Thursday, May 5, 2016

Immigration Article of the Day: Displaced: A Proposal for International Law to Protect Refugees, Migrants, and States by Jill I. Goldenziel


Displaced: A Proposal for International Law to Protect Refugees, Migrants, and States by Jill I. Goldenziel, Harvard Kennedy School; Harvard University April 21, 2016 Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Forthcoming

Abstract: How can international law better protect both international security and the human rights of people fleeing violence? International refugee law protects only the refugees: those fleeing across borders due to a well-founded persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The world’s other 42.3 million people displaced by violence have few protections under international law. This article proposes and sketches new international law to address this crucial human rights problem. I argue that a new Displaced Persons Convention to protect people fleeing violent conflict is needed to supplement the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Refugee Convention must be preserved because of the critical protections it provides for the rights of minorities and political dissidents. Adding a new Displaced Persons Convention would better protect the human rights of individuals fleeing violent conflict and state failure, further state interests, and improve international security.


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Human Impacts of DAPA: A Student's Insights



The US Supreme Court is weighing a decision over President Obama’s DAPA Program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, in the case of United States v. Texas. 

The high court heard oral argument on April 18 on the Obama Administration’s deferred action program.

On Insight, we’ll talk about the case, its potential impact, and likely outcome with the law school dean of UC Davis Kevin Johnson and UC Davis undergraduate student Lizbeth Cuevas who attended a rally outside the Supreme Court on the day of oral argument.  Lizbeth, who talks about the real human impacts of the deferred action programs, is the person work listening to on this interview.  I am proud that she is a student at UC Davis, who will be graduating in June with a degree in Human Development.


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

Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Advocacy Best Practices Manual for Legal Service Providers.


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is pleased to announce the release of Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Advocacy Best Practices Manual for Legal Service Providers.  

Unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied children arrived at the southern border in 2014. One year later, in June 2015, NIJC convened experts to address the unique challenges facing legal service providers and pro bono attorneys serving these children.  

Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children is the product of this convening, covering a range of topics of interest to advocates representing immigrant children, including:

  • how to customize legal documents for use with child clients
  • meeting the social services needs of immigrant children
  • practical approaches to some of the more common ethical and conflict situations that arise in the representation of unaccompanied children

We hope this best practices manual will serve as a useful tool both for legal services providers striving to meet the growing demand for legal services for unaccompanied children, as well as for those pro bono attorneys stepping in to help fill the remaining gaps. The manual is available online for easy access, and includes links to helpful resources throughout.  


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

Photos of Guantanamo Bay

From the Washington Post: These photos offer a rare glimpse inside Guantanamo Bay. Indeed they do. Great and hard to come by in-class visuals.


May 4, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Border Keepers of Alabama and Its Private Border Enforcement Operations


A few years ago, the Minutemen Project and related groups calling for citizen patrols along the U.S./Mexico border regularly made the news.  This news report focuses on a new group based in Alabama, which not long ago was the site of an immigration enforcement law known as H.B. 56.   

Border Keepers of Alabama is a group of a few dozen men and women with the stated goal of preventing drugs and people from passing illegally through the border with Mexico.   The organization calls itself "BOA" for short.   Critics call them vigilantes and racists. Supporters call them patriots and heroes.

Several times a year, BOA runs special operations--or "ops"--on the border with Mexico. Between four and ten men usually go on these trips, joining up with like-minded groups from across the country. They call themselves "three percenters," a reference to the three percent of soon-to-be Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. The Border Keepers of Alabama have traditionally focused their attention on Brownsville, Texas.  In April 2016, they shifted gears, sending men for the second time to an op near Nogales, Arizona.   Here is a report on a the BOA trip to Arizona.



May 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump's Words on Immigrants Make Their Way Around the World





Peter W. Stevenson  of the Washington Post reports on how Donald Trump's comments on immigration have become a worldwide phenomenon.  

"Donald Trump's comments on immigration have been replayed around the world.

In Mexico, current and former leaders tore into Trump, with former president Vicente Fox saying, "I'm not going to pay for that [expletive] wall!" In Saudi Arabia, Walid bin Talal, a member of the royal family, tweeted that Trump is "a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America." In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron called Trump's rhetoric "divisive, stupid and wrong.”

Then there's Argentina, where a television broadcaster just released this video."



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

From the Bookshelves: The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World by Tara Zahra



The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World by Tara Zahra

Between 1846 and 1940, more than 50 million Europeans moved to the Americas, irrevocably changing both their new homes and the ones they left behind. In this groundbreaking study, Tara Zahra explores the deeper story of this astonishing movement of people—one of the largest in human history.

The great exodus out of Eastern Europe hollowed out villages with dizzying speed. As villages emptied and the fear of depopulation ran rampant, anxiety over “American fever” prevailed, leading to the scapegoating of Jewish emigration agents. Yet others saw vast opportunity: to seed colonies of migrants like the Polish community in Argentina, to gain economic advantage from an inflow of foreign currency, or to reshape their communities in a new land. In the United States, their migration fostered the notion of the “land of the free.” Globally, the policies that gave shape to this migration provided the precedent for future events such as the Holocaust, the closing of the Iron Curtain, and the tragedies of ethnic cleansing.

A sweeping history of the most consequential social phenomenon of the twentieth century, The Great Departure gives poignant attention to the individuals whose lives were transformed by these decades of mass departure, and a keen historical perspective on their continuing legacy.

For a book review and interview with the author in National Geographic, click here.


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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Immigration Article of the Day: Disaggregating 'Immigration Law' by Matthew J. Lindsay


Disaggregating 'Immigration Law' by Matthew J. Lindsay, University of Baltimore - School of Law 2016 Florida Law Review, Vol. 68, pp 181-266, 2016

Abstract: Courts and scholars have long noted the constitutional exceptionalism of the federal immigration power, decried the injustice it produces, and appealed for greater constitutional protection for noncitizens. This Article builds on this robust literature while focusing on a particularly critical conceptual and doctrinal obstacle to legal reform — the notion that laws governing the rights of noncitizens to enter and remain within the United States comprise a distinct body of “immigration laws” presumed to be part and parcel of foreign affairs and national security. This Article argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent immigration jurisprudence suggests a willingness to temper, and perhaps even retire, that presumption. In particular, the majority opinions in Zadvydas v. Davis and Padilla v. Kentucky evidence a growing skepticism among the Justices that the regulation of noncitizens comprises a discrete, constitutionally privileged domain of distinctly “political” subject matter that is properly buffered against judicial scrutiny. To rescind that presumption would, in effect, disaggregate the category of “immigration law” for the purpose of constitutional review and subject federal authority over noncitizens to the same judicially enforceable constitutional constraints that apply to most other federal lawmaking. The disaggregation of immigration law would thus give full expression to noncitizens’ constitutional personhood. Foreign policy and national security considerations would continue to serve as constitutionally viable warrants for laws burdening noncitizens, but Congress and the President would no longer enjoy the extraordinary judicial deference that they currently receive as a matter of course.


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

Immigration Law Prof Fatma Marouf Moves from UNLV to Texas A & M


 Leiter Law Reports complied a list of lateral move among tenure track law professors.  One of those listed is Fatma Marouf, an immigration law and clinical professor, who is moving from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to Texas A & M.  Professor Marouf's extensive publication list includes:

A Particularly Serious Exception to the Categorical Approach, __ B.U. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2017).

Community-Based Alternatives to Immigration Detention, __ Cardozo L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2016).

The Alienage Classifications and the Denial of Health Care to DREAMers, 93 Wash. U. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2016).

Human Rights Law and Bioethics as Complementary Frameworks: Setting a Floor for the Standard of Care in Clinical Trials, 17 Health & Hum. Rts. 31 (2015) (co-authored).

The Unconstitutional Use of Restraints in Removal Proceedings, 64 Baylor L. Rev. 214 (2015).

Incompetent but Deportable: The Case for a Right to Mental Competence in Removal Proceedings, 65 Hastings L.J. 929 (2014).

 Justice on the Fly: The Danger of Errant Deportations, 75 Ohio St. L.J. 337 (2014) (co-authored). 

Buying Time? False Assumptions About Abusive Appeals, 63 Cath. U. L. Rev. 679 (2014) (co-authored).

The Role of Foreign Authorities in U.S. Asylum Adjudication, 45 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 391 (2013).

Regrouping America: Immigration Policies and the Reduction of Prejudice, 15 Harv. Lat. L. Rev. 129 (2012).

Implicit Bias and Immigration Courts, 45 New England L. Rev. 417 (2011).

The Rising Bar for Persecution in Asylum Cases Involving Sexual and Reproductive Harm, 22 Colum. J. Gender & L. 81 (2011).


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

Actress Cate Blanchett UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, yesterday announced the appointment of Academy Award winning actor Cate Blanchett as a global Goodwill Ambassador. The announcement comes as Blanchett returns from a mission to Jordan to witness the ongoing humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria. She met Syrian refugee families to hear first-hand about the perilous journeys they had undertaken and the daily challenges they face.

The actor takes on the role at a time when war, conflict and persecution have forced around 60 million people worldwide to run for their lives, the largest number since World War II. Nearly 20 million of these are refugees and more than half are children. The conflict in Syria is the main driver of this global crisis, forcing more than 4.8 million Syrians to become refugees in its neighboring countries alone, with more seeking safety further afield.

Prior to her appointment, Blanchett had been working closely with UNHCR for over a year to raise awareness about the forcibly displaced. In 2015, she travelled to Lebanon to meet Syrian refugees and to hear about the experiences of stateless people as part of her support for UNHCR's #IBelong Campaign.




May 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Australian Immigrant Detention under Scrutiny as Young Somali woman sets herself alight in Australian detention


Photo of Hodan Yasin courtesy of CNN

The Australian government's detention of asylum-seekers is coming under scrutiny after tragedy struck.

 CNN reports that a 21-year-old Somali asylum seeker has set herself on fire at an Australian offshore processing center on the pacific island of Nauru, less than a week after refugee advocates say she was forcibly sent back there. The woman, named by refugee advocates as Hodan Yasin, is currently in a critical condition.

On Sunday, another refugee, named as Omid, died in an Australian hospital after setting himself alight on Nauru two days earlier.

Critics say the self-immolations reflect the desperation of refugees living under Australia's controversial immigration policy. Asylum seekers who arrive on Australian shores by boat are told they will never settle in the country, and are transferred to remote processing centers on the pacific islands on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Hundreds of people, including children, have lived for months or even years in these detention centers.

Yesterday, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees released a statement calling for the immediate movement of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island to humane conditions. Based on numerous visits over the past several years, the UN agency described the current arrangement as "completely untenable." "There is no doubt that the current policy of offshore processing and prolonged detention is immensely harmful," the UNHCR said.


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

ACLU Investigation Reveals Rights Violations in SB 1070 Enforcement


In Arizona v. United States (2012), the Supreme Court refused to strike down on its face Section 2(B) of Arizona's S.B. 1070, which requires local police to inquire about the immigration status of persons who they reasonably suspect are in the United States in violation of the federal immigration laws.  As a result, Section 2(B) has been enforced.  There long has been concern about the constitutionality of possible stops under the law.

The ACLU of Arizona is demanding immediate changes to Tucson Police Department (TPD) policies after an investigation of TPD traffic stop records found that officers enforcing Section 2(B) of Arizona’s SB 1070 are in many cases prolonging stops in order to investigate individuals’ immigration status. These practices violate strict constitutional limitations on police involvement in immigration enforcement as well as TPD’s own policies. The ACLU of Arizona’s findings are detailed in a letter sent to Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus on May 2, 2016, and are based on a review of TPD stop records from June 2014 to December 2015, which the ACLU of Arizona obtained through a public records request.

The ACLU of Arizona’s investigation identified clear or potential constitutional problems in more than 75 percent of the stops it reviewed—85 out of the roughly 110 cases that TPD identified in which Border Patrol responded to the scene of a stop. The majority of these incidents were routine traffic stops, many involving minor infractions that led to unlawfully prolonged detention, including transport to Border Patrol custody. More than a dozen records revealed immigration checks producing false positives, or “hits,” resulting in extended detention of U.S. citizens and other lawfully present individuals.  In some cases, families with young children were detained roadside in order for the parents to be handed over to Border Patrol agents.

While the Supreme Court recently held, in Rodriguez v. United States, that a traffic stop extended “seven or eight minutes” past the time required to address the basis for the stop violated the Constitution, TPD’s data shows routine stops lasting anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours before Border Patrol’s arrival. The majority of the stops reviewed by the ACLU lasted between one and two hours.

The ACLU also submitted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding an investigation into Border Patrol’s improper involvement in TPD traffic stops. In addition to rights violations, TPD stop records indicate Border Patrol is disregarding DHS enforcement priorities as well as the Obama Administration’s promises to limit federal participation in the enforcement of SB 1070, including involvement in routine traffic stops.

“TPD’s own records confirm what Tucson community members have been saying for years: in many cases officers are going out of their way to transfer people to Border Patrol, regardless of the delay that results or the fact that SB 1070 does not—and cannot—authorize prolonged detention," said James Lyall, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Arizona. "These practices are blatantly unconstitutional and profoundly undermine the community’s trust in law enforcement.”

The letter highlights more than twenty case examples, including:

  • A mother driving her two children to school was stopped and found to have a suspended license, for which she could have been cited and released. Instead, TPD detained her until Border Patrol arrived to take custody, over an hour after the officer’s immigration check and one hour and twenty minutes after the stop was initiated.

  • Two individuals stopped for speeding identified themselves as “DREAMers.” The officer advised them “they were being detained as they had provided no evidence of being in the US legally” even though that is not a crime and gave the officer no authority to detain them. The officer requested Border Patrol respond to the scene. Border Patrol arrived but declined to take either subject into custody and the stop was concluded—one and a half hours after it was initiated.

  • A driver was stopped and found to have a suspended license. The officer conducted an immigration check, which indicated the driver was undocumented. Border Patrol arrived and determined the driver was a U.S. citizen—one hour after the immigration check was initiated. TPD cited and released the driver four minutes later. 

The records obtained by the ACLU of Arizona also indicate that TPD supervisors have provided inaccurate guidance on officers’ legal authority—including stating, incorrectly, that officers waiting for Border Patrol are not “restrained by time”—and that officers have not received specific training on TPD immigration policy since July 2014, when officers took a 12-page online training course.

“There is no excuse for TPD supervisors providing false and contradictory guidance on the strict limits of officers’ immigration authority, or for providing officers with such minimal training on key developments in relevant case law and numerous revisions to TPD immigration policy in recent years," said Victoria Lopez, ACLU of Arizona legal director. "These fundamental oversight failures are a recipe for abuse.”

Prior to implementation of Section 2(B), the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, community leaders, and government officials all warned the law would result in the very civil rights violations now described in TPD stop records. In upholding Section 2(B), the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States cautioned that “to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status” would “raise constitutional concerns.”

The ACLU of Arizona’s letter to TPD includes a detailed list of policy recommendations and calls on TPD Chief Chris Magnus to conduct an immediate review of TPD immigration policy and to “implement all necessary changes to ensure officers are not exceeding the lawful scope of their authority.” The ACLU of Arizona is also calling for limits to and oversight of Border Patrol involvement in routine stops by local police.

ACLU of Arizona letter to Tucson Police Department.

ACLU of Arizona letter to DHS.


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

Ninth Circuit Lifts Injunction in Arizona Identity Fraud Law Enforcement Case


Judge Richard Tallman

Law 360 (login required) reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit yesterday reversed an order enjoining  Arizona laws that criminalize identity fraud for securing employment.  The court held that the Arizona laws are not preempted on their face by federal immigration law because they don’t only apply to unauthorized immigrants. The appeals court rejected the argument by Puente Arizona that the laws are preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

In an opinion by Judge Richard Tallman, joined by Judge Barry Silverman and District Court Judge Robert Lasnik (sitting by designation), the court in Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, the Ninth Circuit lifted an injunction entered by the district court to bar enforcement of the laws through workplace raids by Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other law enforcement agencies.



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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1884-1944: A Digital Archive


The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has a "Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1884-1944:  A Digital Archive."  From 1882 to 1943 ,the United States government severely curtailed immigration from China to the United States. This federal policy resulted from concern over the large numbers of Chinese who had come to the United States in response to the need for inexpensive labor. Congress passed several laws restricting their immigration and naturalization. In its efforts to regulate these matters, the Congress also established federal agencies that created documentation related to those activities and its management of those people under the existing legislation. This website provides an overview of that history and offers an online, searchable index to many of the nearly 200,000 “casefiles” held at NARA which cover the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1880-1943).

May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Puerto Ricans Leaving the Island for Mainland U.S.


Map of Puerto Rico

CNN reports that, continuing a trend over the last several years, Puerto Ricans are leaving the island for the mainland United States at a historic rate. The commonwealth's Institute of Statistics revealed Sunday the results of its analysis on 2014 migration, which found that Puerto Rico lost almost 2% of its population that year. About 84,000 people moved from Puerto Rico to the United States in 2014 while only 20,000 moved back to the island, resulting in a net migration of 1.8%. On average, 230 people left per day -- enough to fill two daily flights out of the island. The result is the highest net migration recorded in the past decade, the Institute said.

"The economic factor is the main factor pushing people towards leaving Puerto Rico," demographer Raul Figueroa, who works as an independent consultant, told CNN. Unemployment, the lack of opportunities, especially for the youth, and quality of life are major factors, he said.

Puerto Rico, now 10 years into a recession, is deep in debt and often compared to Greece and Detroit. More Puerto Ricans now live in the mainland United States than on the island itself. In the 1950s, most Puerto Ricans moved to New York, but Florida has been the main destination in the last 10 years.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.  Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and thus are migrants to the mainland, not immigrants.



May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Strangers at Our Door by Zygmunt Bauman


Strangers at Our Door by Zygmunt Bauman (to be released June 2016)

Refugees from the violence of wars and the brutality of famished lives have knocked on other people's doors since the beginning of time. For the people behind the doors, these uninvited guests were always strangers, and strangers tend to generate fear and anxiety precisely because they are unknown. Today we find ourselves confronted with an extreme form of this historical dynamic, as our TV screens and newspapers are filled with accounts of a 'migration crisis', ostensibly overwhelming Europe and portending the collapse of our way of life. This anxious debate has given rise to a veritable 'moral panic' - a feeling of fear spreading among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society.

In this short book Zygmunt Bauman analyses the origins, contours and impact of this moral panic - he dissects, in short, the present-day migration panic. He shows how politicians have exploited fears and anxieties that have become widespread, especially among those who have already lost so much - the disinherited and the poor. But he argues that the policy of mutual separation, of building walls rather than bridges, is misguided. It may bring some short-term reassurance but it is doomed to fail in the long run. We are faced with a crisis of humanity, and the only exit from this crisis is to recognize our growing interdependence as a species and to find new ways to live together in solidarity and cooperation, amidst strangers who may hold opinions and preferences different from our own.

Bauman discusses the book and the refugee crisis in the New York Times.


May 2, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

May Day Marches for Immigration Reform


Photo of march in Los Angeles courtesy of Whittier Daily News

In May Day marches in Los Angeles (see video), Chicago, New York, Boston, Seattle, and other cities yesterday, marchers advocated for the rights of immigrants. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that thousands of people took to the streets in the annual May Day marches in downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Height to advocate for immigration reform, police accountability and an end to racism.  The diverse array of protesters shared one thing in common: all were offended by something Donald Trump had said. The Republican presidential candidate literally loomed over one of the rallies in the form of a giant balloon effigy carrying a Ku Klux Klan hood.


Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times


May 2, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The 1.5 Generation Organic Farmer

Check out this NYT video Growing Organics 'Sin Fronteras.' It follows Eduardo Rivera, a Minnesotan, a member of the 1.5 generation, and an organic farmer looking to bring fresh produce to his community.



May 1, 2016 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Immigration Rhetoric Leaves Latino Population Feeling Disenfranchised

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: The Immigration Challenge No One Is Talking About


In TIME, Opal Tometi, Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, writes that "We must repeal the 1996 immigration laws."  Despite the attention that news outlets and presidential candidates are giving the issue, the most devastating policies immigrants face—the 1996 immigration laws—are barely on the radar. As a result of these laws, millions of immigrants have been victims of fast-track deportations and unjust, arbitrary detention; families and communities have been torn apart; and entire generations of immigrants have been criminalized.

April marks the 20th anniversary of these draconian policies. The best thing we can do to mark this anniversary is to repeal them.In the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, President Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996. This legislation expanded the grounds for detaining and deporting immigrants, including long-term legal residents, and was the first law to authorize the now widely used fast-track deportation procedures.

Following AEDPA, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was signed into law in September 1996. The law made sweeping changes to allow for deportations to be retroactive and broadened the types of crimes that could result in deportation. As a result, many immigrants, including those with legal residency, became deportable for non-violent offenses, including relatively minor ones, such as marijuana possession, jumping a subway turnstile or selling bootlegged DVDs. Many of these offenses are not even classified as crimes on the state level.


April 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)