Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Truth About Border Security and the GOP Debate

Julianne Hing writes in The Nation:

Well that was fun, wasn’t it? On immigration, the 11 assembled GOP presidential candidates (15 if you count the “downticket” opening debate) gave up nothing brand new or heretofore unknown about their stances on immigration. But for viewers who made it that far into the night’s three-hour debate (four hours, including the opening act), the candidates gave a lesson in the predictable, nearly scripted, and entirely distorted approach to any talk of immigration reform and enforcement policy in today’s politics. It’s worth examining the playbook.

The first rule is that uttering some version of the phrase, “Secure the border first,” is the price of admission into the conversation about immigration policy. This is true for Democrats and Republicans alike, but particularly so for the GOP, whose brand is defined by hawkish, tough-guy bravado.

Carly Fiorina, the night’s early favorite, mentioned it in the opening minutes of the debate. “The border’s been insecure for 25 years,” she said. Donald Trump? Well, he said it in his own way. “First of all, I want to build a wall, a wall that works. So important, and it’s a big part of it. Second of all, we have a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside, and I think Chris [Christie] knows that, maybe as well as anybody. They go, if I get elected. First day, they’re gone. Gangs all over the place. Chicago, Baltimore, no matter where you look.” That’s an actual QUOTE.

“What we need to do is to secure the border, and we need to do it with more than just a wall,” Chris Christie contributed.
Part of the problem with the phrase “secure our borders” is that it’s spoken with such repetition as to be rendered meaningless. It begs a follow-up that almost never comes: What, exactly, constitutes a “secure” border? Is it a US-Mexico border (always, it’s the US-Mexico border) with unprecedented numbers of Border Patrol agents? Because we’ve already got that. Is it a border patrolled by drones, agents in watchtowers and on horseback, ATVs, in SUVs? Because we’ve taken care of that, too.



September 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Americans in Hawaii, Immigration in the Aloha State



I have been visiting UC Davis School of Law alums in Hawaii and looked up some immigration information on the Aloha State.   

According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants, Asians, and Latinos account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Hawaii. Over 1 in 6 residents of Hawaii are immigrants (foreign-born), and more than half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 18.1% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only integral to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for billions of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $31.9 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $18.9 billion and employed nearly 116,000 people at last count. Immigrant, Latino, and Asian workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs are integral to Hawaii’s economy and tax base—and they are an electoral force with which every politician must reckon.

The big immigration reform issues in Hawaii tend to focus on the reunification of Asian immigrant families.  Click here for details.

One of Hawaii's U.S. Senators, Mazie Hirono, was bornin in Japan and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.




September 19, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 18, 2015

First Mexican-American in Congress Speaks on Hispanic Heritage Month

With Liberty and Justice for All: The State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities


With Liberty and Justice for All: The State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities,  A Briefing before the United States Commission on Civil Rights held in Washington, DC - Statutory Enforcement Report, September 2015

This Statutory Enforcement Report examines the civil rights and constitutional concerns that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) “raised with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component [agencies] over the treatment of adult and minor [immigrant] detainees [who are being] held under federal law in detention centers across the country.” Specifically, this report analyzes the constitutional issues surrounding DHS’s treatment of detained immigrants as well as other selected federal agencies’ efforts to comply with established Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS), the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA), and the federal standards for detaining unaccompanied minor children

The report calls on the Obama administration to reverse course and stop detentions of women and children who entered the United States unlawfully but might qualify for asylum. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said it found evidence that the federal government "was interfering with the constitutional rights afforded to detained immigrants," including their access to legal representation."   For more details in the report, click here.


September 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

EOIR Publishes Final Rule Permitting Limited Appearances in Custody/Bond Proceedings

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) published a final rule yesterday related to representation in custody/bond proceedings for individuals in immigration detention.  The rule will permit the entry of a notice of appearance for the representation of individuals in custody and bond proceedings before the immigration courts, without such a notice constituting an entry of appearance for the individual’s entire immigration court case.  Under the previous rules, an attorney (or other representative) appearing on behalf of an individual in a bond hearing would become the representative of record for all of the individual’s removal proceedings, and would be required to file a motion to withdraw (to be granted at the discretion of the immigration judge) at the conclusion of the bond proceedings if they wished to limit their representation to the custody/bond proceedings only.  As EOIR explains, “[p]ermitting such separate appearances is expected to encourage more attorneys and accredited representatives to agree to represent individuals who would otherwise appear pro se at their custody and bond proceedings, which, in turn, will benefit the public by increasing the efficiency of the Immigration Courts.”  As a number of commentators have pointed out, detention can significantly impact a noncitizen’s likelihood of success in fighting removal due to the difficulties associated with obtaining witnesses and evidence, conducting research, and preparing testimony from detention and in the face of rapid calendaring pressures of the immigration courts’ detained dockets. 

A number of law students participating in law school immigration clinics have represented immigrant detainees in bond hearings.  In our experience at the Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic, representation of clients in bond hearings gives rise to various teaching opportunities related to lawyering and social justice.  Bond hearings expose students to core lawyering skills, such as client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, case theory development, direct and cross examination, negotiation, and oral advocacy.  Working with detained clients – including navigating access to immigration detention centers – also leads students to grapple with the justice and fairness concerns associated with the immigration detention system.  While the legal requirements for bond are arguably quite simple (danger to the community and flight risk), the cases often generally lead students to conduct assessments of the clients’ removal claims, since the likelihood of relief can impact the flight risk determination.  And even after successfully securing a reasonable bond amount, students have found that the logistical arrangements necessary to witness the safe and timely release of a client from physical custody also raise questions related to access to justice and the fairness of the system.  Some teaching challenges related to bond hearings that we have experienced include the time pressures associated with representation, relative lack of predictability in terms of case identification, and determining how bond hearing representation fits into the broader clinic docket.


September 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Justice and Temporary Labor Migration by Matthew J. Lister

Justice and Temporary Labor Migration by Matthew J. Lister, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal (2014)

Abstract:  Temporary labor migration programs have been among the most controversial topics in discussions of immigration reform. They have been opposed by many, perhaps most, academics writing on immigration, by immigration reform activists, and by organized labor. This opposition has not been without some good reasons, as many historical temporary labor migration programs have led to significant injustice and abuse. However, in this paper I argue that a well-crafted temporary labor migration program is both compatible with liberal principles of justice and likely to be an important part of a sensible immigration policy for the near future, at least. I show how the many injustices and high potential for abuse of earlier programs may be avoided. I also show good reason to favor a well-crafted temporary labor migration program over either the more likely alternative outcome of officially tight borders (which would almost certainly maintain our current dependence on large-scale unauthorized immigration) and the much less likely option of nearly open borders. As increased labor migration of all sorts is an intrinsic part of increased economic globalization, it is especially important to craft guidelines for just temporary labor migration programs if we are to both gain the advantages of globalization and protect the rights of workers.


September 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forced Labor in the Fishing Industry


Ian Urbina of the New York Times , who previously did a series on 'The Outlaw Ocean," has been working on a new series on forced labor on the high seas

Last week, a group of consumers filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Mars, accusing the company, among the biggest producers of seafood-based pet food in the world, of failing to disclose its dependence on forced labor. A similar lawsuit was filed in late August against Nestlé, also a major producer of seafood-based pet food.

Legislators are considering legislation on forced labor on the seas.  


September 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Citizens: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Celebrations


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is launching new efforts to highlight U.S. citizenship and immigrant civic integration to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. These initiatives will also improve customer service and support aspiring citizens on their path to naturalization.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17 on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Congress first highlighted the significance of U.S. citizenship in 1940 when it designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.” In 1952, Congress shifted the date to Sept. 17 and renamed it “Citizenship Day.” Congress changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” in 2004.

USCIS invites new citizens and their families and friends to share their experiences from the ceremonies via social media using the hashtag #newUScitizen.  Read the list of featured 2015 Constitution Week naturalization ceremonies.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Urges Those Eligible to Naturalize

Today is Constitution Day. And President Obama is taking the occasion to urge those who are eligible to naturalize.

It's not about changing who you are, it's about adding a new chapter to your journey as an American citizen. And to our journey as a nation of immigrants....

If you're eligible, commit to becoming a citizen today. Help others who are ready to take this step as well. It's an important step for you, and an important step for our nation. Join us, together we can make this nation even stronger.

There's another slick video on Facebook that would be a great conversation started in class as well as a link to


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

$17 Million Verdict for Undocumented Workers in Vile Sexual Harassment Case

In a case of appalling allegations --  migrant women farm workers leered at, groped and raped by multiple supervisors at a vegetable farm in Florida, a federal jury in Miami awarded five of the victims—four of whom are undocumented—$17.4 million. The case reminds us that undocumented workers in fact have rights under the law.  

The case was brought in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by the EEOC with Florida Legal Services and Mesa & Coe Law representing the women as intervenors.KJ

September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook is the new travel guide for Iraqis headed to Europe


Erin Cunningham in the Washington Post has an interesting feature on how Facebook is the new travel guide for Iraqi refugees headed to Europe.  Inspired by Syrians arriving to Germany’s cheering crowds, Iraqis have used the social network to crowdsource their own voyages to the continent — sharing tips, maps and contacts in public and private groups now established across the site. They have recruited travel companions, connected with smugglers, documented their travel and urged others to flee.

I guess that social media has some positive uses.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Brian Soucek: Syrian Refugee Crisis: Response From The United States


With 4 million Syrians displaced by a civil war and the so-called Islamic State, the eyes of the world are on the United States and Europe to see how it will respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Germany has accepted more Syrian refugees than any other country, now at 800,000 people this year. The U.S. has accepted 1,500 this year and President Barack Obama said last week that he’s directing the state department to accept up to 10,000 refugees next year. UC Davis law professor Brian Soucek, who specializes in immigration law and policy, joins us to talk about the U.S. role in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. He’ll also explain how the U.S. has responded to past refugee crises, dating back to WWII.  Click here to listen to Professor Soucek's thoughts on the Syrian refugee crisis.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legitimacy and Cooperation: Will Immigrants Cooperate with Local Police Who Enforce Federal Immigration Law?

Legitimacy and Cooperation: Will Immigrants Cooperate with Local Police Who Enforce Federal Immigration Law?  by Adam B. Cox (NYU) and Thomas J. Miles (Chicago) 

 Abstract:  Solving crimes often requires community cooperation. Cooperation is thought by many scholars to depend critically on whether community members believe that law enforcement institutions are legitimate and trustworthy. Yet establishing an empirical link between legitimacy and cooperation has proven elusive, with most studies relying on surveys or lab experiments of people’s beliefs and attitudes, rather than on their behavior in the real world. This Article aims to overcome these shortcomings, capitalizing on a unique natural policy experiment to directly address a fundamental question about legitimacy, cooperation, and law enforcement success: do de-legitimating policy interventions actually undermine community cooperation with the police? The policy experiment is a massive federal immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities. Secure Communities was widely criticized for undermining the legitimacy of local police in the eyes of immigrants, and it was rolled out nationwide over a four-year period in a way that approximates a natural experiment. Using the rate at which police solve crimes as a proxy for community cooperation, we find no evidence that the program reduced community cooperation — despite its massive size and broad scope. The results call into question optimistic claims that discrete policy interventions can, in the short run, meaningfully affect community perceptions of law enforcement legitimacy in ways that shape community cooperation with police.


September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

President Reagan and Central American Refugees


A new television ad is pushing President Ronald Reagan as a positive visionary on immigration, a contrast to the views being expressed by Donald Trump and other Republican candidates for President.  Although President Reagan did sign into law the last piece of comprehensive immigration reform (Immigration Reform and Control Act), the Reagan administration took tough positions toward Central American asylum-seekers fleeing civil war, including mass detention in remote locations where it was extremely difficult to secure representation.  The administration also criminally prosecuted a number of sanctuary workers who provided assistance to Central American refugees.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Talks Immigration in Iowa

This week, President Obama traveled to Iowa as part of his "2015 Back-to-School Tour." On Monday, he spoke at North High School in Des Moines on college access and affordability. He ended with comments about immigration:

[T]his whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from someplace else. ...

So the notion that now, suddenly, that one generation or two generations, or even four or five generations removed, that suddenly we are treating new immigrants as if they’re the problem, when your grandparents were treated like the problem, or your great-grandparents were treated like the problem, or were considered somehow unworthy or uneducated or unwashed -- no.  That’s not who we are.  It’s not who we are.

We can have a legitimate debate about how to set up an immigration system that is fair and orderly and lawful. ...  [W]hen I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids, or less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care -- I think that’s un-American.  I do not believe that.  I think it is wrong.  And I think we should do better.  Because that’s how America was made -- by us caring about all our kids.

You can watch the video of his remarks here.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Clamp Down on Refugees in Hungary


Map from Wikipedia


Al Jazeera reports that under a new immigration law that came into effect following the failure of European Union ministers to agree on a common strategy, refugees face deportation and jail terms if they enter Hungary illegally. Hungary has seen almost 200,000 people traveling up from Greece through the western Balkans and entering the country this year, most of them seeking to travel on to Germany. On Monday, Hungary closed the main crossing with Serbia and more states imposed border checks in the face of the continent's ongoing refugee crisis. Hungary will also reject asylum seekers entering from Serbia who have not previously sought asylum in its southern neighbor.

To enforce the new law, Hungary reportedly has begun mass arrests of migrants seeking to cross the nation without authorization.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump: US is the "dumping ground for the rest of the world"


Former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association David Leopold writes that

"It’s not clear what was the most shocking about Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in Dallas, Texas: his description of undocumented immigrants as part of a `dumping ground for the rest of the world,' or the reaction of the nearly all-white crowd who awarded his rhetoric with a standing ovation and chants of `USA, USA.'”

Click here for more on Trump's speech in Dallas.



September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking by Cheryl Nelson-Butler


The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking by Cheryl Nelson-Butler, Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law,  2015 UCLA Law Review, Vol. 62

Abstract: This Article explores the role of race in the prostitution and sex trafficking of people of color, particularly minority youth, and the evolving legal and social responses in the United States. Child sex trafficking has become a vital topic of discussion among scholars and advocates, and public outcry has led to safe harbor legislation aimed at shifting the legal paradigm away punishing prostituted minors and toward greater protections for this vulnerable population. Yet, policymakers have ignored the connection between race and other root factors that push people of color into America’s commercial sex trade.

This Article argues that race and racism have played a role in creating the epidemic of sex trafficking in the United States and have undermined effective legal and policy responses. Race intersects with other forms of subordination including gender, class, and age to push people of color disproportionately into prostitution and keep them trapped in the commercial sex industry. This intersectional oppression is fueled by the persistence of myths about minority teen sexuality, which in turn encourages risky sexual behavior. Moreover, today’s antitrafficking movement has failed to understand and address the racial contours of domestic sex trafficking in the United States and even perpetuates the racial myths that undermine the proper identification of minority youth as sex trafficking victims. Yet, the Obama administration has adopted new policies that raise awareness about the links between race and sex trafficking. These policies also facilitate the increased role of minority youth as leaders and spokespersons in the antitrafficking movement. Their voices defy stereotypes about Black sexuality and call upon legislators and advocates to address some of the unique vulnerabilities that kids of color face with respect to sex trafficking.


September 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Trump is a madman who must be stopped



Hmm.  It seems fair to say that, based on this CNN commentaryLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a competitor for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, is no fan of fellow contestant -- I mean candidate -- Donald TrumpAlthough not criticizing any of the Donald's positions (including on immigration), Governor Jindal levels some harsh words his way:

"Like all narcissists, Trump is insecure, weak and afraid of being exposed. That's why he's constantly telling us how big and rich and great he is, and how insignificant everyone else is."

"Conservatives need to say what we are thinking: Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped. Failure to speak out against Trump is an endorsement of Clinton."

"We do need to Make America Great Again. We do need to burn down Washington. We do need to eradicate political correctness. But we will not achieve that by nominating a walking punch line.'


September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lessons from 1994

This morning, NPR's Ina Jaffee takes us back to 1994 and Governor Pete Wilson's anti-immigration attack ad.


Jaffee connects the Wilson campaign, and the anti-immigrant Prop 187 of the same year, to the steady decline in Republican registrations within the state of California. Political scientist David Damore, of Latino Decisions, makes the connection explicit:

"The moment when the Latino population is about ready to explode in California and have an impact on politics, the Republicans were pushing a very, very hostile agenda," said Damore. "The end result is, it's no longer a competitive state."

The question is, what does the "California example" mean for the national Republican party?

Following the lead of presidential hopeful Donald Trump, immigration, and, specifically, unauthorized migration, is taking center stage. And it's meeting a hard line set by Republican hopefuls. In response, Latino attitudes toward Republican nominees are "shifting," and not in the party's favor.

All this talk of 1994 calls for a little Jason Aldean to round out your afternoon.



September 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)