Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Professor Angela Mae Kupenda (Miss. College) has written an essay for the Institute of Law Teaching and Learning that may be of interest to our readers: As Easy as "1, 2, Buckle My Shoe" 10 Steps for Addressing Race Intentionally in Doctrinal Classes.
Prof. Kupenda notes that "In many, if not all, of our courses, racial inequalities either lurk right beneath the surface or are in plain view in the cases and topics we cover." She argues that "Failing to lead our students in these discussions on race results in our not providing them the best education possible."
So what are her 10 steps?
Step 1. Grow in awareness of oneself as a “raced” individual in America.
Step 2. Grow in awareness of oneself as a teacher and of one’s calling as a law professor.
Step 3. Open the door of your mind to consider the presence of race in the courses you teach and to consider the consequences of your failing to address race.
Step 4. Open the door of your mind to consider the context in which you teach. In other words, be open to the possibility that close mindedness may be prevalent at your school. Consider the institutional environment and the consequences of doing what you must do–addressing the racial issues in your courses.
Step 5. Pick up your tools. Set the stage. Prepare for the impromptu. Plan for the unplanned. Rehearse for the unrehearsed.
Step 6. An important tool in addressing race in your courses is to shift some of that work to the students. Figure out ways to share the responsibility in class for addressing race, in other words plan in advance for inevitable disagreement.
Step 7. Notice what is going on in the classroom AND within yourself.
Step 8. If you don’t lay them straight in a given class meeting, you still get another chance and more chances to have a positive impact on the lives of your students by helping them think more deeply about the law and race.
Step 9. Perform a critique of how you are doing in our courses with addressing race.
Step 10. Revise and plan again for the next class meeting, next semester, or even the next academic year.
Check out the essay for a more fulsome discussion of these steps.
Sylvester Owino with his daughter and wife.
Voice of America in "Kenyan Immigrant Spends a Decade Fighting Deportation" looks at the long journey of a Kenyan immigrant fighting removal from the United States.
Sylvester Owino is a small business owner in San Diego, California. His family owns Rafikiz Foodz — a food vendor offering "Kenyan food for your soul." Owino is fighting to stay in the United States through an asylum case that has lasted a decade. Owino arrived in the U.S. from Kenya in 1998 on a student visa, leaving a country where he said he was beaten, jailed and threatened by the government. He later encountered criminal problems that led to a removal proceeding and appeals. The story provides insights onto the operation of the criminal removal system and the experience of one immigrant caught up in that system.
According to a June 13, 2019 MPI Spotlight report on Refugees and Asylees in the United States:
The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.
Truth or dare?
CNN reports that President Donald Trump last night in a tweet threatened to deport "millions" of undocumented immigrants next week. The tweet did not provide details and administration officials did not respond to requests for clarification.
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Savitri Arvey and Steph Leutert on TheConversation look at the growing numbers of asylum seekers at the US/Mexico border. They note that, over the past three months, the number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has jumped exponentially, and total border crossings have reached levels last seen in 2006.
Yet, while the number of families arriving between official border crossings has skyrocketed, the number of migrants seeking asylum at official border crossings has remained relatively constant, at around 4,200 per month.
It’s not that these families prefer to cross the Rio Grande or scale the border wall. Instead, our research shows that at least part of this pattern can be explained by a U.S. policy that has left thousands of individuals waiting to request asylum in Mexican border cities since the summer of 2018.
The end result: "With larger numbers of people waiting to seek asylum and others waiting during their asylum cases, Mexican border communities will likely continue to feel the strain."
Monday, June 17, 2019
On June 13, 2019, U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) led a bicameral group of Members of Congress in introducing the Citizenship Affordability Act, legislation to preserve and expand access to citizenship by ensuring legal residents who are eligible for naturalization, but struggling to afford its cost, can access waivers to reduce or eliminate fees associated with the process.
“As a first-generation immigrant, I know that you have to work hard to become a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, the high cost of the naturalization process can be a financial barrier for many legal permanent residents,” said Representative Torres.“The Citizenship Affordability Act would help make the process more affordable to keep the American dream within reach for everyone who earns it.”
“Becoming an American citizen should not depend on whether or not you can afford a costly application fee,” said Senator Menendez. “As the son of immigrants, I know how becoming an American citizen can strengthen families and improve lives. Citizenship promotes integration, civic responsibility, and a sense of community, which ultimately benefits all Americans. Yet for too many aspiring Americans, the cost of naturalization is a significant barrier to becoming a citizen. Our Citizenship Affordability Act will help bring down that barrier for future fellow citizens across the nation.”
Currently, aspiring American citizens eligible for naturalization are required to pay USCIS an application fee of $640 plus $85 biometric fee for a total of $725 per applicant. Those expenses can quickly snowball if people must pay for lawyers, English classes, and civics test preparation. If several family members are applying, costs multiply. Legal residents who earn less than 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level can apply for a full fee waiver and a reduced fee for those earning less than 200 percent. The fee waivers do not apply to those making between 200 and 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, many of whom still struggle to afford the fees associated with naturalization. USCIS is proposing changing the eligibility requirements for fee waivers and limit access to the naturalization fee waiver. This legislation would preserve and expand who is eligible for a fee waiver and ensure citizenship is affordable to all who are legally eligible to apply.
The Citizenship Affordability Act is supported by national and local organizations such as NALEO, UnidosUS, National Partnership for New Americans, Church World Service, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), American Friends Service Committee NJ, HIAS Pennsylvania, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, Refugee Women’s Alliance (Seattle, WA), Sunflower Community Action, Kansas People’s Action, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, Nebraska Appleseed, Promise Arizona and Dream Big Nevada.
Newsweek reports that, with immigration being debated in the United States and abroad, YouGov conducted a study across the United States and in seven European nations to "find out exactly what citizens believe to be the impact of migrants on their country–for good and ill." The study was conducted in November 2018 and published on Thursday.
In nearly all countries surveyed, including the U.S., Britain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Germany, "better food" ranked as the greatest benefit countries had received from immigration, outweighing contributions to culture, local businesses and economies, local communities, music and sport.
In the United States, 50 percent of people surveyed identified "better food" as the top benefit of immigration. Meanwhile, 43 percent said they believed local businesses and economies had benefited most from immigration, while 42 percent said U.S. culture had seen the most benefit.
Mexican food has become so pervasive throughout the United States that Mexican food shops and restaurants can be found in every state. These women are making authentic tamales in a store in Detroit’s Mexican Town. (AP/Wide World Photos)
Immigration by the numbers: DHS has no idea how many people are entering illegally by Nolan Rappaport
Immigration Article of the Day: Unaccompanied Minors at the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Shifting Sands of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Unaccompanied Minors at the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Shifting Sands of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status by Richard F. Storrow, Georgetown Immigration Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2018
The surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the United States bespeaks the conditions that continue to tear at the fabric of families in Central America. Special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), a classification enacted by Congress in 1990 to provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence for undocumented minors abandoned or neglected by their parents, is a source of hope for many of these young migrants. In a political climate in which anti-immigration sentiment is increasing, advocates for unaccompanied minors are detecting new sources of judicial and administrative resistance to SIJS. This article maps this shifting legal terrain and argues that it is at odds with Congress’s intent that SIJS be used to remove children from harm’s way, no matter their citizenship status.
Sunday, June 16, 2019
CBS News reports on an amazing story for any family, but for twins from Mexico who once worked picking grapes in California, it is truly astounding.
Octavio and Omar Viramontes, twin brothers just graduated from Harvard and UCLA Medical school, respectively, just one day apart. Octavio and Omar's family moved from Mexico to central California when they were 10 to chase the American dream, which for newly arrived immigrants meant picking grapes in the fields and selling produce door to door.
Happy Fathers Day, Mr. Viramontes!
Rachel Withers on Vox discusses the latest "deal" between the United States and Mexican governments on immigration, which avoided a tariff threatened on Mexico's goods coming to the United States In Withers' estimation, "It is less a deal and more an agreement to discuss a future agreement." She write that
"The text of the letter reveals a commitment to begin discussions for a future agreement — essentially making it an agreement to negotiate an agreement — and is, as many expected, not a `deal.' It does, however, point to a future deal that could contain a win for Trump.
Dated June 7, the letter states that the US and Mexico `will immediately begin discussions to establish definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee claims of migrants.'
This future agreement would include `a commitment under which each party would accept the return and process refugee status claims, of third-party nationals who have crossed that party’s territory to arrive at a port of entry or between ports of entry of the other party.'”
Read the article at the link above for further analysis.
Immigration Article of the Day: Is the United States Safely Repatriating Unaccompanied Children? Law, Policy, and Return to Guatemala by Karen Baker
The United States regularly removes unaccompanied immigrant children and returns them to their countries of origin, with numbers rising rapidly in recent years. The United States has moral and legal obligations to this group of children. Rooted in deep moral underpinnings, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 requires the government to establish policies and procedures to effectuate the safe repatriation of unaccompanied children. However, now more than a decade later, the U.S. government has failed to delineate its practices promoting safe return and, in addition to a general lack of transparency, the scant information available suggests that the United States is not compliant with its duties. This Article evaluates U.S. law and policy governing the repatriation of unaccompanied children, examines whether known policies and procedures comport with applicable law, explores the stark realities and uncertain fates facing children returned to Guatemala, and offers recommendations to bring current practice into conformity with domestic law and social mores.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
As the Trump administration ramps up efforts to expand immigration detention in the United States, many detained immigrants continue to suffer behind bars due to woefully inadequate medical and mental health care. In the past two years, 24 people died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention alone as a result.
Katie Shepard for Immigration Impact reports that, in June 2018, advocates filed a complaint to address widespread deficiencies at the Aurora, Colorado immigrant detention center. One year later, conditions at the facility have grown measurably worse. Read the report for details. The conclusion: "Until the government takes immediate action and implements meaningful oversight mechanisms to improve medical and mental healthcare, individuals will continue to needlessly suffer—and perish—in immigration detention centers such as Aurora."
WSJ writer Alicia Caldwell and immprof Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia
The keynote for the 5th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference was truly unique. Instead of listening to a prepared speech, we were treated to a thoroughly entertaining Q&A session between Wall Street Journal writer Alicia Caldwell and immprof Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia -- all while munching on some pretty delectable Mediterranean cuisine.
Alicia asked Shoba a series of questions about myriad current immigration topics: asylum, Remain in Mexico, DACA, TPS, prosecutorial discretion, nationwide injunctions, and the APA. It was a fantastic refresher on current events.
In the Q&A following their Q&A, Alicia gave us immprofs a number of tips about speaking with reporters ("answer the call" but know that "you guys set the rules"; be clear about whether you're offering background or an on-the-record quote) and dealing with bad actors ("If a reporter burns you, don't talk to that reporter again").
I surely hope that future immprof conferences will consider a similar format. It kept things interesting and we all learned a lot from Alicia's participation.
Immigration Article of the Day: The Promise and Challenge of Humanitarian Protection in the United States: Making Temporary Protected Status Work as a Safe Haven by Andrew I. Schoenholtz
"The Promise and Challenge of Humanitarian Protection in the United States: Making Temporary Protected Status Work as a Safe Haven" by Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, Forthcoming
The humanitarian program Congress created in 1990 to allow conflict refugees and those affected by significant natural disasters to live and work in the United States with legal status has only partially achieved its goals. More than 400,000 individuals have received temporary protected status (TPS). In many cases, the crisis ended, along with temporary protection. In about one-third of the designated nationalities, including the largest groups, however, conflict and instability continued, making this humanitarian protection program anything but temporary. Unfortunately, Congress did not provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the tools it needed to address such long-term crises. That was purposeful — Congress worried that this temporary program would lead to permanent immigration. To constrain the program, Congress required a supermajority of the Senate for any nationality to be granted lawful permanent resident status as a group, which would place such individuals on a path to citizenship. Congress has never granted such group status to any TPS nationality.
Congress also worried that even temporary legal status for conflict refugees and other eligible humanitarian groups would act as a magnet and attract large movements to the U.S. For that reason, Congress required that eligible individuals had to already be in the U.S. when the DHS Secretary designated their nationality for TPS. Accordingly, Congress designed TPS in a way that it did not protect ongoing arrivals fleeing a humanitarian emergency.
Congress should address both of these shortcomings. This article explains why and how it should do so. As DHS data shows, TPS has not acted as a magnet — even after DHS has opened up temporary protection for some new arrivals through re-designation. The data shows that it is not the policy that attracts people to the U.S., but rather a fear of death or very serious harm that principally motivates flight from conflict and significant violence. Accordingly, Congress can provide the same type of temporary protection to new arrivals fleeing an ongoing conflict as many nations do, including the United Kingdom and Canada, without worrying that TPS itself will act as a magnet.
Moreover, Congress did not know in 1990 that limiting access to lawful permanent resident status when a conflict does not end would effectively lead to long-term TPS programs. Given this result, Congress should look to ways to keep TPS temporary, including by facilitating return when conflict ends in a reasonable period of time, and enabling those who have become part of their American communities to be recognized as such when conflict is prolonged.
Congress will be more inclined to do this after it enacts legislation to address the problem of unauthorized immigration and creates a system that ensures that only authorized workers are employed by U.S. businesses — that is, when the U.S. has a functional system that meets the needs of employers with legal workers and controls future unauthorized immigration. Making TPS truly temporary and providing humanitarian protection to ongoing arrivals who flee conflict should be part of comprehensive immigration reform.
Friday, June 14, 2019
The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to review the lower court decisions enjoining the Trump administration's rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Here are some thoughts in the Globe Post on the Trump administration's efforts -- unsuccessful to this point -- to rescind DACA. The two concluding paragraphs read as follows:
"DACA unquestionably is an important issue. Sadly, the administration continues to play politics with peoples’ lives. Immigrants live and work in – and unquestionably are part of – our communities. Harsh rhetoric questioning their humanity, claiming that the nation is being invaded, and more will offer political benefits to the president but injure real people.
What the United States truly needs is for Congress to overhaul the immigration laws. The nation needs a 21st-century system for legal immigration. It needs a path to permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants, DACA recipients, and Temporary Protected Status holders. Until Congress acts, the nation will continue to see human casualties in the war on immigrants."
Last week, the U.S. State Department announced a new rule that changes the Diversity Visa Program, a lottery system that grants 50,000 foreign nationals the opportunity to apply for an immigrant visa number. Applicants must come from an underrepresented country that has low rates of immigration to the United States. The lucky ones, after applying for an immigrant visa abroad or to adjust their status in the United States, get the chance to become a lawful permanent resident.
The new rule adds hurdles for noncitizens who seek to enter the lottery. Previously, lottery applicants submitted an online form to the State Department. The new rule—effective June 5—generally requires applicants to have a current, unexpired passport. The rule also automatically disqualifies entries that do not accurately include all required information or documents, including the digital image or photo requirements. This would effectively invalidate any entry that contains inadvertent errors.
DETENTION, DEPORTATION, INCARCERATION AND THE BORDER: Images from Bay Area and Los Angeles Activist Photographers
A current exhibit at the Asian Resource Gallery in Oaklnd, California is a project of Class Conscious Photographers/Silicon Valley De-Bug, curated by Greg Morozumi and East Side Arts. It is supported by the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, and cosponsored by Guild Freelancers, a unit of Pacific Media Workers Guild - CWA Local 39521, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
Worth a look if you are in the Bay Area.
The Material Support Bar to Asylum: Matter of A-C-M- -- "A Victim of Terrorism Faces Deportation for Helping Terrorists"?
An article by Jenna Krajeski in The New Yorker provides fascinating background on an important asylum ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals in Matter of A-C-M-, 27 I&N Dec. 303 (BIA 2018), which deals with the "material support" to terrorist organizations that preclude an applicant from securing asylum. As Krajeski describes the decision,
"[I]n June, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reviews rulings made in immigration court, issued a two-to-one decision denying Ana’s most recent request to stay in the U.S. The judges, considering Ana’s captivity, decided that, because she had worked for the guerrillas [in El Salvador], even under duress, she was not their victim but functionally a member of their group. `While the respondent’s assistance may have been relatively minimal, if she had not provided the cooking and cleaning services she was forced to perform, another person would have needed to do so,' they wrote, in an opinion called Matter of A–C–M–. Ana was ineligible for asylum, under a law called the material-support statute, because she had aided terrorists."
"The On June 6, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a published decision in the Matter of A-C-M-, 27 I&N Dec. 303 (BIA 2018) [PDF version]. In this decision, the Board adopted an expansive definition of the “material support” inadmissibility ground in section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VIII) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which also constitutes a bar to certain immigration benefits such as asylum, withholding of removal, and cancellation of removal. First, the Board held that the term “material support” does not entail a quantitative requirement, that is, it covers any action that “has a logical and even reasonably foreseeable tendency to promote, sustain, or maintain the [terrorist] organization, even if only to a de minimis degree.” Second, regarding the instant case, the Board concluded that the respondent had provided material support “because the forced labor she provided [to the terrorist organization] in the form of cooking, cleaning, and washing closed aided [it] in continuing [its] mission…”
My Attorney USA concludes:
"In Matter of A-C-M-, the Board adopted a broad definition of `material support' in section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VIII), applying it to involuntary support in the form of cooking and cleaning services. Specifically, the Board held that any support provided to a terrorist organization, regardless of how minor, constitutes `material support.' This decision, in conjunction with the Board's rejection of an implied duress exception in Matter of M-H-Z-, will mean that the material support bar will reach a large number of cases."
Immprofs Shalini Ray, Michael Kagan, Emily Ryo, Sarah Lamdan, and Anil Kalhan
The second day of the 5th Biennial Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference started with a panel on immigration scholarship. Shalini Ray (Alabama) moderated a spirited discussion on the topic.
Sarah Lamdan (CUNY) kicked things off with discussion of her work on the connection between the parent companies of Westlaw and Lexis and immigration enforcement. Fascinating, right? Apparently the parent companies of our beloved research tools (Thompson Reuters, Reed Elsevier now RELX Group) have been losing money as legal information increasing becomes available online for free. They have found a new revenue stream in the data brokering market, selling data that drives law enforcement surveillance. Here are a few charts explaining the interconnection:
Sarah's research alone is fascinating, but what's even more interesting is the response that she's received to her work: Westlaw and Lexis are, to put it politely, most displeased. In fact, the long-standing Lexis rep at CUNY was summarily replaced with a new rep who emailed all of Sarah's students, said she was a liar, and asked them report on anything she told them about Lexis. Yowzahs! My dear blog readers, this is a story I plan to cover again in the coming months.
Emily Ryo (USC) spoke about her amazing, interdisciplinary, empirical research (qualitative and quantitative) on (1) immigration enforcement and deterrence, (2) immigration courts and lawyers, and (3) the experience of non-citizens in removal proceedings. She discussed formulating questions for research as well as locating and collecting data to answer those questions. She spoke about her work as an expert helping with data driven policy discussion. Side note: I had the pleasure of sitting in on Emily's WIP to discuss her new work Jailing Immigrant Detainees concerning the characteristics of counties that have opted to participate in immigration detention (short version: small, rural, Republican counties in the South). Can't wait to see that one in print!
Michael Kagan (UNLV) talked about his interrelated work as a scholar, advocate, and activist. He discussed different models for blending (or isolating) these roles, and talked in particular about his role as a member of the Nevada Immigrant Coalition. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges he's faced and to have his encouragement to get more involved in local pro-immigration efforts. As he said, "This is a moment to be engaged."
Finally, Anil Kalhan (Drexel) talked a little about academics and social media. Check out this particularly apt slide:
So true! Nevertheless, Anil encouraged us all to embrace social media, remembering to be generous in promoting the work of others. Anil also discussed the very serious topic of academic freedom, which, as he pointed out, is something we really shouldn't wait to become literate on until there is a crisis. Anil focused on the AAUP Statements on Principles of Academic Freedom and discussed ways in which immprofs might face challenges in their teaching (including clinic representation choices), scholarship, and public engagement (including social media). This is definitely a topic we need to think about as a community!