Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CNN's Refugee Videos

CNN has posted a series of videos - interviews with Muslim refugees who resettled in the United States between 1982 and 2014.

The interviewees answer questions such as: What was the American dream for you? What is the greatest difficulty you face in the US? What are your greatest fears about today's political and social climate? What does the future hold for you and other refugees in America?

The clips are all brief - less than 2 minutes each. They could easily be incorporated into the classroom to really humanize the issue of asylum and refugee law.


June 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Immigration is One of the "Fastest Growing Skills Online"

The next time your dean asks you to justify offering immigration law or running an immigration clinic, you just might find some backup from this data from Bloomberg:

Experts on immigration law saw the demand for their labor soar eight-fold from a year earlier, according to data from the first quarter compiled by Upwork, which connects freelancers with employers. That made immigration law the fourth fastest-growing skill on the online job market[.]

For the record, the top three fastest growing skills online were: (1) Asana project management, (2) artificial intelligence, and (3) rapid prototyping. If you understand any of those words, kudos to you.


June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Searching for Syria

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The Searching for Syria website is a joint project of the UNHCR and Google. It looks to answer the following questions in an interactive and compelling way:

What was Syria like before the war?
Who is a refugee?
Where are Syrian refugees going?
How can I help Syrian refugees?

There are photos, stories, and videos. This is a tremendous resource for those teaching asylum and refugee law this fall. If you do end up using these materials - please let me know how you incorporate them!


June 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

4th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference: Day Two

Today was the second (and, sadly, last) day of the 4th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference. We began the day with a scholarship panel. Sameer Ashar (Irvine) spoke about his desire to "expand the spectrum of what’s permissible to talk about in the classroom.” In that vein, he spoke about picking work for the clinic, resisting NGO or academic privilege, criminalization, critiquing culture competence, not ignoring race, and questioning professional norms. He also referred folks to Guerilla Guides to Law Teaching - which includes information about clinical teaching and teaching criminal law. An immigration guide will be forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Becky Sharpless (Miami) spoke about her doctrinal and clinical immigration work - including the particular challenges of teaching in a time when "everything feels so important and significant but paltry at the same time." She spoke about ways in which she's challenging students - asking students to complete writing assignments in her doctrinal course, guiding students through the Socratic method, and challenging students to articulate their beliefs with analysis and not simply emotion. At the same time, she acknowledged that she gives herself permission to complete some tasks on her own without student involvement.

Isabel Medina (Loyola New Orleans) spoke about the arc of her career as an immprof. She emphasized the opportunities created by teaching in the post Trump era, the difficulties that occur when the classroom becomes a battlefield, and how to handle, raise, and have uncomfortable conversations with students in the classroom.

Carolina Núñez (BYU) spoke about her concerns with teaching immigration law in the time of Trump including the particular challenges of students who are afraid, keeping up with swift changes in the law, connecting the abstract with real consequences, responding to student comments that aren’t related to facts, and creating opportunities for students to DO something. Beyond identifying these concerns, Carolina spoke about how she has adjusted the format of her courses to take into account and address many of these issues.


After the plenary session, we broke into small group sessions to discuss works in progress. I had the pleasure of reading the current work of Jason Cade (Georgia), who is exploring whether sanctuary cities are not bastions of civil disobedience, as they're often described, but rather enforcers of the rule of law. Liz Keyes (Baltimore) spoke about her efforts to focus on state and local level advocacy in the time of trump - including how to re-align clinic space and build capacity among students to engage in such advocacy.


Liz's work was a terrific segment to the next break out session on Transformation Work at the State and Local Level. Bram Elias (Iowa), Liz Keyes (Baltimore), and Annie Lai (Irvine) moderated an interactive session on how professors can effectively and efficiently engage with state and local issues. We were encouraged to come up with new and concrete steps to take in order to maximize our effectiveness going forward. Many of our comments involved the identification of others who might help carry the weight of community work - including folks who could help out with or take over such tasks as know your rights presentations, administrative work, and media appearances.


After our breakout sessions, we regrouped as a whole. Pooja Dadhania (Georgetown) filled folks in about the discussions happening in another breakout session about Transformation through Amicus Work. That session also talked about developing partnerships, and also discussed the particular challenges of using amicus work as teaching and learning opportunities. Suzan Pritchett (Wyoming) summarized the breakout session on state and local advocacy.


We ended our time at TAMU with cake and cupcakes to celebrate the birthday of beloved immprof Anita Maddali (Northern Illinois).


Thank you, TAMU, for hosting this excellent conference. Whether you were able to attend or not, you can look forward to the next immprof get-togethers. We'll be in Philadelphia at Derexel for the immprof conference in May 2018. And May 2019 will take us to BYU for the next emerging immprof conference. Plan your travel budgets accordingly!


May 19, 2017 in Law Review Articles & Essays, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

4th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference: New Realities

Today began the Fourth Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference, hosted this year by Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth. The focus of the conference is "New Realities" - a perfect theme for the times we find ourselves in.

We were graciously welcomed to the program by TAMU immprofs Fatma Marouf and Angela Morrison.


The first plenary session was a career panel. Jean Han (American) kicked things off with advice for those going on the market: "Don't freak out." Solid. Angela Morrison (TAMU) spoke from the perspective of a new hire having served on the appointments committee, addressing how to "make yourself a competitive candidate.” Liz Keyes (Baltimore) spoke about success on the tenure track including how to be a team player while playing to your individual strengths. Leticia Saucedo (Davis) offered insights from the other side of tenure - including my favorite nugget "cultivate a network" to help with the various aspects of your career. Leticia also plugged the Faculty Boot Camp available through facultydiversity.org, which sounds fantastic.


After the plenary session, we broke into smaller groups for discussion of works-in-progress. I had the pleasure of reading the WIPs submitted by Mary Holper (BC) and Mina Barahimi (Berkeley). Mary is exploring the Fourth Amendment implications of administrative and expedited removal, and Mina is examining the coercive tactics used at the border to encourage voluntary removal to Mexico. Great pieces to keep an eye out for as they develop into to published works.


Over the lunch hour, Anil Kalhan (Drexel) led us all in a discussion of what it means to teach immigration law in interesting times. It's not always easy.


Post-lunch, we reconvened as a whole to discuss scholarship. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Denver) spoke about his post-Trump scholarship which has taken new forms, embracing blog posts, op-eds, legislative testimony, and media appearances. He strongly recommended the acquisition of an umbrella insurance policy covering legal fees for defamation and libel suits - concrete, actionable advice! Jennifer Lee Koh (Western State) spoke about the intersection of her work as a clinician/practitioner/advocate/scholar and also about the benefits of identifying an individualized writing process to facilitate scholarship. Rick Su (Buffalo) encouraged everyone to question the assumed foundations of immigration scholarship - for example that immigration law is federal and federal immigration law is good - and perhaps move the field forward by taking new approaches. Ming Hsu Chen (Colorado) spoke about interdisciplinary work and how professors can endeavor to ensure that their scholarship matters. Ming helpfully pointed the group to the Scholars Strategy Network as a concrete way to become a "citizen scholar."


And then it was time for another round of WIPs or, in our group's case, incubator sessions. Geoffrey Heeren & Robert Knowles (Valpariso) are looking at how use of force in immigration enforcement functions as a form of regulation. Jennifer Lee Koh (Western State) is continuing her research on "shadow removals" (outside of immigration courts), looking at the expansion of expedited removals under Trump, and the implications of that expansion for legal and non-legal advocacy. And I'm examining how immigration might pose a unique opportunity to improve US foreign intelligence efforts.


It was a wonderful day of scholarly engagement. I look forward to continuing these discussions tomorrow.


May 18, 2017 in Law Review Articles & Essays, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And The Winner For Best Headline Goes To...

...the NYT for Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump: Thanks!

Beyond the headline, the article has great information about how drugs are coming across the Southern border (climbing the wall, hidden in cars, through tunnels, by catapult). The influx of drugs is controlled by cartels. And the prices they can charge for drugs increase as the wall grows higher.

In addition to the uptick in drug prices, the border wall increases the prices charged by cartels to bring people across the border. "If migrants try to cross the border without paying, they risk getting beaten or murdered."

Not to be missed in this video linked to within the article of drug smugglers climbing the wall with their bare hands. That clip is definitely making it into my next class.


May 9, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Tohono O'Odham Nation's Border Wall Opposition

The Tohono O'Odham nation straddles the U.S.-Mexico border and includes portions of Arizona and Sonora. Should President's Trump vision of an uninterrupted wall between the United States and Mexico ever come to pass, it would cut this nation in two. And it would end the free passage that the Tohono O'Odham currently enjoy when traveling within their boundaries.

The tribe has posted a video outlining their opposition to the wall:

For an even shorter clip - check out this coverage by CBS evening news:

Both clips are great additions for coursework about the border. (For readers - here's the NYT coverage).

And if you're looking for a more in depth examination of the problems facing the Tohono O'Odham pre-wall, check out this piece from one of my former OU students: Sara Daly, Bordering on Discrimination: Effects of Immigration Policies/Legislation on Indigenous Peoples in the United States and Mexico, 38 Am. Indian L. Rev. 157 (2013).


April 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Syrian Child Describes Refugee Camp

More here from the BBC.


April 22, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Your Playlist: Running


Stumbled across this gem featuring Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter and Oscar-winning hip-hop artist Common. It's going to kick of my class today.

NPR has an interview with the song's composers that's worth checking out.


March 28, 2017 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Call for Papers: Lewis & Clark Law Review Immigration Symposium

The Lewis and Clark Law Review is seeking submissions for it's symposium issue - Volume 23, Issue 2. The symposium's focus is on the current administration's immigration policies -- from specific litigation over and effects of Trump's Executive Orders, to the general immigration power of the federal government, the roles of state and local governments, and 'antagonistic federalism.'

The symposium is currently slated to be a paper symposium, but they have the goal to secure funding for a live symposium that would occur in early 2018.

Submissions or abstract proposals can be sent to the Editor in Chief, Elizabeth Schmitt, at schmitt@lclawreview.com. Final drafts from the author will be due the first week of January 2018.


March 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Prision Policy Initiative Sheds Light On Immigration Incarceration and Detention

Check out this report from the Prison Policy Initiative. It offers a comprehensive image of mass incarceration in the United States.


You'll see that immigration pops up twice. It's most obvious in the bar to the right - that grey block represents the 41,000 individuals in immigration detention. It's a little trickier to find immigration in the pie on the left. Look at the yellow slice regarding federal prisons. At the top, you'll see 16,000 slots for folks incarcerated for immigration crimes.


March 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mem Fox: "In that moment I loathed America"

Mem Fox is a children's author. If you have a little one, or need a good gift for a little one, my all-time favorite book of hers is Time For Bed. It is, above all, gentle. ("It's time for bed, little calf, little calf. What happened today that made you laugh?") I just pulled a copy off my kiddo's shelf and was hit with a wage of nostalgia for his little toddler body in my arms as I read him a good-night story.


As Kevin noted earlier this week, Mem Fox was subject to intense secondary screening during a recent visit to the United States. She has now published a first-person account of her ordeal with The Guardian. It's a chilling read, and I strongly commend it to you.

Her account is rich with detail about the room she was sent to for secondary screening, the fellow migrants waiting for questioning, and their treatment by CBP. "[T]his is not the way to win friends," she writes.

They made me feel like such a crushed, mashed, hopeless old lady and I am a feisty, strong, articulated English speaker. I kept thinking that if this were happening to me, a person who is white, articulate, educated and fluent in English, what on earth is happening to people who don’t have my power?

It would be excellent reading for a segment on admission procedure.


March 1, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immprof Maureen Sweeney - The Guest Lecturer You Need

Immprof Maureen Sweeney (Univ. of Maryland) is the guest lecturer you need for teaching the categorical and modified categorial approaches to analyzing whether criminal convictions qualify as aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude with deportation consequences.

You might be thinking that you don't have the money to fly Maureen out to speak to your class. I didn't either. But I still brought her into class with her two excellent youtube videos on these topics. And while I've mentioned these before (here, here), it really bears repeating. These are incredibly complex topics that she miraculously makes understandable.

While we're talking about the categorical approach, let me also recommend Kevin Johnson's article Racial Profiling in the War on Drugs Meets the Immigration Removal Process: The Case of Moncrieffe v. Holder. The article offers a lot of background information about the Moncrieffe arrest - what the arresting officer was searching for that night, what he found with Moncrieffe, and his reasoning behind the arrest. The article gives immprofs a great way to talk about the connections between race, likelihood of arrest, quality of representation when accused, and how all those factors will disparately impact immigrants of color in the United States.

Bring Maureen and Kevin to class. Your students will appreciate it.


March 1, 2017 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Teaching Employment-Based Migration

With all the drama over the president's EOs, lawful employment-based migration may be the furthest thing from your mind. But you'll still have to teach it. So let me offer a few thoughts on the subject.

Your students will want to see the most recent visa bulletin. And you'll want to pair that with data about LPRs employment-based admissions and nonimmigrant employment-based admissions.

On the LPR front - I like to spend time with students on EB-5 visas. If you do too, don't forget the NEW regulations proposed by DHS on January 13 which just might have slid off your radar with everything else we dealt with in January. DHS has proposed increasing the required financial contributions for EB-5 investors from $1 million to $1.8 million. For regional investors, the contribution will go from $500K to $1.35 million. That's a big change. If you like stats and charts, this link will give you some colorful ones to add to your discussion of EB-5.

As you might imagine, I have a hard time reigning myself in when it comes to nonimmigrant employment-based migration. I talk about H1B3 models (and have my students do a legislative exercise on the topic). I talk about Disney. And when it comes to J-visa holders, I like to bring in a little Aziz Ansari:


February 11, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Teaching Family-Based Immigration

This past week, I taught family-based immigration. I debated whether to teach Adams v. Howerton. After all, an optimistic person might question the case's continued relevance post-Windsor and Obergerfell. Ultimately, I decided that I am not an optimistic person. And the post-Windsor USCIS same-sex marriage regulations (which I assigned) were not fait accompli given that Adams was a pre-DOMA case.

If you, like me, are continuing to teach Adams, I suggest these materials:

I paired the Adams case with a discussion of Kerry v. Din, although I did not assign that decision as reading. I thought it was important to bookend the discussion of spouses by noting that even those who clearly fall within the statutory definition are not guaranteed entry to the US. The NY Times has a photo of Fauzia Din and Kanishka Berashk.

In teaching marriage fraud, I utilized numerous resources including:

And, of course, there's the DHS Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Table 6! Happy teaching.


January 25, 2017 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Teaching Chae Chan Ping

I taught Chae Chan Ping this morning. I continue to find the case compelling reading. The arguments regarding "vast hordes of ... people crowding in upon us" who "will not assimilate" resonate as strongly with today's political rhetoric as they did in the 1880s.

But this post is about teaching The Chinese Exclusion Case.

Specifically, I want to point our dear readers to images, freely available on the interwebs, that you might share with students while teaching this case.

If you have other images that you use, please share!


January 12, 2017 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Detention Nation, An Art Exhibit

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Detention Nation, like States of Incarceration (discussed yesterday), is a multi-media exhibition that sheds light on immigration detention. It showed at Houston's Station Museum of Contemporary Art in early 2015.

Detention Nation is the project of the art-activist collective Sin Huellas (Without Fingerprints or Without a Trace), a group that takes it name from the practice of removing fingerprints with acid in an effort to avoid the consequences of a prior deportation.

The Texas Observer met with collective members Orlando Lara and Deyadira Arrellano, who spoke about their own experiences with immigration detention.

It's interesting to hear how some things are universal. Lara talks about the lack of medicine in detention and how treating nurses consistently suggest that detainees "drink water." There's a strikingly similar scene in the musical Allegiance where interned Japanese are denied medicine and told to drink water.

I encourage you to check out the Facebook page, which has numerous photos of the exhibit. Any and all would be great additions to the classroom.

And for those of you at big fancy institutions who just might have an on-campus art museum, I'd consider contacting Sin Huellas to see about bringing the exhibit to your campus. It would be a powerful teaching tool.


January 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

States of Incarceration

Sarah Lopez is a professor in the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. Her work focuses on architectural history within the context of migration.

Of late, Lopez has been examining the architecture of immigrant detention facilities in Texas. It's not an easy project. As Lopez told the Texas Observer, “Studying the architecture of detention is hard... Unless you’re incarcerated or detained, or a warden or a food provider or medical assistant, basically, they don’t want you there.”

Lopez and her UT students participated in a nationwide project of the Humanities Action Lab called States of Incarceration. For their part of this project, they:

mapped the locations of detention centers throughout the state and used Google Earth to create silhouettes of each building’s footprint. The researchers even gained hard-won access to one county-run detention center and built a 3-D model from sketches. Their work marks an important step forward in understanding the physical reality of a clandestine and growing carceral system that prefers to exist just out of reach of the American imagination.

Her class contribution to the exhibition is titled Spatial Stories of Migration and Detention.

Check out this drawing of the La Salle Detention Center by Katie Slusher:

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Her drawing is accompanying by these notes:

This layout is drafted from quick sketches and notations created during a tour of La Salle detention center. From an architectural point of view, the detainee living quarters, medical ward, segregation units, and outdoor space were particularly arresting. Aside from outdoor recreation time and voluntary work shifts (for which detainees earn 1 dollar per day), the remainder of a detainee’s average day is spent in a group cell. People with gang affiliations and/or individuals with disabilities are typically placed in smaller capacity or single occupancy rooms. The group cell has exposed bathrooms. Up to 48 men witness each-others’ every move throughout the day. The medical facilities within the detention center contain quarantine cells and a suicide watch room. The suicide watch room is particularly depressing, simply because such a room is necessary. Although used to detain migrants, La Salle has segregation units otherwise known as solitary confinement. Outdoor time for detainees in solitary is restricted to one of the three roof-less rooms extending off the segregation unit cellblock. The segregation unit is equal in size and quality of construction to the suicide watch room, and it is not unlikely that a person may be moved from one to the other.

For all detainees, time spent outside is limited to the federally mandated minimum of one hour per day. Massive barbed wire walls enclose the otherwise barren space.

An excellent project, and a great teaching resource for those of us who are geographically removed from immigration detention facilities.


January 3, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fellowship Opportunity: Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program


The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program is currently accepting applications for the Albert M. Sacks Clinical Teaching and Advocacy Fellowship. The fellowship provides an opportunity to work on direct representation of individuals applying for asylum and other forms of humanitarian protection, starting in the summer of 2017. The Fellow, who will be housed at Harvard Law School, will assist with the supervision of clinical students and will work closely with experienced attorneys and clinicians at Harvard Law School and Greater Boston Legal Services during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fellowship will provide teaching opportunities in the form of select lectures in a diverse range of courses; independent writing and scholarship are encouraged. Apologies for duplicative announcements. Interested candidates should apply through the Harvard University Human Resources’ system here.


December 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CNN on Family Detention feat. Immprof Denise Gilman

The fight over family detention centers  is a short (5:30) CNN report that could be used in class to spark conversation about family detention. It helpfully includes still shots of a family detention center (inside and out), closeups of ankle monitoring devices, and video from a community shelter for refugees.

Immprof Denise Gilman (UT) was interviewed by CNN and appears prominently in the video. In the written version of the report, she offers this excellent quote: "Under US asylum law, the way you seek refugee status is to come to the US... That is provided for in the law. That is not law breaking." In the video, she argues that the current carceral setting is not appropriate for "traumatized women and children."

I've got it flagged for my Spring class!


November 5, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)