Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Maureen Sweeny of the University of Maryland has created a video explaining Descamps. Check it out:
This is an outstanding teaching tool. It's a great visualization of categorical approach.
I'll admit that the brief mention of the modified categorical approach, 5:05-5:20. will probably throw students off, but it's a great teaser for what I hope will be the next video to come!
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Jenna Cho, Photo via JC Law Group
Attorney Jeena Cho wants you to stop training lawyers to be jerks. Writing for the Huffington Post, Cho talks about the advice she received early in her legal career from a mentor: "to be the most aggressive man in the room, to be the most boisterous and to never give an inch."
Cho has just three pieces of (contrary) advice:
1. Lead with kindness.
2. Don't wear other people's suits.
3. Be a good human.
I find myself giving versions of this advice to students with some frequency. But it's a message that bears repeating often and with emphasis. After all, lawyers on TV are rarely nice and, let's be honest here, TV inspires many of our students to go to law school. But there's absolutely no reason why lawyers in the real world can't aspire to something better.
And now for some fun facts about Jenna Cho. She's not only a bankruptcy lawyer in San Francisco, she's also an immigrant from South Korea. And her "about me" page is one of the best I've seen in ages.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Could your students pass the citizenship exam? I quiz my Immigration Law students every year. I find that naturalized USCs and government majors tend to ace it. Others struggle. (Admit it, did you realize Publius was one of the writers of the U.S. Constitution? Check out question 67.)
The NYT reports that several states are now requiring high school students to pass the citizenship exam before they can graduate. Passing is defined as 60%, which is the score immigrants need for naturalization.
Arizona was the first state to pass such a law, which it did earlier this month. And other states are following suit:
North Dakota’s House of Representatives has passed a comparable bill, and its Senate approved it Tuesday; legislators in Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and seven other states have recently introduced similar initiatives.
For those high school students looking for a little extra motivation (or for profs looking for a nice video for class), check out late-night personality Craig Ferguson on his citizenship test.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Those of your preparing for the Spring semester may be looking to update your in-class playlist. Or maybe you're just looking for tunes to listen to while revamping your syllabus. Let me recommend the 1962 hit "Let Me In" by The Sensations. It pairs perfectly with admission procedure. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Photo by Jim Block
Michel Thomas was an extraordinary man. Born in Poland in 1914, Thomas left the country as a young man, studying in Germany and France in an effort to escape antisemitism. During WW2, he served in the French Resistance and ended up spending two years in French concentration camps. After the war, Thomas moved to the United States where he spent a lifetime teaching Hollywood stars to master foreign languages.
While Thomas passed away in 2005, his method for language learning lives on in audiotapes.
I was introduced to the Michel Thomas method by my colleague Lindsay Robertson. Lindsay knew that I was trying to brush up on my Spanish before heading to the immigration detention facility in Artesia, NM. In a past life, my Spanish was excellent. I studied through college - taking advanced literature courses and studying abroad. But it had been over a decade since I tried to use my skills.
I did many things to bring my Spanish back up to speed - and will post about them all, eventually. But without a doubt the most surprisingly effective tool was the Total Spanish series by Michel Thomas.
The Thomas CDs are different from anything I've ever listened to before. You listen as he teaches two students how to speak Spanish. In effect, you are the third student in the room. It's extra fun because one of the students isn't very good and so you won't feel like the dunce in the room as you practice.
Thomas emphasizes practical communication skills - pointing out the thousands of words that are largely the same in English and Spanish. As a result, you end up with a much more sophisticated vocabulary that you would if you tried to learn words one at a time.
These langauge CDs are a truly effective tool, whether you are looking to learn Spanish for the first time or looking to brush up on skills you already have. I'd actually recommend that clinics around the country invest in a copy for their students to borrow. (OU has a set available for students in our International Human Rights Clinic.)
Finally, I should also note that Michel Thomas was a polyglot. His language CDs are not just available in Spanish but a multitude of other languages.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
In this Ted talk, Hyeonseo Lee discusses her childhood in North Korea, escape to China, relocation in South Korea, and smuggling of her family out of North Korea through China and Laos. Grab some tissues and watch her powerful talk. It's a great vehicle for class discussion on open borders!
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
Chingo Bling (known to his parents as Pedro Herrera) is a Mexican-American rapper. Born in Houston, he attended Trinity College. And, most importantly for you, dear readers, he recorded the oh-so-catchy single The Can't Deport Us All.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
This past week, Professor Jayesh Rathod, Director of American University WCL's Immigrant Justice Clinic, traveled to Artesia, NM with eight of his clinic students. They spent the week working with women and children detained in New Mexico.
The clinic students made videos about their experiences. I think these two are particularly compelling and would make great additions to the classroom.
In the first video, a student talks about the sick children at Artesia.
In this second video, three students discuss the difficulties facing indigenous clients at Artesia, including translation issues.
Kudos for accomplishing what was clearly a terrific clinic experience!
Friday, October 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Guerrero, photo AP
If you blinked, you might have missed the story about Harvard University junior Dario Guerrero Meneses.
Yesterday, the AP reported on how Guerrero, a DACA recipient, left the country without federal authorization. He traveled to Mexico in a vain attempt to find alternative medical treatment for his dying mom. His mom passed away, and Guerrero found himself unable to return to the United States.
Hours after the publication of that piece, Guerrero received a "humanitarian visa" enabling him to return to the U.S. and Harvard.
These are stories worth reading. They might make for great teaching moments on using the press to achieve change, humanitarian visas, DACA, or any number of issues.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
The following videos are terrific jumping-off points for vigorous class discussion about incarceration. While they both address domestic prison policies, they could easily be used to talk about incarceration for immigration crimes or even immigration detention.
This first video comes from Sesame Street. (Thanks, Professor Jennifer Koh for bringing it to my attention!)
This next video comes from John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. Be sure to watch through the end. You too can sing along: "It's a fact that needs to be spoken. America's prisons are broken."
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
For immprofs looking to use reports in the classroom, I recommend:
- The first minutes of the "Day 2" video which talks about seeing kids incarcerated, sick, and present during incredibly difficult testimony by their moms (from 0:28 to 4:30).
- The "Day 3" video (from 2:00 to 5:27 ) gives a sense about the look and feel of the Artesia facility.
- The "Day 4" video, which discusses a client struggling to decide whether to stay in detention or return to Guatemala (from 1:35-3:45), a client with a difficult DV-based asylum claim (from 4:13 to 5:56) and a bond hearing (from 6:10-9:28).
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Prof. Hiroshi Motomura, photo via UCLA
For those of you seeking a concise explanation of executive action, look no further.
This video is a great way to bring a renown guest speaker to class.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Legislation is not a required course at many law schools. Yet it would be shame for students to graduate without ever understanding the power and possibilities legislative advocacy (as opposed to litigation) can achieve.
In my immigration course, I have students complete two legislative exercises. This post is about the first.
I split my class into groups of four. I give them a copy of H.R. 4080 (2007), and I ask them to read it. I also give them the following questions:
- Consider how the bill changes current law from a technical standpoint. Does it insert new provisions? Move provisions?
- Consider how the bill changes current law from a substantive standpoint. Does it create new rights? Alter existing rights?
- Now consider the law from a policy standpoint. Is it a good idea? Why or why not? Be prepared to make arguments on both sides.
I use H.R. 4080 for several reasons. For one, it is short. It's just about five pages. It's also sexy. Literally. It's about foreign fashion models.
As a result, it's a bit like adding grape flavor to medecine. Students have to do the hard work of reading a bill, but they get the tasty sugary goodness of fashion. It's been a hit.
This in-class exercise ended up prompting me to write an entire law review article about nonimmigrant visas for foreign fashion models. If you're interested, it's Importing the Flawless Girl, 12 NEV. L. J. 831 (2012).
Friday, August 29, 2014
Professor Liz Keyes of the University of Baltimore brought to my attention this terrific BuzzFeed Quiz: Could You and Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview?
I had my Immigration Law students take the quiz with their partners. It was very interesting to hear their reactions to the questions.
Having known my S.O. for more than 15 years, I was shocked by our collective score of 28 out of 46.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain is a Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of short stories by Robert Olen Butler, all of which concern Vietnamese immigrants in Louisiana.
In my Immigration Law class, I use the following excerpts to illustrate the point that even quota-exempt family members are not entitled to automatic presence in the United States. The process for their entry can, in fact, be quite lengthy.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing immprof Jayesh Rathod of American University Washington College of Law speak about using music in the classroom. He noted that music can be a terrific pedagogical tool, helping to illustrate the cirriculum in a different way. He also spoke about how the simple act of sharing music can humanize professors. I even managed to walk away from that talk with two very excellent mix CDs.
Inspired by Jayesh, I routinely play a song during the "getting settled" time before my classes formally begin.
Today, I taught my first immigration law class of the semester. I've traditionally begun with Immigration Blues by Duke Ellington (a Jayesh recommendation and a great tune). But today, I used something new: Spin the Globe by Lucas. It pairs nicely with the Thronson prioritization exercise.