Thursday, August 13, 2020

Ekene Ijeoma's audio portrait of who counts in America

Ekene Ijeoma Counting

Professor Ekene Ijeoma's A Counting provides an audio portrait of American diversity by splicing together the voices of foreign-born Americans counting to 100 in their native languages. The audio portrait is intended to be a reflection on the 2020 census and how the census has historically undercounted minority communities.

Professor Ijeoma is a first-generation Nigerian American who grew up in Fort Worth and is now a professor at MIT. He says in an interview with NPR that he has been drawn to art and science since childhood and seeks to "bridge the gap between facts and feelings" with his projects. Other projects have included:

  • Creating an algorithm that erases a certain percentage of notes in the Star-Spangled Banner to reflect current rates of mass incarceration.
  • A partnership with an epidemiologist to create a 2018 sculptural work called "Pan-African AIDS," in which he uses etched plexiglass panels to sharply contrast rates of infection in Africa and the United States.
  • Recasting a Robert E. Lee monument in New Orleans 
  • An internet work, "The Refugee Project", that breaks down data to explain the ongoing crisis of more than 20 million displaced people around the world.


August 13, 2020 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Law as Scapegoat  by Cary Coglianese


Law as Scapegoat  by Cary Coglianese


Populist nationalist movements have been on the rise around the world in recent years. These movements have tapped into, and fueled, a deep anger among many members of the public. Especially in the face of stagnant or declining economic prospects—as well as expanding inequality—much anger has been directed at minorities and migrants. Politicians with authoritarian tendencies have sought to leverage such public anger by reinforcing tendencies to scapegoat others for their society’s problems. In this paper, I show that laws and regulations—like migrants—can be framed as “the other” too and made into scapegoats. With reference to developments in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States, I provide examples of recent efforts by populist leaders to scapegoat the law. Addressing the political economy of legal scapegoating and pointing to similarities between anti-migrant rhetoric and the denigration of law, I explain why politicians can find it attractive to blame law for social conditions that drive public anger. I also explain how persistent legal scapegoating can undermine public confidence in vital governing institutions, posing a risk of longer-term harms to society.

This paper draws on a keynote lecture delivered in the fall of 2019 in Rome at the International Association of Legislation’s conference on “The Crisis of Confidence in Legislation.”


August 13, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Kamala Harris, Child of Immigrants


Kamala Harris, the VP candidate for the Democratic party, is the child of immigrants. Both of her parents came to the United States to pursue education at the University of California, Berkeley. (Go Bears!) Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, came from India. Her father, Donald Harris, came from Jamaica.

Harris is not the first child of immigrants to run for high office--Barack Obama's father came to the United States from Kenya to study as well.

She is, however, the first woman of color, first African-American, and first South Asian to be chosen as the VP candidate by a major party.

I look forward to seeing how her immigrant roots shape her candidacy and her views on immigration.


August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Podcast: An All-American Wake Up Call: How Nativism Paved the Way for Trump’s Immigrant War


This Immigration & Democracy podcast, created by the new Immigration Initiative at Harvard, is worth consideration as background for Immigration Law students.  Here is the summary of the episode:

"Is Trumpism really a bolt from the blue, or is his hardline approach to immigration a continuation of majority-ethnic nationalism that goes back to settler colonialism? And, in their efforts to appease certain voters with more securitized immigration policies, to what extent did the administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama pave the way? Join guest host Dr Stephanie DeGooyer in conversation with Daniel Denvir as they explore American nativism in the past and present. How is it shaping politics as we know it, and what are the lessons for the future of the immigrant’s rights movement?

In this series, we bring you fresh knowledge and insight from the team at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard, led by our Director, Professor Roberto G. Gonzales, and featuring voices from the field. Join us as we get to know our neighbors through their stories."

There are other episodes in the series worth checking out including ones on deportation and raids.



August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Modern day slavery: How immigration laws lure and trap undocumented workers

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Photo courtesy of the Bracero Program website

Laz Ayala on the Hill laments the exploitation of undocumented workers:

"Let’s cut to the chase and call undocumented immigration what it is: modern-day slavery. The flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. exists by design, not because of poor border security. Our laws are designed to lure undocumented workers into the country with the prospect of loosely regulated employment (aka a job waiting for them once they arrive). These workers are then exploited while the employers are not held accountable for illegally hiring them.

Once in the U.S., they are trapped, separated from their families here and abroad, taxed without representation or benefits, have no voice or vote, are criminalized, dehumanized, and exploited for economic and political gain. As if that were not enough, they are villainized and persecuted by law enforcement and civilian militias and incarcerated in for-profit detention facilities. Ask yourself, if this is not systemic oppression that compares to modern-day slavery, then what is?"

His "simple" solution:  " reforming our guest worker programs to meet the labor needs of our economy."  Some have argued, however, (and here) that guest worker programs result in the exploitation of the "guests."



August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associated Press: Mobilizing Latinx Voters in North Carolina


The Associated Press has a fascinating report on efforts to mobilize Latinx voters in North Carolina.  Here is the AP synopsis:


America Disrupted: Part 3

He set out to mobilize Latino voters. Then the virus hit.

Across the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak is disrupting Latinos’ long and difficult climb up the political ladder. The disease has disproportionately sickened Latinos, destabilized communities and impeded voter registration ahead of the November presidential election.

In North Carolina, an emerging frontier in Latino politics, only 5,000 Latinos have been added to the voter rolls since mid-March, less than half the number added during the same period four years ago. 

The virus and the economic fallout it triggered is crashing down on Latinos just as they hit a new electoral milestone. For the first time, there will be more Latinos eligible to vote than any other minority group -- 32 million, the Pew Research Center projects.

But Latinos have long seemed on the cusp of realizing their potential at the ballot box, only to see their impact undermined. In 2016, fewer than half of eligible Latinos voted. 

Alamance County, North Carolina

In Alamance County amid the housing tracts and thick forests reaching between Raleigh and Greensboro, there are four Latinos who cannot vote for every one who can. 

For decades, those numbers meant one thing: Latinos’ growing population in the state didn’t translate into political power. Rather, it had the opposite effect of animating resentment and grievance, as politicians seized on immigration as a potent issue.

Now the children of immigrants are coming of age, finding their voice and their leaders. For part three of "America Disrupted" we traveled to North Carolina to talk to local leaders and activists.


Alamance County residents we spoke to

 ·         Ricky Hurtado, 31, son of Salvadoran immigrants. Hurtado was born in Los Angeles but moved to Alamance County when he was 7, where his mother worked at a chicken plant. He is now running for public office.

·         County Sheriff Terry Johnson, a Republican who first came to office in 2002. Johnson was the only sheriff in the country other than Arizona’s notorious Joe Arpaio to be sued by the Obama administration Department of Justice for civil rights violations against immigrants. 

·         Omar Lugo, 42, a Venezuelan immigrant. Lugo says he see evidence that Latinos in North Carolina are turning to the GOP in these turbulent times. Latinos are repelled by scenes of chaotic demonstrations and the debate over defunding police departments, he said. 

·         Aranza Sosa, 22. She began researching local politics after she was turned away by Johnson’s deputies over a Black Lives Matter protest. Her uncle died of COVID-19 in late May.

About the story: From reporter Nicholas Riccardi

When we set out last year to do a story on the Latino electorate, we thought about taking a different approach and looking for places where Latinos largely couldn’t vote. Nationally only half of Latinos can vote, well behind whites and African-Americans.

We zeroed in on Alamance County, North Carolina, where a young Latino named Ricky Hurtado was running for the statehouse. A team of AP reporters spent a week following Hurtado as he launched his campaign in early March. 

Then the world fell apart. Coronavirus scrambled the news environment, followed by the economic crash, then the George Floyd protests. Through it all, we stayed in touch with the people we met in North Carolina, and the story became as much about the new challenges Latinos face in politics as well as past barriers.

Read the full story here.




August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remove the Sword of Damocles from DACA by Michael A. Olivas and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


In Remove the Sword of Damocles from DACAMichael A. Olivas and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia critically analyzed the legality of the Department of Homeland Security's recent DACA memo responding to the Supreme Court's decision in Dep’t of Homeland Security v. Regents of the Univ. of California.  Their bottom line:

"President Trump has cruelly vacillated on his support for DREAMers, saying he would take care of them and immigration reform “by executive action,” in remarks to reporter José Díaz-Balart. Ironically, it was his predecessor’s executive action and use of discretion that led Attorney General Sessions and DHS officials to determine DACA was “illegal.” This is the Gang that Can’t Shoot Straight, and they must now adhere in a timely fashion to the rule of law. Neither the Supreme Court majority nor we believe these officials acted in accord with their basic legal requirements, and they are wrongly continuing to behave in unlawful fashion. These students are a national treasure and deserve a pathway to permanent residence. Properly re-aligning DACA will not accomplish this, but Congress should do so. Now is the time for the Trump Administration to “love” DREAMers and properly administer this successful program, as they weigh their options. No matter the final decision, those would-be DACAmented students have kept their part of the bargain, and we owe them no less." 



August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Republicans Send Dire Warning to Party—Change Immigration Policy or GOP Will Die


Ramsey Touchberry for Newsweek reports that Florida Republican leaders warn that without a major change in immigration policy, GOP wins may be a thing of the past. Those with ties to Florida's immigration business community who have long supported Republicans said they are furious with the Governor, one of the Sunshine State's newest members of Congress, and the Republican Party's refusal to support legislation that would make inroads with Latino voters. Instead, they said, they want Governor Scott and other GOP lawmakers to take a cue from Florida's other Republican senator: Marco Rubio.  "The party needs to understand what America will look like in 10 to 20 years and stay relevant," said former Florida Republican Party Chairman Al Cárdenas, a Cuban-American. "I don't think we're doing a good job on policy, tone, content and inclusiveness."


August 12, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Hispanic, Latina/o, Latinx?


NPR podcast Code switch discusses a Pew Research poll on usage of the term Latinx, a panethnic and gender neutral term to describe persons of Latin American or Spanish descent. It finds that, despite its popularity on college campuses and among young people, the term is not widely known or used in Latin communities.   Only a quarter of respondents have hard of the term and a paltry 3% use it to describe themselves. Even among the younger respondents, 42% have heard the term and only 7% use it to describe themselves. The groups most familiar with the term attended college or were U.S.-born.

The terms more widely used are Hispanic (originating in the 197os) and Latino/a (originating in the 1990s).


August 11, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump campaign hits Biden on taxes, immigration in new ad


Marina Pitofsky for The Hill reports that President Trump’s reelection campaign hit presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a new ad, targeting the former vice president’s tax and immigration plans.

The ad also shows footage of Biden vowing “citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks.”

“That means 11 million illegal immigrants competing for American jobs, eligible for free health care, Social Security and Medicare. America can’t afford Joe Biden,” the ad continues.

Biden has vowed to work with lawmakers if elected to provide “a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants,” according to his website.

The ad is set to be released in battleground states of Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, Axios reported


August 11, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kamala Harris Would Expand Deferred Action Programs

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. When she was preparing for the primary elections as a presidential candidate herself, here's the main part of her immigration platform as reported by CNN last year:

Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday announced a plan to expand the use of deferred action immigration programs as president and use executive actions to remove the threat of deportation of millions of undocumented people in the United States.

The plan, which the California Democrat is rolling out ahead of a trip to Nevada on Friday, would work within the current confines of immigration law and assumes Congress would be unable to pass immigration reform, something the body has failed to do for years. Her plan, should she be elected in 2020, would instead expand the use of deferred action immigration programs and use executive actions.
Harris would look to remove barriers that prevent many so-called Dreamers -- undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children -- from receiving legal status by applying for a green card. The plan would also expand the use of deferred action programs to cover parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents, veterans and undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for years.
The plan would also make it easier for deferred action recipients to adjust their immigration status by clarifying that a number of infractions usually committed by Dreamers -- like entering the country unlawfully, having lapses in their immigration status and performing unauthorized work -- do not impact immigration proceedings as long as those recipients have a family connection in the United States or a job that requires them to adjust their status. Read more...

August 11, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (1)

AALS Schedule -- Immigration Panels

AALS has circulated a preliminary schedule for the 2021 Annual Conference, which will be virtual this year. Here are some important dates to calendar: 

  • Wednesday January 6, 4:15-5:30 (Eastern): New Voices in Immigration Law
  • Thursday January 7, 1:15-2:30 (Eastern): Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls


August 11, 2020 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three New Board of Immigration Appeals Members


The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced the appointment of Michael P. Baird, Sunita B. Mahtabfar, and Sirce E. Owen to teh Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The announcement includes biographical information on the new BIA members.

As Suzanne Monyak for Law360 (registration required) reports, "The U.S. Department of Justice has tapped three former immigration judges to the immigration courts' appellate board, including one judge with a nearly 99% asylum denial rate, bringing the board to full capacity after the Trump administration expanded it. . . .

The new hires bring the BIA to a full 23 members, several months after the DOJ expanded it from 21. That expansion had marked the second time that the Trump administration had increased the size of the BIA, having added four members back in 2018."


August 11, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Taming Immigration by David A. Martin


Taming Immigration by David A. Martin, Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2020


This essay presents, in lightly revised form, the Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture delivered at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, November 21, 2019.

Large-scale migration flows have sparked controversy and polarization around the globe, with increasing intensity over the past half-dozen years. Public backlash in Europe and the US has led not only to bad immigration policy, but also – increasingly – to gains by authoritarian politicians like Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who exploit the issue to undermine democracy. America is far from immune. The stakes in national debates over immigration control policies are thus frighteningly high. Most Americans share genuine pride in our heritage as a nation of immigrants. This welcoming impulse coexists, however, with a concern about control, about risks to the rule of law, when migration flows seem to defy or overwhelm government regulation. Building a sustainable, humane immigration management system has to win the support of this large, conflicted, and often inattentive middle constituency – by visibly serving both the impulse to welcome and the impulse to control. The answer is not to cut overall migration; instead we must show seriousness about curbing unauthorized migration. We need taming, not hobbling, if we are to preserve the political space for generous legal migration laws.

The essay outlines the primary reform steps needed to serve these ends. They begin with a generous one-time legalization program, which would not only recognize the human claims of long-staying de facto residents but would also free up resources for a resolute enforcement program focused on new and recent violators. Legalization might also help restore healthier forms of cooperation on the part of state and local law enforcement officials, who have in recent years rebelled against cooperation when they see deportation imposed on long-standing and well-integrated residents. Modest revisions to legal migration provisions are also in order. Other enforcement initiatives would include mandating E-Verify use by all employers and launching a systematic government effort to locate and remove new visa overstayers promptly upon expiration of their permitted stay.

Asylum reform is also acutely needed, but the asylum system, by its nature, can pose the greatest challenges to achieving reasonable control. Mastering the current immigration court backlog is essential, with timely removals of unsuccessful applicants after full and fair hearings – ideally including counsel at government expense through public-defender-style offices. In time of large-scale arrivals, as in summer 2019, further novel strategies (more humane and realistic than the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy) may be needed: for example, international aid programs to address root causes, regional solutions incorporating extraterritorial sites for adjudication and the sharing of resettlement responsibilities, and, as necessary, centralized asylum processing and housing facilities on US territory along the southwest border.


August 11, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2020

Saturday Deadline: Call For Papers--AALS 2021, New Voices in Immigration Law

“New Voices in Immigration Law”
Association of American Law Schools · Section on Immigration Law
January 5-9, 2021 · Online

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2020

The Section on Immigration Law of the Association of American Law Schools invites papers and works in progress for its “New Voices in Immigration Law” session at the 2021 AALS conference, which will take place January 5-9, 2021 online. This session has not yet been scheduled. We will send updated information when he have it.

This session will be structured as a series of simultaneous works-in-progress discussions, rather than as a panel. Preselected commentators will lead small-group round-table discussions of papers.

Submissions may address any aspect of immigration and citizenship law. We also welcome papers that explore these topics from alternative disciplines or perspectives.

Please note that individuals presenting at the program are responsible for their own Annual Meeting registration fee and travel expenses.

Submission Guidelines: The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2020. Feel free to submit an abstract, a précis, or a work-in-progress. Priority will be given to individuals who have never presented an immigration law paper at the AALS Annual Meeting, works not yet published or submitted for publication, and junior scholars.

Please email submissions in Microsoft Word format to profkitjohnson at (Subject: AALS 2021: New Voices in Immigration Law). In your email, please indicate how you meet our selection priorities. If you have participated in previous AALS panels, please indicated when and in what capacity.

Inquiries: Please direct any questions or inquiries to Kit Johnson (profkitjohnson at


August 10, 2020 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday Deadline: Call For Papers--AALS 2021, Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls

“Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls”
Association of American Law Schools · Section on Immigration Law

January 5-9, 2021· Online

Submission Deadline: August 15, 2020

The Section on Immigration Law of the Association of American Law Schools invites papers for presentation at its principal session during the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting, which will take place January 5-9, 2021 online. This session has not yet been scheduled. We will send updated information when we have it. Please note that individuals presenting at the program are responsible for their own Annual Meeting registration fee and travel expenses

The Session theme is: “Outsourced Borders and Invisible Walls.”

This panel explores the many ways that the U.S. government relies on outsourced borders and invisible walls in its immigration policy. In recent years, the U.S. has outsourced many of its immigration enforcement functions. The federal government has delegated power and responsibility for immigration enforcement to state and local governments, to private actors, and to foreign governments. In its operation of and within detention facilities that are privately owned and maintained, its formal and informal collaboration with Mexican border agents and police, in its reliance on private contractors for building a border wall, and more, the U.S. government extensively leverages other entities and governments in its immigration enforcement efforts.

At the same time, the government has constructed a number of invisible barriers to immigration. In recent years, the White House has leveraged its control of administrative agencies to promote new barriers to immigration. Agencies and actors formally charged with protecting immigrants and workers have been repurposed to bolster immigration enforcement efforts. The resulting barriers block access to opportunities to immigrate legally under existing law and complicate individuals’ efforts to regularize their immigration status.

This panel will assess these outsourced borders and invisible walls, unpack the history behind them, and discuss the impact that these developments have had on democratic accountability and on the rights of migrants and long-term U.S. residents, including citizens.

Submission Guidelines: The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2020. We welcome submissions at any stage of development, although preference may be given to more fully developed papers over abstracts and paper proposals. Priority also will be given to individuals who have not recently presented a paper at the AALS Annual Meeting. Decisions will be made by September 30, 2020.

Please email submissions in Microsoft Word format to Jennifer M. Chacón (chacon at with the subject “AALS Submission.” In your email, please indicate whether you have previously presented your work at an AALS Annual Meeting, and if so, when and in what capacity.

Inquiries: Please direct any questions or inquiries to Jennifer M. Chacón (chacon at and Kit Johnson (profkitjohnson at


August 10, 2020 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Forced to be Free: The Limits of European Tolerance by Liav Orgad


Forced to be Free: The Limits of European Tolerance by Liav Orgad, Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol. 34, 2020


This Article addresses a long-established debate in political theory — under which circumstances is it legitimate to force people to be free? Focusing on recent cases in Europe—handshaking, gender-mixed swimming lessons, and burkini ban — the Article reveals two types of moral hypocrisy. First, there is an increasing appeal to the notion of “forcing people to be free.” This seems counter-intuitive and the antithesis of freedom, yet it is often justified based on conformity with the “general will” and the avoidance of self-imposed “harm.” The Article shows the dangerous use of the concepts of the general will and harm and claims that they are employed to legitimize the submission of the minority to the majority culture. Second, the Article indicates the double standard of European policies. While religious symbols and ways of life of the majority are first culturalized and then universalized, symbols and ways of life of the minority, even when seen as cultural, are often religionalized and politicized. This legal façade enables the majority group to frame social reality as a direct conflict between universal morality and religious fundamentalism.


August 10, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda by Jean Guerrero

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Interested in the background and mindset behind the mastermind of the Trump administration's immigration policies?  If so, here is a book for you.

Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda by Jean Guerrero is available tomorrow. The publisher describes the book as follows:

"Stephen Miller is one of the most influential advisors in the White House. He has crafted Donald Trump’s speeches, designed immigration policies that ban Muslims and separate families, and outlasted such Trump stalwarts as Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. But he’s remained an enigma.

Until now. Emmy- and PEN-winning investigative journalist and author Jean Guerrero charts the thirty-four-year-old’s astonishing rise to power, drawing from more than one hundred interviews with his family, friends, adversaries and government officials.

Radicalized as a teenager, Miller relished provocation at his high school in liberal Santa Monica, California. He clashed with administrators and antagonized dark-skinned classmates with invectives against bilingualism and multiculturalism. At Duke University, he cloaked racist and classist ideas in the language of patriotism and heritage to get them airtime amid controversies. On Capitol Hill, he served Tea Party congresswoman Michele Bachmann and nativist Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

Recruited to Trump’s campaign, Miller met his idol. Having dreamed of Trump’s presidency before he even announced his decision to run, Miller became his senior policy advisor and speechwriter. Together, they stoked dystopian fears about the Democrats, `Deep State' and `American Carnage,' painting migrants and their supporters as an existential threat to America. Through backroom machinations and sheer force of will, Miller survived dozens of resignations and encouraged Trump’s harshest impulses, in conflict with the president’s own family. While Trump railed against illegal immigration, Miller crusaded against legal immigration. He targeted refugees, asylum seekers and their children, engineering an ethical crisis for a nation that once saw itself as the conscience of the world. Miller rallied support for this agenda, even as federal judges tried to stop it, by courting the white rage that found violent expression in tragedies from El Paso to Charlottesville.

Hatemonger unveils the man driving some of the most divisive confrontations over what it means to be American––and what America will become.'

Vanity Fair published an excerpt of the book.  I found this paragraph from the excerpt revealing and not surprising:

"Stephen Miller was into mobster movies. Growing up, the walls of his bedroom were decorated with framed posters of Casino and Goodfellas—two of his favorite films. The characters in the Martin Scorsese films are largely amoral, but they live by a code. In Goodfellas, Robert De Niro’s character summed it up, “Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.” Miller occasionally styled himself after De Niro’s characters in those films. He wore a golden pinkie ring and slicked back his hair, polo shirts and button-downs with nice pants and a jacket—so he looked like a mobster."






August 10, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

New Book by Former President Bush: Out of Many, One


CNN reports that former President George W. Bush will release a book of 43 portraits of immigrants in conjunction with an exhibition on the value of American immigration at the George W. Bush Presidential Center that will feature the paintings. The book will be titled "Out of Many, One" and will be published in March, 2021.

Kirkus released a statement saying that

"Bush’s Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants will contain his portraits of immigrants along with their personal stories. The book will coincide with an exhibition of Bush’s portraits at his presidential center in Dallas.

`While I recognize that immigration can be an emotional issue, I reject the premise that it is a partisan issue,' Bush writes in the introduction to the book. `It is perhaps the most American of issues, and it should be one that unites us.…My hope is that this book will help focus our collective attention on the positive impacts that immigrants are making on our country.'”


August 9, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New BIA Decision on In Absentia Removal: Matter of Nivelo Cardenas

On August 5, 2020, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decided Matter of Nivelo Cardenas, 28 I&N Dec. 68 (BIA 2020), holding that “where an alien who has been personally served with a notice to appear advising him of the requirement to notify the Immigration Court of his correct address fails to do so and is ordered removed in absentia for failure to appear for the scheduled hearing, reopening of the proceedings to rescind his order of removal based on a lack of proper notice is not warranted under section 240(b)(5)(C)(ii) of the Act.”

In the case on review, the respondent listed his street address as the town of “Patcbogue,” New York. Notice was sent to the court at that address and returned to the immigration court stamped “ATTEMPTED, NOT KNOWN.” The respondent’s correct address was in the town of “Patchogue,” New York. The respondent never received the notice that was sent to the wrong address. He was ordered deported in absentia, without ever appearing in immigration court.

The respondent later filed a motion to reopen arguing that he did not receive notice of the hearing. The immigration judge rejected the motion, and the BIA affirmed. Even though it was undisputed that he did not receive the notice of the hearing, the BIA found that “he was on notice that he had a duty to correct his address information . . .”

The lack of an adequate system for providing notice of hearings is a serious problem in immigration court. In Nivelo Cardenas, the respondent received a notice to appear, but it did not contain the time and date of the hearing. At oral argument in Pereira v. Sessions, 138 S. Ct. 2105 (2018), we learned this is normal. Counsel for the government revealed that “almost 100 percent” of notices to appear issued over the preceding three years had omitted the date and time of the court hearing.

In a recent study of in absentia removal, Steven Shafer and I argue that the U.S. immigration court should learn from other court systems that have designed innovative programs to remind people about their court dates. For example, county programs in Arizona and Colorado have slashed in absentia rates in half after unrepresented individuals were called by telephone to remind them about their upcoming misdemeanor court hearings.


August 9, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)