Since its launch on August 15, 2012, the DACA program has provided temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 728,000 young unauthorized immigrants, representing around half—if not more—of the population MPI estimates is eligible to participate.
Using the most current, 2014 Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data and aging forward those who since have reached the minimum age required to apply for DACA, MPI estimates that 1.3 million young adults ages 15 and older were immediately eligible for DACA as of 2016. This number includes about 250,000 youth who have aged into eligibility since the program’s launch. Comparing these estimates against application data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), MPI estimates that 63 percent of the immediately eligible population (those meeting all the criteria that could be modeled in the data) had applied for DACA as of March 31.
MPI estimates that an additional 398,000 unauthorized youth meet all DACA criteria except for high school completion or school enrollment. These youth can qualify if they enroll in an adult education program (a development that cannot be modeled using Census data). Adding that group to the 1.3 million immediately eligible raises the potentially eligible population to 1.7 million—and as a result lowers the initial application rate to 48 percent. MPI estimates that 228,000 children ages 7 – 14 could become eligible for DACA in the future.
The vast majority of DACA recipients are applying for renewal. MPI estimates 581,000 of the 728,000 recipients of an initial two-year DACA grant have been in the program long enough to apply for renewal, with 539,000 of them doing so to date—a 93 percent renewal rate.
“At its four-year mark, DACA is a large-scale program that has succeeded in attracting broad participation and providing life-altering benefits to many unauthorized youth—as evidenced by the fact that 93 percent of those eligible to apply for renewal have done so,” said brief co-author Faye Hipsman, an MPI policy analyst.
“Still, almost half a million DACA-eligible individuals had not applied as of March 31, 2016, and several hundred thousand more could qualify if they enroll in an adult education program, suggesting that further outreach by service providers could broaden DACA’s reach,” said Randy Capps, who is director of research for U.S. programs.
Among the other findings:
The DACA-eligible are concentrated in a small number of states, with California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois accounting for 59 percent of the 1.7 million who are currently potentially eligible to apply.
Unauthorized youth from Mexico and Central America, along with Peru, have the highest application rates by country of origin. Mexicans, for example, account for 63 percent of the immediately eligible population but 78 percent of applications as of March. Application rates are generally very low for youth born in Asia, with China not even among the top 25 countries for which USCIS reported application data.
The states with the highest application rates, exceeding 75 percent for the immediately eligible—Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Texas—are all Western states with a predominantly Mexican-born DACA-eligible population. By contrast states with the lowest application rates (below 50 percent) for the immediately eligible— Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida—have more diverse unauthorized populations, with Mexicans and Central Americans in the minority.
NPR reportsupdates us on a 1966 strike when watermelon workers in South Texas walked out of the melon fields to protest poor wages and appalling working conditions.
"These days, field hands in the Rio Grande Valley are supposed to earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They have port-a-potties and fresh water in the fields, and crop dusters no longer spray pesticide on them. They marched 400 miles to the state capital of Austin; California labor activist and union leader Cesar Chavez joined them. The farmworkers succeeded in publicizing their cause — but ultimately, the strike failed when replacement workers were brought in. Still, working conditions have improved in the decades since the failed strike. What hasn't changed is the work: It's as brutal as ever."
This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.
When and where?
It will be an all day event on Monday 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in New York.
In January 2016, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Adviser, Karen AbuZayd, to work with United Nations entities and undertake consultations with Member States and other relevant stakeholders in the lead up to the Summit. This will include overseeing the Secretary-General’s report on large movements of refugees and migrants, to be submitted to the General Assembly in May 2016.
In February 2016, the President of the General Assembly appointed H.E. Mrs. Dina Kawar, Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland as co-facilitators to lead open, transparent and inclusive consultations with Member States to finalise the organisational arrangements, including on a possible outcome, for the High level summit in September.
The Summit will be attended by heads of state and government, Ministers, and leaders from the UN System, civil society, private sector, international organizations, academia, and beyond in alignment with the General Assembly resolution establishing the summit’s modalities.
But there will be many more people who will be following the Summit through the Internet, social media, and a myriad of related events taking place around the world. The Summit will also be webcast live on webtv.un.org.
Is there a related event on 20 September 2016?
Also on the margins of the General Assembly, on 20 September 2016, the United States President Obama is hosting the Leaders' Summit on Refugees which will appeal to governments to pledge significant new commitments on refugees. While the Presidential Summit will focus on refugees, not migrants, the General Assembly event will address large movements of both. The two events will complement one another.
People are guaranteed freedom of movement within the United States pursuant to the privileges and immunities clause of our national constitution. That's not the case everywhere.
As the South China Morning Post reports, China's capitol city of Beijing recently enacted migration rules to keep its exploding population in check.
[A] migrant will be graded according to their contributions to the city and qualifications such as education or age. He or she cannot obtain permanent residency, which is tied to a series of social benefits that migrants do not get, without gaining enough grades.
"Grades" can be achieved by working and paying into social security, having a clean criminal record, having a high educational background, and being under the age of retirement. Benefits from permanent residency include access to better educational opportunities.
Beijing's new rules offer "extra grades" to those willing to move to relocate both work and home to the suburbs.
This article is a keeper for any immprof looking for a comparative perspective on the regulation of internal migration.
BBC News reports that Australia's immigration minister has said asylum seekers lie about sexual abuse and deliberately self-harm in efforts to be allowed to come to come and remain in Australia. It sounds like the cries made about "asylum abuse" for years in the United States.
Peter Duttonmade the comments a day after 2,000 leaked reports from the Nauru detention centre were published online. The "Nauru papers" describe allegations of sexual abuse, instances of self-harm and squalid living conditions. Their release has renewed calls for Australia to review its policies. The Guardian published the entirety of the leaked material, which consists of reports written by staff members at the Nauru detention centre between 2013 and 2015, in an online database.
But Mr Dutton downplayed the leak, saying most of the allegations had "been reported before."
Michigan Radio(NPR) offers a special show on a variety of perspectives -- attorneys, immigrants, employers, etc. -- on the "broken" U.S. immigration system. It is a nice introduction, perhaps for an Immigration Law class.
So often we hear people say, "Our immigration system is broken." But what exactly does that mean?
Cade has powerfully advocated for returning greater discretion to the courts and agencies in making and reviewing Executive Branch decisions to remove noncitizens from the United States. His latest Article, Return of the JRAD, calls for a revival of a now-discarded procedural device of allowing courts sentencing noncitizen criminal defendants to make a “Judicial Recommendation Against Deportation” (JRAD) that would bar the Executive Branch from removing a noncitizen from the United States.
Congress eliminated the JRAD from the immigration laws in 1990. In calling for its comeback, Cade points to a ruling by revered federal district court judge Jack Weinstein. In United States v. Aguilar, Judge Weinstein issued a sentencing order that, despite the fact that Congress abolished the JRAD a quarter century ago, resembled the old recommendations against deportation. The court thus went beyond the law on the books to advocate against the removal from the United States of a one-time, non-violent criminal offender with U.S. citizen children.
One might dismiss Judge Weinstein’s recommendation as dicta. However, Jason Cade views the order as a much-needed sign of judicial resistance to the harsh criminal removal provisions of the modern U.S. immigration laws. He advocates the return of discretionary authority to the courts to ensure greater proportionality and reasonableness to contemporary removal decisions. My response critically analyzes Cade's proposal. It agrees with the need for the return of discretion to crime-based removal decisions, especially given the disparate racial impacts of the criminal justice system that in effect creates a Latina/o pipeline for removals. However, the response questions whether the courts and the Executive Branch are the proper institutions for restoring discretion to removal decisions. Congress would seem to be the constitutionally appropriate institution for brining about such change.
Kevin R. Johnson, Back to the Future? Returning Discretion to Crime-Based Removal Decisions, 91 N.Y.U. L. Rev. Online 115 (2016).
The 2014 Yearbook has a wealth of information on nonimmigrant admissions. The numbers are headed up over time, probably attributable to the improving world economy as we move away in time from the Great Recession of 2008.
Total Nonimmigrant Admissions (Table 25, pp. 65-99)
A former member of the Guatemalan army, whom witnesses say participated in a massacre there more than three decades ago that claimed over 200 lives, was deported to his native country Wednesday, capping a longstanding effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to win the ex-commando’s removal from the United States.
Santos Lopez Alonzo, 64, arrived in Guatemala at around noon local time on board an ICE Air Operations charter removal flight and was immediately turned over to Guatemalan law enforcement officials. The former member of an elite Guatemalan army unit known as the Kaibiles is wanted in his native country on criminal charges for his role in the Dos Erres massacre. The charges are detailed in an arrest warrant issued by Guatemalan authorities in 2002.
Guatemalan authorities allege Lopez was among some 20 Kaibiles who murdered more than 200 men, women, and children in the village of Las Dos Erres in December 1982. The Kaibiles had gone to the remote Guatemalan settlement seeking to locate insurgents allegedly responsible for the ambush of an army convoy nearby that resulted in the killing of 21 soldiers and the theft of several military rifles. After arriving in the village in the middle of the night, the Kaibiles began searching for the missing weapons, forcing the residents from their homes and interrogating them about the stolen guns. No rifles were recovered.
The soldiers then proceeded to systematically murder the villagers. According to witnesses and documents filed in U.S. courts, over the course of two days the Kaibiles massacred men, women, and children; raped many women and girls; and forced pregnant women to miscarry before killing them. Many of the bodies were thrown into the village’s well and others were left in a nearby wooded area. The settlement was then razed to the ground.
Approximately 12 years after the Dos Erres massacre, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) exhumed the village’s 40-foot well and recovered 162 skeletons, including many belonging to young children.
Lopez is the fourth Dos Erres massacre participant living in the U.S. to be targeted by ICE for enforcement action. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Lopez was originally arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in 1999 at a traffic checkpoint near Kingsville, Texas. He was subsequently ordered deported by an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review and removed to Guatemala in June of that year.
Lopez unlawfully re-entered the U.S. and, in February 2010, was arrested by special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston. At the time of his arrest, Lopez had no legal status in the U.S. He was criminally prosecuted for re-entry after deportation and sentenced to time served. Within days of his sentencing, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California designated Lopez as a material witness in an ongoing investigation into the actions of another former Kaibil, Jorge Sosa Orantes. Following Sosa’s conviction in October 2013 for naturalization fraud, Lopez was de-designated as a material witness and transferred back to the custody of ICE, which reinstated his prior removal order. Lopez requested an emergency stay of removal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation resisted the stay request. Lopez remained in ICE detention litigating his removal case up until his repatriation. Last month, the Ninth Circuit denied Lopez’s request for a stay of removal, paving the way for his return to Guatemala.
Lopez is the second Dos Erres massacre participant living in the U.S. to be deported by ICE to Guatemala to face charges involving war crimes. The first, Pedro Pimentel Rios, was removed in 2011. On March 12, 2012, he was convicted in Guatemala for his role in the massacre and a three-judge panel sentenced him to 6,060 years in prison - 30 years for each of the 201 deaths in Dos Erres, plus 30 years for crimes against humanity.
The remaining two ex-Kaibiles whose cases have been brought forward by ICE so far, Gilberto Jordan and Jorge Sosa Orantes, are both currently serving 10-year federal prison terms for naturalization fraud. ICE will seek to deport both men once they have fulfilled their sentences.
The enforcement efforts targeting the former Kaibiles were overseen by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), in close collaboration with the agency’s Human Rights Law Section, and ICE attorneys in Los Angeles. Established in 2009 to further ICE efforts to identify, track and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.
Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 375 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders for and physically removed more than 815 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States.
For a report on this story from The Guardian, click here.
New Latthivongskorn, who has been featured on this blog in the past, is an immigrants’ rights activist and often said to be the first undocumented student to attend the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) medical school; he is a beneficiary of relief under DACA. I caught up with New to discuss his experience with DACA, the aftermath of the ruling in United States v. Texas, and his view on the current state of advocacy for immigration reform. He is entering his third year of medical school and hopes to serve medically underserved communities through the lens of community health and health care policy. According to New, he was able to pursue professional school, in large part, due to DACA. Thus, he said that the Court’s ruling in United States v. Texas was a reminder of what could have been possible for others who would have been eligible for the DACA expansion. Instead, millions of people’s lives have been put on hold.
I asked New about his personal experience and how DACA affected his career path. He called it a “game-changer.” DACA was the “solution to a lot of questions that medical schools were having about undocumented applicants such as clinical rotations and employment at the end of the road.” He said that DACA removes the fear of being deported at any time and one’s day-to-day life is much different because it, at least temporarily, eliminates some barriers like obtaining a driver’s license. As for the doors that DACA has opened at the institutional level, it has enabled people to attend professional school knowing that they will be able to work in their respective fields legally.
The ruling in United States v. Texas combined with the failed immigration reform effort in 2013 forces us to ask what can be done for the approximately eleven million undocumented people living in the United States and contributing to our communities. However, New expressed that the movement continues to move forward and that much can be done at the local level. As an activist, he works with Pre-Health Dreamers, an organization he co-founded, to support undocumented students interested in pursuing health & science careers, and with the Health4All movement to expand health care access for undocumented immigrant communities. In his words, the movement is evolving and, “it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture of where the movement is at,” which is “advocating for everyone, not just DACA and DREAMers.”
While New’s story is special, it is reflective of an experience shared by many that demands our legislators to provide solutions. In the current political climate, there are questions and concerns about the consequences this year’s election will have on immigration law. New will complete medical school and he will continue to “carry [his] community with [him] through whatever [he does] at UCSF” and beyond.
On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 ruling in the immigration case of United States v. Texas, blocking two “deferred action” programs announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014: extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA Plus) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Residents (DAPA). The 4-4 ruling by the justices creates a non-precedential non-decision, upholding an injunction placed by a panel of federal judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the future of these programs remains uncertain in the long term, the immediate effects are pronounced, as millions of qualifying young people (“Dreamers”) and parents who would have been able to request deferred action programs are unable to do so in the foreseeable future. The outcome of the ruling highlights the need for greater information about existing prosecutorial discretion tools, including a longstanding deferred action program on which DACA and DAPA are based.
This essay examines 185 deferred action cases processed by the United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS), a unit within Department Homeland Security (DHS or Department). While previous scholarship examines deferred action historically and in depth, this is the first piece to review cases under the Department’s current enforcement policy. The author’s goal is to provide advocates and policymakers with accurate information about the deferred action program outside of DACA (and what would have been DACA Plus and DAPA) and to facilitate a dialogue about the possibilities of advancing a robust deferred action policy for Dreamers, parents and others who present humanitarian equities. A second goal of this essay is to (re)address the continued transparency challenges faced by the deferred action program and recommendations for moving forward. Beyond the scope of this essay is an analysis of whether certain noncitizens may be currently eligible for relief outside of deferred action or a discussion on those who should qualify for immigration status under unrealized but critical legislative reforms.
The majority of refugees admitted to the U.S. so far this year have been women and children. As reported by PRI, 78% of the 8,000 admitted refugees are women and children. Children make of 58% of the admissions with about equal numbers of boys and girls.
For PRI, these numbers answer the questions posed by presidential hopeful Donald Trump who raised concerns that Syrian migrants would be exclusively "strong young men. You look at them. I’m saying, Where are the women? Where are the children?”
More importantly, the U.S. government is on track to admit the full 10,000 Syrian refugees it aimed to admit this year.
There is a shortage of translators for migrants in U.S. immigration court who speak ancient Mayan languages, particularly K’iché (Quiché) and Mam, the LA Times reports.
Mam and Quiché are now two of the top 11 languages spoken in immigration court. Mam is ranked 9th and Quiché is ranked 11th.
The shortage of qualified translators in these languages has led some migrants to attempt to work with Spanish translators, even if their grasp of Spanish is minimal. Other times, courts employ chain translation where one interpreter translates from Mam to Spanish and another translates from Spanish to English.
The problem, naturally, is that accurate translation can be critical in establishing claims for relief.
It's interesting to see this as an August 2016 story when I saw these exact same problems playing out in Artesia back in December 2014.
The practice of sanctuary-giving refuge to the threatened, vulnerable stranger-may be universal among humans. From primate populations to ancient religious traditions to the modern legal institution of asylum, anthropologist Linda Rabben explores the long history of sanctuary and analyzes modern asylum policies in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, contrasting them with the role that courageous individuals and organizations have played in offering refuge to survivors of torture, persecution, and discrimination. Rabben gives close attention to the mid-2010s refugee crisis in Europe and to Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States.
This wide-ranging, timely, and carefully documented account draws on Rabben's experiences as a human rights advocate as well as her training as an anthropologist. Sanctuary and Asylum will help citizens, professionals, and policy makers take informed and compassionate action.
CNN reports that Donald Trump announced late yesterday that his wife will hold a news conference "over the next couple of weeks" to address reports that she violated immigration laws when she first came to the U.S. Trump said his wife would prove that "she came in totally legally."
The New York Post last week published photos of Melania Trump in 1995, quickly raising questions about whether the former model had obtained the appropriate visa to work as a model in the United States.
The Republican nominee floated the upcoming news conference just hours after he stoked yet another controversy by suggesting that gun owners could take action to stop rival Hillary Clinton from appointing judges who would infringe Second Amendment rights, should she be elected president.
The Los Angeles Timesupdates us on the troubling "clock terrorist" case from last year. About one year ago, a Muslim teen was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school in Texas. He instantly became the center of a national debate about security, terrorism, and religious intolerance.
The case also changed the course of young Ahmed Mohamed’s life. His family has filed a lawsuit against his former school district. The family has to the Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar to escape the glare of attention. He said he found it frightening to return to the United States.
It is not unusual for people in countries with limited job opportunities and economic resources to want to seek a better life in different lands. This is especially so for those who come from countries where they are treated poorly, discriminated against, or worse. But moving from one country to another in large numbers creates serious problems for receiving countries as well as those sending them.
How should Western democracies respond to the many millions of people who want to settle in their societies? Economists and human rights advocates tend to downplay the considerable cultural and demographic impact of immigration on host societies. Seeking to balance the rights of immigrants with the legitimate concerns of citizens, Strangers in Our Midst brings a bracing dose of realism to this debate. David Miller defends the right of democratic states to control their borders and decide upon the future size, shape, and cultural make-up of their populations.
Reframing immigration as a question of political philosophy, he asks how democracy within a state can be reconciled with the rights of those outside its borders. A just immigration policy must distinguish refugees from economic migrants and determine the rights that immigrants in both categories acquire, once admitted. But being welcomed into a country as a prospective citizen does more than confer benefits: it imposes responsibilities. In Miller’s view, immigrants share with the state an obligation to integrate into their adopted societies, even if it means shedding some cultural baggage from their former home.
Miller has written an important book, one that provides a clear statement of an important prospective. It provides perhaps the best systematic argument for states having the right to set their own immigration policies. Furthermore, by insisting on taking the opinions of the public seriously, Miller leads us to reconsider and reevaluate many views widely held by both theorists of immigration and activists. Yet, the solutions to the problems discussed in the book aren’t clear, and I have tried to give some reason to think that Miller’s preferred solutions aren’t fully plausible. It’s possible that there is no fully satisfactory solution to some of these problems, and we will be left in the end with a degree of ad-hoc balancing. Those seeking to do the weighing of different values, however, would be well served to read Miller’s careful and thoughtful book.
The federal government has failed to release records under the Freedom of Information Act that would shed light on immigration raids that took more than 100 women and children from their homes and placed them in a Texas detention center before deporting many of them, according to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC) and Alston & Bird today to obtain the records.
The complaint describes how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency violated the public records law by failing to promptly release documents to the SPLC following a Jan. 7 request. The raids, which were executed without warrants on Jan. 2 and 3, targeted women and children from Central America living in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Many of the immigrants had been granted permission to remain in the United States, subject to certain conditions.
The raids have been condemned by 146 members of Congress.
The SPLC, which is committed to immigrant justice, believes that during the raids, agents gained entry to the immigrants’ homes by deception. Some said they were police officers looking for a suspect, showing a photo of an African-American man to the residents. Others claimed they only needed to take the immigrants from their homes long enough to examine electronic shackles they wore as part of an agreement with ICE that allowed them to remain in the country.
If an immigrant asked to see a warrant, the agents said to “be quiet,” according to the complaint. The women and children were taken to an immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas. Most of the immigrant families detained were deported.
The records sought by SPLC would show how and why ICE pursued the 121 immigrants swept up by the raid. The operation’s impact nationwide has been considerable. Trust between local law enforcement and immigrants has eroded since the raids. Immigrants nationwide now fear answering their door or going to work, school or church, according to the complaint.
The SPLC report, Families in Fear, chronicles the stories of several victims of the Atlanta-area raids. The report can be read here. The SPLC’s records request can be found here.