is a student at UC Davis, who will be graduating in June with a degree in Human Development.


May 4, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Advocacy Best Practices Manual for Legal Service Providers.


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is pleased to announce the release of Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Advocacy Best Practices Manual for Legal Service Providers.  

Unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied children arrived at the southern border in 2014. One year later, in June 2015, NIJC convened experts to address the unique challenges facing legal service providers and pro bono attorneys serving these children.  

Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children is the product of this convening, covering a range of topics of interest to advocates representing immigrant children, including:

  • how to customize legal documents for use with child clients
  • meeting the social services needs of immigrant children
  • practical approaches to some of the more common ethical and conflict situations that arise in the representation of unaccompanied children

We hope this best practices manual will serve as a useful tool both for legal services providers striving to meet the growing demand for legal services for unaccompanied children, as well as for those pro bono attorneys stepping in to help fill the remaining gaps. The manual is available online for easy access, and includes links to helpful resources throughout.  


May 4, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Photos of Guantanamo Bay

From the Washington Post: These photos offer a rare glimpse inside Guantanamo Bay. Indeed they do. Great and hard to come by in-class visuals.


May 4, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Border Keepers of Alabama and Its Private Border Enforcement Operations


A few years ago, the Minutemen Project and related groups calling for citizen patrols along the U.S./Mexico border regularly made the news.  This news report focuses on a new group based in Alabama, which not long ago was the site of an immigration enforcement law known as H.B. 56.   

Border Keepers of Alabama is a group of a few dozen men and women with the stated goal of preventing drugs and people from passing illegally through the border with Mexico.   The organization calls itself "BOA" for short.   Critics call them vigilantes and racists. Supporters call them patriots and heroes.

Several times a year, BOA runs special operations--or "ops"--on the border with Mexico. Between four and ten men usually go on these trips, joining up with like-minded groups from across the country. They call themselves "three percenters," a reference to the three percent of soon-to-be Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. The Border Keepers of Alabama have traditionally focused their attention on Brownsville, Texas.  In April 2016, they shifted gears, sending men for the second time to an op near Nogales, Arizona.   Here is a report on a the BOA trip to Arizona.



May 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump's Words on Immigrants Make Their Way Around the World





Peter W. Stevenson  of the Washington Post reports on how Donald Trump's comments on immigration have become a worldwide phenomenon.  

"Donald Trump's comments on immigration have been replayed around the world.

In Mexico, current and former leaders tore into Trump, with former president Vicente Fox saying, "I'm not going to pay for that [expletive] wall!" In Saudi Arabia, Walid bin Talal, a member of the royal family, tweeted that Trump is "a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America." In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron called Trump's rhetoric "divisive, stupid and wrong.”

Then there's Argentina, where a television broadcaster just released this video."



May 4, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World by Tara Zahra



The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World by Tara Zahra

Between 1846 and 1940, more than 50 million Europeans moved to the Americas, irrevocably changing both their new homes and the ones they left behind. In this groundbreaking study, Tara Zahra explores the deeper story of this astonishing movement of people—one of the largest in human history.

The great exodus out of Eastern Europe hollowed out villages with dizzying speed. As villages emptied and the fear of depopulation ran rampant, anxiety over “American fever” prevailed, leading to the scapegoating of Jewish emigration agents. Yet others saw vast opportunity: to seed colonies of migrants like the Polish community in Argentina, to gain economic advantage from an inflow of foreign currency, or to reshape their communities in a new land. In the United States, their migration fostered the notion of the “land of the free.” Globally, the policies that gave shape to this migration provided the precedent for future events such as the Holocaust, the closing of the Iron Curtain, and the tragedies of ethnic cleansing.

A sweeping history of the most consequential social phenomenon of the twentieth century, The Great Departure gives poignant attention to the individuals whose lives were transformed by these decades of mass departure, and a keen historical perspective on their continuing legacy.

For a book review and interview with the author in National Geographic, click here.


May 4, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Immigration Article of the Day: Disaggregating 'Immigration Law' by Matthew J. Lindsay


Disaggregating 'Immigration Law' by Matthew J. Lindsay, University of Baltimore - School of Law 2016 Florida Law Review, Vol. 68, pp 181-266, 2016

Abstract: Courts and scholars have long noted the constitutional exceptionalism of the federal immigration power, decried the injustice it produces, and appealed for greater constitutional protection for noncitizens. This Article builds on this robust literature while focusing on a particularly critical conceptual and doctrinal obstacle to legal reform — the notion that laws governing the rights of noncitizens to enter and remain within the United States comprise a distinct body of “immigration laws” presumed to be part and parcel of foreign affairs and national security. This Article argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent immigration jurisprudence suggests a willingness to temper, and perhaps even retire, that presumption. In particular, the majority opinions in Zadvydas v. Davis and Padilla v. Kentucky evidence a growing skepticism among the Justices that the regulation of noncitizens comprises a discrete, constitutionally privileged domain of distinctly “political” subject matter that is properly buffered against judicial scrutiny. To rescind that presumption would, in effect, disaggregate the category of “immigration law” for the purpose of constitutional review and subject federal authority over noncitizens to the same judicially enforceable constitutional constraints that apply to most other federal lawmaking. The disaggregation of immigration law would thus give full expression to noncitizens’ constitutional personhood. Foreign policy and national security considerations would continue to serve as constitutionally viable warrants for laws burdening noncitizens, but Congress and the President would no longer enjoy the extraordinary judicial deference that they currently receive as a matter of course.


May 3, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)