Wednesday, September 28, 2016

From the Bookshelves: Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom by Ciecie Tuyet Nguyen

Shock peace

Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom by Ciecie Tuyet Nguyen

With the anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War occurring on November 1, we will take the time to stop and remember those who served and lost their lives for our country. But do we ever stop to think of those who were impacted on the other side of the war? Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom by author and refugee CieCie Tuyet Nguyen explores the war from a different perspective: that of a survivor in the fall of Saigon who unflinchingly recounts the horrors of life after the Vietnam War.

A fictional account based on historical facts and the personal experiences of the author, Shock Peace follows young Trinh’s journey as she searches for freedom. A Vietnamese teenager, Trinh has lived through the dark days that led to the fall of Saigon in 1975 and three years under the new regime. The book follows Trinh as she witnesses human rights and freedom stripped brutally away from herself, her family and her countrymen. After struggling with poverty, starvation, desperation, and control, the yearning for freedom propels Trinh and her family to make a daring move - an attempt to escape by boat and face the threat of attack by pirates. At the cost of freedom, 500,000 of her countrymen had perished, most by drowning as they tried to flee. Will Trinh's family be able to find the freedom they seek?            

A moving statement on the strength of the human heart, themes recounted in Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom include:

  • The true account of what had happened to South Vietnam during the first decade after the fall of Saigon
  • The life stories of Saigon's refugees and their tragedies in Vietnam's darkest period, when peace, prosperity and reunification were supposed to emerge from the ashes.
  • How human rights, peace and freedom are the best gifts your country has given you.
  • While unexpected circumstances might change one’s life for the worse, with the resilience to survive, one might be able to get back to where they once were.
  • That cruelty should be exposed not to bring about revenge or to lead to war, but to bring empathy and change.



September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Jennifer Chacón, A New Hope: Bringing Justice Back into Removal Proceedings


Former ImmigrationProf blogger Jennifer Chacón has this thoughtful reply ("A New Hope: Bringing Justice Back into Removal Proceedings") to Jason Cade's provocative article, Return of the JRAD, on NYU Law Review Online.  My response to Cade's article can be found here.

Here is an abstract of Professor Chacón's article:

In his article, Return of the JRAD, Professor Jason Cade makes a strong and viable case that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can and should take into account nonstatutory Judicial Recommendations Against Deportation (JRADs) and other criminal justice signals of diminished criminal culpability when deciding whether or not to charge a noncitizen with deportability. Professor Cade’s proposal is a good one. The overall effects of his proposal will be modest. It can neither eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system and deportations nor end capricious distinctions between similarly situated criminal defendants in removal proceedings. On the other hand, it has no notable downsides and some significant potential upsides. Part I explains why exercising discretion along the lines that Cade proposes is firmly within DHS’s discretion and why such modest and rational exercises of discretion are unlikely to spark political backlash. Part II elaborates upon the potential benefits of Cade’s proposal. First, by encouraging criminal sentencing judges to issue nonstatutory JRADs, the Cade proposal promises to provide DHS with useful information otherwise unavailable at the charging stage, thus increasing charging fairness. At the same time, his proposal would make a positive change in the way that at least some criminal sentencing judges think about immigration consequences in criminal sentencing. Ultimately, it might even change the way that we talk, think, and write about the nexus of immigration and criminal law—better exposing the common failings and the interconnections of these systems to scholars and practitioners other than those who routinely work at their intersection.



September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Demetrios Papademetriou and Susan Fratzke Analyze Refugee Summits


World leaders convened in New York last week for a pair of summits focused on multilateral responses to the growing challenge of refugee crises and unmanaged migration flows. Even before the summits convened by the United Nations and a day later by the Obama administration were concluded, assessments of their outcomes were underway. In a new commentary, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Emeritus Demetrios Papademetriou and Policy Analyst Susan Fratzke weigh the results. "While score cards for these types of events are difficult to keep, it is clear that the summits offered reasons for both disappointment and hope," they write. On the plus side of the ledger, the two summits offered evidence of the high priority being placed on these issues by national leaders. The meetings also may have set the stage for the next, and possibly more substantive, conversation initiated when UN Member States agreed to forge a pair of compacts on better management of migration flows and coordination of equitable responses to refugee crises by 2018. The U.S.-led summit and an affiliated CEO roundtable also produced results, with more than $1.1 billion in pledged assistance and investments directed at refugees and migrants, and commitments to double refugee places. On the downside, the authors note that the commitments—including on responsibility sharing—fell short of the concrete outcomes that architects of the UN summit and advocates had envisioned, and that it remains to be seen whether the $4.5 billion in pledged government financial commitments to humanitarian agencies represents new money or a repackaging of older promises. What does seem clear, they write, is that there will be a tug of war between the multilateralism on parade at the summits and the national sovereignty inherent in the ways in which governments view issues of migration and international protection. I invite you to read this thought-provoking commentary.



September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senator Leahy Leads Senators In Demanding Answers About Private Immigrant Detention



Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), with other leading senators, pressed the Obama administration earlier this week on the use of private prisons and contract facilities by the Department of Homeland Security. The letter comes amid an internal review at DHS regarding its use of private prisons, and the senators urged DHS to ensure the review was meaningful and genuine.

In their letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the senators state that “we strongly oppose the use of for-profit prison companies in immigration detention” and raise alarm about the lack of transparency in detention contracts, which has too often led to poor conditions and exorbitant costs to the taxpayers.

“For far too long, the contracting process and the management of contract facilities housing immigrant detainees have been opaque. The lack of transparency has led to a lack of accountability. Unlike federally-run institutions, these facilities are not obligated to provide to DHS or Congress information about their cost, operational efficiency, or ability to provide adequate detention conditions. And the results are unacceptable,” the senators wrote.

The senators also expressed concern about the pivotal role the private prison industry has played recently in institutionalizing mass family detention and increasing detention of asylum seekers.

In addition to Leahy, the letter is signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii.).

The letter comes less than a week after the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sarah Saldaña, told the House Judiciary Committee that ICE’s prisons are “almost completely contractor run” and closing them would “turn our system upside down.” A subcommittee of DHS’s Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) is expected to provide Secretary Johnson and Director Saldaña a report of its review by November 30, 2016, including a recommendation of whether the agency should end its use of private immigration detention.

A copy of the September 26 letter to DHS Secretary Johnson is below and online.


September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Access to Counsel in Immigration Court by Ingrid Eagly and Steven Shafer


Ingrid Steve s

The American Immigration Council released, Access to Counsel in Immigration Court by Ingrid Eagly and Steven Shafer, Esq. The authors conducted the first national study of access to counsel in immigration courts and analyzed 1.2 million individual removal cases in immigration court between fiscal years 2007 and 2012. They found that access to legal counsel was uneven across geographic locations and nationalities. They also found that having a lawyer results in better outcomes for immigrants and that represented immigrants were more likely to be released from detention, more likely to apply for relief, and to obtain the relief they sought.

These important findings highlight some of the disparities in the immigration court system. Whether or not immigrants obtain a lawyer varies widely depending on whether they are detained, where their court proceeding takes place, and what nationality they are. These inequalities and barriers to obtaining legal counsel need to be addressed because having an attorney is also strongly associated with positive outcomes. Overall, the study found that only two percent of those who applied for relief from deportation succeeded without an attorney.

The main findings of this study include:

Access to counsel is scarce and unevenly distributed across the United States

  • Nationally, only 37 percent of all immigrants secured legal representation in their removal cases.
    • Immigrants in detention were the least likely to obtain representation. Only 14 percent of detained immigrants acquired legal counsel, compared with two-thirds of nondetained immigrants.
  • Representation rates varied widely by court jurisdiction.
    • New York City’s representation rate for nondetained cases (87 percent) was a full 40 percent higher than that of Atlanta (47 percent).
    • Immigrants with court hearings in small cities were more than four times less likely to obtain counsel than those with hearings in large cities (11 percent in small cities versus 47 percent in large cities).
  • Immigrants of different nationalities had very different representation and detention rates.
    • Mexican immigrants had the highest detention rate (78 percent) and the lowest representation rate (21 percent) of nationalities examined. In contrast, Chinese immigrants had the lowest detention rate (4 percent) and highest representation rate (92 percent).

Immigrants with attorneys fare better at every stage of the court process

  • Represented immigrants in detention who had a custody hearing were four times more likely to be released from detention (44 percent with counsel versus 11 percent without).
  • Represented immigrants were much more likely to apply for relief from deportation.
    • Detained immigrants with counsel were nearly 11 times more likely to seek relief such as asylum than those without representation (32 percent with counsel versus 3 percent without).
    • Immigrants who were never detained were five times more likely to seek relief if they had an attorney (78 percent with counsel versus 15 percent without).
  • Represented immigrants were more likely to obtain the immigration relief they sought.
    • Among detained immigrants, those with representation were twice as likely as unrepresented immigrants to obtain immigration relief if they sought it (49 percent with counsel versus 23 percent without).
    • Represented immigrants who were never detained were nearly five times more likely than their unrepresented counterparts to obtain relief if they sought it (63 percent with counsel versus 13 percent without).



September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.N.’s New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees


Photo courtesy of United Nations General Assembly website

Huffington Post reports that on 19 September 2016, Heads of State and Government from around the world gathered together in the United Nations and adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a historic document that seeks to address the urgent questions posed to the international community by the growing global phenomenon of large movements of refugees and migrants.

The New York Declaration has been adopted in the context of the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, a one-day event organized by the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations on behalf of Member States, and attended by Heads of State and Government, Ministers, and leaders from the UN System, civil society, private sector, international organizations, and academia, among others.

Newsweek summarizes on the challenges in convincing 193 nations to agree on how best to handle the twin problems of migrants and refugees; while refugees already have legal protection and rights under international conventions, there is no such consensus on economic migrants, and many richer countries are resistant to changing that.

The key negotiators of the U.N.’s New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees were Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar—concerned with millions of refugees pouring into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa—and Irish Ambassador David Donoghue, whose primary focus is the influx of people to the European Union.  Among the main breakthroughs, the negotiators say, was that they brought migrants, not just refugees, into the U.N.’s purview.

The 22-page outcome document, which forms the basis for this new agreement, is composed of 12 pages plus two annexes—one for refugees and one for migrants—and sets out a two-year timetable to negotiate specific actions. “

Among those elements: programs for countries to absorb migrants and protections for them; provisions to educate migrant children; and burden sharing of existing migrant populations. What’s more, the document makes a case that migrants can have a positive effect on society.

View the full text of the New York Declaration.

Here is a United Nations' summary of the New York

What are the commitments?

The New York Declaration contains bold commitments both to address the issues we face now and to prepare the world for future challenges. These include commitments to:

  • Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding solutions.
  • Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.
  • Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants.
  • Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.
  • Strongly condemn xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it.
  • Strengthen the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries.
  • Improve the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to those countries most affected, including through innovative multilateral financial solutions, with the goal of closing all funding gaps.
  • Implement a comprehensive refugee response, based on a new framework that sets out the responsibility of Member States, civil society partners and the UN system, whenever there is a large movement of refugees or a protracted refugee situation.
  • Find new homes for all refugees identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement; and expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through, for example, labour mobility or education schemes.
  • Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.

What will happen next?

The New York Declaration also contains concrete plans for how to build on these commitments:  

  • Start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. The agreement to move toward this comprehensive framework is a momentous one. It means that migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.
  • Develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations. These guidelines will be particularly important for the increasing number of unaccompanied children on the move. 
  • Achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.


September 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DACA Outreach to San Diego's Filipino Immigrant Communities

The San Diego Union Tribune writes about one nonprofit organization's efforts to reach DACA-eligible members of the Filipino community in San Diego.  The article describes Alliance San Diego's outreach to Filipino and other Asian immigrants, and notes Asian immigrants' relatively low application rates for DACA since the creation of the program.


September 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

FOIA Analysis by Marshall Project Casts Doubt on "Felons, Not Families" Narrative

"Felons, not families," said President Obama in his November 2014 speech outlining the Administration's prosecutorial discretion policies in immigration.

But data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Marshall Project casts doubt on the contention that the Administration has actually deported individuals with serious crimes:

The majority — roughly 60 percent — were of immigrants with no criminal conviction or whose only crime was immigration-related, such as illegal entry or re-entry. Twenty-one percent were convicted of nonviolent crimes other than immigration. Fewer than 20 percent had potentially violent convictions, such as assault, DUI or weapons offenses.

The articles concludes by quoting Grace Meng of Human Rights Watch:  "When you’re aiming for a high number [of deportations], you’re necessarily going to get a lot of people with minor offenses...How is this a smart form of crime control?”



September 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immprofs at CSLSA

Immprofs Elias and Jeffries

This past weekend the University of North Dakota School of Law was privileged to host the annual Central States Law Schools Association conference. CSLSA is a generalist conference, yet it still managed to secure the participation of two fabulous immprofs: Stella Elias (Iowa) and Regina Jeffries (Minnesota).

Stella spoke on what she has termed "Refugee Federalism." During the last two years, some state officials have been at the forefront of a movement to block the resettlement of refugees from the Middle East and asylum seekers from Central America in their jurisdictions. Others have been in the vanguard of an initiative to welcome those fleeing persecution on humanitarian grounds. Stella is currently exploring the perils and promises of state engagement with refugee and asylee protection.

Regina discussed how Central American women and children seeking asylum in the United States should have more support during processing at the border and should not be placed in expedited removal proceedings. She argued that the U.S.'s treaty commitments -- under the U.N. Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol (which the U.S. signed in 1968) -- to non-refoulement of refugees fleeing persecution means that the country is obliged to provide these potential refugees with more support and more due process than they currently receive.

I hope other immprofs will considering joining us for the 2017 CSLSA conference at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale!


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

More New IJs Come From Private Practice

In the past, we've noted high numbers of new immigration judges coming to the position from government prosecution jobs. (Here, Here)

Of the fifteen IJs most recently sworn into office, five come from the private bar. They include:

  • IJ Valerie A. Burch of the San Francisco Immigration Court, whose past experience is with The Shagin Law Group, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.
  • IJ Robin Kandell Paulino of the San Francisco Immigration Court, who has worked with Microsoft Corporation, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, as well as Korenberg, Abramowitz & Feldun, and Swanson & Swanson.
  • IJ Jennifer I. Peyton of the Chicago Immigration Court, who had her own immigration firm and who taught as an adjunct at both Case Western University School of Law and Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
  • IJ Walter Hammele Ruehle of the Buffalo Immigration Court, who worked for the Legal Aid Society, the Neighborhood Legal Services, the Farmworker Legal Services, and taught as an adjunct professor at the Cornell Law School.
  • IJ Elizabeth Young of the San Francisco Immigration Court who led the University of Arkansas immigration clinic.

In addition, IJ Nancy J. Paul of the Omaha Immigration Court and IJ G. William Riggs, of the Miami Immigration Court, come to the position after years in military service - IJ Paul with the Air Force and IJ Riggs with the Marines.


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

First Trump/Clinton Presidential Debate: Little Discussion of Immigration

  Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop 330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015


Here is the debate in three minutes:


The first of three scheduled debates between Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Many observers predicted that immigration would be a topic of discussion, with fireworks likely.  The only safe bet was that debate moderator Lester Holt would be calm, cool, and collected (which in fact was the case). 

Here is the transcript to the debate.  There were no questions directly on immigrationAccording to a poll of debate watchers, Clinton prevailed.  Patrick Healey and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times summarized the debate as follows:

"In an antagonistic debate, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over trade, his refusal to release his tax returns and her use of a private email server."

"He repeatedly interrupted her, and she often chided him for bungling his facts."

Political analysts for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and CNN offered similar verdicts.

The first topic of the debate was "Achieving Prosperity," with the initial question on job creation and improving wages.  Hillary Clinton, among other things, suggested increasing the minimum wage.   Trump complained repeatedly about jobs leaving the United States and going to Mexico, China, and other countries:  "We are losing good jobs"; jobs are "being stolen from us."   Trump said that, as President, he would reduce taxes, which he claimed would create jobs.  He also called for renegotiating trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he attacked as unfair to the United States.    

The was a lengthy give-and-take about (1) Clinton's e-mails sent from a private server and (2) whether and when Trump would produce his tax returns.  Clinton repeatedly suggested that Trump was hiding something in his tax returns.  Trump repeatedly said that Clinton had done little to solve the nation's problems in her 30 years in government.

The second topic of the debate was "America's Direction."  Holt asked the candidates how they would heal the deep racial divide in the United States.  Not responding to the question directly, Trump emphasized the need for "law and order" and suggested that protesters were part of the problem.  He highlighted the crime problems in the United States afflicting Blacks and Hispanics, including the crime problem created by "illegal immigrants."  Trump endorsed stop-and-frisk policies and the need to protect minorities in our cities.  Clinton acknowledged that implicit bias is a problem among people generally, not just the police.  She also mentioned that stop-and-frisk policies had been found to be unconstitutional and a form of racial profiling.  Clinton acknowledged the need to address the racism in our criminal justice system.

The Birther Issue.  Lester Holt asked Donald Trump about his claim that President Obama was not a natural born U.S. citizen.  Trump, who credited himself with forcing the President to produce his birth certificate, said that he admitted that President Obama was born in the United States once he saw President Obama's birth certificate.  Trump stated that, after the President's place of birth was settled, he wanted to move on to other things, such as building the wall along the U.S./Mexico border.  He said that he would "say nothing" to those who asked him why he continued to press the birther issue after President Obama's birth certificate was produced.  Clinton highlighted that Trump became politically visible through publicizing the birther "lie. " Clinton also mentioned that Trump had been sued for racial discrimination.

The last segment was on "Securing America."  Trump mentioned his many military endorsements and the ICE endorsement.   ISIS, cybersecurity, and home-grown terrorism were topics of discussion. Clinton pounted out that Trump's attacks on Muslims has made it difficult to fight terrorism.  Clinton questioned Trump's temperament to be commander in chief. 

Trump brought up immigration in the last segment of the debate, with the reasoning difficult to follow:

"HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.

The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know."


The next presidential debates are scheduled for October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and October 19 at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


September 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 26, 2016

From Immprof to IJ


Elizabeth L. Young directed the immigration clinic at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville from Fall 2008 through Spring 2016. Prior to working at the U of A, she served as interim director of the immigration law clinic at George Washington University Law School. She also worked for three years at the San Francisco Immigration Court as an attorney adviser through the Department of Justice Honors Program.

Professor Young has now left the academy. She was recently appointed to serve as an immigration judge, and she sits on the San Francisco Immigration Court. Here is the official EOIR announcement.

Congratulations, Judge Young!


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Mobilizing Under 'Illegality': The Arizona Immigrant Rights Movement's Engagement with the Law by Vasanthi Venkatesh


Mobilizing Under 'Illegality': The Arizona Immigrant Rights Movement's Engagement with the Law by Vasanthi Venkatesh, University of Windsor -Faculty of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program 2016, Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 19, pp.165-201 (2016)

Abstract: Arizona has been in the news for the past few years not only for its vituperative, anti-immigrant polices, but also for the impressive immigrant rights movement that continues to spawn new coalitions and new activisms. The large numbers of cases that were and continue to be litigated and the innovative use of law to mobilize present a paradox since it is the law that constructs the “illegality” of undocumented immigrants, providing them very limited recourse to rights claims.

This paper analyzes the opportunities in existing legal doctrine for claiming rights for the undocumented. I argue that in the almost categorical acceptance of the plenary power of the Congress in immigration and the absence of a clear-cut articulation of rights for undocumented immigrants, immigrant rights advocates are faced with procedural and substantive obstacles to make legal claims. The legal opportunities that exist currently offer partial and ineffective solutions at best. I then explore what compelled legal mobilization strategies despite the lack of entitlements under immigration law and how the costs of legal strategies are mitigated by other advantages that legal mobilization provides. I suggest that activists invoked the law in various ways, not necessarily enamored by rights discourses or by an unbridled expectation in law as a means to achieve justice. The law, even with its limitations and biases, still provided avenues to curb state power and it also functioned as a symbolic, discursive, and mobilizing resource. I show that undocumented immigrants rely on legal action and rights discourse not only because of the expected diffusional effects of movements such as the civil rights and gay rights movement but also as acts of resistance and as assertions of quasi-citizenship.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fighting Human Trafficking Abroad


Tom Jackman in the Washington Post reports on efforts to combat human trafficking abroad:

"The men moved from brothel to brothel, each “packed with foreigners,” the American said. “You’re sitting next to these perverts, not only having to interact with them but become one of them. It’s common to go shop around. You sit there, get a price,” he said. “It was probably the darkest underworld playground of the devil that I’ve ever been in.”

The American was former Washington Nationals baseball player Adam LaRoche, and he described participating in a “rescue” operation last year with the Exodus Road, one of a number of American nonprofit groups that are fighting human trafficking in a new way: by luring pimps into the open, and then working with local law enforcement to arrest the traffickers and free the victims."


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE Union Endorses Trump



Not long before the first presidential debate,Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has picked up a noteworthy endorsement.  Reuters reports that that Trump picked up the endorsement today of the union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers.  Trump has laid out a hardline position on immigration, among other things, proposing to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

With immigration likely to be discussed at the debate, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union representing 5,000 federal immigration officers and law enforcement support staff, announced it would support Trump, in what was described as its first endorsement of a candidate for elected office.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Immigration Question that Lester Holt Should Ask at the Presidential Debate

Lester Holt will moderate tonight's Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton Presidential Debate.  There has been exciting build-up with some trash talking about inviting Gennifer Flowers, who years ago allegedly had a relationship with Bill Clinton, in response to the Clinton campaign's invitation to businessman Mark Cuban to attend the debate.

Patrick Gleason in Forbes opines that Lester Holt or a moderator of one of the other two debates would do well to ask Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump where they stand on Utah’s state guest working program law, which has been awaiting a waiver from the White House for five years.  Responding to federal inaction on immigration reform, Utah state legislators passed a bill in 2011 creating a state guest worker permit program.  It runs against conventional wisdom, and may surprise many living on the coasts that a conservative state would pass such a bold and historic immigration reform measure.

More generally, one might wonder what the candidates think about the various state laws dealing with immigration, such as the Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina immigration enforcement laws, or the increasing numbers of states allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses, pay in-state fees at public universities, and like measures.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexico sees surge of migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia


Irregular migrants heading for the United States wade across the Rio Suchiate between Tecún Umán, Guatemala and Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico. File photo: Keith Dannemiller / IOM 2014.

The Associated Press reports that Mexican immigration authorities have reported that they have experienced a surge of almost 5,000 Haitian, African and Asian migrants entering at the southern border in just a few days.  Recent experience suggests the 4,749 migrants entering through Mexico’s Tapachula immigration center on the Guatemalan border will soon try to reach the California border, with many expected to apply for asylum.  Recent trends suggest the majority are likely from Haiti.  That would mark a huge increase over the number seen so far this year. The institute said a total of 7,800 Haitian migrants entered Mexico through Guatemala between Jan. 1 and Sept. 21, as well as 1,701 migrants from Africa and 3,753 from various Asian nations.


September 26, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RIP Jose Fernandez, Cuban American MLB Star



ESPN reports some very sad news from Major League BaseballMiami Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernández, just 24 years old, was killed in a boating accident in Florida early this morning. The U.S. Coast Guard said Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach. 

Fernández was born in Cuba and made three unsuccessful attempts at defecting before he was successful. He was selected by the Marlins in the 2011 MLB draft. Fernández made his MLB debut with the Marlins on April 7, 2013. He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and was later named National League Rookie of the Year.

Fernández became the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions, as well as go 24-1 in his first 25 home decisions. He was one of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball at the time of his death.

Fernández attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times; each failed defection attempt was followed by a prison term. Fernandez, along with his mother and sister, successfully defected in 2007. On that attempt, José's mother fell overboard and José had to dive into the water to save his mother's life.


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration and the First Debate in the 2016 US Presidential Election

330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015 Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

The preliminaries are over.  On to the Main Event!  Tomorrow night, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will engage in their first face-to-face debate.  All eyes will be watching, with many observers expecting fireworks.

Here is how the Council on Foreign Relations summarizes the candidates' positions on immigration and how the candidates might address the issue during the debate:

"The candidates will use discussion of immigration to reinforce both their foreign policy and domestic messages. Hillary Clinton has argued that an open and well-enforced immigration system benefits both the U.S. economy and national security, and reflects American values. She has generally favored efforts to increase the number of immigrants to the United States, provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented, and make deportation and detention policies more humane while improving screening and enforcement. Clinton has called immigration a “family issue” and argued that the influx of foreign workers brings important benefits to the U.S. economy. She also favors expanded U.S. acceptance of refugees from Syria. She told an audience at CFR in December 2015 that “we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian obligations,” and that “We should be doing more to ease this humanitarian crisis, not less.”

Trump’s discussion of immigration tends to emphasize what he sees as the security, economic, and cultural failures of the current system. He has called for policies that would make the immigration system much more restrictive, including mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, erecting a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States, and other restrictions on legal immigration. Many of these policies are aimed at particular minority groups. In an August 2016 speech on immigration, Trump stated that the United States should have an “ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.” Trump also talks about immigration as an economic issue. He frequently highlights the cost of both illegal immigration and the immigration system more broadly, and has called for Mexico to pay for his proposed wall."



September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will New Americans Tip the 2016 Elections?


In this Los Angeles Times op/ed, Professor Manuel Pastor suggests that the increasing numbers of naturalizations may tip the scales in the 2016 elections.  He points to the response in California to the passage of the ant-immigrant milestone, Proposition 187.  That initiative fueled Governor Pete Wilson's re-election. 

The question in my mind is whether the nation will see the response to Donald Trumps' attacks on immigrants in this election or future ones.


September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)