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):

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

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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.

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

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

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  • 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:

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I hope this has been helpful. Happy tweet hunting!


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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Teaching Family-Based Migration In The Context of "Chain Migration" Rhetoric

It has never been more exciting to teach family-based migration. No longer do students' eyes glaze over as they struggle to read the visa bulletin. No, they are riveted. And we have President Trump to thank.

President Trump is avidly against family-based migration, which he calls "chain migration."

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The president sees immigration based on family relationships as pushing out merit-based migrants, which he favors. Trump has also indicated that family-based migration might be problematic from a national security standpoint. Check out this press briefing following Sayfullo Saipov's October 2017 attack in NYC. Watch particularly from 1:48-2:20. (Hat tip to my student Kat Sand who pointed me to this press briefing; I hadn't picked up on the chain migration implications at the time.)

There's so much to unpack in those 30 seconds of tape! For those who don't recall, Saipov came to the U.S. on a diversity visa. He was unmarried and childless, meaning he had no spouse or children "accompanying or following to join" pursuant to INA 203(d). At the time of the attack, Saipov was an LPR, not a U.S. citizen. Therefore, Saipov was ineligible to sponsor the migration of any family members apart from his spouse and unmarried sons and daughters. INA 203(a)(2). But Saipov married and had kids in the U.S. so he didn't in fact sponsor any family members. Yet in the above speech, Trump states that Saipov was the "primary point of contact" for "23 people that came in or potentially came in with him." And it's this sort of "chain migration" that Trump calls "not acceptable." (For the record, both the NYT and WaPo called Trump out for his inaccurate statements regarding Saipov's family-based sponsorships.)

You can couple the above clip with Problems 3 & 4 in the Legomsky/Rodriguez casebook (pages 276-277 in the 6th ed.). They're great problems that force students to read and use the visa bulletin, understanding just how long it takes to bring in family members from overseas. Also, done back-to-back, they illustrate the issues of aging out discussed in the Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio case.

For fleshing out policy discussions on chain migration, consider pairing this White House blog on chain migration with this Vox piece on the same topic, which we highlighted previously. There's also this story about one of the most successful U.S. chain migrants.

In addition to all these goodies, check out my post from last year about teaching family-based migration. Happy teaching!


P.S. Immprof Alan Hyde points out that #resistancegeneology (covered in this article) is another genius way to talk about chain migration.

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

That Awkward Moment When Your Twin Brother Is A U.S. Citizen At Birth, But You’re Not

Baby Twins, photo by World's Direction

This one comes from Above the Law's year-in-review: That Awkward Moment When Your Twin Brother Is A U.S. Citizen At Birth, But You’re Not.

A male same-sex couple married and decided to have kids. One dad is a dual U.S./Canadian citizen. The other dad is an Israeli citizen. They lived together in Canada and welcomed twin boys, born through assisted reproductive technology. Canada recognized both dads as the boys' legal parents.

Then the family decided to move to the United States. Since one dad was a U.S. citizen, they thought it would be easy to gain U.S. citizenship for both sons. The government asked for a DNA test to prove the children's biological relationship to the U.S. citizen father. Here's the thing - only one twin is biologically related to him. As a result, the non-biologically-related twin is currently present in the U.S. on a visitor's visa. (They have hired counsel and are working on a more permanent solution.)

Talk about a real-o-thetical to foster in-class discussion on family-based migration!


January 9, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

NAFTA Truckers

Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

This NYT article follows two truckers - one a Mexican national and one a naturalized U.S. citizen, both from the same Mexican city. It covers the rules laid out in NAFTA regarding the roles each can play in the hauling of Mexican goods to points inside the United States. Notably, it's accompanied by truly lovely photography.

The article may be of particular interest to those immprofs using the Legomsky & Rodriguez casebook. If you're using Problems 1 & 2 on page 371 of the 6th ed. that follow the Bricklayers case (you know those cabotage goodies), this article might help you flesh out the arguments regarding the hauling of goods in the United States. Sure, the NYT piece is about NAFTA and the problems cover B visas, but in terms of getting the underlying policy arguments to the fore, it's a great read.


January 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 5, 2018

China Welcoming "High-End Foreign Talent"

Shanghai, China photo by Pedro Szekely

China is making it easier for "high-end foreign talents" and "foreign professional talents" to obtain visas, as the BBC reports. The visas will be valid for 5 or 10 year stretches.

The goal is for China to get "Technology leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists from in-demand sectors," as well as "Nobel Prize winners, successful Olympic athletes and directors of 'world famous colleges of music fine arts and arts,'" in addition to professors of "overseas high-level universities."

Consider assigning this five-page document from the Chinese government about the program. It would be great for class discussion on non-immigrant visas, particularly for those excited to incite a comparative law debate while talking about the merits of Ps and Os.


January 5, 2018 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

From The Bookshelves: Somos como las nubes by Jorge Argueta

Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds is a book of poetry written by Jorge Argueta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. It's about the migration of children from Central America to the United States. It's geared towards younger readers but will be of interest to immprofs as well.


I was most moved by the poem "El barrio La Campanera," which I'm thinking about assigning in class this Spring.

La Campanera
no tiene campanas.
Tiene pintados.

Los pintados.

Los pintados
aparecen por las noches,
los pintados
aparecen por la tarde
y por las mañanas.

Los pintados
aparence a todas horas.
Los pintados
tienen los ojos duros.

En sus brazos, caras,
pechos y espaldas
viven, como culebras,
los tatujes.
A mí me da miedo que
esas culebras me vayan a picar.

*    *    *

La Campanera
has no bells.
It has painted me and women.

The painted ones.

The painted people
come out at night,
in the afternoon,
in the morning.

The painted people
come out at all hours.
They have hard eyes.

Their arms, faces,
chests and backs
are homes
to tattoos
like snakes.
I'm afraid of those snakes.
They might bite me.


December 2, 2017 in Books, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Arresting Immigrants... at Court

Immigration enforcement inside of non-immigration courthouses isn't a new thing. (See our prior coverage of the issue here, here, here, here, and here). But today's commentary in the New Yorker offers a fresh example - a father arrested when he went to family court in an effort to protect his children from his ex-wife's partner.

The first four paragraph of the piece offer great reading for class discussion on enforcement tactics. The whole article, if assigned, offers arguments about the pros and cons of courthouse enforcement.



November 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Teaching In Politically Charged Times

The Purpose of Argument by Jon Collier

According to this study from the Pew Research Center, the political divide on issues like race and immigration is growing ever wider. The associate director for research at the Pew Research Center, Jocelyn Kiley, reports that “Partisan divides across political values … [are] wider than at any point in the past.”

That divide makes it more and more challenging to teach Immigration Law.

Which is why I was fascinated to come across this article in the NYT about teaching. One professor in Texas assigns the book 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life in an effort "to teach students 'to develop compassion and empathy' for opposing, even distasteful stances." She also has students start each class with meditation.

Some schools, the NYT reports, are investing in teaching training - giving professors tools for "what to do when talk gets heated." There is growing desire for training in “how to model productive disagreement."

I'd love to hear how you're handling disagreement in the classroom. What, if anything, are you doing to get ahead of class conflict? If your institution is tackling this issue, how are they? This would make for a great immprof conference discussion!


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

Monday, October 23, 2017

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)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Remembering a Childhood Border Crossing

Sandra Portilla / Photo StoryCorps

The mission of StoryCorps is "to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world."

This recent StoryCorps interview with Sandra Portilla of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota more that meets those goals.

Sandra recounts her unauthorized journey across the U.S.-Mexico border as a young child. It's a gripping 3 minute interview.

Sandra's walk took eight hours. Fellow travelers ended up carrying Sandra, her sister, and her mom part of the way across the desert. "If it wasn't for those two good men in our lives that came at the moment that we most needed them I don't know what would've happened."

The brevity of the interview coupled with its high emotional impact make it an ideal tool for a class on unauthorized migration.


October 5, 2017 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Born Stateless

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Check out this fabulous teaching resource courtesy of the BBC. It's a mini documentary (3:06): Born Stateless.

The film introduces us to Maha Mamo. Her parents are both Syrian, but their marriage was not officially recognized because it was a mixed-marriage: Her mom is Muslim and her dad is Christian. Because of this lack of recognition of the underlying marriage, Maha and her siblings are not considered Syrian by virtue of their parentage.

Maha herself was born in Lebanon. But Lebanon does not follow jus soli. Because her parents were Syrian, Maha could not be Lebanese.

Maha and her siblings sought a new home. They found an unexpected one, Brazil.

This film is 3 minutes well spent. It's a great addition to classroom discussion about jus soli, jus sanguinis, and naturalization (with a side of refugee status).


October 3, 2017 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Billionaires Can Seek Asylum Too

Photo via South China Morning Post

The story of Guo Wengui makes for a great in-class real-o-thetical on asylum. With so much news coverage of indigent asylum seekers around the globe, Guo's bid for asylum in the US is stands out. That's because he's a billionaire.

Guo's claim is grounded in political persecution. As the BBC reports, Guo says that he is "perceived as a political opponent of the Chinese regime."

Guo certainly has been outspoken. On youtube and twitter, Guo has made allegations that top members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party are guilty of corruption. (You could show his tweets or play one of his youtube videos for your class.)

Guo is currently in the US on a tourist visa, awaiting a decision on his asylum petition.

One wrinkle of interest in his case - Guo reportedly holds passports to a total of 11 countries (presumably 10 of which aren't China). Even more fodder for classroom discussion!


September 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 4, 2017

I Love My Undocumented People

From the LA-based (and undocumented) poet Yosimar Reyes comes this ode to the undocumented.


September 4, 2017 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (2)