Friday, June 15, 2018

HONY: Diversity Visa

Humans of New York recently interviewed this young man from Benin:


Here's what he had to say:

“I’m from a small country in Africa called Benin. I won the visa lottery to come here. I didn’t even know I was eligible. My brother entered my name and didn’t even tell me. I was studying to be a psychiatrist at the time. I assumed that I’d be able to continue with medical school. But when I arrived here, I found out that none of my credits would transfer. I had a choice: either go home and become a doctor, or start from the bottom. I didn’t speak any English. I didn’t have any money. But I knew if I could somehow make it here, my degree would be much more valuable. So I made the choice to stay. I began practicing English with my young nieces. The first thing I learned was: ‘I’m going to kick you.’ I got a job with a catering company and learned how to say ‘I’m here to deliver your food.’ I studied as many YouTube videos as I could during my free time. It’s been three years now. I’m almost finished with my bachelor’s degree. Just two classes left. At nights I work as a behavioral specialist in a mental health facility. I’m going to take the MCAT in September. My friends back home have all become doctors already, but I try not to think about them. I don’t want to lose my focus. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m making it.”

This kind of first-person story-telling might be a great addition to your discussion of the diversity visa.


June 15, 2018 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"We Have to Love Our Law Students"


David B. Jaffe, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at American University Washington College of Law, recently penned an article of interest: The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students.

Jaffe's article is about the health and well-being of law students, focusing on mental health and addiction. He offers concrete ideas for faculty, staff, and students at law schools to address student well-being holistically, including:

  • Deans: modeling, assessing, and prioritizing student well-being
  • Admissions: drawing attention to at-risk students
  • Orientation: acknowledging and addressing mental health and substance abuse
  • Faculty: opening the door to conversation, being aware of key deadlines, leading meditation
  • Attendance: signalling problems with well-being
  • Peers: utilizing student peer support networks
  • Counseling: offering on-site or making it readily-accessible
  • Alcohol: scaling back at school events
  • Alumni: raising  voices in support of student well-being

It's a thoughtful and heart-felt article.


May 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Looking to enter the U.S.? First, answer a few questions...

This bit is from Foil Arms and Hog, an Irish sketch comedy group.

Nicely played, gentlemen. Nicely played.


May 8, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Field Trip Fun: Touring the Pembina POE


I love field trips. They allow us to bring students to the physical spaces that they read about in class and to meet with people doing on-the-ground work. It's why I'm so passionate about teaching Hofstra's border class.

Living close to the northern border means that I don't have to limit my field trips to once a year in San Diego with Hofstra. I can bring my UND students to the border.

On Friday, I did just that. A group of my Immigration Law students took the 3 hour round-trip ride to the Pembina Port of Entry, the busiest POE on a stretch including all of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. On a particularly busy day, the port screens between 2,500 and 3,000 passenger vehicles and 800-1,000 commercial trucks.

My students met with a senior CBP Officer who answered every question imaginable about life on the northern border - from the training CBP officers undertake, the hiring process (and pay scale!), and the frequent immigration issues that they see (inadmissibility being tops).

Beyond answering questions, we were able to tour the facility - checking out the on-site firing range, the truck inspection garage (with its cage for locking up confiscated goods), the passenger vehicle inspection garage, and the holding cells.

The students were also taken to a car in the inspection garage and instructed us to look for contraband. Our group discovered (with some guidance), guns, a knife, money, drugs and drug paraphernalia. It was a wonderful learning experience.


April 19, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immprof 2018: Hotel Rooms Still Available!

Drexel University's Thomas R. Kline School of Law is located in Philadelphia, PA

The 2018 Immigration Law Scholars and Teachers Workshop will take place at Drexel Law School from May 24-26, 2018. This year's theme is: Immigration Law In, Through, and Beyond Moments of Distress.

Registration is open at this link. Sure, you missed out on the early-bird registration rate, but you know you still want to come and hang out with all your favorite immprofs. Plus, you haven't yet missed out on the special rate at the Loews hotel. The deadline for making hotel reservations, which you can do at this link, is April 25.

Come and participate in media training (separate registration, $30), the clinical workshop, and the general plenary and breakout sessions. Talk about your difficult teaching moments. Get ideas from your peers. Pack your mobile music-maker and SING ALONG WITH FRIENDS. It's going to be a blast.




April 19, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Teaching Asylum: Well-Founded Fear

As I've mentioned before, I like to use the documentary Well-Founded Fear when teaching asylum. I play a series of clips from the film, give students a copy of the USCIS Fraud Referral Sheet, and ask them to evaluate the merits of the applicants, taking into account the factors stated in the sheet. We discuss how their impressions of these migrants changed over time, what changed, and why. We talk about the role of lawyers in preparing clients and cases for the USCIS.

I'm thrilled to report that the entire documentary is now available online:


April 11, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Immprof 2018: Immigration Law In, Through, and Beyond Moments of Distress

Drexel University's Thomas R. Kline School of Law is located in Philadelphia, PA

The 2018 Immigration Law Scholars and Teachers Workshop will take place at Drexel Law School from May 24-26, 2018. This year's theme is: Immigration Law In, Through, and Beyond Moments of Distress.

Registration is now open at this link. Register by April 15 to secure the early-bird rate!

The conference has a slew of fabulous opportunities:

  • Media training (separate registration, $30)
  • Clinical Workshop -- including discussion of Law Clinics in a Time of Crisis, Clinic Expansion and Fundraising, Responding to Urgency and Emergency, The Clinic Seminar, Scholarship, Your Hardest Supervision Moments: A Reflection and Debrief Session, and Our Roles as Educators Beyond the Clinic.
  • Additional plenary sessions on making research relevant; immigration history; local/regional perspectives; race, exclusion, and national security in the age of Trump; and teaching immigration law in a time of “crisis”
  • More breakout sessions: Addressing and Supporting Students Facing Personal/Family Trauma; Teaching During Divisive Times; International and Comparative Perspectives
  • Music Making
  • Meals
  • Fun

Register today!



April 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Using Dr. Seuss To Explore Refugee/Asylum Politics

Dr. Seuss actually drew this cartoon. (It's snopes confirmed.)


You may already be talking about the doomed voyage of the the S.S. St. Louis in discussing U.S. apathy towards refugees during WW2. This Dr. Seuss cartoon is a wonderful addition to that discussion, and it has the added benefit of being made current again with the message on the mom's shirt: America First.


March 31, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Using Poetry to Teach Refugee/Asylum Law

Y'all know I love using poetry to teach. I begin my classes on refugee and asylum law with Warsan Shire's magnificently moving piece Home. And I plan to read Jorge Argueta's El barrio La Campanera before tackling M-E-V-G-.

Here is another gem that I've already used this semester: Refugees by Brian Bilston:

They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

(now read from bottom to top)

Ten points for Gryffindor. Or perhaps Ravenclaw. So clever!


March 29, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lauren Markham on Border Walls

photo by moi

Journalist Lauren Markham addresses the "strange history of our futile border fortifications" for Harper's Magazine in If These Walls Could Talk. She focuses on this unusual paradox: Walls "have never really worked," but we keep building them "again and again."

Markham traveled to Norwegian-Russian border looking for answers. You may recall this post from 2015 about migrants crossing from Russia into Norway on bicycles because of Russia's rules against  migrants crossing its border with Norway on foot and Norway's rules against drivers ferrying unauthorized migrants.

It turns out Norway was pretty annoyed by this, feeling that Russia was exporting its migrant problem. Eventually, two countries agreed that "any migrant trying to cross without the proper papers would be stopped by Russian authorities." Once this became public knowledge, migrants stopped coming across this particular border.

Still, Norway decided to respond to this no-longer-a-problem by building a wall. Well, more of a fence. A modest one. Six hundred feet of chain link.

Markham's piece is ambitious. She talks about this particular wall (now something of a tourist attraction - Spring Break in Norway, y'all!), the mythology of walls, the history of various border walls, scholarship about the efficacy of such construction, and even the relationship between borders and identity.

It's a great piece. One that would be good reading for a class about the border wall.


March 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Caring for Yazidi Refugees in Canada

Yazidi refugees, Photo by The Department for International Development

This NYT Article about Canada's struggles to care for Yazidi refugees is a must read.

The Yazidis are a small, non-Muslim, religious and ethnic minority mostly from the Northern Iraq. (You can read more about their religion and history here.) They've been the target of extreme violence at the hands of ISIS or the Islamic State. As one French priest has documented, Yazidi men have been killed, women sold into sex slavery, and children taken away.

Some Yazidi refugees have made their way to Canada. And, as the NYT reports, Canada has been unprepared for the “unimaginable trauma, both physical and emotional” that these refugees have suffered.

The Yazidi refugees suffer from PTSD, manifesting in seizures, night terrors, and flashbacks. The article does an excellent job describing these events.

In addition, the article is unique in picking up on the issue of secondary trauma. The author notes that "[c]ounselors, doctors and other workers are hearing such upsetting stories that they themselves need treatment."

It's a powerful, emotional read that might lead to great classroom discussion.

BTW - if you're interested in the Yazidi who've settled in the US (to Lincoln, Nebraska!) -- PBS News Hour covered that story back in January.


March 20, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Your Playlist: Miguel

Do you cover immigration detention? Then this is the music video for you: Miguel's Now.


March 19, 2018 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Don't Quit


Edgar Albert Guest was an American poet and an immigrant to the United States. Born in England, Guest came to the U.S. at the age of 10 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen at 21.

Immprof Rose Cuison Villazor has shared Guest's poem "Don't Quit" with her students. It's a great motivator for students in a podium immigration class or in an immigration clinic.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


March 18, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Adjusting On The Fly

Immigration is a challenging field. It can be hard to stay on top of the shifting sands of policy change, especially as new material emerges on an almost daily basis. Enter the question mark. Seriously.

Take INA § 212(a)(4), which I covered last Wednesday with this slide (among others):

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.26.37 AM

Today, I'm going to return to this material, with the following change:

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.25.40 AM

That question mark makes all the difference.

I back it up by providing students with a link to the newly proposed regulations regarding the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, posted to the class website. And I'll be using this Vox piece to explain how things have changed in the 5 days since we last had class. Or rather, how new proposals (which may or may not end up coming to fruition) have the potential to change what we understand about public charge inadmissibility.

The question mark doesn't solve everything all the time, but it's a good starting point.


February 12, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Reading Green Cards

For immprofs who did not practice immigration law, it may not be immediately intuitive how to read green card codes - that is the "category" listing on the right of the card. Check out the following examples:




From top to bottom you've got a refugee, diversity visa LPR, and an immediate relative.

This handy dandy chart will help you with any codes you might encounter. Have a guess what a CUO is? A Cuban refugee parent of a USC. Now that's specific! 


February 5, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Leveraging The Power of Student Groups


For podium immprofs, covering everything of interest in the basic Immigration Law course can be a challenge. It's a struggle to find the right balance between depth and breadth.

Student groups can help. At the University of North Dakota School of Law, I worked with the Immigration Law Students Association (ILSA) to arrange two events that complement the podium Immigration Law course. In January, two agents from Border Patrol came and spoke with students about their work in the Grand Forks Sector. Next week, ILSA will be touring the Grand Forks County Correctional Facility, which is the immigration detention facility for this area.

Immprof Rose Cuison Villazor leveraged the power of Columbia Law School's Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, American Constitution Society, and ACLU Chapter, as well as Columbia's Business School to arrange different lunch-and-learn events over the course of the Fall semester. These events covered President Trump's travel ban, DACA, and sanctuary cities.

For immprofs who want to include guest speakers or field trips, but who simply don't have the time to include them during scheduled class time, working with student groups at your institution may be a way to increase educational opportunities.


February 3, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Updating the B1, H2, Bricklayers Discussion

Over the summer, CBS News did an investigative report into the building of American auto plants by foreign laborers improperly utilizing B1/B2 visas. It's a great way to show that the discussion and concerns of International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafstmen v. Meese. (p. 362 in Legomsky's 6th ed.) continue to be live issues 32 years later.

I started with this short synopsis of the report, which I played in it's entirety. It's only 3 minutes long.

Next, I played from 1:07-2:15 0f the segment below. It's a nice synopsis of what B1 is supposed to cover and how B1/B2 classification hides the annual number of business visitors to the United States.

Finally, I played from 7:36-8:33 of this report (it's not on Youtube, but the CBS website). In that minute, a B1/B2 worker talks about how he was coached to make it past immigration at the border by identifying himself as a supervisor.

All in all, a great set of materials to update the case and add to class discussion.

One final note - if you're using Problems 1 & 2 following Bricklayers, check out my earlier post highlighting a NYT article that provides helpful background information on international trucking.


January 30, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wrapping Up "Immigrant Priorities"

After taking my students through the current immigrant priorities (family, employment, diversity), I spent some time this semester talking about the RAISE Act (S. 1720) and the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760). I showed the students this chart, helpfully compiled by the folks at the Cato Institute.


It is important, I think, for our students to understand that, in the words of David Bier and Stuart Anderson over at the Cato Institute: "In the entire history of the United States, the only policy-driven cuts in legal immigration that rival the effects of these bills were the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Quota Act of 1924[.]"

Politicians have been grappling for decades over how to get a handle on our nation's undocumented population. For the first time, however, we are seeing politicians who want to cut legal migration and, specifically, to reduce the number of lawful permanent residents. That is radical.

By the by, if you're looking for more reading about the RAISE Act, Kevin has a number of great posts here, here, here, and here. RASIE even made Kevin's  list of 2017's Top 10 Immigration Stories, coming in at number 8!


January 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New Materials for Teaching About Diversity Immigrants

There are many new materials to utilize in teaching about Diversity Immigrants this semester. I plan to start with this clip from the president (0:29-0:57).

This tweet is another gem to utilize:

Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 9.40.57 AM

I'll combine the above video clip with a walk-through of INA 203(c)(F)(2), outlining the criteria that noncitizens must satisfy to qualify for the program. We'll talk about the odds of winning a diversity visa, using this chart based on 2012 data. And we'll talk about who has actually come to the US on this program over the past 20 years, looking at charts from this 2016 Quartz article. We'll conclude with a policy discussion about the pros and cons of the diversity program.


January 24, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Searching Twitter

It's an exciting semester to be teaching immigration law. Immigration is in the news daily, and it's the subject of many presidential tweets.

This post is intended to help the less twitter-savvy among us to find the precise tweets that you're looking to use in class.

  • Open Twitter.
  • Type a search term into the twitter search function. This is at the very top of the webpage.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.04.57 PM

  • You'll be taken to another page with search results. At this point click "show" next to "Search filters."

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.08.15 PM

  • Now click "Advanced search" under "Search filters."

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.10.32 PM

  • Now you can do an advanced search. In the example below, I'm looking for any tweets by @potus, @realDonaldTrump or @WhiteHouse that use the words diversity or lottery.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.17.50 PM

Ah, now here's the perfect one to use in class this week:

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 2.14.56 PM

I hope this has been helpful. Happy tweet hunting!


January 23, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)