Saturday, November 26, 2022

114 Immigrant and Human Rights Groups Demand Biden Close Detention Centers, Stop Expansion and Cut Funding for Immigration Detention

Earlier this month, 114 immigrant and human rights groups delivered a letter to the White House urging the Biden administration to immediately close Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers, prevent the development of new detention sites or expansion of existing ones, and cut funding for immigration detention from Congress. 

As Biden embarks on the second half of his term, the signatories - including Detention Watch Network, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Freedom for Immigrants, and American Immigration Lawyers Association - expressed their concern that his administration has failed to keep promises made to immigrant communities.

A copy of the November 21, 2022 letter is available here.



November 26, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oakland elects Sheng Thao, first Hmong American mayor of a major US city

California is a frontier in progressive politics, and the City of Oakland contributes to that legacy with their election of Ms. Sheng Thao. Mayor-elect Thao will be the first Hmong American woman to lead a major US city (with 430,000 residents) and the youngest Oakland mayor in 75 years. She is the daughter of Hmong refugees, an ethnic minority that fled Laos during a genocide, and settled in the US through the US refugee resettlement program.

Mayor-elect Thao has first-hand experience with some of the leading issues in her district, including poverty and homelessness. Amid a Bay Area housing crisis, she is the first mayor to be a renter while in office and probably among a small number who have experienced homelessness. She left her impoverished home in Stockton, California at age 17. Three years later, she was pregnant when she chose to leave an abusive relationship and slept on couches and in her car with an infant son before finding secure shelter. She focused on homelessness during her campaign, noting that Oakland experienced a steeper rise in homelessness than any other city in the Bay Area region that leads the nation in housing costs. The mayor-elect distinguished herself from other mayoral candidates by laying out housing policies that invest in public health and violence prevention as its public safety approach, rather than taking a tough on crime approach or defunding police altogether as the city struggles with urban crime.  She also wants to create more jobs and educational opportunities.

Formerly a UC Berkeley and community college transfer student, Ms. Thao's prior community advocacy focused on food insecurity in and around campus. At UC Berkeley, she collected food donations from local restaurants and grocers to feed her fellow students. She became involved with Oakland policies as an intern and staff member in the Vice Mayor's and City Council's offices and expanded food delivery to senior citizens; on the city council, she voted to support state legislation to build housing in commerical corridors and expand zoning limits to multi-unit, multi-story housing in formerly single-family home lots. Now she'll be in a position to do even more, aspiring to add 30,000 new housing units over the next eight years, enhance safety at RV parking sites, trash and sanitation services to homeless encampments. She also supports rent control to stem homelessness up-front.

Sheng [Thao] is a down to earth candidate who actually knows what it’s like for people who are marginalized in this city

said Pamela Drake, a local activist who advised Thao’s campaign, in a feature story in The Guardian. Drake noted that Thao is more moderate than some community activists -- winning by a slim margin over another moderate Democratic front runner Councilmember Loren Taylor in a ranked choice election -- but said she believes Thao will not ignore people in need. Thao also had the backing of labor unions and progressive politicians. She will serve in a city council with a progressive majority and the first Black district attorney of Alameda County (Vice-President Kamala Harris began her career in the same office, before joining the San Francisco District Attorney and becoming the DA for San Francisco). 

Her acceptance speech and a profile on her history-making election appears here.



November 26, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amanda Frost: In major immigration case, both sides look to academia to untangle three knotty questions


Amanda Frost for SCOTUSBlog considers a major immigration case to be argued in the Supreme Court on November 29:

"Can the Biden administration issue guidelines setting priorities in the enforcement of immigration law? Do states have standing to challenge these guidelines? And if the guidelines are unlawful, does the Administrative Procedure Act give lower courts the power to vacate them — a universal remedy that goes beyond the parties to the case? These are the three questions before the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, set to be argued on Nov. 29. Legal scholars have addressed all three issues, and their work is prominently cited in the briefing on both sides."

The page for United States v. Texas encapsulated the questions presented by the case as follows:

"(1) Whether state plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law; (2) whether the Guidelines are contrary to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) or 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a), or otherwise violate the Administrative Procedure Act; and (3) whether 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1) prevents the entry of an order to “hold unlawful and set aside” the guidelines under 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)."


November 26, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 25, 2022

Immigrant of the Day: Paul Eremenko (Ukraine)

Department of Defense, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Eremenko was 13 when his family moved to the U.S. from the Ukraine. His dad, Alexandre Eremenko, came to teach university-level mathematics.

(Paul) Eremenko has had a fascinating career as an innovator. He worked for several years with DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the coolest branch of the U.S. Department of Defense that is dedicated to developing technologies for use by the U.S. military. He also worked for Motorola, Google, Airbus Group (CTO -- Chief Technology Officer), and United Technologies (CTO).

What's most fascinating to me, however, and why I'm highlighting Eremenko today, is his founding of a new company in 2020: Universal Hydrogen. The company's goal is to create "a pragmatic, near-term approach to making hydrogen commercial flight a reality." Why hydrogen? The idea is to "decarbonize aviation and put the industry on a trajectory to meet Paris Agreement obligations."

Eremenko spoke about his work on the How I Built This podcast as well as the Everything Hydrogen podcast.


November 25, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Two Texas attorneys behind the Children’s Immigration Law Academy

Amanda Robert for the ABA Journal spotlight  two Texas attorneys behind the Children’s Immigration Law Academy.  According to the organization's website, the "[t]he aim [of the Center is] to support legal service providers by providing training and support for their staff, thereby improving staff capacity and sustainability. Additionally, the center . . . support[s] pro bono volunteers in their efforts to assist unaccompanied minors."



November 25, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving! Why Thanksgiving is an American Celebration of Immigration


A few years back, Michael Barron for Culture Trip offered interesting thoughts on the Thanksgiving holiday and immigration.  The teaser:  "Memoirs from Pilgrims William Bradford and Edward Winslow depict the Wampanoag tribe’s welcome of foreign settlers — which paved the way for the first Thanksgiving — and remind us that immigration is central to the celebration."


November 24, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

IOM Report: More Than 50,000 Migrant Deaths

More than 50,000 people worldwide have lost their lives during their migratory journeys since International Organization for Migration (IOM)'s Missing Migrants Project began documenting deaths in 2014, according to a new IOM report published today.  Despite the increasing loss of life, little action has been taken by governments in countries of origin, transit, and destination to address the ongoing global crisis of missing migrants. 

Listen to a migrant story here.


November 23, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

In a hotter, more crowded world, immigration will be inevitable 

A new United Nations report predicts much of global population growth will occur in areas becoming too hot to be livable, leading to migration of people in search of gentler climates. Check out this article on the report in Quartz  


November 23, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Advocates call on Biden administration to renew Haitian migrant protections

Rafael Bernal for the Hill reports  that a coalition of more than 400 organizations yesterday called on the Biden administration to renew a key immigration program to protect Haitians in the United States from removal.  In a letter to President Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the 422 groups led by Haitian Bridge Alliance asked the officials to extend and redesignate Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation.    Extending TPS would give current beneficiaries more time in the program, and redesignation would grant TPS benefits to Haitians who entered the United States after July of 2021.

Here is the letter.  The lead signatories on the letter are:

Melanie Nathan, Executive Director, African Human Rights Coalition

Erika Pinheiro, Executive Director, Al Otro Lado
Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Edna Yang and Rebecca Lightsey, Co-Executive Directors, American Gateways
Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director, American Immigration Council
Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Shalyn Fluharty, Executive Director, Americans for Immigrant Justice

Shalyn Fluharty is a UC Davis Law graduate.



November 23, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Migration Policy Institute: Reassessing Recruitment Costs in a Changing World of Labor Migration


National governments, multilateral organizations, private-sector interests and others have devoted significant attention in recent years to promoting the fair and ethical recruitment of migrant workers. Their efforts include finding ways to reduce or eliminate migrant-borne recruitment costs, which can result in increased vulnerability and reduced income for workers who finance these expenses through high-interest loans or debt bondage. The COVID-19 pandemic represented a major setback for this cause, however, by driving up some recruitment costs and other expenses for workers. Even as the public-health crisis recedes, these costs may long continue to shape workers’ future migration decisions and the conditions they accept.

A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) explores how the pandemic has affected costs for migrant workers at every stage of their journey and reflects on what these developments mean for future efforts to promote fair and ethical recruitment.

The brief, Reassessing Recruitment Costs in a Changing World of Labor Migration, contends that the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic suggest the need to revisit how these costs are defined and regulated. Focusing only on the costs associated with the recruitment and relocation process misses the full range of debts that individuals may incur when seeking to take up work abroad, particularly in turbulent times. As job offers vanished early in the pandemic, some migrant workers found themselves on the hook for upfront expenses yet with no means to pay down this debt. Those already working abroad had to contend with job losses, cuts to their hours or pay, or wage theft. And yet others had to pay for masks and other protective equipment, COVID-19 testing or quarantine during their period of employment or in preparation to return home.


November 22, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Podcast Interview with Professor Holly Cooper

Immigration Law Clinic Co-director and Professor Holly Cooper discusses her work to improve conditions for unaccompanied immigrant children in government custody. Professor Cooper walks us through the recent preliminary injunction in the national class action lawsuit Lucas R. v. Becerra that ensures more procedural protections for migrant children.
UC Davis Law's podcast about faculty scholarship, Justice Defined: Scholars of King Hall, focuses on research areas including immigration, business, civil rights, environmental and constitutional law and more.




November 22, 2022 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Guest Post: My last op-ed By Nolan Rappaport

My last op-ed

By Nolan Rappaport

The Republicans’ Commitment to America includes a plan for securing the border and combatting illegal immigration.  

The Republicans claim that record illegal border crossings have led to more drugs, more crime, and a demoralized Border Patrol that is being prevented from carrying out its law enforcement mission. This has become both a national security and a humanitarian crisis.  

Their plan calls for fully funding effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure, and advanced technology to prevent illegal crossings and trafficking by cartels. It also calls for improving internal enforcement measures; ending catch-and-release loopholes; requiring proof of legal status to get a job; and eliminating welfare incentives.  

It may be a good plan, but the Republicans will need cooperation from the Democrats to pass implementing legislation and it almost certainly would not be implemented by the current president.

I think, however, that the Democrats will provide the necessary support if the Republicans approach them the right way.   

And the U.S. Constitution provides Congress and the courts with the ability to deal with presidents who substitute their own interior enforcement and admissibility policies for the interior enforcement  and admissibility provisions Congress put in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Border security and enforcement-only approach  

Just as with the Democrats’ benefits-only bills, it will be extremely difficult for Republicans to get enough Democratic support to pass a bill that only has border security and internal enforcement provisions. It would be better to try the approach that made the last comprehensive immigration reform bill possible, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986.  

IRCA sponsors were able to obtain bipartisan support with what they referred to as a “three-legged stool” agreement. It provided border security and internal immigration enforcement measures for the Republicans and increased employment-based visas and a legalization program for the Democrats.  

This approach might make it possible for Republicans to succeed in obtaining enough Democratic support to pass a bill with most of the border security and internal enforcement measures they want.  

For example, a bill with these provisions would offer benefits that are highly desired by both parties.   

  • Leg one: Border security and interior enforcement measures;  
  • Leg two: Substantial increases in the number of visas available for family-based and employment-based immigration, with funding earmarked for hiring more people to process applications for these visas; and  
  • Leg three: A DREAM Act that would create a place in the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) program for undocumented migrants who were brought here by their parents when they were young children.  

I would be surprised if the Republicans couldn’t get enough votes from Democratic senators to overcome a filibuster with this three-legged stool — unless the Republicans go too far.  

But if such a bill were to be enacted, would its provisions be executed by the current and future presidents? Recent history suggests that the current president would just continue to apply his own border security and interior enforcement policies.  

This is not a new problem. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were troubled by it too, so they put provisions in the Constitution that make it possible for the other branches of the government to deal with it.   

Separation of powers  

The experience the framers had had with the British monarchy led them to believe that concentrating governmental powers in a single entity would subject the nation’s people to arbitrary and oppressive government action. Consequently, they sought to ensure that each of the three branches of the government would have separate powers, and they provided measures that each branch can use to resist such encroachments.   

For instance, Article II, Section 4 provides that, “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”  


What does “high crimes and misdemeanors” mean? Former President Gerald Ford said, “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” Many scholars disagree.  

In any case, there is no appeal, so Congress has the final word on what that phrase means.  

Article II. Section 3 provides that the President, “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”   

Lastly, the framers included a mandatory oath of office for presidents in Article II. Section 1, which makes it clear that presidents are bound by the provisions in the Constitution. It reads as follows:  

“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’"  

Former President Barack Obama summed these provisions up nicely when he said, “I’m not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I’m required to follow the law.”  

The Constitution gives Congress the power to remove a president from office through impeachment proceedings if he does not follow the law or violates any other constitutional obligation.   

However, although the Republicans could impeach Biden in the House, they wouldn’t have the votes needed to convict him in the Senate ---- unless the situation gets so bad that public pressure forces ten Democratic senators to turn on him. 

It also gives the courts the authority to reign in an errant president and the courts are less likely to be influenced by political considerations.  

Congress could make it easier for the courts to assume that responsibility by paying particular attention to making their intentions clear with the language they use when they draft legislation to implement their immigration measures, especially with respect to whether provisions are mandatory or discretionary.  

If Congress chooses to initiate impeachment proceedings, they might kill any chance they might otherwise have had to work with the Democrats.

And Biden won’t be the president forever.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.  Follow him at:


November 22, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canada: Why the country wants to bring in 1.5m immigrants by 2025

Earlier this month, the federal government announced an aggressive plan to take in 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, with almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years."


November 22, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2022

NPR Reports on Challenges to Visitation in ICE Prisons

Terrific reporting today by NPR's Juliana Kim on challenges to visitation in ICE prisons. Kim explains:

Individuals held in immigration detention were barred from visits with relatives and friends for more than two years during the pandemic — far longer than federal prisons. In May, ICE lifted the ban, but immigrant advocates and people in detention centers argue that social visits have not been fully nor consistently reinstated. . . . 

As of Nov. 14, 52 out of 113 ICE sites were listed as yellow or red status, meaning their COVID response includes temporarily restricting in-person visits. . . .

Earlier this month, Freedom for Immigrants and 139 other immigrant advocacy organizations asked the Biden administration to intervene and urge ICE facilities to offer in-person visits regardless of a facility's COVID status. They also said video calls for people in ICE detention should be free of charge.

The full story is available here.


November 21, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Migrants Hired to Work at the World Cup Opening Match Waited All Day Without Food and Water

Tariq Panja for the New York Times reports on some troubling news from the World Cup, which this year is hosted by Qatar, a nation with a human rights record that has been questioned.  "A group of more than 200 migrant laborers hired to work concession stalls at the Qatar World Cup’s opening game said they had been left without food, water and toilet facilities for seven hours while they waited for their assignments."  Most of the migrants reportedly are from India.
UPDATE (November 21, 3 p.m. PST):  For a book on migrant labor in Qatar, click here.  Hat tip to my colleague Afra Afsharipour.

November 21, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Montana Lawyer Unveils Immigration App


News from Montana!  Thanks to LexisNexis Immigration Law for bringng it to my attention.

Montana immigration lawyer Shahid Haque of the Border Crossing Law Firm has unveiled the app Open Borders, a kind of TurboTax-style immigration guide.  It launched on November 3.

Megan Michelotti for The Independent Record (Helena, Montana) describes the app, which starts by asking the initial question: “Are you a citizen of the United States?”

The first question asked in Open Borders.

The question that follows if you click the "No, I am not a citizen yet" answer in Open Borders.  Depending on the answer, further options are provided.   Through answering a series of questions, a person's case is evaluated and their options for proceeding are laid out.

The app is available in both English and Spanish, with more languages possible in the future.

Haque is looking to expand the app, adding more features such as informational video instructions.


November 21, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Annual International Refugee Law Student Writing Competition: Due January 15, 2023

The American Society of International Law's International Refugee Law Interest Group (IRLIG) has announced the ninth annual International Refugee Law Student Writing Competition.

Eligibility and Requirements

1. Papers may address any topic related to international law and refugees, stateless persons, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), and/or forced migrants.

2. Particular consideration will be given to papers authored by student authors who have
experienced forced displacement and to student authors in the global south..

3. Student authors must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited university at the time of submission.

4. Papers must be written solely by the candidate, in English, and may not have been submitted for publication elsewhere.

5. Citations should be in footnotes, rather than endnotes. 

6. Submissions may range from 7,000 to 12,000 words, including footnotes.

7. Each candidate is limited to a single submission.

8. Candidates should only resubmit previously unsuccessful submissions following substantial revision.

Deadline and Method of Submission

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, 15 January 2023.

Articles should be submitted to as Microsoft Word attachments. Questions
should be directed to the same address.


November 19, 2022 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Bookshelves: People Love Dead Jews


It's hard to imagine a more provocative title than that of Dara Horn's new book People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present. Here's the publisher's pitch:

Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture―and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks―Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present.

Horn draws upon her travels, her research, and also her own family life―trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study―to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past―making the radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.

This book seems particularly relevant for immprofs given our (necessary) focus on "dead jews." After all, the entire international refugee scheme was a response to the horrors wrought on Jewish people during WWII.

I think this book particularly calls to me because I recently found myself (in the wake of the Kanye mess) looking into the world population of Jews. Did you know it's estimated to be just 15.3 million? Of those, about 7 million live in Israel and 6 million live in the United States. That means only 2.3 million Jews live scattered around the rest of the world.

To put those figures in perspective, it is estimated that the African American population of the United States is 45.1 million, the Asian population of the U.S. is 20.2 million, and the gay adult population of the U.S. is 14.5 million.


November 19, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2022

If Dreams Came True? House Democrats choose DACA over other immigration priorities in lame-duck session

The mid-term elections are gone and a lame duck Democratic Congress will be wrapping up.  Rafael Bernal AND Mike Lillis for The Hill report that

"House Democrats are preparing a legislative sprint to send immigration reforms to the Senate before they give up their majority  . . . . 

The lame-duck push is focusing on a bill to protect so-called Dreamers, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision, announced by House Democratic leaders . . . , comes just a week after the midterm elections, when both parties were vying for a growing share of Hispanic voters."

According to the story, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the details are still being worked out. But the framework will be a piece of legislation — the Dream and Promise Act — that was passed by the House last year. 


Photo courtesy of Rep. Raul Ruiz U.S. Congress webpage


November 18, 2022 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Papers Please: The Musical

Ho did I not know about this beauty? Check out Papers Please: The Musical from Random Encounters.

"You will tear up every visa from a person with a beard."

"Every migrant overweight you must now interrogate."


November 18, 2022 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)