Thursday, November 27, 2014

Immigration Law Professors Weigh in on Executive Action on Immigration

President Obama's immigration initiatives have been somethinbg of a full employment act for immigration law professors.  ImmigrationProf has posted many op/eds. articles, and other commentary on teh President's actions.  In addition, catching the attention of the national news, a letter signed my 135 immigration law professors states:

"We write as scholars and teachers of immigration law who have reviewed the executive actions announced by the President on November 20, 2014 . It is our considered view that the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and establishment of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs are within the legal authority of the executive branch of the government of the United States. To explain, we cite federal statutes, regulations, and historical precedents. We do not express any views on the policy aspects of these two executive actions."

In a Balkinization symposium on "Administrative Reform of Immigration Law," many immigration professors (imcluding Adam Cox, Cristina Rodriguez, David Martin. Alina Das, and Steve Legomsky) and other law professors weigh in on the Obama immigration initiatives (with particular focus on the Office of Legal Counsel's memorandum on the lawfulness of the President's  immigration initiatives (and finding that extension of deferred action to the parents of Deferred Action to Childhood Arrival recipients might not be lawful).


November 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving from ImmigrationProf

Little Readers: The Thanksgiving Door by Debby Atwell

If you're looking for a special book to enjoy with your little readers this holiday, look no further than The Thanksgiving Door by Debby Atwell.

This picture book begins with an older couple (Anna and Ed) alone on Thanksgiving. They accidentially burn their holiday meal and so end up looking for a place to eat out.

They find a restaurant with an open door but noone there. It turns out the family of restauranteurs - apparently new immigrants - are in the kitchen, hiding. They had planned to be closed that day so they could have their own party. But the grandmother of the family insists the couple should be allowed to stay.

"And that's how Ann and Ed found themselves guests of honor as this family celebrated their first Thanksgiving in the New World Cafe."

What comes next is a Thanksgiving celebration that blends American traditions with "old country" touches. There is food and dancing. And lifelong friendships are made. Leaving Anna and Ed thankful for their burned dinner!


November 27, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Joseph Carens, Executive Action, and Human Rights

Professor Carens

The New York Times has an interview with Professor Joseph Carens of the University of Toronto: When Immigrants Lose Their Human Rights.

Carens is the author of The Ethics of Immigration and Immigrants and the Right to Stay, among numerous other publications. (I'm going to geek out here and just say that Carens' work has been incredibly influential on my own.)

In the New York Times interview, Carens discusses the president's recent immigration action.

He emphasizes that the beneficiaries of DACA and DAPA have "moral claims to legal status as residents and, eventually, to citizenship itself." For, "[l]iving and working in a society makes immigrants members of that society over time, even if they arrived and settled without permission."


November 26, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

International Migration Outlook 2014


International Migration Outlook 2014 Publication Date : 01 Dec 2014

This flagship publication on migration analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries. This edition also contains two special chapters on "The labour market integration of immigrants and their children: developing, activating and using skills" and "Managing labour migration: Smart policies to support economic growth". It also includes Country notes and a Statistical Annex. This special edition is launched at the occasion of the High-level Policy Forum on Migration (Paris, 1-2 December 2014).


November 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Part of the Obama Plan: Revise Removal Priorities

As fleshed out in some detail by the Department of Homeland Security, President Obama's recently announced immigration plan has quite a few components. One item on the list of immigration initiatives is "Revise Removal Priorities":

"DHS will implement a new department-wide enforcement and removal policy that places top priority on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border; the second-tier priority on those convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors and those who are not apprehended at the border, but who entered or reentered this country unlawfully after January 1, 2014; and the third priority on those who are non-criminals but who have failed to abide by a final order of removal issued on or after January 1, 2014. Under this revised policy, those who entered illegally prior to January 1, 2014, who never disobeyed a prior order of removal, and were never convicted of a serious offense, will not be priorities for removal. This policy also provides clear guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion."

memorandum from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson outlines how the initiative would be implemented.  It begins:

The Department of Homeland Security ( DHS) and its immigration components - CBP, ICE, and USCIS - are responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration laws. Due to limited resources, DHS and its Components cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons illegally in the United States. As is true of virtually every other law enforcement agency, DHS must exercise prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement of the law. And, in the exercise of that discretion, DHS can and should develop smart enforcement priorities, and ensure that use of its limited resources is devoted to the pursuit of those priorities. DHS's enforcement priorities are, have been, and will continue to be national security, border security, and public safety. DHS personnel are directed to prioritize the use of enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets accordingly.

In the immigration context, prosecutorial discretion should apply not only to the decision to issue, serve, file, or cancel a Notice to Appear, but also to a broad range of other discretionary enforcement decisions, including deciding: whom to stop, question, and arrest; whom to detain or release; whether to s ettle, dismiss, appeal, or join in a motion on a case; and whether to grant deferred action, parole, or a stay of removal instead of pursuing removal in a case. While DHS may exercise prosecutorial discretion at any stage of an enforcement proceeding, it is generally preferable to exercise such discretion as early in the case or proceeding as possible in order to preserve government resources that would otherwise be expended in pursuing enforcement and removal of higher priority cases. Thus, DHS personnel are expected to exercise discret ion and pursue these priorities at all stages of the enforcement process - from the earliest investigative stage to enforcing final orders of removal- subject to their chains of command and to th e particular responsibilities and authorities applicable to their specific position."

The 2011 John Morton memo on prosecutorial discretion is rescinded and superseded.  The immigration enforcement priorities are now stated as:

Priority 1 (threats to national security, border security, and public safety)

Priority 2 (misdemeanants and new immigration violators)

Priority 3 (other immigration violations)

The memorandum discusses "Execising Prosecutorial Discretion" and states that such discretion  "requires DHS personnel to exercise discretion based on individual circumstances. . . . In making such judgments, DHS personnel should consider factors such as: extenuating circumstances involving the offense of conviction; extended length of time since the offense of conviction; length of time in the United States; military service; family or community ties in the United States; status as a victim, witness or plaintiff in civil or criminal proceedings; or compelling humanitarian factors such as poor health, age, pregnancy, a young child, or a seriusly ill relative. These factors are not intended to be dispositive nor is this list intended to be exhaustive. Decisions should be based on the totality of the circumstances."

The enforcement guidelines focus on public safety and are more focused than the types of removals seen under the Secure Communities program, which is now abolished.  This might result in removals of more serious criminal offenders than currently is the practice.  The guidelines also make it clear that in exercising prosecutorial discretion, the individual circumstances of the immigrant should be considered.


November 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Discussion of the President's Executive Action on Immigration

I had the opportunity to discuss the President's immigration initiatives on Capital Public Radio yesterday morning.  Although the press reports strongly suggest that the President Obama's initiatives may border on the unconstitutional (which apparently is more newsworthy than characterizing the actions as in the mainstream), it seems to me that the rather modest steps taken by the President with respect to deferred (i.e., temporary) action, ending Secure Communities,  focusing scarce enforecment resources on "felons, not families," etc., are well within the power of the Executive Branch and similar to immigration actions taken by previous Presidents.  As a recent letter from a group of law professors suggests and another letter from 135 immigration law professors opines (as well as previous letters), the vast majority of law professors seem to agree. 

Apparently seeking to stir the pot as he did in questioning birthright citizenship in a 1985 book, Yale's Peter Schuck has made the jarring claim in the New York Times that President Obama might be subject to impeachment for committing high crimes and misdemeanors in the immigration initiatives.  That extreme position, which one would expect more from a political partisan than a law professor, unfortunately plays into the efforts to provoke controversy and polarize the public. 

There is room for reasoned debate about whether the President's initiatives make sense as a matter of policy and politics.  However, the drumbeat that executive actions of dubious legality have been taken, calls for impeachment and government shut downs, and the like are unlikely to lead to productive debate about the proper policies to pursue with respect to immigration.  Until the nation can have that discussion, it is hard to see how Congress will be passing any kind of comprhensive immigration enforcement measure.


November 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Rethinking the Attractiveness of EU Labour Immigration Policies: Comparative perspectives on the EU, the US, Canada and beyond by Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild, Katharina Eisele

RethinkingAttractiveness_front cover_V2

Rethinking the Attractiveness of EU Labour Immigration Policies: Comparative perspectives on the EU, the US, Canada and beyond by Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild, Katharina Eisele

Is Europe's immigration policy attractive? One of the priorities driving current EU debates on labour immigration policies is the perceived need to boost Europe's attractiveness vis-á-vis 'talented' and 'highly skilled' immigrants. The EU sees itself playing a role in persuading immigrants to choose Europe over other competing destinations, such as the US or Canada.

This book critically examines the determinants and challenges characterising discussions focused on the attractiveness of labour migration policies in the EU as well as other international settings. It calls for re-thinking some of the most commonly held premises and assumptions underlying the narratives of ‘attractiveness’ and ‘global competition for talent’ in migration policy debates. How can an immigration policy, in fact, be made to be ‘attractive’ and what are the incentives at play (if any)?

A multidisciplinary team of leading scholars and experts in migration studies address the main issues and challenges related to the role played by rights and discrimination, qualifications and skills, and matching demand and supply in needs-based migration policies. The experiences in other jurisdictions such as South America, Canada and the United States are also covered: Are these countries indeed so ‘attractive’ and ‘competitive’, and if so what makes them more attractive than the EU?

On the basis of the discussions and findings presented across the various contributions, the book identifies a number of priorities for policy formulation and design in the next generation of EU labour migration policies. In particular, it highlights important initiatives that the new European Commission should focus on in the years to come.

Sergio Carrera is Senior Research Fellow and head of the Justice and Home Affairs research unit at CEPS; Elspeth Guild is Jean Monnet Professor ad personam of European Migration Law at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Queen Mary, University of London, UK. She is also an Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and a partner at the London law firm Kingsley Napley. Katharina Eisele is a Researcher in the Justice and Home Affairs section of CEPS.


November 25, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Professor Holly Cooper on President Obama's Immigration Initiatives


My very first day in immigration court as a young lawyer, an Indian man in full shackles fell to his knees and begged me to help him. I reviewed his paperwork with an analytical eye and hoped that law school had prepared me to advise him. He had a rare legal remedy available to him, and I explained to him what he needed to tell the judge (he was defending himself in pro se). The next five men I interviewed were not so fortunate and none had any defense to deportation. Chained together, they each spoke in turn to the judge—only one was not deported. I discovered the power of knowledge and that law could be arbitrary in who it assisted and who it condemned.

When Obama’s new executive order was released, one of my friends told me that when he discovered he was covered under the order, he felt as though he had beat stage four cancer. He was too old for the first round of DACA, and had felt the sting of disappointment after the first executive order. Yet now he was finally free. It was the little things like the dignity of being able to drive a woman on a date—to the larger issue of having a legal identity that made him feel an incredible release.

My mind spun in a different direction, and I began thinking of everyone who could have benefited, but who had already been deported. I thought of the wreckage of so many lives that could have been avoided. One of my clients—who had come to the USA as a toddler—told me that after he was deported, he felt like a stateless ghost untethered to his native land of Jamaica. He pined for his children every day across the Caribbean ocean. Like an uncelebrated Odysseus, he crossed the seas multiple times to reunite with his family. He never succeeded—arrested and deported again and again. He told me he would keep trying to reenter the USA until he died. In the USA were his life, his children, and everything that made life worth living.

Just as the executive order is progress, it is also a reminder of our nation’s past. A tribute to the sacrifices immigrants in our nation made to reach this breaking point. The resistance and the swelling of discontent—all brought to its boiling point. It is a time of celebration and mourning. But also a time of hope—hope that the irrepressible voices of immigrants are finally being heard. And above all Obama’s order is a dare—a dare to Congress to retract rather than advance the rights and dignity of immigrants.

Professor Holly Cooper

Immigration Law Clinic

UC Davis School of Law

November 24, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Save the Date: Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference

Miami law

Save the Date: Emerging Immigration Scholars' Conference:  Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12

   University of Miami School of Law 1311 Miller Drive Coral Gables, FL 33146

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

Registration: Coming soon!

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

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


November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Stephen Legomsky: The President Is Right on Immigration: Obama’s legal authority is clear, as it was for Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes


In this Wall Street Journal op/ed, legendary immigration law professor Steve Legomsky defends President Obama's limited -- and temporary -- immigration relief for long-term undocumented immigrants.  To see the full article at the Journal website, one must login.  But anyone can see Steve's op/ed by googling “wsj Legomsky” and clicking on “The President is Right on Immigration”.

I very much agree with Steve and believe that the constitutional and lawful authority for the President's immigration initatives are pretty clear-cut.


November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of San Francisco School of Law Launches Program to Assist Unaccompanied Minors

The Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Assistance Project is a new initiative in which USF law students provide legal assistance to unaccompanied minors as they navigate the U.S. immigration system. The project is a component of ImmigrationProf blogger Professor Bill Hing’s Deportation and Rebellious Lawyering class.


November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: David Tran From Vietnam | CEO, Huy Fong Foods


David Tran From Vietnam | CEO, Huy Fong Foods

Born in Vietnam, David Tran named his company, Huy Fong Foods, after the boat by which he immigrated to America. Seeking to create a kind of Heinz ketchup for the Vietnamese-American community, he bottled and sold his own unique take on Thai sriracha sauce, blending fresh red jalepeños, garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Without the help of any advertising, his product has since exploded in popularity far beyond its original audience. It is now a global product sold in major supermarkets, heralded by celebrity chefs, and trumpeted by zealous fans across the Internet.

For a while. Huy Fong Foods was embroiled in a controversy (and a lawsuit) in Southern California due to objections from some quarters over the smells generated by the manufacturing of the company's signature hot sauce.


November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs, Food and Drinks | Permalink | Comments (0)

Part of the Obama Plan: Personnel Reform for ICE Officers


Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website

As fleshed out in some detail by the Department of Homeland Security, President Obama's recently announced immigration plan has quite a few components. One item on the list of immigration initiatives is "Personnel Reform for ICE Officers": 

"Related to these enforcement and removal reforms, we will support job series realignment and premium ability pay coverage for ICE ERO officers engaged in removal operations. These measures are essential to bringing ICE agents and officers pay in line with other law enforcement personnel."

A memorandum from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas S. Winkowski further provides that

"In recent years , Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) priority missions have increasingly focused on national security and public safety. In furtherance of that, the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations ' (ERO) enforcement strategy and initiatives have shifted heavily towards the investigation, identification, location, arrest, prosecution, and removal of criminal and other aliens who present a danger to national security or threaten public safety. This targeted approach has in fact resulted in record­ breaking numbers of criminal removals. ICE ERO has accomplished this under a personnel structure that lags behind that of other federal law enforcement agencies and components , including other ICE components. This discrepancy hurts morale and presents other management challenges. I know you share my commitment to address this.

Today we announced new enforcement priorities for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that will further ICE ERO's focus on DHS's national security and public safety missions. I have concluded that these policy changes should be accompanied by a recalibration of ICE ERO's workforce and personnel pay structure."

The memorandum lists the following steps to be taken ion the ICE personnel reform:

 1.  Job Series Realignment for ICE ERO Officers

2.  Premium Ability Pay Coverage for ICE ERO Officers

3.  "Next Steps: "DHS Secretary Johnson] will thus recommend that the Administration pursue and prioritize regulations and legislation necessary to address job series realignment and premium pay structure that synchronizes our personnel structure and compensation with the critical mission the component executes on behalf of the public."

The steps outlined by the seem to be rather modest reform to the job classifications and pay practices for ICE officers involved in detention and removal operations.  The changes can be expected to be important to the recruitment, retention, and morale of ICE officers. 

The personnel reforms, however, do not address serious concerns about the adequacy of the training of the Border Patrol officers, which allegedly has lagged in a time of greatly increasing numbers of officers.   Several reports, including by the DHS's own Office of the Inspector General, have questioned the training and called for improvements.


November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Domestic Violence and the Plight of the Unauthorized Migrant by Mimi Tsankov

A Defense of President Obama's Action on Immigration

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SNL Takes on President Obama's Executive Action

An excellent video to spark in-class discussion!



November 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Michael Olivas: House should be ashamed of its reaction to Obama's executive action


In this op/ed, Professor Michael Olivas criticizes Republicans in the House of Represntatives for the strong negative public reactions to President Obama's latest immigration initiatives.  In so doing, he kicks things off with a wonderful film analogy:

"In `Casablanca,' the greatest immigration movie ever made, the police round up the `usual suspects.' We see Rick meet Ilsa in one of the great `gin joints in all the world,' and Inspector Renault is `shocked … shocked!' at the gambling going on, as he is handed his winnings. Who knew this improbable 1942 wartime movie classic was to be reprised by today's elected officials?"





November 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Part of the Obama Plan: "Strengthen Border Security"


Photo courtesy of U.S. DHS website

As outlined in some detail by the Department of Homeland Security, President Obama's recently announced immigration plan has quite a few components.  The very first item on the DHS list are measures to "Strengthen Border Security":

"DHS will implement a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy to fundamentally alter the way in which we marshal resources to the border. This new plan will employ DHS assets in a strategic and coordinated way to provide effective enforcement of our laws and interdict individuals seeking to illegally across land, sea, and air. To accomplish this, DHS is commissioning three task forces of various law enforcement agencies. The first will focus on the southern maritime border. The second will be responsible for the southern land border and the West Coast. The third will focus on investigations to support the other two task forces. In addition, DHS will continue the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer. This included additional Border Patrol agents, ICE personnel, criminal investigators, additional monitors, and working with DOJ to reorder dockets in immigration courts, along with reforms in these courts."

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in a memorandum titled the "Southern Border and Approaches Campaign" to the heads of agencies involved in border enforcement outlines new policies "in furtherance of . . . Department­ wide Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan . . .  announced on May 8 , 2014 .  These directives are an extension of this Department's new Unity of Effort initiative . . . announced on April 22, 2014."  The directive calls for the formation of three task forces and the formulation of a new border enforcement campaign:

"The overarching goals of the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign are to enforce our immigration laws and interdict individuals seeking to illegally cross our land, sea, and air borders; degrade transnational criminal organizations; and decrease the terrorism threat to the Nation, all without impeding the flow of lawful trade, travel, and commerce.

The ten objectives of the Southern Border and Approaches Strategy will be:

1. Minimize the risk of terrorism.

2. Increase the perceived risk of engaging in or facilitating illegal transnational or cross-border activity.

3. Interdict people and goods attempting to enter illegally between ports of entry.

4. Increase situational awareness in the air, land , and sea border and approaches.

5 . Decrease or disrupt the profitability and finances of transnational criminal activities at the optimal points.

6. Dismantle criminal and terrorist organizations and networks.

7. Prevent the illegal exploitation of legal flows.

8. Maximize the resiliency of key nodes, conveyances, pathways, and transportation infrastructure.

9. Minimize the cost to travelers and delays to shippers in being screened and vetted at ports of entry.

10. Maximize the number of travelers and value of imported goods that undergo screening before arriving at ports of entry."

The efforts to "strengthen border seciurity" outlined by the DHS seem relatively modest.  The three task forces will for the most part seem to be focusing on improving existing border enforcement efforts.  The the ten stated goals of border security -- including protecting the nation from threats of terrorism and criminal activity -- appear to align nicely with other changes announced by the President in terms of focusing immigration enforcement on true dangers to the public safety (i.e., deport felons, not families).

It seems to me that strengthening of border security has been a consistent theme of President Obama's immigration enforcement policies, with annual removals in the neighborhood of 400,000 a testament to those efforts.  Nonetheless, the DHS border security initiatives remind us that the President is committed to border enforcement.  This is an important matter politically as every comprehensive immigration reform proposal seems to include an enforcement plank and many Republican political leaders accuse the President of failing to ensure the integrity of U.S. borders.


November 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Famigration (Fam Imm): The Next Frontier in Immigration Law by Kari E. Hong

Kari Hong Cropped tight

Famigration (Fam Imm): The Next Frontier in Immigration Law by Kari E. Hong, Boston College - Law School October 15, 2014 Virginia Law Review Online, Vol. 100, October 2014 Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 338

Abstract: The recently published article, Immigration’s Family Values by Professor Kerry Abrams and R. Kent Piacenti, and the forthcoming Removing Citizens: Parenthood, Citizenship, and Immigration Courts by Kari Hong examine how, when, and why immigration law uses a different definition of family than the one used in state courts. Despite their differences, in conversation, these two pieces highlight how the Department of Homeland Security likely is either following misguided policies or pursuing improper objectives when creating a federal family law. Crimmigration (Crim Imm) scholarship successfully identified the ways in which the (purported) civil proceedings of immigration law needed the extra constitutional protections found in criminal law. In analogous ways, Famigration (Fam Imm) calls on scholars to engage in the similar project of scrutinizing existing immigration practices through the lens of family law. In do so, a more systematized approach may introduce constitutional protections, resolve federal and state law conflicts, and formulate more universal, idealized concepts into the technocratic scheme of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


November 23, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)