Wednesday, December 8, 2021
The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition has issued the following press statement regarding the recent release of individuals from the Adelanto ICE Processing Center:
Adelanto ICE Processing Center to Release Unknown Number of Detained Individuals
Local Advocates Demand Information, Prepare Resources to Help Released Immigrants Reunify with Their Families
Adelanto, CA – On Friday, December 3rd, 8 immigrants were released from the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, located in the city of Adelanto, California. In total 26 immigrants have been released since last Friday. Local organizations have gathered information from attorneys and immigrants themselves who say these releases have been expedited and sudden.
Immigrants have been told by staff that ICE is planning on releasing dozens more immigrants this week. US Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) is working quietly and quickly to empty the facility by December 20th, to remodel the facility and prepare for new incoming individuals. Immigrants still detained have said that ICE plans to bring in around 400 new immigrants into the Adelanto Detention Facility.
The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition issued the following statement,
“This situation further proves that ICE has the discretionary power to release individuals from their custody. Prolonged detention is completely unnecessary, traumatic, and costly. Families, attorneys, and advocates demand full transparency from ICE and GEO Group in order to reduce harm to immigrants and reunify immigrants with family and sponsors. Transfers and deportations are unacceptable and the only appropriate release is to the community. Now is the time for the Biden Administration to live up to its promises and end its contracts with ICE and the GEO Group. The Adelanto Detention facility must be shut down for good.”
An immigrant released Friday from the Adelanto Detention Facility stated the following,
“The way immigrants are being treated inside the Adelanto Detention Center is horrible, we are complaining to ICE and GEO but no one is listening. Every day we submit grievances but the person in charge ignores us. ICE violated the order to hire a cleaning crew, we were the “cleaning crew” for over a year and got paid $1 a day. They are abusing immigrants physically and mentally, breaking the law every day, and no one is being held accountable for this. The Adelanto Detention Center must be shut down, all immigrants need to be freed and need justice, and ICE and the GEO Group need to be held accountable for all the abuse and mistreatment they have done for over a decade. Now that immigrants are being released, it is time for this deadly detention center to be shut down.”
The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition consists of Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights LA, Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Adelanto Visitation Network, ACLU of Southern California, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Freedom for Immigrants, Detention Watch Network, EarthJustice, Nikkei Progressives, Haitian Bridge Alliance, among others.
immigrant Catherine E. Shoichet for CNN reports on a "feel good" immigration story.
A Somali immigrant, Deqa Dhalac is the new Mayor of South Portland, Maine. Yesterday, she became the first Black mayor of the small city on Maine's Southern Coast. It also is believed that Dhalac is the first Somali American mayor in the United States.Dhalac was a member of the South Portland City Council. The other city councilors, who are all White, elected her in a unanimous vote, heaping praise on Dhalac for her dedication to the community and thoughtful consideration of issues.
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia has more insight on the oral argument in Patel v. Garland over at Scotusblog. Her argument analysis, Justices grapple with question of federal court review in immigration cases , carefully walks through the justices' questioning. Here's her ultimate conclusion:
Judging the outcome by oral argument is a challenging task. With that said, based on the questions and concerns raised, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan seem strongly poised to support either Patel or the government’s reading of the statute, with potential support by several conservative justices. If so, Patel would be able to have a federal court review the finding by immigration authorities that he is ineligible for adjustment of status. Roberts and Alito seemed most likely to dissent.
P.S. One final thought on oral argument. Have you ever really looked at the transcripts from a SCOTUS case? The Patel one is available here. At the very end, you'll see an index of words used in the argument. Given that Patel's case is about review/reviewability/reviewable/reviewed, I thought that might the most used word. Or discretion/discretionary. Nope. Now, if it'd thought about it more, I shouldn't have been surprised by the word that popped up most frequently: justice. See, I read that with a lowercase "j" and thought, hey, good for Patel's counsel to make this all about justice. *insert face palm emoji here* Yeah, took me a minute to add the capitalization!
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Chris Magnus to be the head of Customs & Border Protection. The CBP has been without an official leader since 2019.
Magnus had been serving as the police chief in Tuscon, Arizona. He previously served as the police chief in Fargo, North Dakota (woot, woot) and in Richmond, California. Of note, Magnus is gay, making him the first openly gay leader of CBP.
Magnus was confirmed to the position by a mostly party-line vote of 50-47 (with Sen. Collins joining the dems).
Biden CBP pick Chris Magnus confirmed by Senate https://t.co/PiNw6yoNWX— USA NEWS (@usanewsusa) December 7, 2021
Here is an interesting human rights lawsuit against a social media mega-giant. A group of U.S. and UK law firms have filed suit against Meta, formerly known as Facebook, on behalf of refugees of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, Hannah Roberts reports. The refugees claims that Metaia employed algorithms that amplified hate speech against the Rohingya people and failing to take down the groups and pages propagating such speech. The refugees are seeking $150 billion in damages in suits filed in both the US and UK.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed in Myanmar in 2017 as part of a military crackdown.
U.K.-based law firms Mishcon de Reya and McCue Jury & Partners have launched the U.K. legal action. U.S. law firms Fields and Edelson to co-ordinate in the United States.
The author blogs about the book, and why she wrote it, here.
Here is an absract from Amazon.com:
"From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.
Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end. Readers of different ages and needs can use the book in different ways, from classroom discussions to bedtime readalouds and more.
Yes We Will answers the question, can we accomplish whatever we dream? With love, courage, determination, and lots of imagination, we can—and we will!"
I. M. Pei
Philip Vera Cruz
Hat tip to immigration scholar Carrie Rosenbaum.
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The TRAC: Immigration report on "The Impact of Nationality, Language, Gender and Age on Asylum Success" has some interesting data. See the two tables above.
The report begins:
"As TRAC previously reported, under the new Biden administration asylum seekers are seeing greater success in securing asylum in Immigration Court. While asylum grant rates declined during the Trump years to a low of just 29 percent in FY 2020, they climbed to 37 percent during FY 2021 after President Biden assumed office. Focusing just on the most recent quarter (July — September 2021), asylum seekers success rate climbed to 49 percent, up even over the 44 percent success rate at the end of the Obama administration."
Today, "the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which administers the U.S. immigration courts, has agreed to a settlement with the National Association of Immigration Judges [NAIJ] to again recognize NAIJ as the exclusive union representative and collective bargaining agent for the nation’s more than 500 immigration judges. Today’s announcement puts to an end an effort begun in 2019 by the DOJ, at the direction of the Trump administration, to strip away union rights from the nation’s immigration judges." See the NAIJ press release for details.
The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce a dissertation research grants (DRG) program to support innovative and high-quality dissertation research projects that address questions relevant to RSF's priority areas: Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context; Future of Work ; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. Proposed projects must be closely aligned with the funding priorities listed on the RSF website for any of these areas, contribute to RSF's mission to improve social and living conditions in the U.S., and demonstrate appropriate use of relevant theory, innovative data, rigorous research methods, and measures. The application period is January 18-February 1, 2021.
Government responses to COVID-19 have involved severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of people all around the world. In late November, many countries including the U.S. and European countries, instituted bans on travel from South Africa to thwart the spread of the Omicron variant. Until early November, the U.S. imposed restrictions on nonessential travel from many other high infection or low vaccination countries.
The University of Oxford Covid19 Government Response Tracker taps a new data set that records a wide range of government responses globally, including various “stay-at-home” measures, restrictions on internal movements within a country, and international travel control measures. It shows that both internal and international migration controls were quickly put in place by the vast majority of countries around the world, with the peak occurring in late March to early April 2020. (The chart can be manipulated from the IOM tracker website.)
Also, the highest increases to migration occurred in Europe and Asia. Additional maps, timelines, and data appear in the report. They are both visually striking and informative!
This article illustrates a simple risk of algorithmic risk assessment tools: rigging. In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed the “release” recommendation from the algorithmic tool that helped officers decide whom to detain and whom to release. After the change, the tool only recommended detention or referred cases to a supervisor. Taking advantage of the suddenness of this change, I use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to show that the change reduced actual release decisions by about half, from around 10% to around 5% of all decisions. Officers continued to follow the tool’s detention recommendations at almost the same rate even after the tool stopped recommending release, and when officers deviated from the tool’s recommendation to order release, supervisors became more likely to overrule their decisions. Although algorithmic tools offer the possibility of reducing the use of detention, they can also be rigged to increase it.
Representatives Espaillat (D-NY) and Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) News Conference on Immigration
Representatives Adriano Espaillat and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will hold a news conference on immigration. It should be interesting. Both, with other members of Congress, signed on to a statement in November backing immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Official House Photo of Representative Adriano Espaillat
The Federal Defender Services has announced a Diversity Fellowship for the next generation of public defenders. Defense work in the federal defender system is especially important for immigrant rights given the impact of criminal convictions on noncitizens, and the federal government's role in prosecuting immigration crime.
The Diversity Fellowship is for two years and designed to train new attorneys in criminal defense and representation.
For more information and a list of offices participating in the program, see https://diversityfellowship.fd.org/frontpage.
Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University has found new and troubling inconsistencies in EOIR's juvenile case data. As TRAC reports in a recent press release, TRAC has been "forced to suspend its publication of data on juveniles facing deportation in Immigration Court due to serious, unresolved deficiencies in the EOIR's data. TRAC's analyses indicate that the data used by the Immigration Court for tracking and reporting on juveniles who are facing deportation appear to be seriously flawed to the point that we question whether the agency has the ability to meaningfully and reliably report on juveniles in its caseload."
Sandra Sanchez at the Border Report underscores just how crucial these data are given that the "Remain in Mexico" program is being reinstated and there is an urgent public need to understand how cases are being handled. The article also quotes TRAC's Director, Professor Sue Long of Syracuse University, explaining that EOIR record keepers have also lost 50,000 pending asylum applications.
A spokesperson for EOIR said that it would "look into these concerns."
Official White House Photo
Ruben Navarrette Jr. for the Daily Beast suggests that, even though he lost the 2020 election, he may well have won the war over immigration.
While President Biden has softened some of the Trump administration policies, some remain intact. Yesterday, the Biden administration brought back the Migrant Protection Protocols, the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The policy, devised by Stephen Miller, in response to the asylum seekers coming to the U.S./Mexico border. In addition, the Biden administration has been accused of "doubling down" on the Trump administration's efforts to de-certify the immigration judges union.
Navarrette is critical of the Biden's immigration policies:
"That was true back to when the Trump administration first concocted the inhumane idea of harboring thousands of would-be refugees south of the U.S.-Mexico border, even though doing so placed those people in harm’s way. And it’s true now that the Biden administration is not only picking up where Trump left off but, worse, expanding the program to include a whole new group of people that the White House wants to get rid of."
Monday, December 6, 2021
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Patel v. Garland. Here is a copy of the transcript. Bloomberg Law, for one, sees oral argument as indicating that SCOTUS is "likely" to side with Patel over Garland. A ruling in favor of Patel would mean that federal courts would have jurisdiction to review non-discretionary determinations by immigration courts about eligibility for adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).
Official White House Photo
Immigrant advocates have not been entirely pleased with the Biden administration's immigration moves. For example, the return of the Remain in Mexico policy has come under fire. Due to court order, the policy returned on December 6.
Nolan Rappaport on The Hill discusses the return in the Remain in Mexico policy and the policy debates over immigration.
"In 1977, a Republican senator from Kansas joined the newly formed Congressional Hispanic Caucus as an `honorary member.' In the 1980s, he voted for amnesty for undocumented immigrants. In the 1990s, he ran for president while embracing anti-immigrant measures.
Such was the complicated legacy of Bob Dole — who died Sunday at 98 — with the Latino community. During Dole’s political heyday, the Latino population tripled, and immigration emerged as a hot-button issue among conservatives. While his national campaigns failed to draw strong Latino support, Dole’s passing is an opportunity to reflect on the politics of a Republican from a different era."
"Human lives, real people, are at stake!" Francis said.
The pope thanked the residents of Lesbos for welcoming refugees and walked in the camp with storage containers housing refugees.
"Please let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!" Francis said.
He added that "we are living in the era of barbed wire and walls" but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that "we are all in the same boat."