Friday, October 30, 2020

"ICE announces arrests of more than 100 at-large aliens"


Last month, reports circulated that the Trump administration would be targeting sanctuary cities for immigration enforcement actions.  ICE later announced raids in California.

Earlier this week, " U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced . . . the results of a five-day targeted enforcement operation that resulted in the apprehension of more than 100 at-large aliens in communities spanning from the country’s northern to southwest borders.

ICE officers in Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan and Texas, conducted the enforcement actions Oct. 19 through Oct. 23, focusing on aliens subject to removal who pose a threat to public safety. More than 70% of aliens arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest."


Tony Pham, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, took aim at local jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with immigration officials in announcing in Minnesota the arrests of more than 100 people.


October 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump aide Stephen Miller preparing second-term immigration blitz



Amanda Holpuch  for the Guardian reports that the architect of Donald Trump’s immigration policy, senior adviser Stephen Miller, has a series of executive orders ready to be signed if Trump is re-elected. 

According to the story, the former homeland security department chief of staff Miles Taylor said this wishlist was saved for the second term because it included policies that were too unpopular for a president seeking re-election.

"Those items are expected to include attempting to eliminate birthright citizenship, making the US citizenship test more difficult to pass, ending the program which protects people from deportation when there is a crisis is their country (Temporary Protected Status) and slashing refugee admissions even further, to zero."

NBC News later reported that "In a 30-minute phone interview Thursday with NBC News, Miller outlined four major priorities: limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing so-called sanctuary cities, expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants and slapping new limits on work visas."


October 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Border Officials Turned Away Unaccompanied Immigrant Children More Than 13,000 Times Under Trump’s Pandemic Policy

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Hamed Aleaziz for BuzzFeed News reports that the "Department of Homeland Security has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March, when the Trump administration gave the agency unprecedented powers to close off access at the border during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an internal document obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The figure represents a major jump in child expulsions since the CDC issued an order allowing border officials to expel nearly all immigrants crossing from Mexico as the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across the world in March."

Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases. But the Trump administration has argued that the policy is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Expulsions are legally different than deportations, which would mean an immigrant had actually undergone the immigration process and found to not be legally allowed to stay in the US. Critics say the government is using the public health orders as an excuse to violate federal laws that govern the processing of unaccompanied minors at the border.


October 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Loneliness of the Immigration Lawyer


Marcia Brown for the American Prospect looks at the experiences of the immigration lawyer in the time of Trump.  The sub-title of the article encapsulates it well:  "Immigration attorneys say they’re battling Trump’s ‘war of attrition.’ If he’s re-elected, some may reconsider the work altogether."

In the body of the article, Brown summarizes her interviews with immigration attorneys as follows:

"Four years into this migration crisis, there’s a parallel migration under way—of immigration lawyers out of the profession. Survey data and interviews the Prospect conducted with more than a dozen lawyers around the country reveal the physical, mental, and financial toll endured by members of the bar. Given the extreme violence, trauma, and inhumanity their clients often endure, immigration attorneys don’t like to talk about how it affects them. But secondary trauma also leaves a mark, making it impossible to continue for some attorneys. Although numerical data is limited, there is evidence that some attorneys are cutting back on some types of cases, such as deportation defense work, or even leaving immigration law altogether. Removal defense casework is one of the most time-intensive, emotional, and exigent parts of lawyers’ loads. It’s also where the administration has aimed much of its cruelest policymaking, severely limiting lawyers’ efficacy." (bold added).


October 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

N.J. artist attacks Trump’s immigration policy with display of caged brown baby dolls


© Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for Murray | NJ Advance Media for/ Artist Amy Putman's art installation in a Montclair furniture store is getting a lot of attention.

Campaign news from New Jersey.  Laura Schwartz was running errands in Montclair, New Jersey when a Trump 2020 sign in the window of a local boutique made her take a second look; the “Make America Great Again” campaign sign was a backdrop to a cage, holding a dozen brown baby dolls in diapers. Next to it, a TV screen shows images of migrant children in detention centers.

The artwork is part of a larger body of political artwork y artist Amy Putman, whose art is inspired by Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign rhetoric and immigration policies, including a zero-tolerance policy that led to family separations at the U.S./Mexico border.



October 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Latest TRAC Immigration Data on Immigration Courts


TRAC Immigration has updated its nuch-anticipated annual judge-by-judge asylum reports for Fiscal Year 2020 along with a report of the highlights.

TRAC’s Report titled “Asylum Denial Rates Continue to Climb”:  Despite the partial court shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year immigration jud­ges managed to decide the second highest number of asylum decisions in the last two de­cades. The rate of denial continued to climb to a record high of 71.6 percent, up from 54.6 percent during the last year of the Obama Administration in FY 2016.

Immigration Judge Reports: Check out asylum grant/denial rates for individual immigration court judges.




October 28, 2020 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights Releases Report: Reimagining the Immigration System for Children


The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights has released Reimagining Children’s Immigration Proceedings: A Roadmap for an Entirely New System Centered around Children. With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the report sets out to reimagine the ways in which the federal government welcomes children at the border and adjudicates their requests to remain permanently in the United States.

“In the absence of a ‘best interests’ mandate for all immigrant children, immigration authorities have been able to separate children from parents, and even turn children away at the border without asking a single question about where they will go or whether they will be safe,” said Young Center Executive Director Maria Woltjen. “It is not enough to reform a broken system. We must imagine and invest in an entirely new system that sees immigrant children as children.”

Reimagining is based in part on a symposium in which the Young Center brought together experts in child welfare, juvenile justice, child development, immigration law, and international migration. The goal was to learn lessons from efforts to develop and reform other systems where children’s rights are at stake, and propose a model tailored to children’s needs, capacities, and experiences. 

With bold recommendations that include extending childhood to the age of 21, ending adversarial court hearings for all children, and prohibiting the deportation of children until the government has proved they will be safe, the Reimagining report focuses both on process and substantive protections. Other recommendations include: ending the separation of children from trusted adult caregivers such as grandparents, adult siblings, aunts and uncles; providing attorneys to all children, at government expense if needed; creating a dedicated corps of government judges and attorneys assigned to children’s cases; commencing immigration proceedings only after children are living with family or placed in a family-like setting; and requiring that decisions be made in a reasonable timeframe.

Seven guiding principles are identifed in the report. These principles represent a radical change in the policies and practices embedded in the existing adjudicatory process for children.

1: A Child’s Best Interests Is a Primary Consideration in Every Decision
In every decision made about a child, from the moment the child is identified or apprehended by immigration officials until a final decision is made, the child’s best interests shall be a primary consideration. This does not preclude other considerations, such as the child’s stated interests, a parent’s stated interests, concerns for the safety of others or national security. But consideration of the individual child’s best interests—which includes consideration of the child’s stated interests—must inform every decision, with decisionmakers held accountable for meeting this obligation.

Principle 2: Safety and Family First
When any child is identified by immigration authorities (at the border or internally) the sole focus shall be finding a safe placement with family, minimizing any time spent in institutional, government care. Children apprehended with parents or other family members—whether at the border or internally—shall not be separated for purposes of immigration enforcement absent a determination that the parent or family member poses an imminent danger to the child’s safety, a determination that would be subject to prompt review by a judge with expertise in family law. The initiation of an immigration case to determine whether the child will remain in the United States or return to home country will begin only after the child’s safe reunification with family or placement in a family- or community-based setting such as foster care.

Principle 3: A Fundamentally Fair Process
After safe placement in the community, children who wish to remain in the United States will participate in a holistic process of decision making which places the child at the center. Children will not be subject to repeated inquiry about past traumatic events and there will be timely but not rushed decision-making. All children will be represented by counsel and vulnerable children will be appointed a child advocate to help identify the child’s best interests.

Principle 4: Specialization
Every participant and decisionmaker in a child’s case will have specialized training in child development and the impact of trauma on children, as well as training and experience working with children from different cultural backgrounds.

Principle 5: No Repatriation to Unsafe Situations
A child may fail to prove eligibility to remain in the United States. However, before repatriation, the government must demonstrate to an independent adjudicator that the child will be safe upon return. If a child will not be safe upon return, the child will be permitted to remain in the United States until adulthood.

Principle 6: Childhood Continues to Age 21
There is consensus in the scientific community that children continue to develop and mature well into their 20s. An increasing number of legal systems have recognized this principle, extending the age of childhood or youth to 21. All immigrant youth will be recognized as children and will be able to avail themselves of child-specific protections until they reach the age of 21.

Principle 7: All Children Share the Same Rights and Protections
All children placed in immigration proceedings, whether arriving at the border or encountered within the United States after being here for any period of time, hold the same rights. These include the rights to express their own wishes, to safety, to liberty, to be protected from family separation, to develop, to maintain their identity, to have their best interests considered in all decisions, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to have a fair opportunity to seek protection from harm.

“The past few years have crystalized the many ways in which our immigration system harms children. Reimagining presents a strong argument in favor of an overhaul of immigration proceedings for all migrant children, and shows how this systemic change is possible,” said Jennifer Nagda of the Young Center. “We hope this report will be the first step in a collaborative process with other advocates, policy-makers, Members of Congress, and the federal government to reimagine how we welcome and evaluate children’s protection claims and begin the work of implementation.”

On Wednesday, October 28, at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT, the Young Center will host an online conversation about the Reimagining report and initiative. Registration for the event, which will feature Woltjen, Nagda, Young Center Child Advocate Program Director Gladis Molina Alt, and Advocate for Youth Elvis Garcia Callejas, is available here.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is a non-profit organization that protects and advances the rights and best interests of immigrant children and advocates for an immigration system that treats children as children first. For press inquiries, please contact Noorjahan Akbar at or 202-725-7184.


October 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Guest Post: New Data Shows Immigration Attorneys Frustrated with U.S. Immigration System by Terrence Gourlay

 Cleveland Immigration Court
Guest Post for ImmProf By Terrence Gourlay, University of Michigan-Dearborn 

Immigration lawyers are often all that stands between immigrants and deportation. A new nationwide survey of immigration attorneys finds that despite their diversity, immigration attorneys agree on one thing: the immigration system is deeply flawed. Indeed, over half (53.3%) of the attorneys participating in the study reported being “extremely dissatisfied” with current U.S. immigration law. 

Before the Trump administration, immigration lawyers rarely made the news. But key Trump policy changes, from the Muslim ban to the workplace raids, have thrust many of them into the spotlight as they fight on the front lines to protect their clients from deportation. 

But who exactly are these immigration attorneys and why are they so dissatisfied? Dr. Katherine Abbott (University of New Hampshire), Dr. Maya Barak (University of Michigan-Dearborn), and Dr. Austin Kocher (TRAC Syracuse) created the National Immigration Lawyers Survey to examine the perceptions and experiences of attorneys working within the immigration system. “We wanted to better understand the understudied immigration lawyer. Who were they?” Dr. Abbott remarks. The research team gathered survey and interview data in 2018, with a total of 334 attorneys from across the country participating.

“Having all studied or worked on immigration issues in various capacities over the past decade, none of us were surprised by the finding that immigration attorneys are generally dissatisfied with the immigration system,” says Dr. Barak, “however, we were surprised by just how dissatisfied they seem to be, as well as the fact that this dissatisfaction cuts across race and gender.”

In interviews with the researchers, immigration attorneys expressed finding it more difficult to prepare their cases or explain the immigration process to their clients in recent years because of the numerous changes to immigration policy and practice since President Trump took office. “For attorneys, change often equates to unpredictability,” explains Dr. Barak. “When the law is unpredictable, attorneys may be less effective, and their clients' chances of success in court may decrease--however, it’s still too soon to know for sure.” Further research is needed to understand the effects of such legal uncertainties on both attorneys and their clients. 

Still, the outlook is not entirely negative. Increasing frustration with the immigration system may be spurring some attorneys to engage in increased advocacy and activism. For example, around 1/4 of those surveyed stated that they had plans to engage in various immigration advocacy efforts, including strategic removal defense campaigns.

To learn more about the study and its upcoming release, visit the NILS website.


October 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

22 state coalition challenges international student rule change

ImmigrationProf blog previously posted that Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule change that would limit international students and other temporary visa holders to fixed terms betwee two and four years. Twenty-two state attorneys general are now opposing the rule.

In a letter sent Monday to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the attorneys general criticized the agency for rushing through the process implementing the rule. They said that it discourages foreign students and media from coming to the U.S. and possibly violates federal law, including the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  The proposed rule is “arbitrary and capricious, and therefore cannot withstand scrutiny under the APA, on several grounds, including faulty logic, defective data, and tenuous reasoning,” the letter said. In addition,t he 22 attorneys general criticized the move as “xenophobic” and the time limits are “unduly burdensome.”

The letter was led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D). Racine and Healey were joined on the letter by the state attorney generals for California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

DHS, in its notice of the proposed rule, said that the two-year visa restriction will depend on if a student was born in a country that is designated as a state sponsor of terrorism; if a student is from one of 55 countries that has an immigration overstay rate of more than 10 percent; and whether a school or program sponsor is in an “E-verify participant in good standing.” E-verify is a federal program that requires enrollment by employers who contract with the government. Separately, USCIS sent 700 letters to OPT recipients to alert them that their permits will be revoked and another 400 permits will not be renewed when they expire as part of a crackdown on the program last week. ICE also arrested 15 students for claiming to work with companies that do not exist, in violation of the program. 


October 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Constitutional and Procedural Pathways to Freedom from Immigration Detention: Increasing Access to Legal Representation  by Aditi Shah

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Constitutional and Procedural Pathways to Freedom from Immigration Detention: Increasing Access to Legal Representation  by Aditi Shah, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Forthcoming


Each day, tens of thousands of noncitizens are caged in immigration prisons and jails across the United States. Locked up and separated from their families and the outside world, detained noncitizens experience the pain and suffering associated with criminal incarceration without any of the same salient procedural safeguards. One of the most crucial missing protections is access to legal representation. Empirical studies show that legal representation makes all the difference in allowing noncitizens to challenge their imprisonment and gain freedom. Yet, the vast majority of detained noncitizens never receive legal representation. As a result, for many people in immigration detention, the only exit options that appear realistic are those worse than detention itself: deportation or death.

Despite legal scholarship arguing for a right to appointed counsel in removal proceedings, comparatively little attention has been devoted to access to legal representation for the specific purpose of seeking freedom from detention. This Article aims to fill that gap by examining two structural pathways to increasing access to legal representation for people seeking release from immigration detention. First, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment demands a right to appointed counsel for the purpose of challenging detention (the “constitutional pathway”). A direct application of the procedural due process test established in Mathews v. Eldridge and expounded in Turner v. Rogers make immigration detention the natural extension for the right to appointed counsel. While courts have yet to recognize a constitutional right to appointed counsel in criminal bail hearings, the comparative dearth of procedural protections in immigration detention proceedings justify identifying the right in that context. Second, “legal representation” is not limited to each detainee getting her own lawyer: the class action, a device that allows a small group of detained noncitizens to litigate on behalf of a larger group of detainees, is a powerful but underappreciated tool for allowing detained noncitizens their day in court (the “procedural pathway”). Recent developments, specifically Justice Alito’s dicta on the viability of the class device in Jennings v. Rodriguez and debates over whether the immigration statute prohibits classwide injunctions, threaten the existence and efficacy of class actions for seeking freedom. The first, questioning the class device’s viability, mistakenly conflates the flexible nature of due process with the requirements for class certification; the second, doubting the permissibility of classwide injunctions, reveals the risk of undermining the utility of the class device for detained noncitizens if declaratory relief is the only possible remedy.

Immigration detention is unique among the crises currently plaguing the U.S. immigration system. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people in detention has only made this problem more apparent. Access to legal representation is crucial to prevent unlawful imprisonment, lessen the economic and human costs of detention, and fight forces of xenophobia and racial prejudice that have for far too long influenced immigration law’s understanding of “who belongs.” In dialogue together, the constitutional and procedural pathways chart two broad solutions, present benefits and limitations, and raise further ideas for roads to a fairer, more just system.


October 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories, Marvin Opiyo


In his new book, Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories, educator Marvin Opiyo shares fascinating and heart-wrenching accounts from years of his diligent research. The process of immigration is one which marks a crucial turning point in one’s life. Although one leaves one’s home country, he/she does not leave behind the traditions, languages, experiences, and values.

In the variety of accounts in Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories, we see the significant benefits Africans experience by immigrating to the U.S. However, Dr. Opiyo also paints a contrasting picture of how precious African values are challenged as immigrants adjust to their new lives. Many times, these values, such as the importance of family support, respect, and togetherness, become diminished and even break down altogether.

In his foreword to Stuck Here, University of California, Irvine Distinguished Professor and award winning author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o states that, “They [immigrants] flee the continent, thinking of America, and the West, as their heaven from the hell, real and imagined, of their social conditions.  Some find their haven, a good job and a house in the Suburbia, and are able to send remittances back home; others sink into the hell of prostitution, prison, drug use, and homelessness. But all face the racism that is the fate of black people in the Western world.”

In the chapter “Indispensable Professional Skills,” Opiyo highlights the stories of individuals who experience this and other challenges. How will individuals like George, Dr. Kanuma, and Mr. Chibanda adapt to their lives in America? Will they even consider returning back home? Even after their spouses and children have begun to finally adjust? This interesting and engaging reading answers these and other questions.


October 28, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Immigration Legal Fellowship--California Central Coast or Central Valley


The Immigration Legal Fellowship is the first-ever state funded legal fellowship program.  The Fellowship aims to develop the organizational capacity of legal service providers and increase the number of qualified immigration attorneys able to provide legal services in underserved areas of the state such as the Central Coast and Central Valley. 

The Position

California ChangeLawyers is partnering with the California Department of Social Services, immigrant rights organizations, including Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), to provide two-year fellowships to up to 10 attorneys or law graduates committed to providing immigration legal services in either California’s Central Coast or Central Valley. There will be a strong preference for candidates pursuing legal careers in those regions beyond the term of the Fellowship. 

Immigration Legal Fellows will receive intensive legal training on immigration law, particularly removal defense representation, and immigrant rights as well as hands-on experience representing clients before federal agencies and the immigration court. 

Fellows will be placed in host organizations in either the Central Coast or Central Valley region.  Each host organization will act as the Employer of the Fellows for the duration of the Fellowship.  Each Fellow may be assigned a Mentor Attorney who will provide guidance, technical assistance, and mentorship through the two-year fellowship. Fellows will be treated as a cohort and have access to leadership development and networking opportunities provided by California ChangeLawyers as well as ongoing legal training with the ILRC. 

Fellowship Duties will include

*Please note these activities will likely be virtual for the first portion of the fellowship and shift to in-person meetings and court appearances as permitted by health and safety standards.

  •  Participate in all orientation and training sessions provided to the cohort.
  •  Directly shadow experienced attorneys working on immigration cases and serve as Attorney of the Day at the San Francisco Immigration Court, participate in Know Your Rights orientation sessions at immigration detention centers, and provide pro se assistance to detained individuals. 
  •  With the assistance of Mentor Attorneys during initial training, work on a variety of immigration cases, including preparing applications, declarations, and supporting evidence as well as providing co-representation in immigration interviews, bond hearings, and removal hearings.
  •  Provide representation for individuals in a variety of immigration matters, including:  preparing applications, declarations, and supporting evidence as well as providing representation in immigration interviews, bond hearings, and removal hearings under the guidance of the Mentor Attorney.
  •  Participate in on-going legal training and capacity building opportunities as well as regular case rounds sessions with the entire Fellowship cohort.
  •  Throughout Fellowship, Fellows will actively participate in ChangeLawyers’ leadership development activities including annual Fellows Convening and monthly webinars.


-  Law school graduate including those who recently took the October 2020 bar exam.

-  California or other state bar license preferred but not required.

-  Record of experience or demonstrated commitment to serving immigrant communities.

-  Prior experience working in an immigration legal service organization preferred but not required. 

-  Strong ties to California’s Central Coast and/or Central Valley regions, with a preference for those pursuing long-term careers in those regions.  

-  Willing to live and work in the Central Coast or Central Valley. Fellows must be open to working in any of the host organizations’ locations.

-  Willingness and flexibility to be as responsive to community needs as needed. 

-  Able to travel frequently to the Bay Area and other locations for training and for legal representation.  

-  Must be fluent in Spanish. 

-  Strong writing skills and attention-to-detail. 

-  Diverse candidates from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Position Details, Salary & Benefits

This is a two-year fellowship that will start in January 2021.  Fellowship salary range is $65,000 p/year for recent law graduates and $70,000 p/year for licensed attorneys with prior experience.  Medical benefits may be included.  

Application Instructions

To apply, please create a Submittable account below. If you are already a submittable user, please sign in below. In addition to the application itself, you will also be asked to upload an updated resume, and contact information for two references. 

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.  The deadline to apply is Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 5:00 PM PST.


October 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUSBlog Symposium: From the travel ban to the border wall, restrictive immigration policies thrive on the shadow docket


In a SCOTSBlog symposium on the Shadow Docket, Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia looks at the immigration cases on that docket (travel ban, asylum transit rule, border wall, public charge rule) and concludes:

"In just three years, the Supreme Court’s shadow docket has had a profound impact on the American immigration system. In a series of unsigned emergency orders – far removed from the court’s usual deliberate process – the court has overturned the rulings of district judges and allowed the administration to enact exclusionary immigration policies. The number of requests alone and the rate of success for the administration is breathtaking. It is my hope that a new administration will minimize its use of the shadow docket and return immigration policymaking to the realm of legislation, notice-and-comment rulemaking and regular court process."


October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy by John Howard Steel (2020)


Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy by John Howard Steel

The surprising story of Pilates—the man and the method. Part biography, part history, and part memoir, Caged Lion untangles for the first time Joseph Pilates’s life story and the perilous journey of his exercise program known the world over as Pilates.

This is the story of Joseph Pilates, a gifted man who immigrated to the United States from Germany at forty-three with no assets or credentials. He not only invented an exercise regimen—which today is practiced by more than ten million people—but in the process, reinvented himself. John Howard Steel brings Joseph Pilates and his eponymous exercise regime to life from his unique perspective as a student, friend, and confidant. Joe’s influence profoundly changed Steel’s life; in turn, Steel was crucial for the survival of the Pilates Method and Joe’s legacy. Steel’s vivid account traces the expansion of Pilates from a small cadre of dedicated adherents, through two periods of near extinction, to the global sensation it is today. Steel describes Joseph Pilates’s years as a prisoner during World War I, Joe’s motivation to discover his system of exercises, his inspirational teaching technique, and the unique attraction of the Pilates Method. It’s quite a story.


October 27, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

One Unsuccessful Asylum Story


Nicaraguan activists Jessica Carolina Pavon Pavon and Moisés Alberto Ortega Valdivia fled Niacaragua with their young daughter to seek asylum in the United States. after facing political persecution, torture and violence. On NPR’s This American Life, the couple tells reporter Kevin Sieff how they went from seeking asylum to being shipped back to Nicaragua without even being allowed to file their case — and ended up hiding in an attic, separated from their daughter.


October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Citizenship Reimagined by Allan Colbern and Karthick Ramakrishnan

As someone who writes about citizenship and has called for a more expansive role for the federal government in immigrant integration, I've been eagerly awaiting the publication of Allan Colbern and Karthick Ramakrishnan's Citizenship Reimagined: A New Framework for State Rights in the United States. As the title implies, it is paen to state-driven immigrant integration and builds on Ramakrishnan's prior work on immigration federalism (co-authored with Pratheepan Gulasekarem). My copy arrived today.

The Cambridge University press description reads:

The United States is entering a new era of progressive state citizenship, with California leading the way. A growing number of states are providing expanded rights to undocumented immigrants that challenge conventional understandings of citizenship as binary, unidimensional, and exclusively national. In Citizenship Reimagined, Allan Colbern and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan develop a precise framework for understanding and measuring citizenship as expansive, multi-dimensional, and federated - broader than legal status and firmly grounded in the provision of rights. Placing today's immigration battles in historical context, they show that today's progressive state citizenship is not unprecedented: US states have been leaders in rights expansion since America's founding, including over the fight for black citizenship and women's suffrage. The book invites readers to rethink how American federalism relates to minority rights and how state laws regulating undocumented residents can coexist with federal exclusivity over immigration law.

In particular, the book:

  • Establishes a precise rights-based framework for multidimensional citizenship, drawing insights from comparative politics and mapping indicators for future empirical work. 
  • Provides a novel formulation of rights, including the right to develop human capital, right to free movement, and the right to identify and belong
  • Traces the intersection between citizenship and federalism throughout US history, explaining how social movements, parties, and courts have interacted within the context of federalism to shape the contours of citizenship rights over time
  • Offers a vision for progressive state citizenship that will interest policy makers and activists and is relevant to understand immigrant rights as well as other group rights

A distinctive feature of the book is its ancillary website, which contains tabs for academics seeking data and practitioners seeking advice for policymakers and journalists.

Upcoming events on the website include a book talk at UC Riverside on October 29 and a Roundtable on November 12.


October 27, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration issues merit more attention by presidential candidates

Although the volume and pace of immigration policies continues in the week leading to election day, there is little discussion on the campaign trail. ImmigrationProf previously covered efforts to force immigration into the spotlight and the 6 minutes in the second debate. Given that surveys show a majority of Americans think immigration is a very important issue, the slience is deafening. 

  • Sarah Sherman Stokes describes the lack of attention in The Hill. For Trump, she notes the Muslim travel ban, drastic changes to the asylum process, cuts to refugee admissions, broadening the public charge barrier, DACA/TPS rescissions, and closed borders due to public health (and I would economic) justifications during the pandemic. For Biden she notes deportation rates during the Obama administration, ending private detention, decriminalizing immigration, abolishing ICE, reparations to families separated at the border. More generally, she mentions immigration court backlogs and USCIS agency reform, the Remain in Mexico policy, and pathways to citizenship for DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants.
  • Nolan Rappaport lists issues meriting attention in The Hill. He names: backlogs in immigration courts due to asylum cases, legalization after 30 years without legislative reform, executive overreach in immigration lawmaking, and priorities for deportation. He has previously suggested thought provoking questions for the candidates.

Both articles are worth a full read. If the issues were not adequately addresses during the campaigns, surely they will require attention in the first 100 days and first year.


October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Undocumented immigrants may actually make American communities safer – not more dangerous – new study finds

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President Trump and others in the administration frequently blame immigrants for crime.  This is the case even though the evidence is clear that immigrants are less prone to crime than U.S. citizens.  Robert M. Adelman  and  Lesley Reid for The Conversation report on the latest scholarship on immigrant crime:

"Undocumented immigration does not increase the violent crime rate in U.S. metropolitan areas. In fact, it may reduce property crime rates. These are the key findings from our recently published article in the Journal of Crime and Justice, co-authored by Yulin Yang, James Bachmeier and Mike Maciag.

Research shows that the American communities where immigrants make their homes are more often improved by their presence than harmed by it. Immigrants bring social, cultural and economic activity to the places they live. That makes these places more vital and safer, not more dangerous."

Here is an abstract to the Journal of Crime and Justice study:

"The debate about undocumented immigration and its potential relation to crime continues to boil in the United States. We study this relationship by using two sets of estimates for the 2014 undocumented foreign-born population in U.S. metropolitan areas acquired from the Pew Research Center and the Migration Population Institute, 2013-2015 FBI Uniform Crime Report data, and 2011-2015 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, to model the association between undocumented immigration and violent and property crime. Findings are consistent across all estimates of metropolitan undocumented populations. Net of relevant covariates, we find negative effects of undocumented immigration on the overall property crime rate, larceny, and burglary; effects in models using violent crime measures as the outcomes are statistically non-significant. Although the results are based on cross-sectional data, they mirror other research findings that immigration either reduces or has no impact on crime, on average, and contribute to a growing literature on the relationship between immigration and crime." (bold added).


October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Many California farmworkers fear a winter of hunger and homelessness amid the pandemic



Anita Chabria for the Los Angel3es Times reports on the vulnerability of a large group of essential workers.  No, I am not talking about Vice President Pence and his crew on the 2020 campaign trail.

Farmworkers have been declared essential for California’s agriculture industry, but they often do not qualify for unemployment, eviction moratoriums or stimulus aid. Roughly half of farmworkers reportedly lack legal immigration status.  

In the ordinary year, field laborers conserve earnings from earlier months to plan for the cold season when fewer people are needed for work. But this year, there has not been enough work and many are dreading a winter of scarcity.

Already, the coronavirus has sickened many agricultural workers and sent others home to quarantine, often without pay. Schools have closed, leaving many families scrambling to meet child-care costs, or forcing some to quit their jobs. Wildfires have compounded the misery.


October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Poem: Isabella at Three by Hank Olguin

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Isabella at Three by Hank Olguin ©2020

Isabella at three…

Clings to worn-out rags around mamá’s neck

After a thousand miles crossed to find some sanctuary

Escape from rape, hunger and hopelessness


At three, her only comfort lies in worn-out rags

Or mamá’s sporadic feeble smiles and anxious eyes

The days are alien blurs of light and dark

Of senseless moves and words that come and go


At three, she only knows she doesn’t know

While mamá pleads again to save her from down there

Jumbled among the swarm of wide-eyed faces

On a strange and foreign ground that shrieks


At three, the savage claws that tear her

From the worn-out rags that hold her beating heart

Turn mamá’s face into a dot that flies away into the night

To leave her stranded in the pool of urine at her feet


At three, marooned with countless caged and cowering bodies

Pushed into a coop of tangled heartless, silver sheets

Without mamá, a sudden anguish finds and apprehends her

Incarcerates her and the throbbing pain within her chest


At three, what else to do but cry and cry and cry

For inconsolable and ceaseless, hours, days, and weeks

Alone and lost in some remote and cold oblivion

The scent of mamá’s worn-out rags replaced by tainted stench


At three, without a sense of future solace or relief

Her mind and soul plunge into a limbo without doors

Devoid of even dreams that might have been fulfilled

Devoid of mamá’s prayers for her to reap a happy, fruitful life

Hank Olguin ©2020

Olguin is the author of Who Let the Mexicans Play in the Rose Bowl?  Navigating the Racial Landscape of America (2019).  On

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October 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)