Monday, October 23, 2017

At the Movies: Immigrant Prisons • BRAVE NEW FILMS

Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in over 200 immigration detention centers. In the new short documentary Immigrant PrisonsBrave New Films explores conditions inside these prisons and reveals substandard medical care, widespread physical and sexual abuse and virtual slave labor working conditions. The film shows how major corporations are profiting off the misery of immigrants and the ways in which grassroots activists are fighting back.


For more background on the film and issue of immigrant detention, see this blog post by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, founder and president of Brave New Films: Immigrant Prisons — 440,000 Locked Up Each Year, Billions In Profit

October 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

NITA + Immigration = Awesome!


As a Trial Advocacy professor, I'll admit that I'm a bit obsessed with NITA programming. They are simply amazing. Which is why I'm beyond excited to learn about NITA's new program: Advocacy in Immigration Matters.

It's not cheap. Best to say that up front. Tuition runs $1845 and that doesn't include travel to Boulder or your accommodations there.

Here's how NITA is billing the May 2-4 program:

As an immigration lawyer, you know going that going to court for asylum-seekers is rife with greater complexity than ever. The National Institute for Trial Advocacy recognizes this reality and in response, has developed Advocacy in Immigration Matters, a specialized program designed to help you rapidly upgrade your skills in representing asylum-seekers in immigration court.

Unlike other immigration law trainings you may have attended, the emphasis at NITA is on “learning by doing.” Advocacy in Immigration Matters goes well beyond a lecture-focused learning experience. You will learn important advocacy skills by actually using a case file with exhibits, motions, and IJ orders in a simulated court setting just as if it were an actual asylum matter in immigration court. During this three-day program, you will perform case analysis, make and meet objections, prepare your witness, and conduct direct, cross, and re-direct examinations, all before our instructors, who are some of the most experienced, top-flight trial lawyers in the country.

Each day begins with a brief lecture and demonstration of a particular skill you’ll need to best present your case. Your instructors will demonstrate each skill, then tell you why they took a specific approach. When it’s your turn to perform those same skills, they will share constructive, specific ideas on what to refine to help you become a more capable advocate for your clients. Likewise, when you watch your fellow students perform, you will absorb the “teachable moments” their performance renders as well, which means each layer of learning is continually reinforced by what you hear, see, and most importantly do.

In just three days, this Advocacy in Immigration Matters program, as with other the other time-tested, premier programming that NITA is known for, will swiftly refine your trial practice, leaving you with greater skill and confidence that shows up where it matters the most: when you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your client in the courtroom.

Note: The Immigration Court Practice Manual and the Federal Rules of Evidence govern these exercises. Prior to the program, we request that you view online presentations about advocacy skills and thoroughly read the case file and suggested legal authority

If you have professional development funds at your disposal, this would be an excellent expenditure!


October 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Geoffrey A. Hoffman: Legal Consequences of DACA Rescission


Geoffrey A. Hoffman analyzes the "Legal Consequences of DACA Rescission" for the Houston Journal of International Law.  As he states,

"Ending DACA raises a host of legal issues.  Beyond the legal consequences are also crucial non-legal issues flowing from President Trump’s decision to end the program. These include, but are not limited to, the psychological harm to individuals and their families; the social, health, welfare, and educational effects; the job prospects and careers that will be derailed; and the economic impact to the country as a whole.  Some commentators already have noted some of these concerns and have written about them. Less well-documented are the legal ramifications. This article will focus upon two categories of legal issues: (1) overarching issues concerning the legality of ending the program as a whole; and (2) issues having to do with individual DACA recipients and how ending the program may impact future opportunities for relief." (footnote omitted).


October 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks About Carrying Out the President's Immigration Priorities


On October 20, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the following remarks about immigration enforcement:

Thank you for that kind introduction Richard. You’ve been a crime fighter here in this office for over three decades.  Thank you for your dedicated service.

I would also like to thank and recognize our selfless and dedicated law enforcement here who put their lives on the line every and who run toward danger for the benefit of us all. 

On behalf of President Trump, it is an honor to be here with you all – with the selfless and courageous men and women of law enforcement.  President Trump and this Department of Justice understand your mission.  The President has directed us to support that mission and support you.  And we are committed to doing that.

Donald Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate and now he is governing as a law-and-order President.  Under his strong leadership, we are finally getting serious about crime and the rule of law.  And we are finally getting serious about illegal immigration.

We have the most generous immigration laws in the world.  And for decades we have always pulled back from effective enforcement.

But earlier this month, the President released his principles for fixing our immigration system.  Let me just say: they are a breath of fresh air.  For decades, the American people have been begging and pleading with our elected officials for an immigration system that is lawful and that serves our national interest.  Now we have a President who leads.

The principles he laid out deal with every aspect of our immigration problems—everything from border security to interior enforcement to closing loopholes in our asylum program.  It’s the kind of bold agenda that the American people have been waiting for.  It is reasonable and it will work.  And this is a critical point: this is not hopeless; it can be done!

First of all, the President is determined to finally build a wall at our Southern border.  This will make it harder for illegal aliens to break into this country.  For many, they will decide not to come illegally.  But more importantly, the wall will send a message to the world that we enforce our laws.  It sends a message: finally we mean it.

And to better do that, President Trump has proposed hiring more than 10,000 new ICE officers, 1,000 new ICE attorneys, 300 new prosecutors, and nearly 400 new immigration judges.  He has proposed switching to a more merit-based system of immigration like they have in Canada.  That means welcoming the best and the brightest but turning away gang members, fraudsters, drunk drivers, and child abusers.  This merit-based system would better serve our national interest because it would benefit the American people.  That’s what this agenda is all about.  We can't accept everybody—only people who will flourish.

And that’s why the President supports mandating the use of the E-verify system, which is an internet based system that allows employers to verify that those they hire are authorized to work in the United States.

Under the President’s plan, it would be illegal to discriminate against American workers in favor of foreign workers.

We need this agenda.  And Texans know that better than just about anybody.

I’m sure everyone in this room remembers Houston police officer Kevin Will.  An illegal alien who had been deported twice drove drunk and hit Officer Will at about 90 miles per hour.  Officer Will’s last words were telling someone to get out of the way of the car.  He died protecting innocent people.  And when he died, his wife was pregnant with their first child.

The open-borders lobby talks a lot about kids—those who are here unlawfully.  But open-borders policies aren’t even in their interest either.  After the previous administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—or DACA—policy in 2012, the number of unaccompanied children coming here nearly doubled in one year.  The next year, it doubled again.

I doubt that was a coincidence.  DACA encouraged potentially tens of thousands of vulnerable children to make the dangerous journey North.  That had terrible humanitarian consequences—and Texans know that firsthand.

Earlier this month, Border Patrol arrested two young men who had benefitted from DACA, for allegedly attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into Laredo.

Just a few days later, another beneficiary of DACA was charged with the murder of an 18-year old girl.  In total, 2,000 DACA recipients have had their status withdrawn.

The President wants to stop the incentives for vulnerable children to come here illegally.   He began to do that last month when he ended the DACA policy.

The President has also laid out a plan to close loopholes that are being exploited in our asylum program.

Under the previous Administration, the federal government began releasing illegal aliens who claimed to be too afraid to return home.  Unsurprisingly, the number of these claims skyrocketed nearly 20-fold in eight years from 5,000 in 2009 to 94,000 now.  And after their release, many of these people simply disappeared. 

It’s too easy to defraud our system right now—and President Trump is going to fix that.  The President’s plan to close the loopholes will stop the incentive for false asylum claims.

President Trump is also confronting the state and local jurisdictions that have undertaken to undo our immigration laws through so-called “sanctuary policies.”

Such policies undermine the moral authority of law and undermine the safety of the jurisdictions that adopt them.  Police are forced to release criminal aliens back into the community—no matter what their crimes.  Think about that: Police may be forced to release pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists back into the communities where they had no right to be in the first place.  They should—according to law and common sense—be processed and deported.

These policies hinder the work of federal law enforcement; they’re contrary to the rule of law, and they have serious consequences for the law-abiding Texans.

Earlier this month, an illegal alien in Kansas pled guilty to reckless driving that killed a law enforcement officer conducting a traffic stop.  He tested for a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit.  The officer who was killed—Deputy Brandon Collins—had two young daughters.

The illegal alien who killed Deputy Collins had already been arrested twice for driving-related offenses—including a previous drunk driving conviction.  Clearly, he had been in police custody, but no one turned him over to ICE.

The politicians behind “sanctuary” policies say that forcing police officers to release criminal aliens back onto the streets will somehow increase community trust. 

But that does not make sense to me.  Would releasing someone who had been arrested numerous times into your community give you more confidence in law enforcement?

Would learning that a local district attorney actually charges illegal aliens with less serious crimes than Americans to evade federal deportation make you believe they are trying to make your neighborhood safer?  Would forcing federal officers to track down criminal aliens on your street instead of safely in the jails make you believe we value your community?

We all know law enforcement is not the problem.  You risk your lives each day in service of the law and the people you protect.  Cooperation, mutual respect is critical.  Disrespecting our law enforcement officers in their lawful duties in unacceptable.

The problem is the policies that tie your hands. 

Yet, rather than reconsider their policies, sanctuary jurisdictions feign outrage when they lose federal funds as a direct result of actions designed to nullify plain federal law.  Some have even decided to go to court so that they can keep receiving taxpayer-funded grants while continuing to impede federal immigration enforcement.  We intent to fight this resolutely.

We cannot continue giving federal grants to cities that actively undermine the safety of federal law officers and intentionally frustrate efforts to reduce crime in their own cities.

These jurisdictions that knowingly, willfully, and purposefully release criminal aliens back into their communities are sacrificing the lives and safety of American citizens in the pursuit of an extreme open borders policy. It’s extreme and open borders because if a jurisdiction won't deport someone who enters illegally and then commits another crime then who will they deport.

This isn’t just a bad policy. It’s a direct challenge to the laws of the United States.  It places the lives of our fine law enforcement officers at risk and I cannot and will not accept this increased risk because certain politicians want to make a statement.

Our duty is to protect public safety and protect taxpayer dollars and I plan to fulfill those duties.

The vast majority of Americans oppose “sanctuary” policies.  According to one poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities should turn over criminal aliens to immigration officials.

The American people are not asking too much, and neither is the Department of Justice.  Federal law enforcement wants to work with our partners at the state and local level.  We want to keep our citizens safe.

Fortunately, in President Trump, we have strong leadership that is making a difference. 

Since he took office, border crossings have plummeted by nearly a quarter—even as our economy has been booming.  This past fiscal year, Border Patrol conducted half of the number of arrests as the previous one, and one-fifth of the number of arrests they made a decade ago.

Now, someone might say, that decline is because they’re just not catching people.  But that’s just not true.

Border Patrol’s tactics and their technology have been refined and are only getting better.  The Department of Homeland Security believes that they are catching a greater share of illegal aliens than ever—more than four out of five.

So the data show clearly: President Trump’s leadership is making a difference.  Would-be lawbreakers know that we are restoring the rule of law and enforcing our immigration laws again.

And under President Trump’s immigration principles, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will stop rewarding sanctuary cities with taxpayer dollars. 

If these cities want to receive law enforcement grants, then they should stop impeding federal law enforcement.

In Texas, you have taken a leadership role on this issue.

I want to commend the state legislature for passing Senate Bill Four with strong majorities in both chambers, and thank Governor Abbott for signing it into law.

I am well aware that this law has its critics.  And I am more than familiar with their line of criticism.  But the facts of the case are clearly on Texas’ side.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in this case.  We believe that the outcome is important not just to the state of Texas, but to the national interest.  The integrity of our immigration laws is not a local issue—it is a national issue.

I am confident that Texas will prevail in court.  But I would urge every so-called “sanctuary” jurisdiction to reconsider their policies.  So-called “sanctuary” policies risk the safety of good law enforcement officers and the safety of the neighborhoods that need their protection the most.  There are lives and livelihoods at stake.

If we work together, we can make our country safer for all our residents—native born and lawful immigrant alike.  Working together requires ending “sanctuary” policies.

The Department of Justice is determined to reduce crime.  We will not concede a single block or street corner in the United States to lawlessness.  Nor will we tolerate the loss of innocent life because a handful of jurisdictions believe they are above the law.

And so to all the law enforcement here—federal, state, and local—thank you for all that you do.  President Trump is grateful; I am grateful, and the entire Department of Justice is grateful for your service.  We have your back and you have our thanks.

Thank you, and God bless you.


Attorney General Sessions' remarks have provoked commentary, including an editorial today in the Washington Post. 


October 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ilya Somin: The case against special judicial deference in immigration and national security cases


On the Volokh Conspiuracy, Ilya Somin makes "The case against special judicial deference in immigration and national security cases."  The Trump administration in the various iterations of the travel ban litigation has sought such special deference.  Among other things, Somin relies on "an excellent recent article at the Lawfare website [by] legal scholars Ganesh Sitaraman and Ingrid Wuerth [that] critique[s] such `national security exceptionalism' by pointing out that national security policy isn’t really all that exceptional."


October 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

TPS Extension Deadlines for Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua

Nick Miroff writes in the Washington Post about upcoming extension deadlines for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and certain Central Americans.  (Country-specific deadlines available on the USCIS TPS page).  TPS is statutorily authorized for situations involving civil war, natural disasters and other temporary or emergency conditions abroad, but the specific countries and time periods for which TPS is extended are decided by DHS. 

As Miroff explains:  "Permission to stay must be periodically renewed by the Department of Homeland Security, and in the coming weeks, the agency will decide the fate of about 195,000 Salvadorans, 57,000 Hondurans, 50,000 Haitians and 2,550 Nicaraguans. Once the protections lapse, those immigrants would be subject to deportation.  Their predicament is not as well known as the “Dreamers” who have been allowed to stay under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that Trump is canceling. But an end to TPS protections could have wide-ranging consequences, especially in cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Washington, where many of the beneficiaries and their U.S.-born children reside."


October 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Army Tightens Rules For Immigrants Joining As A Path To Citizenship


NPR's Melissa Block talks with Margaret Stock, a retired U.S. Army officer, immigration attorney, and law professor, who created a program to recruit skilled immigrants. She says the new rules will bring down enlistment.


October 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: Alienage Classifications and the Denial of Health Care to Dreamers by Fatma E. Marouf


Alienage Classifications and the Denial of Health Care to Dreamers by Fatma E. Marouf, Washington University Law Review, Vol. 93, 2016




In the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), passed in 2010, Congress provided that only “lawfully present” individuals could obtain insurance through the Marketplaces established under the Act. Congress left it to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to define who is “lawfully present.” Initially, HHS included all individuals with deferred action status, which is an authorized period of stay but not a legal status. After President Obama announced a new policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) in June 2012, however, HHS amended its regulation specifically to exclude DACA recipients from the definition of “lawfully present.” The revised regulation denied DREAMers—undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children—access to affordable health care, while providing it to similarly situated individuals who had been granted deferred action through other means. This Article examines whether the exclusion of DREAMers from the ACA violates equal protection principles, highlighting critical inconsistencies and gaps in the case law on standards of review for alienage classifications. A circuit split exists about whether non-legal permanent residents are ever entitled to strict scrutiny, and the extent of the Executive’s power over immigration remains unclear, as does the allocation of power within the executive branch. In addition, courts are divided about the standard of review that applies when states discriminate against non-citizens pursuant to a federal statute. All of these issues complicate the analysis and underscore the need to reevaluate an unraveling tiered approach to judicial review.


October 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 20, 2017

ICE Is Investing In Detention Capacity

Prairie Correctional Facility
Photo Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

The Trump administration is looking to increase its immigration detention capacity, USA Today reports.

According to this call for information by DHS, the government is looking for "multiple possible detention sites" in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, and Salt Lake City "to hold criminal aliens and other immigration violators in support of its public safety mission."

You can read the request in full here.


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium: Live Blog Post Number 6


The UC Davis Law Review is holding its annual symposium today.  The topic is Immigration Law & Resistance.  I have been blogging over the course of the day.  This is the last post.


Professors Rose Villazor and Michael Kagan


Professors Saucedo and Gulasekaram

The last panel of the day was on Sanctuary and Beyond: State, City, and Individual Resistance.  The panel, which discussed the hot button issue of "sanctuary cities,"  included

  • Rose Cuison-Villazor, UC Davis School of Law, Moderator and Commentator
  • Michael Kagan, UNLV - William S. Boyd School of Law, “Immigrants, Police and the Rhetorical Rule of Law Problem.”  He discussed the power and implications of the word "sanctuary," and its attraction to supporters and critics of policies protecting the rights of immigrants.
  • Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis School of Law, “The Role of the States in Constructing the Desired Immigrant."  Professor Saucedo defends the constitutionality of the California "Values" Act, which has been characterized as the California "sanctuary" law.  She identifies a number of places in the federal immigration laws that rely on decisions by teh state.  
  • Pratheepan Gulasekaram, Santa Clara Law, “Sanctuary Everywhere.”  Professor Gulasekaram presented a paper that he co-authored with Professor Villazor defending the "new sanctuary," and wholly hembraces uses of the term "sanctuary."


Professors Villazor and Gulasekaram

Professor Rose Cuison-Villazor ended an incredibly enriching day with closing remarks. 

Thanks to Professor Villazor and the UC Davis Law Review for a wonderful, well-attended, and topical conference!  A job well done.



October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium: Live Blog Part 5


The UC Davis Law Review is holding its annual symposium today.  The topic is Immigration Law & Resistance.  I have been live blogging from the conference over the course of the day.  

The fourth panel was on Protecting Refugees:  Taking a Stance Against Detention, Unfairness, and Exploitation. 

Refugee panel

Panelists included (as pictured from left to right above):

Brian Soucek, UC Davis, Moderator

Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA, "Refugee Law and Policy for an Anxious Age."  Professor Motomura offers a look at his project on migrants, refugees, and citizens.  His preliminary -- yet intriguing -- thinking is that public discussion of immigration and civil rights in the United States is influenced by the fact that so many large flows of people are refugees.  

Jayashri Srikantiah, Stanford, "The Case for Eliminating Money Bond in Immigration." Professor Srikantiah looks at alternatives to cash bond requirements for noncitizens to be released from immigrant detention.  At least before the Trump administration, noncitizens in custody was generally eligible for bond and release from custody.

Juliet Stumpf, Lewis & Clark, "The Big Immigration Law Project."   Professor Stumpf looked at places of immigrant resistance and focused on the family detention of Central American women and children.  


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium: Live Blog Post Number 4


The UC Davis Law Review is holding its annual symposium today.  The topic is Immigration Law & Resistance.  I have been live blogging from the conference  over the course of the day.  

The third panel was on Defying the Criminalization and Deportation of Immigrants:

  • Floyd Feeney, UC Davis School of Law, Moderator and Commentator
  • César García Hernández, Denver University - Sturm College of Law (and blogger on the CrImmigrationblog), “Deconstructing Crimmigration."  He  advocates the demise of crimmigration law and the crime-based removal system as we know it.
  • Alina Das, NYU School of Law, “Inclusive Immigrant Justice.”  Her insightful paper looks at the history of racial animus and the origins of crime-based deportations.  Racial discrimination long has been embedded in crime-based removals from the days of the enactment of the original Chinese exclusion laws in the late 1800s through to the present.  Crime historically has been a proxy for a removal of disfavored racial minority groups.
  • Jack Chin, UC Davis School of Law, “Chevron and Citizenship Determinations.”  Professor Chin discussed his paper on the deference afforded to the Executive Branch citizenship decisions.  He argues that the U.S. government's judgment on citizenship should not be protected by ordinary agency deference.


Professors Alina Das and Jack Chin



Professors Floyd Feeney and Cesar Garcia


Right, Professor Cesar Garcia


Professor Jack Chin and UC Davis Law alum (and Assistant Federal Public Defender) Hope Alley


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium: Live Blog Post Number 3


The UC Davis Law Review is holding its annual symposium today.  The topic is Immigration Law & Resistance.  I have been live blogging from the conference over the course of the day.  


Professors Jack Chin, Shayak Sarkar, Rose Villazor, and Leticia Saucedo at lunch




At noon,  a video message was played from University of California President (and former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) Janet Napolitano. She thanked the Law Review for organizing the conference and the UC Davis School of Law for its commitment to immigrant rights.  President Napolitano noted the University of California's support for immigrant students and legal challenge to President Trump's dismantling of the DACA program. 

It was followed by a Luncheon Keynote by The Honorable Paul C. Lo, Superior Court of California, County of Merced, the First Hmong-American Judge in U.S. history.  Judge Lo is a graduate of UC Davis and UCLA School of Law.  Judge Lo spent time in a refugee camp in Thailand and shared his experiences as a part of the Hmong community in Laos, which assisted the U.S. government in the war in Viet Nam and fled their homeland as refugees.  A humble and thoughtful person, Judge Lo reflected on his immigrant/refugee experience.


Keynote speaker Judge Lo





October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium: Live Blog Post 2



SYMPOSIUM schedule

I am live blogging at the Immigration Law & Resistance symposium at UC Davis School of Law today.  The second panel was on The Economics of Immigration:

  • Shayak Sarkar, UC Davis School of Law, Moderator and Commentator
  • Howard Chang, University of Pennsylvania Law School, “The Economics of Immigration Reform.”  Professor Chang analyzed the negative economic impacts of the RAISE Act, which would reduce family visas, adopt a "merit" visa system, and cut legal immigration by one-half.
  • Giovanni Peri and Annie Hines, UC Davis Department of Economics, “Do Deportations Affect Local Economies?: Analyzing U.S. States 1992-2015.”  Professor Peri offered an economic analysis showing the lack of the economic benefits to U.S. citizens of increased deportation efforts.
  • Grace Chang, UC Santa Barbara, “Anti-Trafficking and Migrant Rights Movements: Whither the Connections?"  Professor Chang critically looks cat the criminalization of immigrant workers, with a particular focus on the recent tragedy in San Antonio with deaths of many migrants being trafficked.

Untitled.png 2

Professors Shayak Sarkar and Giovanni Peri



Professor Howard Chang



October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law and Resistance Symposium; Live Blog Post Number 1


The UC Davis Law Review is holding its annual symposium today.  The topic is Immigration Law & Resistance.  I will be live blogging from the conference over the course of the day.  


Senior Symposium Editors Rebecca Friedemann and Bailey McCabe (whose parents were in attendance) welcomed the participants in the symposium.  Other members of the symposium committee included Eva Loney, Shera Kwak, Natalie Ochoa, and Lexi Smith, 

The first panel was The Future of DACA and Prosecutorial Discretion

  • Ashutosh Bhagwat, UC Davis School of Law, Moderator and Commentator
  • Jennifer Chacón, UC Irvine Law, “Citizenship and Alienation”.  Professor Chacon discussed her research, based on interviews with DACA recipeints, on the value of citizenship. 
  • Kevin Johnson, UC Davis School of Law, “The Future of DACA, the Future of Immigration Law.”  I presented a paper analyzing recent developments in immigration law, the rise and fall of DACA, and the possible future of immigration law.
  • Bill Hing, USF School of Law, “Beyond DACA.”  Professor Hing presented a provocative paper analyzing possible civil disobedience by employers who could employ DACA recipents who lose their employment authorization.
  • Rachel Ray, UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, “DACA on the Ground.”  Ray discussed the kinds of immigration matters handles by the Center  and the views of the clients of President Trump's immigration enforcement initiatives. 

As moderator, Professor Bhagwat asked challenging questions, including (1) what the panelists though the prospects were for Congress to pass immigration reform; and (2) what trade-offs would pro-immigrant supporters be willing to make to ensure the passage of reform.  Would one, for example, be willing to agree to extend the law along the US/Mexico border for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants?



Professors Bill Hing and Ash Bhagwat



Professor Hing and Rachel Ray



Professor Chacon appeared by videoconference



October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California fires set off debate about immigration and sanctuary policies


Northern California had a string of devastating fires last week.  It did not take long for anti-immigrant forces to try to capitalize on human tragedy for political ends.  


ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan

The Los Angeles Times reports that ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan blasted Sonoma County for so-called sanctuary policies that he said has “left their community vulnerable to dangerous individuals and preventable crimes.”  Here is the statement:

“Once again, a non-cooperative jurisdiction has left their community vulnerable to dangerous individuals and preventable crimes. ICE lodged a detainer against Jesus Gonzalez with Sonoma County jail officials on October 16, following his arrest on felony charges for maliciously setting fire to a property. This is especially troubling in light of the massive wildfires already devastating the region. Over the past year, ICE has lodged detainers against Mr. Gonzalez after four separate arrests by Sonoma County on various felony and misdemeanor charges. ICE was never notified of Mr. Gonzalez’ various releases. Additionally, Mr. Gonzales has been returned to his home country of Mexico on two separate occasions. The residents of Sonoma County, and the state of California, deserve better than policies that expose them to avoidable dangers. Non-cooperation policies – now enshrined in California state law – ensure only one thing: criminals who would otherwise be deported will be released and left free to reoffend as they please.”


Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano lashed back, saying Homan’s statement was “inaccurate, inflammatory and damages the relationship we have with our community.”  “ICE attacked the Sheriff’s Office in the midst of the largest natural disaster this county has ever experienced,” Giordano said. “ICE’s misleading statement stirs fear in some of our community members who are already exhausted and scared.”

The controversy stemmed from the arrest Sunday of a homeless man accused of felony arson. The man, who immigration officials said has been returned twice to Mexico, told deputies he set a fire in Maxwell Farms Park in Sonoma Valley, where he’s been seen sleeping, to stay warm. He is being held on $200,000 bail.  A day later, federal immigration authorities said they lodged a detainer, or a request to local jailers to keep an inmate behind bars for up to two extra days.

Far-right news outlet Breitbart inflated the story in a report published Tuesday, suggesting that man arrested was behind the string of wildfires 8 that devastated the wine country.  Buzzfeed ("Breitbart Made Up False Story That Immigrant Started Deadly Sonoma Wildfires, Sheriff's Office Says") looked at "right-wing media outlets report[s] that an undocumented immigrant was arrested in connection to the [wine country] fires" and concluded that "[t]he reports are false."

Sheriff Giordano shot down Breitbart’s claim.  “There is a story out there that he’s the arsonist in these fires. That’s not the case. There’s no indication he’s related to these fires at all,” Giordano said of the man arrested. He also reiterated that there is no evidence that the man started the wildfires, the causes of which remain under investigation. 


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

DC Circuit to Livestream Arguments in Immigrant Abortion Case


Live Audio Stream of Arguments in Garza v. Hargan (17-5236) Beginning October 20, 2017, 10:00 a.m.

The National Law Journal reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will broadcast oral arguments Friday for the first time since 2001 in a case that considers whether the government should allow an undocumented teenage immigrant to obtain an abortion.  In response to a request from Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland agreed Thursday to livestream audio. The D.C. Circuit typically does not allow electronic devices in its courtrooms, and the only other time it livestreams a hearing was for the 2001 Microsoft antitrust case. Roth said the D.C. Circuit privately agreed to a case-by-case livestream policy this summer, but had yet to receive a request. Roth asked Garland to livestream Friday's arguments due to the interest he's seen online in the case. His organization, Fix the Court, works to increase transparency in courtrooms, advocating for live audio broadcasts and cameras across the country.

Click the link above to listen to the argument at 10 a.m. EST.


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge denies Arpaio's motion to erase his criminal contempt conviction


Megan Cassidy reports that U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton yesterday denied former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's request to vacate his criminal contempt conviction after he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.  See the order here.  In her ruling, Bolton said while Trump's pardon "undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case." 

Bolton found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt in July, saying the former lawman showed “flagrant disregard” for another federal judge’s order that halted his signature immigration roundups on grounds his department was racially profiling people.
Trump pardoned his political ally weeks later. The move effectively canceled Arpaio's scheduled sentencing hearing, but defense attorneys additionally asked that Bolton's verdict be scrubbed from the record. 


Joe Arpaio's lawyer Jack Wilenchik said he plans to ask the judge to reconsider her ruling and, failing that, will likely appeal. | John Moore/Getty Images


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who Is Represented in Immigration Court? Mexican Immigrants Lowest, Chinese Highest Representation Rates


Many factors impact the odds that an individual can obtain representation in Immigration Court. Using very recent case-by-case court records, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University has just completed a detailed analysis examining how the odds of representation varies with the particular court and hearing location, the nationality and custody status of the immigrant, and the length of time the person has been in the U.S. Cases are followed so the ultimate outcome of each case can be linked to whether the individual was represented or not.

Among the highlights are the impact of nationality and detention status on whether or not persons obtain representation. Individuals from Mexico generally had the lowest representation rates, while those from China had the highest. Representation rates for detained individuals have ranged between roughly 10 and 30 percent, and after falling from 2000 - 2005, stabilized for several years before they began to steadily improve from 2009 onward, leveling out during 2015 - 2017 at slightly about 30 percent. Representation rates for those who were never detained in contrast have generally ranged between 60 and 80 percent.

Click here for more information.


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Can We Act Globally While Thinking Locally? Responding to Stella Burch Elias, the Perils and Possibilities of Refugee Federalism by Kit Johnson


Can We Act Globally While Thinking Locally? Responding to Stella Burch Elias, the Perils and Possibilities of Refugee Federalism by Kit Johnson, 67 American University Law Review 101 (2017)

In The Perils and Possibilities of Refugee Federalism, Professor Stella Burch Elias skillfully exposes both the dangers and the opportunities presented by state responses to the resettlement of refugees within their borders. She concludes that states are prohibited from excluding refugees from their territory, but she argues that states have a previously untapped opportunity to legislate at the local level in an effort to promote the integration of refugees into their communities.

This Response does not challenge those conclusions. Rather, this Response seeks to provide context to the idea of refugee federalism by further discussing the problem, acknowledged by Professor Elias, that, legal or not, states are successfully avoiding the placement of refugees within their borders. Additionally, this Response attempts to articulate a concern that increasing state involvement regarding the selection of refugees may exacerbate the nimbyism that already pervades the treatment of refugees in the United States.


October 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)