Thursday, May 4, 2017

Death on the Border, Chapter 1001: A Path to America, Marked by More and More Bodies


Manny Fernandez of the New York Times reminds us the U.S./Mexico border region has been the site of thousands of deaths as the border has become increasingly fortified.  In fact, "More people have died illegally crossing the southwestern border of the United States in the last 16 years than were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined. From October 2000 through September 2016, the Border Patrol documented 6,023 deaths in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, while more than 4,800 people died in the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina."


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wells Fargo targeted undocumented immigrants, stalked street corners, lawsuit claims

Kristine Phillips in the Washington Post reports on an alleged immigrant banking scandal: 

"On “Hit the Streets Thursday,” Wells Fargo bankers and tellers, specifically those of Latino descent, scouted the streets and Social Security offices for potential clients. Their goal: Find undocumented immigrants, take them to a local branch and persuade them to open bank accounts.

Others hit construction sites and factories, according to court documents. Knowing that undocumented workers there needed a place to cash their checks, Wells Fargo employees urged them to open new accounts while promising to waive check-cashing fees. Some offered the immigrants money to open an account.

The more people signed up, whether it was for checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, online banking or overdraft protection, the better. If they signed up for all of the features, even better. Each new account was considered a sale, and the more sales employees rack up, the better their future was with the company.

That’s according to former employees’ sworn statements obtained last month by a law firm that has been handling a shareholder’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo. Former bank managers, personal bankers and tellers say they were forced to resort to questionable tactics to meet the company’s unrealistic sales quotas.

Mark Molumphy, an attorney for the firm, said the sales practices, which spanned 15 years, were not a secret to the bank’s executives and should have also been known to its board members."

Big joe

Joe Cotchett

“The conduct we have come up with is scandalous,” another attorney, Joseph Cotchett, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s outrageous to think that regulators let the bank get away with this.”


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigrant Detention Centers


Project South, a client of Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, has released a new report on immigrant detention centers that was drafted and edited by clinic students. “Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigrant Detention Centers” documents the conditions of the Stewart Detention Center and the Irwin County Detention Center, both in Georgia, through interviews with detained immigrants and the attorneys who represent them.

Working under the supervision of Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Penn State Law students Kritika Bedi, Susanna Chehata, Brianni Frazier, and Shushan Sadjadi worked on the report over the course of two semesters. In addition to conducting extensive research and drafting the report itself, the students surveyed 14 attorneys representing detainees at the two detention centers and conducted follow-up phone interviews with many of them about the conditions their clients face in the two detention centers.

The report finds that the conditions at the two detention centers “neither comply with the international standards of detention nor do they comply with [Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s] Performance-Based National Detention Standards.” Ultimately, the report calls on the Department of Homeland Security to close the two detention centers and implement policies to hold contract facilities accountable for not complying with established standards.

Click here for the press release.


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report: Neither Security nor Justice -- Gang Violence in Central America

Neither Security nor Justice, which contains findings on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) inflicted by gangs as the root causes of the flight of Central American children to the United States. Published by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the organization believes that as migration issues continue to drive national headlines, the underlying causes of the uptick in migration activity must be clear among our nations leadership, as well as the general public. The report reveals that: 

  • Girls and women in Central America, including study participants, have been forced into situations of domestic and sexual servitude by gangs
  • Girls are targeted for sexual violence and human trafficking in secondary schools that are under gang control
  • In some cases, police and prosecutors are unable or unwilling to enter into gang-dominated areas to investigate cases, heightening impunity for SGBV victims who live in these areas
  • In many cases, shelters and witness/victim protection programs lack the capacity to guarantee the safety of SGBV victims when gangs are involved
  • Sexual violence threats by gang members have forced girls to leave school and have caused many to stay in their homes, too afraid to go out

The full report (available here), provides recommendations on how the governments of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala can work to reduce gang-related SGBV and increase assistance and justice for survivors. The report also makes recommendations to the U.S. government on how to direct and prioritize aid to Central American countries to effectively bolster efforts to prevent and address SGBV. 


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jayashri Srikantiah to Receive Carol Weiss King Award from National Lawyers Guild


The National Lawyers Guild will be honoring Jayashri Srikantiah, Director of the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic, at NLG's 80th Anniversary #Law4thePeople Convention in Washington, DC at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law from August 2-6, 2017. She will receive the Carol Weiss King Award at convention's celebration dinner on August 4, 2017.  


May 4, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reports Demonstrate Changed Reality at U.S.-Mexico Border: Sharp Decline in Intended Re-Entry by Mexicans & Reduced Recidivism Findings


Drawing from official survey data of Mexicans deported from the United States and previously unpublished U.S. Border Patrol data measuring the effectiveness of its removal strategies, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) finds in a pair of reports issued today that there has been a significant decline in attempted re-entries by unauthorized border crossers.

The number of Mexican adults intending to return to the United States after repatriation plunged 80 percent from 2005 to 2015, decreasing from 471,000 to 95,000, according to Mexican government administrative data and the Mexican Northern Border Survey (known as EMIF Norte). Overall, the share of Mexican deportees saying they would seek to attempt re-entry fell from 95 percent of all returnees in 2005 to 49 percent in 2015.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Border Patrol recorded a drop in repeat re-entry attempts, from 29 percent of unauthorized crossers at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2007 to 14 percent in FY 2014, according to data provided to MPI researchers by the agency.

“The revolving door of return migration has slowed significantly for Mexicans removed by the U.S. government,” said Doris Meissner, who heads MPI’s U.S. immigration policy program. “As Washington is debating large increases to the record sums the United States already spends on immigration enforcement — whether for a border wall or more Border Patrol agents — the substantial drop in new and repeat Mexican migration should figure more prominently in the discussion.”

The MPI reports draw upon data from the Mexican Northern Border Survey of returnees administered by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and a number of Mexican governmental agencies, as well as Consequence Delivery System data provided to MPI by the U.S. Border Patrol.

In A Revolving Door No More? A Statistical Profile of Mexican Adults Repatriated from the United States, MPI researchers use EMIF Norte survey data from 2005-2015 to provide an overview of returnees, including their intentions to remain or return, years of U.S. residence, period of detention if any, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, presence of children in the United States and consular contact with the Mexican government.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Repatriations of Mexicans from the United States have declined steadily since 2009, with Mexico reporting the repatriation of 207,000 migrants of all ages in 2015, about one-third the 601,000 returned in 2009.
  • Almost half of returned Mexican adults with more than five years of U.S. residence left at least one minor child behind.
  • Mexican men are disproportionately likely to be deported, accounting for 90 percent of those removed in 2015, even as the male share of the unauthorized population in the United States is 54 percent.
  • One-quarter of repatriated adults in 2015 had a secondary education or higher, and a similar share indicated they could speak English.

The second report, Advances in U.S.-Mexico Border Enforcement: A Review of the Consequence Delivery System, results from a year-long MPI study of the Consequence Delivery System (CDS), which represents the Border Patrol’s first systematic attempt to employ metrics of effectiveness and efficiency to the different forms of removal and other enforcement consequences migrants face after being apprehended at the Southwest border.

The report traces the shifting enforcement trends in recent years, including the greater use of formal removal and declining use of voluntary return. According to unpublished data provided to MPI for the study, the number of migrants apprehended more than once in a particular year (known as recidivists) fell as the Border Patrol began applying more significant “consequences,” with recidivism rates lowest for the toughest consequences.

While the report, which also drew on fieldwork in the Border Patrol’s two busiest sectors (Tucson and Rio Grande Valley), found that CDS allows the Border Patrol to assess the effectiveness of its enforcement strategies and allocate resources, it also noted significant data limitations. And with declining apprehensions of Mexicans and rising migration of Central American children and families to whom the standard enforcement “consequences” cannot be applied, the researchers note that consequence enforcement is not a viable strategy for addressing these newer, mixed flows that include migrants seeking humanitarian protection.

“Broader questions regarding deterrence, border control, humanitarian protection and political asylum policies must be answered to maintain border security in the future,” said study co-author Randy Capps, who is director of research for U.S. programs at MPI.

Read the Revolving Door report here . And the CDS report here.


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Compassionate Migration and Regional Policy in the Americas, Editors, Steven W. Bender and William F. Arrocha


Compassionate Migration and Regional Policy in the Americas

Editors: Steven W. Bender, William F. Arrocha

This book explores the contested notion of compassionate migration in its discourse and practice. In the context of today's migration patterns within the Americas, compassionate migration can play a fundamental role in responding to the hardships that many migrants suffer before, during, and after their journeys. This volume explores the boundaries of compassion from legal, political, philosophical, and interdisciplinary perspectives, and supplies examples where state and non-state actors engage in practices of compassion and humanity through formal and informal regimes. Despite the lack of a concise and precise definition of the concept and practice of compassionate migration, all authors in this volume agree on the pressing need for more humane and compassionate treatment for those leaving their home country behind in search of a better life.

Click the link above to access the table of contents (19 chapters).


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

C-SPAN to Live Broadcast Fourth Circuit Oral Arguments in Revised Travel Ban Challenge

Bannon's Immigration Goals

CNN published this photo of Steve Bannon yesterday. He's standing in front of his own whiteboard, where he's outlined his  legislative goals. The immigration ones are the most visible - appearing on the right side of the photograph over Bannon's left shoulder.



May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deep in the "Heart" of Texas: Texas Outlaws "Sanctuary Cities"


Here are recent developments on a previous postAP reports (see also Los Angeles Times) that thee Texas Legislature yesterday passed legislation banning so-called “sanctuary cities” that allows police officers to ask about a person’s immigration status and threatens sheriffs and police chiefs with criminal sanctions if they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the measure, known as Senate Bill 4, into law.  The bill is opposed by Democratic legislators and opposition from a wide range of groups, including police organizations, who said it would break down trust between law enforcement and minority communities.

The bill would punish cities, counties and universities that have policies prohibiting local law enforcement officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status or enforcing immigration law. Those who violate the ban would face a criminal charge, and local jurisdictions could face fines of up to $25,000 a day for each violation.

Officers would also be allowed to question a person’s immigration status in the course of any legal detention, even for an offense as minor as jaywalking or speeding — a provision that has sparked anger and debate throughout the state.

“I'm getting my signing pen warmed up,” Abbott, who has been a strong supporter of the bill, tweeted.

“SB 4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement. “This legislation will eliminate a substantial incentive for illegal immigration and help make Texas communities safer.”


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

East Boston Undocumented High School Student Awarded Full College Scholarship

PLURAL + Call for Entries 2017

PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival is a joint initiative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that invites the world’s youth to submit original and creative videos focusing on the themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion. By supporting the distribution of youth-produced media, PLURAL+ recognizes youth as powerful agents of positive social change in a world often characterized by intolerance, and cultural and religious divisions.

PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival invites the world’s youth to submit dynamic and forward-thinking videos focusing on themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion.  The event is organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in collaboration with many partners.  The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in New York later this year.  Deadline for submission is 4 June 2017.


A 2016 Winner


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Does due process require termination of proceedings where a detained respondent is forcibly separated from his family with identical claims for asylum?  -YES   By: Geoffrey A. Hoffman


Does due process require termination of proceedings where a detained respondent is forcibly separated from his family with identical claims for asylum?  -YES by Geoffrey A. Hoffman

The University of Houston Law Center’s immigration clinic along with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s immigration clinic, Immigration Equality, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) filed an amicus brief before the Board of Immigration Appeals.  The appeal was filed by DHS after the IJ terminated proceedings. The case concerns an important issue of due process and family separation. With all the (deserved) attention being paid lately to the President’s executive orders, the travel ban, sanctuary city issues, increased immigration enforcement, border issues, expedited removal, DACA, and many other important issues, I am concerned that some more procedurally complicated but prevalent “systemic” issues can get lost in the shuffle. They may not be afforded the exposure they deserve.  To that end, I am going to use this opportunity to discuss the basic facts of this case which has implications for respondents’ due process rights. The respondent’s case on appeal is being handled by the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC).  (The case is currently pending so no names or other identifying information will be disclosed to protect confidentiality.) 

            The case involved a man who arrived at a land border with his family members, a wife and their children, but was detained at the border after seeking admission.  The other family members were able to be released after they passed their credible fear interviews.  He also passed his credible fear interview but continued to be detained.  Since his family members were released, they were able to find pro bono counsel. They also were able to move to a new location in another state.  At the hearing before the IJ, the respondent asked for a change of venue to the new location where his wife and children were now staying, arguing that since they have all identical claims he needs to have them present to testify, and in addition they have evidence and access to documents, as well as the inefficiency of having two different immigration judges hear the exact same claim.  The IJ agreed and ordered the venue to be changed.

            A further hearing was held in the new venue with the new IJ.  However, DHS failed to physically move the respondent to that new venue due to their claim there was no bed space available. At the hearing, DHS counsel was present to represent the government. However, the respondent was not present since he had not been moved to the new location. DHS at the hearing moved to change venue back to the original location and stated that it would then decide to seek a further change of venue to wherever the respondent could be transferred due to the bed space issue. The change back to the original location was granted and the case was sent back.

            Once the case was back at the original location, the original IJ inquired about the status of the wife’s and children’s cases which were pending in the other location. The respondent’s case was continued.  At the next hearing, the IJ asked DHS if it would consider release to allow respondent to be present at his wife’s and childrens’ hearings.  DHS said it would consider release, but subsequently denied the request to release on parole or bond with no explanation. At that point at a subsequent hearing the IJ issued a written order terminating proceedings based on lack of due process where a respondent would otherwise be forced to proceed under such unfair and unjust circumstances.  DHS appealed to the BIA.

            The amicus brief was submitted to support the respondent’s position that DHS’s appeal challenging the authority of the IJ to terminate should be dismissed.  This issue is one which could have been ameliorated in several ways, all within the control of the agency.  First, it could have released respondent on parole or agreed to bond. Once released his case could have been placed on the non-detained docket in the new jurisdiction, once a change of venue was granted. Even if not released, DHS could have physically transferred the respondent to the new location, where at least his wife and children could have been able to testify in person, and he could have benefited from pro bono counsel, assuming counsel would have agreed to represent the entire family in one location.

            The amicus brief further argued that the IJ does have wide authority by regulation to take “any action,” consistent with applicable law, that is appropriate for the case. 8 C.F.R. § 1003.10(b). IJs have broad discretion to use docket management tools to protect the respondent’s right to procedural due process and to maximize judicial efficiency. See Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 474, 479 (BIA 2011); Matter of Taerghodosi, 16 I&N Dec. 260, 263 (BIA 1977). As we know from M-A-M- in the mental competency context, termination is one of several possible procedural safeguards that are potentially available to protect the due process rights of vulnerable respondents.  The respondent’s brief pointed to the blatant due process violation which occurred when respondent was not even present at the new location and where the IJ granted DHS’s motion to return the case to the original venue.

            The amicus brief also argued that international and domestic laws protect applicants for asylum.  Under the egregious circumstances presented in the instant case, the basic right to apply for asylum and to have a full and fair hearing at which one can present their asylum claim was violated. The brief relied upon the 1967 protocols to the Refugee Convention, Article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which also recognizes that every person must have the right to a hearing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time.  Additionally, Article XXVI of the “American Declaration” provides for OAS member states’ particular obligation to safeguard the right to due process. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, created by the OAS Charter to promote the defense of human rights and to serve as the Charter’s primary human rights monitoring board, has affirmed that Article XXVI, applies to immigration proceedings.

            The amicus brief further pointed out alternatively that even were the IJ not able to terminate, which he was entitled to order in any event, the case could have been administratively closed.  Administrative closure under settled Board precedent is available even over one party’s objections, if certain factors are met.  See Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012).  A recent Board decision, dealing with administrative closure does not alter this analysis. See Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017).

            Finally, the amicus brief contained exhibits in the form of affidavits from LWCC, FIRRP and Immigration Equality attorneys with detailed facts about representative cases that the attorneys had seen.  The representative case had similar issues of family separation with tragic consequences. The point is this is not an isolated case, but one with a procedural history which has been played out all-too-often. Unfortunately, the respondent is still detained to date, even with the IJ’s grant of termination as the case has been appealed by DHS staying the judge’s order. The case represents a stark illustration of the dangers of ignoring obstacles to presenting full and fair hearings for asylum and related relief. With the professed frustration of EOIR and the government generally at the tremendous backlog of cases currently plaguing the courts, you would think the consolidation of cases with identical claims would not be a problematic and but a preferred solution. As with many of the problems associated with the immigration adjudicatory process, common sense is not consulted and red tape often presents implacable problems which beg credulity and boggle the mind. We now await the Board’s review. I remain hopeful that justice and our United States Constitution will prevail.

The redacted Amicus Brief is available online.

Geoffrey A. Hoffman, University of Houston Law Center, director of the Immigration Clinic (Institution for identification only. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily those of the University’s or any other party).



May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harvard Law Report Highlights How Local Criminal Justice Policies Undercut the Promise of “Sanctuary” Cities



Local criminal justice policies, such as vagrancy laws and cash bail requirements, endanger vulnerable immigrant populations and undercut the promise of “sanctuary” cities, according to a report released today by the Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. The report urges city and county leaders who want to protect immigrants to act swiftly to end harmful criminal justice practices that criminalize poverty and send undocumented residents into the deportation pipeline.

The report states, “Broken windows [policing] and other policies that harshly penalize low-level offenses have laid the groundwork for President Trump to identify, and then deport, immigrants charged with the smallest infractions: urinating in public, driving without a license, subway turnstile jumping, or using a small quantity of marijuana, among others. This deliberate incarceration is alarming in its own right. For those worried about mass deportations, it is terrifying.”

“The harsh reality is that any contact with the criminal justice system that a non-citizen has, however small, creates a serious risk that ICE will intervene,” the report continues. “A mere arrest can trigger an ICE alert—not only for individuals here without authorization, but also for asylees, lawful permanent residents, and others here with valid status.”

Unfortunately, some of America’s most progressive cities claiming to be sanctuaries cling to ineffective, outdated, and potentially dangerous criminal justice policies, including “broken windows” policing, harsh drug laws, and burdensome cash bail requirements. 

“If mayors truly want to protect immigrants from deportation, they need to act swiftly to end harmful criminal justice practices that criminalize poverty,” said Jessica Brand, legal director for the Fair Punishment Project.


  • In New York, the Police Department arrests people for selling single cigarettes, jumping subway turnstiles, or trespassing.

  • Philadelphia still has ordinances in place against begging and panhandling and sleeping on streets.

  • Los Angeles has, according to a 2016 study by the Policy Advocacy Clinic at Berkeley Law, 15 laws against “sitting, standing, and resting,” eight laws against “sleeping, camping, and lodging,” and nine laws against “begging and panhandling.”

  • Phoenix has broad prohibitions against “camping” on any city property, including sleeping activities, or making preparations to sleep, including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping, or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking or carrying on cooking activities.

  • In Portland, Oregon, the Multnomah County District Attorney has a “Neighborhood Unit” that focuses on prosecuting low-level, “quality-of-life” offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, and public urination.


“It is inspiring that many cities, from Portland to New York, have local leaders who have boldly declared their cities to be ‘sanctuary’ cities, but unless these leaders work to mitigate the risk that harsh criminal justice policies impose on all citizens, especially immigrants, the promise of sanctuary will be meaningless,” Brand continued.

Robert J. Smith, director for the Fair Punishment Project, added, “Prosecutors have broad discretion over how they enforce the law. They should consider immigration consequences at every stage of process, immediately stop asking for cash bail, and support the decriminalization of certain low level offenses. It’s not enough to support sanctuary policies, prosecutors need to actively use their discretion to protect immigrants who pose no danger to society from deportation.”

The report proposes eight commonsense reforms that local jurisdictions can adopt to protect the promise of sanctuary cities, including ending all local collusion with ICE, the elimination of cash bail, and the decriminalization of certain low-level infractions.

May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Citizenship Overreach by Peter J. Spiro


Citizenship Overreach by Peter J. Spiro (Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law), Michigan Journal of International Law, Forthcoming

Date Written: April 20, 2017


This Article examines international law limitations on the ascription of citizenship in the context of U.S. taxation of non-resident citizens. U.S. citizenship practice is exceptionally generous, extending citizenship to almost all persons in its territory at the moment of birth. At the same time that it is generous at the front end, U.S. citizenship is sticky at the back. Termination of citizenship on the individual’s part involves substantial fees and tax compliance. It is difficult to shed a citizenship one may never have wanted in the first place.

This stickiness would be inconsequential if few costs were associated with the status. But the United States taxes its citizens on a worldwide basis. The 2010 enactment of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has ramped up historically lax enforcement and imposes substantial administrative burdens on even middle-earner citizens abroad.

In this frame, U.S. birthright citizenship and expatriation regimes may violate international norms, especially with respect to those "accidental Americans" who departed the United States as children. Even in the context of extremely relaxed historical constraints on state nationality practice, there were acknowledged nineteenth century limitations on the extension of citizenship to individuals with insufficient connection to a state -- citizenship over-claiming, as it were. The article also describes the historical requirement that naturalization be volitional, a norm now appropriately applied in some cases in the context of birthright citizenship.

To the extent the ascription of U.S. citizenship compromises individual rights, there are tax fixes and there are citizenship fixes. Citizenship fixes include opt-in and opt-out mechanisms for birthright citizenship. The better solution may lie in frictionless exit for those with nominal ties to the national community. Though reform is more likely to be accomplished through the tax regime, the moment highlights the over-inclusiveness of U.S. citizenship and the growing salience of international law to citizenship practices.


May 4, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

As Mexican share declined, U.S. unauthorized immigrant population fell in 2015 below recession level

The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2015 fell below the total at the end of the Great Recession for the first time, with Mexicans continuing to represent a declining share of this population, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.

There were 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, a small but statistically significant decline from the Center’s estimate of 11.3 million for 2009, the last year of the Great Recession. The Center’s preliminary estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2016 is 11.3 million, which is statistically no different from the 2009 or 2015 estimates and comes from a different data source with a smaller sample size and a larger margin of error. This more recent preliminary data for 2016 are inconclusive as to whether the total unauthorized immigrant population continued to decrease, held steady or increased.


May 3, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside Berkeley's Refugee-Run Cafe, Building New Lives With Coffee


Saveur reports on a special refugee business.  1951 Coffee opened in late January in Berkeley.

Back in Malaysia, where he’d paid an agent to smuggle him from his native Myanmar, Peter Karki had worked in a bar with a coffee machine, but it wasn’t anything fancy. And in the Nepali refugee camp where Karki had lived for 20 years after fleeing Bhutan with his family, there was only tea. But here in Berkeley, lattes are popular.

1951 Coffee is most likely the only the only third-wave coffee shop in the Bay Area where a lack of prior experience isn’t an impediment to employment; if anything, it’s expected. The cafe is the first from 1951 Coffee Company, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that provides job training and employment for refugees, specifically within the Bay Area’s ever-growing coffee industry. All of its ten employees are refugees, and about half are graduates of the nonprofit’s two-week barista training program. They each earn $13 an hour, and together represent Syria, Uganda, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, and Iran.


May 3, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: Moxie Raia and Wyclef Jean

In this video for Follow Me, interviews with refugees play on the wall behind Moxie Raia and Wyclef Jean as they sing. Here's the chorus:

Follow me I am on your side
But we don't have much time
Momma said there's a war outside
Only the strong survive

Another great song to accompany asylum and refugee law.


May 3, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nat'l Lawyers Guild Los Angeles to Honor Annie Lai, Stacy Tolchin




The Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will be honoring Annie Lai, Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine at its Annual Awards Banquet on June 11. The Chapter will also be honoring the Los Angeles Tenants Union, and attorneys Gilbert Saucedo, Matt Sirolly, and immigration attorney Stacy Tolchin (Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin).  Congratulations to all!


May 3, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Hotel USA -- First Night in America


"The United States has a long, complicated history of accepting refugees from around the world. However, few of us are familiar with the intricacies of how relocation and resettlement works. Back in 2006, after reading an article about an airport hotel that shelters refugees awaiting their connections to far-flung corners of this country, we found ourselves wondering about their very first night here. How did these newcomers navigate that foreign, if quintessentially American environment?

By the end of 2011, the wars in the Middle East had precipitated a global refugee crisis, and we decided to make a film about that first night in America for those families who made it here. As we filmed family after family passing through a hotel near New York, we were struck by the universality of the experience of landing in a new place after a long flight: jet lag, hunger, disorientation, anxiety, hope."




May 3, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)