Monday, August 11, 2014

Rutgers Does a Good Deed for Undocumented Student

Fox News Latino has a story that should brighten your day.  Rutgers University has awarded a full scholarship to an undocumented immigrant to finish his last two years of college.

Rutgers University-Newark has granted Giancarlo Tello, a 24-year-old political science major who came from Peru with his parents when he was just 6, a two-year scholarship that amounts to about $22,000. University officials say they heard Tello speak at a community event in Newark, New Jersey and were amazed by his intelligence and leadership abilities. Since Tello is undocumented, and therefore ineligible for public financial aid programs, officials decided they would offer him a scholarship to help him cover the cost of his last two years.


August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unauthorized Immigrants Paid $100 Billion Into Social Security Over Last Decade

When advocates for tighter immigration controls rail on the costs of immigration, they often neglect this important -- and well-established fact -- that undocumented immigrants for years have helped keep our Social Security system afloat.  Vice News reports that "Unauthorized workers are paying an estimated $13 billion a year in social security taxes and only getting around $1 billion back, according to a senior government statistician. Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA), told VICE News that an estimated 7 million people are currently working in the US illegally. Of those, he estimates that about 3.1 million are using fake or expired social security numbers, yet also paying automatic payroll taxes. Goss believes that these workers pay an annual net contribution of $12 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund. The SSA estimates that unauthorized workers have paid a whopping $100 billion into the fund over the past decade. Yet as these people are in the US illegally, it is unlikely that they will be able to benefit from their contributions later in life. "  (emphasis added).


Hat tip to Professor Francine Lipman!


August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ted Cruz: Stop Obama's Amnesty

Immigrant of the Day: Joanna Wysocka From Poland | Biochemist


Joanna Wysocka From Poland | Biochemist

Polish-born biochemist Joanna Wysocka first visited the U.S. as a representative of Poland at the 1992 International Chemistry Olympiad, but it was only later that she immigrated to earn her Ph.D. at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in Long Island. After her post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University, where her research focused on chromatin biology, Wysocka established an independent laboratory in the Departments of Chemical and Systems Biology and Developmental Biology at Stanford University. There she shifted her focus to stem cell biology, and, in 2010, she won the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Honored with a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, in 2013, Wysocka continues to build on her work, uncovering crucial insights into cell fate and lineage.



August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In Kind Donations To Help Recent Migrants

Photo via Jose Antonio Vargas

Did you know that there are agencies around the country that will accept donations of clothing and household goods to benefit recent migrants?

Here is a handy list of agencies that work with refugees. Nearly all would be thrilled to take furniture, cookware, and the like, which is helpful in setting up recent immigrants in their new U.S. homes.

If you're interested in helping undocumented migrants in particular, consider sending your clothes to Annunciation House in El Paso or the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley in Pharr, Texas.

If you know of other groups looking for donations of goods or clothing, please leave a note in the comments.


August 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LA Archbishop Wants U.S. Opened To More Immigrants


NPR interviewed the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, about U.S. immigration policy.  The Archbishop was born in Mexico, and became an U.S. citizen a few years ago.

Archbishop Gomez, among other things, said the following:

"We can be a beautiful example for the whole world. What Los Angeles is now is the way the world is going to be, in my mind - with the movements of people."

On the issue of Central American children coming to the United States, Archbishop Gomez stated:

  "It seems that sometimes we see these young immigrants coming by themselves as a threat for our country. When, in reality, they're just looking for safety and for a place where they can grow up as normal, healthy, and good and strong members of society. I think our concern, in the Church, was that we will send them back right away, without really giving them the opportunity to (unintelligible) their situation."


August 10, 2014 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

VP Biden: We need lawyers at the border

Immigrant of the Day: Christo From Bulgaria | Visual Artist


Christo From Bulgaria | Visual Artist

The artist Christo, known professionally by his given name only, gained global attention for his unique large-scale environmental installations. Studying art in Prague, Vienna, and Paris, he began experimenting with wrapping sculptures, which became a hallmark of the art he pursued with wife and creative partner, the late Jeanne-Claude. As his career has progressed, his projects have grown grander in scaler, such as his twenty-four-mile fabric fence in Sonoma, California, and Wrapped Reichstag, Project for Berlin, in which he wrapped the Reichstag, the center of Germany’s government, with thousands of yards of silver fabric. Christo is currently working on what will be the largest sculpture in the world, The Mastaba, in Abu Dhabi.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76 Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 1976 Christo


August 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Getting Kids Out of Harm's Way: The United States' Obligation to Operationalize the Best Interest of the Child Principle for Unaccompanied Minors by Erin B. Corcoran


Getting Kids Out of Harm's Way: The United States' Obligation to Operationalize the Best Interest of the Child Principle for Unaccompanied Minors by Erin B. Corcoran,University of New Hampshire School of Law June 24, 2014 Connecticut Law Review Online, Vol. 47, 2014 (Forthcoming)

Abstract: The government estimates by the end of the fiscal year over 90,000 children will enter the United States. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 58% of these children were forcibly displaced and are potentially in need of international protection. However, in U.S. immigration law unaccompanied children are often seen as illegal migrants and law enforcement prioritizes their “alien” status over their status as children. As the crisis escalates, many of these children are being housed at emergency shelters in icebox-cold cells – nicknamed hierleras, Spanish for freezers, with no access to food or medical care, while DHS attempts to establish which children may have an available sponsor in the United States to be released to and initiates removal proceedings against each child without valid immigration status. The only protections for these children are discrete and narrow forms of immigration relief. Such relief depends on if someone such as an attorney identifies the available relief and assists the child with the application process. Yet, children are not entitled to government-funded counsel and must proceed before an immigration judge alone. For other children there is no available immigration relief; but they have witnessed unspeakable horrors and have been the victims of violence and abuse, yet there is no answer to their calls for help. They are not simply migrants crossing international borders; they are emblematic of an international humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolding in Central America.

The current crisis on the border has underscored the profound structural deficiencies in our federal agencies to meet the needs of unaccompanied immigrant children – as children. This essay contributes to the ongoing discussion on how to best handle the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border this summer. Specifically, the essay argues that the United States must provide a solution that both keeps the children in need of international protection out of harm’s way, and is grounded in international human rights law and practice. The best interest of the child principle must be operationalized in all U.S. government responses for children through a congressionally created interagency “Child Protection Corps.” Further, U.S. immigration protections need to flexible enough to create an avenue for a child to remain in this country, if it is not in the best interest for the child to return to his or her home country. Specifically, DHS should consider exercising its administrative prerogatives such as prosecutorial discretion and humanitarian parole to provide children in need of protection with a safe haven. Overall, this essay seeks to specify discrete steps for Congress and the executive branch to take in addressing significant structural gaps in the federal government’s capacity to provide for the best interest of each child in need of international sanctuary.


August 10, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Elena Pirozhkova From Russia | Olympic Wrestling Champion


Pirozkhova greets the First Lady in 2012

Elena Pirozhkova From Russia | Olympic Wrestling Champion

Born in Russia, in 1986, wrestler Elena Pirozhkova is the top-ranked American female grappler in the 63-kilogram weight class. She joined her first wrestling team in the seventh grade, wrestling primarily against boys. Since then, she has gone on to win, among her many prizes, the World Wrestling Championships silver medal, in 2010, the gold medal, in 2012, and the bronze medal, in 2013. She is also part of the women’s U.S. Olympic team and was the U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion, in 2012.




August 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Opening Borders: African Americans and Latinos Through the Lens of Immigration by Maritza Reyes


Opening Borders: African Americans and Latinos Through the Lens of Immigration by Maritza Reyes, Florida A&M University College of Law, Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2014

Abstract: African-American and Latino voter turnout during the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections hit record numbers. Polls show that the immigration debate influenced Latino voter turnout and preference. Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s voiced support of comprehensive immigration reform strengthened his lead among Latino voters in 2008 and, once in office, his executive policy of granting temporary protection to DREAMers solidified his lead among Latino voters in 2012. Both elections showed the power that minority groups can exert when they vote in support of the same candidate. If the demographic changes continue as currently estimated, African Americans and Latinos will contribute in large part to the making of the United States into a “majority-minority” nation and will play an increasingly important role in local and national politics. Therefore, it is important for Americans to become more inclusive of all minority groups and to expand discussions of race relations beyond the Black-White paradigm and discussions about immigration beyond the Latino-White paradigm. As the polarized reactions to the Zimmerman verdict showed, there is much work to be done as the people of the United States continue the project of forming “a more perfect Union.” Honest assessments of how individuals and groups interact are crucial to opening borders and encouraging exchanges beyond socially constructed boundaries, like race, and racialized politics. African Americans and Latinos often compete with each other for political representation and other resources. In addition, the political consideration of immigration law and policy includes a racial dimension that is often camouflaged, but denial and silence about this reality do nothing to move the country forward. Therefore, immigration provides an opportunity to examine race relations and the potential for inter-group coalitions between African Americans and Latinos. For this reason, this Article also explores, through the lens of immigration, the role that race may play in the attitudes of African Americans and Latinos toward each other. One of the goals of this Article is to spark a candid dialogue that promotes a better understanding of race and its impact on interactions between African Americans and Latinos in the United States.


August 9, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 8, 2014

On the Airwaves: Trauma Plagues Many Immigrant Kids

As lawyers, we think immediately of the shortage of legal representation for unaccompanied minors in the United States.

This morning, NPR aired a haunting story about a different shortage of necessary assistance: mental health providers. Pam Fessler reports that social service agencies around the country are "scrambling" to find counselors for children who have suffered "horrific experiences."


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Cristina V. Beato From Cuba | Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization


Cristina V. Beato serves as deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization that works to improve the health and quality of life in all the countries of the Americas. She previously served as a senior advisor on international nutrition and health literacy to the Department of Health and Human Services’s commissioner of food and drugs.



August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blast from the Past (40 Years Ago Today): Aug. 8, 1974 Resignation of President Nixon

A Victory for Oklahoma Governor Over Immigrant "Daycare"

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

I am thrilled to join the immprof blog. It's wonderful to be a part of a group that cares so deeply about immigration law and the people affected by it.

I am blogging from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where the sweetness of the music and barbecue is surpassed only by that of the people. Unfortunately, our governor, Mary Fallin, believes that our hospitality should extend only so far. She started an online petition to close the only housing for unaccompanied minors in the state, at Fort Sill. That facility is slated to close today.

Yet the governor continues to be concerned about the 212 minors from that facility who have been released to relatives in the state. She is also alarmed by the possibility that Fort Sill may be re-opened in the future to house additional children.

She, rather snarkily, writes on her official blog:

"It is wrong for the president to ask Oklahomans to divert their attention and limited resources away from our own children, just as it is wrong for him to ask our military to play host to a large daycare facility for undocumented minors." 


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare’s Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors

The Partnership for a New American Economy’s new report, Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare’s Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors, shows that immigrants are key contributors to Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, a pool of money covering hospital and home health care for 50 million Americans.

Key report findings include: Immigrants are subsidizing Medicare’s core trust fund. In the period from 1996 to 2011, immigrants contributed $182.4 billion more to Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund than was expended on their benefits. Immigrants generated multibillion-dollar surpluses in the trust fund during every year examined in our study.


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maricopa County Agrees to Halt Criminal Prosecutions for Immigrants "Smuggling Themselves"


Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County in Arizona agreed to drop its opposition to a permanent injunction barring Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Bill Montgomery from charging immigrants with felony conspiracies to "smuggle themselves." The concession came as part of settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law on behalf of several community groups, including Somos America/We Are America Coalition and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

The lawsuit challenged Maricopa County's conspiracy prosecutions in which prosecutors coerced thousands of non-smuggler migrants into pleading guilty to criminal offenses that preclude them from legalizing their status as residents of the United States. Maricopa County relied upon a 2005 state "anti-coyote" law that declared it a state crime to transport unauthorized entrants for gain in Arizona. Maricopa County, alone among Arizona's 15 counties, misused the law to arrest and prosecute non-smuggler migrants on the pretext they had conspired to smuggle themselves. Since 2006, some 14,000 non-smuggler migrants were jailed without bond and convicted of felony conspiracies to smuggle themselves in Maricopa County.

In September 2013, the U.S. District Court in Phoenix held the practice an unconstitutional state attempt to regulate immigration, an exclusive prerogative of the federal government. This week the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors agreed that the federal court’s injunction against the conspiracy prosecutions remain in effect permanently. CHRCL General Counsel Carlos Holguín, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, welcomed the Supervisors' decision to end the unconstitutional regulation of immigration via a contrived subversion of state law.

Click here for more details.


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Parallels Between the Responses to the Vietnamese Refugees of the 1970s and the Central Americans of 2014

In "This is not America’s first immigration crisis", former Washington Governor (1965-77) Daniel J. Evans reminds  us that the influx of refugees from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975 caused a great deal of public concern at the time.  The crisis mentality is similar to what the nation is experiencing today with the publicity surrounding the recent flow of migrants from Central America.  Concern with the Vietnamese  refugees contributed to congressional passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, which although humanitarian in certain respects also generally required individualized asylum determinations and took other steps to regularize (i.e., limit) the flow of refugees to the United States.  It is noteworthy that the story of Vietnamese immigrants is often pointed to as an immigrant success story in contemporary discussions of immigration.

Evans educated this Californian about Governor Jerry Brown's initial response to Vietnamese refugees being brought to the Golden State:

"Soon a wave of Vietnam refugees arrived in the United States and were housed temporarily at Camp Pendleton, Calif. As Washington governor, one morning I heard a radio report that Gov. Jerry Brown of California wanted no Vietnamese refugees to settle in California. One of his senior staff even attempted to prevent airplanes loaded with refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base."


Brown's initial response sounds errily similar to the reaction of some Murrieta, California citizens in response to the detention of Central Americans in a facility in their town.

Fortunately, the Governor's views on immigration appear to evolved over time.  As David Siders of the Sacramento Bee reported a few weeks ago,

"In 1975, his first year in office, Brown was scolded publicly by the Ford administration when he worried publicly about the impact Vietnamese refugees would have on a state that at the time grappled with an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent.

Brown said at the time that his concern “is the priority to be given unemployed Californians.”

“We had better look to the needs and aspirations of those who are here,” Brown said. “We can’t be looking 5,000 miles away. There is something a little strange about saying, let’s bring 500,000 more people when we can’t take care of the 1 million we have who are out of work.”

Brown’s rhetoric reflected not only the faltering economy, but his own political ambition: He would go on to run for president the following year, the first of three unsuccessful campaigns. In a populist appeal, Brown called on Washington to create one job for an American for every job made available to Vietnamese refugees.

By 1979, though, Brown’s tone had softened.

“We are a country of refugees and immigrants,” said Brown, who convened a state task force to help coordinate aid for the refugees. “It is now time for us to provide a role in the protection of life. … This is a scandal to Vietnam and a scandal to humanity.”


Today, in his second term in office, Governor Brown has signed some impoirtant legislation sensitive to the treatment of immigrants, including the California TRUST Act, a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses, and a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to be eligible to practice law.

Hat tip to Pamela Wu!


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Response: Immigration Law's New Frontiers by Shruti Rana


Response: Immigration Law's New Frontiers by Shruti Rana, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - School of Law March 11, 2014 75 Ohio State Law Journal Furthermore 19 (2014)

Abstract: This Essay responds to Stella Burch Elias’ article, The New Immigration Federalism, 74 Ohio St. L. J. 703 (2013). Elias’ analysis presents an insightful new way of looking at the landscape of immigration reform in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent opinions in Arizona v. United States (2012) and Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (2011). In contrast to the majority of legal scholarship emerging around these issues, Elias’ analysis shows that state, local, or subnational engagement in immigration regulation is not dead, but rather has shifted to previously unrecognized and overlooked areas. She closely parses this emerging legal landscape, and offers compelling support for her important new analysis.


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Which Way Home


The recent influx of undocumented children arriving in the United States has been called a humanitarian crisis but has divided communities. WHICH WAY HOME shows the personal side of immigration as child migrants from Central America risk everything to make it to the US riding atop a freight train they call "The Beast.”

WHICH WAY HOME is available in both an expurgated version and an Original Version that does not censor instances of coarse language.


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)