Monday, July 4, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Robinson Cano, Professional Baseball Player, Dominican Republic


Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano got his name from his father, who admired baseball great Jackie Robinson.  Born in the Dominican Republic, Cano came to the United States to play baseball.  In 2012, Cano became a U.S. citizen.


Cano was born Oct. 22, 1982 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The city is often called “The Cradle of Shortstops” because so many of them have come out of this city.  His father, Jose Cano, played briefly with the Houston Astros in the 1980s Cano spent most of this childhood in the Dominican Republic.

Canó is a six-time All-Star (2006, 2010–2014) and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2006, 2010–2013). He won two Gold Glove Awards (2010, 2012) and has been named American League Player of the Month twice (September 2006, April 2010). In 2011, Canó won the Home Run Derby. He was a member of the Yankees' 2009 World Series championship team and the Dominican Republic's 2013 World Baseball Classic championship team, for which he won the tournament's most valuable player award. 



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

Happy July 4!



The White House blog states that President Obama and his family will again celebrate the Fourth of July with members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families. This year, the United Service Organizations (USO) - a partner of the Joining Forces Initiative - is observing its 75th anniversary across 180 locations around the world, including the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and of course at the White House.

The USO will host a special program on the South Lawn featuring remarks from the President, performances by Grammy-award winning musical guests, and a dazzling fireworks display. You can tune in to share the fun at


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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

United States v. Texas: The Supreme Court Punts, Returns the Political Question of Immigration Reform to Congress


A little over a week ago, an equally divided Supreme Court left intact a lower court injunction barring the implementation of a major immigration initiative of the Obama administration. The program and litigation had proven to be controversial. Not surprisingly, most of the voluminous commentary about the case has focused on the power of the President vis-à-vis Congress to regulate immigration, the plight of the undocumented immigrants who might have been eligible for temporary reprieve under the program, the role of the states in future immigration policies, and related issues.

It should not be surprising that little of the commentary has focused on the real legal issues before the Supreme Court. Raising legal issues that only a law professor could love, the case really is about something much deeper and much more important to the United States. The case is simply the latest skirmish in the long political debate over immigration reform. As seen with the recent Brexit vote – in which concerns with immigration contributed to passage of a referendum removing the United Kingdom from the European Union, American immigration politics – as historically has been the case -- can be messy, divisive, and heated.

With no success, Congress has debated comprehensive immigration reform bills for more than a decade. Some versions of the reform bills would have offered a path to legalization for the 11-12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Various incarnations of the DREAM Act would have provided relief to undocumented youth.

Because of the lengthy stalemate in Congress, President Barack Obama announced measured, limited, and temporary steps to address some of the issues facing this nation’s undocumented immigrants.

In November 2014, the Obama administration announced a “deferred action” program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The program built on the previous Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was implemented in the summer of 2012. DACA provided limited and temporary relief to hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people and was viewed as a ray of hope at a time when improvements through congressional action looked bleak. DAPA would have provided similar relief to many more.

“Deferred action” is fancy language that means that the U.S. government will not focus on removing undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding. It is a kind of prosecutorial discretion routinely employed by government in the enforcement of the law. Deferred action is not a path to legalization or citizenship and should not be mistaken as some kind of “amnesty.” It instead is a temporary reprieve from removal, revocable at the will of the Executive Branch (and thus by a new President).

Nobody, including President Obama, disputes that only Congress could create a durable path to legalization or citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Although cloaked in the language of the law, the simple truth of the matter was that the Republican governor of Texas and 26 states did not agree with the Democratic administration’s policy choices. And, politically, they had little use for President Obama. They sued in federal court to put the immigration plan on hold and ultimately ended one of the Obama administration’s signature immigration measures. Fortunately, the Supreme Court with its even split did not create precedent that would allow the states in the future to pursue litigation for partisan political ends.

In the end, what began as a political question will return to the political arena after the Supreme Court’s non-decision in United States v. Texas. The question of immigration reform will return to Congress.

But even if the Supreme Court had upheld the administration’s immigration programs, Congress would still have needed – as it does now -- to address immigration reform. Deferred action does not offer permanent relief for the millions of undocumented immigrants like that which would be provided by many comprehensive immigration reform proposals. Indeed, a future president – a President Donald Trump, for example – might try to deport any and all deferred action recipients.

As the outcome of United States v. Texas should make clear, congressional action is necessary to reform the immigration laws. As most knowledgeable observers agree, the mass deportation of the millions of undocumented immigrants who are parts of our communities simply is not feasible. Consequently, some kind of path to legalization of undocumented immigrants is needed. Most informed observers further agree that reform of the legal immigration provisions of the laws is needed. Last but not least, many Americans believe that we need better enforcement measures All of these aspects of immigration reform raise thorny political questions that require careful deliberation and rational discourse..

In the end, the nation needs to think about how we achieve meaningful and lasting immigration reform that works.


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

Washburn Law Journal Immigration Issue


The fall 2015 issue of the Washburn Law Journal is devoted to immigration  Check it out!.

 The Foulston Siefkin Lecture

The President’s Dilemma: Executive Authority, Enforcement, and the Rule of Law in Immigration Law (307 KB PDF)
Hiroshi Motomura

Articles & Essays

Immigration Inside the Law (120 KB PDF)
Josh Blackman

Not So Simple: How "Simple" Assault and Battery Became Distorted in the Context of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (183 KB PDF)
Melisa Castillo

The Sudden Embrace of Executive Discretion in Immigration Law (339 KB PDF)
Patrick Charles

DAPA and the Future of Immigration Law as Administrative Law (148 KB PDF)
Jill Family

When Two Wrongs Make a Right: Deferred Action and the Rule of Law — A Response to Hiroshi Motomura (173 KB PDF)
Amanda Frost

The New Era of Presidential Immigration Law (143 KB PDF)
Michael Kagan

Deferred Action: Considering What is Lost (158 KB PDF)
Elizabeth Keyes

Deferred Action and the Bounds of Agency Discretion: Reconciling Policy and Legality in Immigration Enforcement (276 KB PDF)
Peter Margulies

Crimmigration Creep: Reframing Executive Action on Immigration (175 KB PDF)
Jayesh Rathod

The President and Deportation: DACA, DAPA, and the Sources and Limits of Executive Authority — Response to Hiroshi Motomura (127 KB PDF)
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Demanding Identity Papers (274 KB PDF)
Jonathan Weinberg


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

Dem immigration platform courts Hispanics


Rafael Bernal on The Hill reports that the Democratic Party delivered a huge win to immigration activists in its party platform draft released last week, taking a liberal stance in sharp contrast to Republican proposals. The party called immigration "a defining aspect of the American character and history."

The draft platform calls for a path to citizenship "for law-abiding families who are here," the defense of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, the end of immigration raids against children and families, due process for "those fleeing violence in Central America," and to rescind statutory bans on immigrants who modify their status in the country.

The platform calls religious tests for entry un-American and explicitly mentions Trump and his rhetoric. "Finally, Democrats will not stand for the divisive and derogatory language of Donald Trump. His offensive comments about immigrants and other communities have no place in our society. This kind of rhetoric must be rejected,” the platform reads. 

The draft platform contrasts sharply with the 2012 version, which also touted the need for comprehensive immigration reform, but stated that undocumented immigrants should "get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship." The Democrats seek to energize the Latino electorate, after the Obama administration's promises of comprehensive immigration reform and perceived heavy-handed enforcement policies.


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

The Day I Got My Green Card

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 87


Elie Wiesel, the Auschwitz survivor who seared the memory of the Holocaust on the world’s conscience, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 87.. Wiesel was the author of several dozen books and was a charismatic lecturer and humanities professor. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Wiesel, who had been liberated from Buchenwald as a 16-year-old with the tattoo A-7713 on his arm, gradually exhumed the Holocaust from the burial ground of the history books.

Click here for more on Elie Weisel.


Buchenwald concentration camp, photo taken April 16, 1945, five days after liberation of the camp. Wiesel is in the second row from the bottom, seventh from the left, next to the bunk post.


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

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Your Playlist: Sting

Today is just the day for an 80s throwback. I give you Sting's immigration hit - Englishman in New York.



July 2, 2016 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Soccer dream becomes an immigration nightmare


Brooke Gemmell, Buba Jobe and Don Gemmell (Courtesy of Gemmell family)

This story is nothing less than an immigration nightmare!  .

Bubacarr Jobe was born in Gambia, a tiny West African nation where a third of the population earns less than $1.25 a day.  His passage to his soccer dream consisted of flights to Senegal, Morocco, Newark (N.J.), St. Louis, Memphis and finally Houston.  Jobe, or “Buba” as he’s known, misses those Houston skyscrapers. There’s a chance he won’t see them again, because Bubacarr Jobe is a young man has an immigration crisis.  He is an athlete with a team but without a country.

Buba Jobe’s journey to the United States began in 2011.  When he arrived in Texas, just 16 years old, he found himself stunned by luxuries like hot water and electricity and baffled by animals who lived inside people’s homes. 

Soon after he got to Houston, Buba tore his ACL. The coach of the Rush, Don Gemmell, along with his wife, Brooke, took him in. Through the rehab, the three became close.

Gemmell hoped to help Buba stay in the U.S., and a lawyer advised him to obtain a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa. The family went ahead. But before that process was complete, Buba turned 18 and his visitor’s visa had expired.

“He became unlawfully present,” says John Sandweg, a former general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security. “He became illegal.”

The family wasn’t aware of this mistake until they traveled to Canada to apply for the new visa at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. Officials there looked at his case, immediately saw that Buba was in the U.S. without a valid visa, and banned him from returning to the States for 10 years.

“We were horrified,” Gemmell says. “My wife was in tears. So here we are in Ottawa. We have to put him on a train to Toronto to my hometown. Buba has never set foot on a train. It was so gut-wrenching saying goodbye. He was supposed to come back and play in the USL (United Soccer League).”

The Gemmells went back to Texas. Buba went to London, Ontario, to stay with Gemmell’s extended family.

“We all go to Canada and then I get rejected and they have to go back to the USA,” Buba says. “It was scary.”

Buba remains separated from his only family in the US while he lives in Canada.




July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tom Saenz of MALDEF on United States v. Tecas

Its a Bird, a Plane . . . No, Its Just Donald Trump Again


CNN reports on Donald Trump's latest comedic jab at Mexico and the Mexican people.  In CNN's words:

"Donald Trump's latest jab at Mexico is taking off.

As a plane flew overhead at Trump's Thursday afternoon town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump said, "That could be a Mexican plane up there -- they're getting ready to attack."
Trump was talking trade in New Hampshire, touting his plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he said has allowed Mexico to siphon away U.S. manufacturing jobs."



July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brexit and Xenophobia vs. Immigration and Innovation


Cyrus Mehta on the Insightful Immigration Blog analyzes the relationship between the resistance to globalization and immigration.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Asylum Seekers File Class Action Lawsuit Over One-Year Filing Deadline

The U.S. Government has placed unnecessary hurdles in front of asylum seekers who are attempting to file asylum applications within the required )one year) time period. In fact, bureaucratic obstacles, a well-documented court backlog, and jurisdictional disputes between agencies often make it impossible for individuals to file their asylum applications by the deadline, leaving them ineligible for asylum and subject to deportation. 

In an attempt to bring order and fairness to what has become an overly bureaucratic and chaotic process, today, 4 asylum-seekers filed a class action lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) failure to advise them of the deadline for filing their asylum applications, as well as both DHS’s and the immigration courts’ failure to adopt procedures which would ensure that an individual is able to file an asylum application by the deadline.  

Plaintiffs, represented by the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Dobrin & Han, PC, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, sue on behalf of themselves and all other individuals in the United States who are in the same situation.

The immigration statute imposes a one-year deadline within which an asylum seeker must apply for asylum. With very limited exceptions, an individual who misses this deadline becomes ineligible for asylum. Despite these dire consequences, DHS agents and officers do not notify asylum-seekers of the one-year deadline for filing. Additionally, neither DHS nor the immigration courts have adopted procedures to ensure that an individual is able to file an asylum application within one year. Many applicants and their attorneys take extraordinary steps to attempt to file, but even then have no guarantee that DHS or the immigration will find that the deadline was met.  

“It is inexcusable that DHS and EOIR—fully aware that their own case backlogs and bureaucratic stumbling blocks prevent many asylum-seekers from filing on time—have not adopted national, uniform procedures to remedy the situation,” said Mary Kenney, Senior Attorney with the American Immigration Council.

“In many cases, trying to comply with the one-year filing deadline is nothing but a wild-goose chase; timely filing an asylum application in open court is simply impossible when court hearings are routinely scheduled a year or more after the person's arrival,” explained Trina Realmuto, Litigation Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

“Our Constitution and immigration laws require a fair process,” said Matt Adams, Legal Director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.  “The government must make the rules clear, ensuring that those who qualify for asylum have a genuine opportunity to apply.”

“The United States must continue to be a place of refuge for those fleeing harm in their home countries,” said Hilary Han, a partner at Dobrin & Han, PC.  “The government has failed to honor our obligation to genuine asylum seekers by making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to file their asylum applications in a timely manner.”

The complaint can be viewed here


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Human Costs of Putting DAPA on Hold and the Legacy of US v. Texas



Law professors and commentators have focused generally on the legal aspects of the Supreme Court deadlock in United States v, Texas.  We should not forget the very human impacts on people, families, and communities of delays in providing relief to vulnerable residents.  This news story about a town hall on immigration at a NYC public library reminds us of the human impacts of the law.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge orders ‘filthy’ Arizona immigration detention centers photos released


Here is more on a story that Jennifer Koh previously blogged about.  A federal judge in Tucson, Arizona, approved the release of some photos and documents filed as evidence in a class action lawsuit against US Customs and Border Protection over allegedly deplorable conditions in eight detention facilities.    

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told the court that even a partial release of the photographs and documents would invade the privacy rights of immigrants and jeopardize security at border patrol facilities.

Judge David Bury, in an order filed earlier this week, dismissed those concerns and ordered the unsealing of certain photos and documents.

The documents are CBP inspection reports covering the recurring problems with lighting, air conditioning and surveillance cameras not working properly in the facilities. One report pointed out video monitors as well as holding room audio and video loops “have been inoperable for over two years.”

The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of immigrants who were held at eight detention facilities in southern Arizona. A coalition of advocates and lawyers, including the American Immigration Council in Washington, DC and Morrison & Foerster LLP, claim immigrants were held in unsanitary and inhumane conditions, subjected to cold and deprived of sleep by the border enforcement’s Tucson Sector.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Border officials clear border agents in four deadly-force cases


The U.S. Border Patrol has a long history of excessive use of force and accompanying controversy.  Most recently, Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times reports that border officials for the first time have publicly released the conclusions of internal investigations of agents who opened fire while on duty, ruling that officers had acted properly in four shootings.

The reviews were conducted by an internal panel that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service set up to address a troubling pattern of agents’ use of deadly force, according to a summary of the reviews published online Thursday. Fourteen other shootings are still being investigated.

The Border Patrol has more than doubled in size in the past decade, growing to more than 21,000 agents. With that expansion, the level of experience of agents in the field has declined, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

For more than two years, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske has been under pressure to reform the agency, which has been plagued by problematic lethal shootings and a lack of accountability.   Last week, Kerlikowske named a senior FBI official, Mark Morgan, to head the Border Patrol, the first outsider to lead the force in its 92-year history.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death Match 2016: Linda Chavez versus Donald Trump


Conservative commentator Linda Chavez is taking on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A press release yesterday includes the following: 

"Linda Chavez, president of the Becoming American Institute, will be speaking at the Western Conservative Summit at the Denver Convention Center on Friday July 1, 2016 at 1:30 PM.  Chavez, a long-time conservative activist, former Reagan administration official, and nationally syndicated columnist will be discussing why immigration is good for America.  Her speech comes after presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump addresses the group in the morning.

“I feel very strongly that conservatives need to hear an alternative to Mr. Trump’s campaign of disinformation and ugly rhetoric on immigration,” Chavez said. “Immigration is part of what makes America great and Mr. Trump’s plan to halt legal immigration for up to two years would be a disaster for the American economy.  Americans have a right to be concerned about illegal immigration, but the best way to fix the problem is to adopt a market-based immigration system to allow the workers our economy needs to come here legally,” she said.

Chavez has written extensively on immigration issues and has been a frequent critic of Mr. Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.  Writing in Commentary magazine in May, Chavez noted that the cost of building the wall would exceed $17 billion, roughly the size of the annual budget for the National Security Agency

“Trump has never explained in detail how he will accomplish his task of rounding up illegal immigrants,” Chavez said, “but he has spoken favorably of ‘Operation Wetback,” the 1950s program which resulted in 88 deaths in one incident alone where Mexican nationals died of heatstroke in a holding pen in the desert awaiting deportation.

Citing a study by American Action Forum, a right-of-center research organization in Washington DC, Chavez said that the cost of deporting 11 million illegal immigrants over two years would cost the American economy $1 trillion and reduce the workforce by 6.4 percent. “There is a better way,” Chavez argued. 

Chavez will make her presentation in Room 503 at the Denver Convention Center."


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Undocumented Migrants and International Law

Professor Banks

"While none of these responses to the state protection gap offer a guaranteed solution, they begin an important conversation for immigration and international human rights law scholars. Until recently there has been little acknowledgement of the very limited role that international human rights law has been able to play in addressing the needs of undocumented migrants. By identifying specific substantive and institutional challenges, Ramji-Nogales provides a framework that immigration and international human rights scholars and advocates can use to reimagine an international legal regime that is truly universal."

Professor Ramji-Nogales

July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump’s "new" Muslim ban plan is just as scary as the old one


Dara Lind on Vox analyzes Donald Trump's various statements that he would ban Muslim migration.  In 2015, Trump proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Since he’s sewed up the Republican nomination, the proposal no longer targets Muslims per se — but anyone immigrating to the United States from “areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies.” Lind states that "The shift represents a concession for Trump politically. But don’t be fooled. The “terror state” ban is a much more robust policy proposal than the “Muslim ban” ever was. If the Muslim ban seemed to some legal scholars to overstep even the very broad authority that the executive branch has to regulate entry into the US, Trump’s current rhetoric explicitly invokes things the courts have granted deference to in the past."  Among others, Lind quotes Professor Adam Cox of NYU.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Political Marginalization of Latinos: Evidence from Three Field Experimentsby Andrew Janusz and Nazita Lajevardi





The Political Marginalization of Latinos: Evidence from Three Field Experiments by Andrew Janusz and Nazita Lajevardi, UCSD Department of Political Science June 21, 2016

Abstract:  Elected officials have clear electoral incentives to respond to their constituents, however recent experimental studies find evidence of racial bias. We contribute to the growing literature on representation and responsiveness by investigating discrimination against Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States. Through a series of three field experiments at both the national and state level, we examine whether race and immigration status affect how responsive legislators are to constituent requests for assistance.  Our analysis reveals that strategic partisan behavior, not racial group membership best explains the differential treatment we observe. Republican legislators are significantly less responsive to undocumented Latino immigrants than they are to white citizens. Democrats, in contrast, do not discriminate against undocumented Latinos. These results indicate that racial minority groups in the United States have dissimilar political experiences and that undocumented Latinos in particular face barriers to inclusion.


July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)