Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Deported Americans


The California Sunday Magazine offers an intriguing dive into the lives of deported Americans--the U.S.-born children of undocumented Mexicans working to make a life with their parents in a new country after deportation.

When Ashley first returned to Mexico, she struggled with her classes. Despite being a "top student" in the U.S, she had a hard time "trying to learn in a language that she couldn't read or write and could barely speak." Classmates "laughed at her weird name and her terrible Spanish."

Ashley is among the 3% of Mexican students who are American-born. Journalist Brooke Davis notes that:

American students in Mexico frequently end up in rural schools, the ones with the fewest resources to help them. No public schools offer Spanish as a Second Language classes, and less than 5 percent of their teachers speak any English. Many families, especially if they were deported unexpectedly, have trouble assembling and authenticating all the various documents that are needed to enroll, which means that kids end up missing months or even years of instruction. Some never return to a classroom.

Quoting immprof Dan Kanstroom, Davis calls these children "de facto deportees."


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York Asylum & Immigration Law Conference


The 2019 New York Asylum & Immigration Law Conference will take place on Friday, March 8th, 2019, at New York Law School. Designed to engage new attorneys as well as more experienced lawyers, academics, and students, the conference features panels ranging from introductory presentations on asylum law to more specialized and advanced sessions. Three tracks allow participants to engage in diverse topics including constructing narrative, detention, discussion of mandatory bars to asylum, and advanced issues such as new developments in particular social group formation. Earn up to 7.5 CLE credits, including Ethics as well as Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias credits.

This year, our conference is on International Women's Day. Our plenary session and other events will commemorate and celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have played extraordinary roles - as artists, as activists, and as advocates.

This conference is organized by the Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section and New York Law School's Asylum Clinic.

Registration closes on Wednesday, March 6th. No walk-in registrations, please.


View Conference Agenda

NYLS Tuition Assistance Policy and Refund Policy


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California and 15 Other States File Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Declaration of National Emergency at the Southern Border


Yesterday, the State of California, led by former Congressman Xavier Becerra, announced a legal challenge to President Trump's emergency declaration:

"California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a 16-state coalition, today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and his attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes. In the complaint, the coalition alleges that the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration and diversion of funds is unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful. The states seek to block the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration, the unauthorized construction of the border wall, and any illegal diversion of Congressionally-appropriated funds.

“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up 'national emergency' in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution,” said Governor Newsom. “This 'emergency' is a national disgrace. Rather than focusing on fighting the real vulnerabilities facing Americans, the President is using the powers of America’s highest office to fan the flames of nativism and xenophobia. Our message to the White House is clear: California will not be part of this political theater. We will see you in court.”

“President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt. He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court. He is willing to manipulate the Office of the Presidency to engage in unconstitutional theatre performed to convince his audience that he is committed to his ‘beautiful’ border wall,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre.”  

The complaint filed today alleges that the Trump Administration’s action declaring a national emergency due to a purported border crisis is unlawful and unconstitutional. President Trump’s hyped crisis is a pretext to justify redirecting congressionally-appropriated funds to pay to build a wall along the southern border after he failed to get Congress — or Mexico — to pay for it. The facts do not support President Trump’s rhetoric or his declaration. Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry. There is no credible evidence to suggest that a border wall would decrease crime rates.

The states allege that the Trump Administration’s action exceeds the power of the executive office, violates the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, and would illegally and unconstitutionally divert federal funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to block the emergency declaration, the construction of the wall, and any illegal diversion of congressionally-appropriated funds. 

Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.

A copy of the complaint is attached to the electronic version of the press release here."

The Complaint includes a constitutional separation of powers claim, as well as claims for violation of the appropriations clause, ultra vires, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Prayer for Relief states as follows:

"WHEREFORE, Plaintiff States respectfully request that this Court enter judgment in their favor, and grant the following relief:
1. Issue a judicial declaration that the Executive Actions’ diversion of federal funds toward construction of a border wall is unconstitutional and/or unlawful because it: (a) violates the separation of powers doctrine; (b) violates the Appropriations Clause; and (c) exceeds congressional authority conferred to the Executive Branch and is ultra vires;
2. The States of California and New Mexico seek a judicial declaration that
Defendants violated NEPA and the {Administrative Procedure Act (APA)] and further seek an order enjoining [the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)], requiring it comply with NEPA and the APA—including preparing an EIS—before taking any further action pursuant to the Executive Actions;
3. Permanently enjoin Defendants from constructing a border wall without an appropriation by Congress for that purpose;
4. Permanently enjoin Defendants from diverting federal funding toward construction of a border wall; and
5. Grant such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Robert Tsai on the Constitutionality of President Trump's Emergency Declaration

Monday, February 18, 2019

Man Living "The Terminal" Interminably

Eissa Muhamad was deported from Israel for being present in the nation without authorization. He was sent by air back to his home nation of Niger. But Niger refused him entry. So he was returned to Israel. Then Israel re-returned him to Niger. And along that route back to Niger for the second time, Muhamad became stranded in an airport in an Ethiopian airport, where he has been living on handouts for the past four months.

The BBC has the shocking tale, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Tom Hanks film The Terminal.

Authorities say that Muhamad could apply for asylum in Ethiopia, but he would prefer to return either to Niger or Israel. At the moment, neither appears to be an option.


February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Cities Can Do to Promote Immigrant Integration? An Example from the Central Valley of California

150px-Seal_of_Fresno _California

Some have argued that, with respect to immigrants, state and local governments should focus on how to best integrate immigrants into the community rather than to attempt to facilitate immigration enforcement.  A city in the Central Valley of California, known for its agriculture and not known for being liberal, has taken a step toward facilitating immigrant integration.

Last week, the Fresno City Council unanimously passed a resolution to establish a 15-member immigrant affairs committee. The committee will be tasked with advising the City Council on issues related to immigrants.

The resolution begins as follows:

"WHEREAS, fostering a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin, enhances the City of Fresno’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness, and overall prosperity for current and future generations; and

WHEREAS, the City of Fresno is home to a diverse population of immigrants from around the world, speaking over one-hundred different languages, and adding to the cultural richness of our community . . . ."


February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration And The Economy

NPR has a good reminder on the benefits of immigrants to an aging labor force.  "The U.S. has a big advantage when it comes to a young labor pool — its population of immigrants. David Wessel of the Brookings Institution explains why to NPR's David Greene."



February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Presidents' Day!


Hope ImmigrationProf blog readers have a great holiday.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a page on Presidents' Day.  It begins:

"Washington’s Birthday, more commonly called Presidents' Day, gives Americans the opportunity to honor George Washington and the fascinating history of the American presidency.

Did you know that there are 18 USCIS civics test questions about U.S. presidents[on the naturalization test on civics]? For Presidents' Day, we want to highlight some of the resources we offer for learners and teachers on U.S. presidents."

For the resources on the Presidents, click here.



February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Immigration Detention Center in Tallahatchie, Mississippi, Far From Immigration Counsel

photo Troy Catchings / Clarksdale Press Register / AP file

Check out this disturbing article from Mother Jones about the detention of asylum seekers at a Core Civic facility in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.

The facility has, until now, been principally used to house out-of-state inmates for states whose own prisons are too full to accommodate all those convicted of crimes. But when California decided to stop sending inmates across the country to Mississippi, Core Civic signed a contract with the feds to house immigration detainees.

The problem with housing migrants in this part of the country is that there are no immigration attorneys within miles of the facility. Since it hadn't previously housed migrants, there are no nonprofit organizations or even private immigration counsel to assist the detainees.

Jeremy Jong of the Southern Poverty Law Center told Mother Jones: “If someone wanted to build a jail where asylum-seekers lose otherwise winnable cases because of lack of access to the outside world, that jail would probably look a lot like Tallahatchie does now.”

The article follows the story of one migrant with a compelling claim for asylum currently housed at this facility.


February 17, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hey, Iowa. What's Up?

Detained for Speaking Spanish?


Mimi Hernandez and Ana Suda, ACLU plaintiffs, stand outside the convenience store where CBP detained them in Havre, Montana.


With the Trump administration, the atmosphere for immigrants in the United States for the Latinx population has taken a sharp turn for the worse.  Read the story of Ana Suda, a native-born U.S. citizen, who was questioned by the Border Patrol in Havre, Montana for speaking Spanish in a convenience store.  Her experience has caused great concern:

"Life hasn’t changed just for our families. Other Mexican and Latinx people in Havre have approached us in the grocery store or on the street, fearful about whether they could also be stopped by Border Patrol just for speaking Spanish or looking differently."  

The ACLU has brought suit to vindicate Suda's rights.  The case, Suda v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was filed in U.S. District Court.  The complaint is here.


February 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Border Towns Are Among the Safest in the United States


City of El Paso Police Department

In issuing an emergency declaration to allocate funding to the wall along the US/Mexico border, President Trump emphasized the lawlessness of the border region.  The truth of the matter is much different, however.

Melissa Cruz for Immigration Impact offers the counter-story to Trump's depiction of lawlessness.  Earlier this week,  Texas, two very different images of the U.S.-Mexico border emerged from El Paso, Texas.

President Trump held a rally to make the case for his border wall again, repeating his usual talking points on the supposed dangers lurking in the region. A block away, former Democratic Representative from El Paso, Texas Beto O’Rourke held an opposing rally to counter the president’s claims on immigrants, refugees, border town safety, and the need for a wall.

The demonstrations show just how easy it is to stir up the public around the issue of immigration, particularly when the backdrop is the southern border region. However, the truth is the communities along the U.S.-Mexico border are among the safest in the United States.

El Paso, the site of the two rallies, has been considered one of the safest cities in the nation for the last 20 years, long before any border fencing was built.


February 16, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Schrödinger's Immigrant

Check out this fabulous meme, perfect for generating discussion about political discourse surrounding migration.



February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

US Undocumented Population Continued to Fall from 2016 to 2017 and Visa Overstays Significantly Exceeded Illegal Crossings for the Seventh Consecutive Year


Robert Warren for the Center for Migration Studies has issued an interesting report on trends in the undocumented population.

The executive summary:

This article presents estimates of the US undocumented population for 2017 derived by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). It focuses on the steep decline in the undocumented population from Mexico since 2010. While the president has focused the nation’s attention on the border wall, half a million US undocumented residents from Mexico left the undocumented population in 2016 alone, more than three times the number that arrived that year, leading to an overall decrease of nearly 400,000 undocumented residents from Mexico from 2016 to 2017. From 2010 to 2017, the undocumented population from Mexico fell by a remarkable 1.3 million.

For the past 10 years, the primary mode of entry for the undocumented population has been to overstay temporary visas. This article provides estimates of the number of noncitizens who overstayed temporary visas and those who entered without inspection (EWIs) in 2016 by the top five countries of origin.

Summary of Findings

  • The US undocumented population from Mexico fell by almost 400,000 in 2017.
  • In 2017, for the first time, the population from Mexico constituted less than one half of the total undocumented population.
  • Since 2010, the undocumented population from Mexico has declined by 1.3 million.
  • In California, the undocumented population from Mexico has declined by 26 percent since 2010, falling from 2.0 to 1.5 million; it also dropped by 50 percent in Alabama, and by one third in Georgia, New York, and New Mexico.
  • The undocumented population from Venezuela grew rapidly after 2013, increasing from 60,000 to 145,000 in just four years.
  • Visa overstays have significantly exceeded illegal border crossings during each of the last seven years.
  • Mexico was the leading country for overstays in 2017, with about twice as many as India or China.

The estimates presented here were derived by CMS based on information collected in the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS). The procedures used to derive detailed estimates of the undocumented population are described in Warren (2014). CMS used its annual estimates of the undocumented population for 2010 to 2017 — by state of residence, country of origin, and year of entry — to compile the information described here. Additional methodological details appear as footnotes or as notes in the tables.



February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Issues Emergency Declaration on US/Mexico Border: "The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics."


Breaking news!  President Donald Trump signed off on declaring a national emergency on Friday to free up funding to construct a wall along the southern border. 

The move has created a new fight between the White House and lawmakers but will allow up to $8.1 billion to be used to construct a barrier along the bother between the U.S. and Mexico. 

Here (and here) is the full text of the proclamation released by the White House.  The beginning paragraph is telling:

"The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency.  The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics.  The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years.  In particular, recent years have seen sharp increases in the number of family units entering and seeking entry to the United States and an inability to provide detention space for many of these aliens while their removal proceedings are pending.  If not detained, such aliens are often released into the country and are often difficult to remove from the United States because they fail to appear for hearings, do not comply with orders of removal, or are otherwise difficult to locate.  In response to the directive in my April 4, 2018, memorandum and subsequent requests for support by the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense has provided support and resources to the Department of Homeland Security at the southern border.  Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

Criticism has been quick.  A number of scholars, including immigration law professors Steve Legomsky and Peter Margulies, discuss the legality of the emergency declaration on VOX.  Foe frther commentary ob the declaration, see Nolan Rappaport (supporting the declaration), Alan Dershowitz (declaration was a "mistake"), Los Angeles Times ("Trump is the national emergency").  and Ann Coulter ("Ann Coulter after Trump's order: ‘The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot").

Here are some reactions:

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to today’s declaration of a state of emergency by Donald J. Trump:

“The national emergency is real.  It is not, however, an emergency at the nation's southern border or an emergency of border security.  The emergency comes in the form of a dire constitutional crisis.

“Today's lawless announcement by Donald Trump should provoke immediate and universal outrage.  There is zero factual support for the existence of a national emergency at the border.  Indeed, today's announcement would be a laughable object of ridicule were it not so dangerous.

“Neither outrage nor ridicule can suffice in the face of an unconstitutional usurpation of monstrous and perilous power.  Donald Trump's pretensions of dictatorial authority have now been laid fully bare.  We must unite in full-scale opposition to today's unlawful action.  MALDEF commits to do its part in that full-scale opposition.”


Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, had the following reaction:

“There is no national emergency, except for one of Trump’s own making. Using emergency powers to manipulate funds for political gain is not what our country needs. Border communities in Texas should not bear the brunt of this foolish, expensive stunt that will be viewed by the world as a symbol of hate. The invocation of a national emergency to fulfill a campaign promise flouts values we hold dear as a democracy.” 


Astrid Dominguez, director for the ACLU Border Rights Center, had the following reaction:

“President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border is not based on fact or reality. There is no security crisis at the border. This declaration only reinforces the racist policies he is attempting to use to harm our border communities.”

This statement is available here.

Bet on a lawsuit challencing the emergency declaration.  California reportedly may be the first to the courthouse. The ACLU may be in the race.



February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Hear Citizenship Question on Census Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case challenging a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census.  Here is the order:

DEPT. OF COMMERCE, ET AL. V. NEW YORK, ET AL. The petition for writ of certiorari before judgment is granted. The case will be set for argument in the second week of the April argument session.

Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog has background on the case here.


February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shutdown Averted, Trump to Declare Border Emergency?


CNN reports on some big immigration news from Washington D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell managed to avert the political disaster of a new government shutdown by securing a pledge yesterday that President Donald Trump will sign a federal funding bill that averts a government shutdown but lacks several billion dollars sought by the President for a US/Mexico border wall. 

The President's efforts to fund the wall may raise serious constitutional questions. Trump will appear in the White House Rose Garden at 10 am ET to sign the compromise funding bill and announce a slate of executive actions, a White House official said. The plan is expected to include a declaration of national emergency, which he will use to reallocate $8 billion in government money to fund the wall.  Here are some expert opinions on the lawfulness of a presidential exercise of emergency powers.


February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Policy Returning Asylum Seekers to Mexico


The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s new policy forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered.

“The Trump administration is forcibly returning asylum seekers to danger in Mexico,” said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Once again, the administration is breaking the law in order to deter asylum seekers from seeking safety in the United States.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11 individual asylum seekers forcibly returned to Mexico, and organizational plaintiffs Innovation Law Lab, the Central American Resource Center of Northern California, Centro Legal de la Raza, the University of San Francisco School of Law Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic, Al Otro Lado, and the Tahirih Justice Center.

“This is no longer just a war on asylum seekers, it’s a war on our system of laws,” said Melissa Crow, Southern Poverty Law Center senior supervising attorney. “This misguided policy deprives vulnerable individuals of humanitarian protections that have been on the books for decades and puts their lives in jeopardy.”

The lawsuit cites violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, as well as the United States’ duty under international human rights law not to return people to dangerous conditions.

“This new policy severely undermines the very purpose of our asylum system, endangering rather than safeguarding the lives of our individual plaintiffs and others fleeing persecution,” said Blaine Bookey, co-legal director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.

The case, Innovation Law Lab v. Nielsen, was filed in federal court in San Francisco. View complaint here.


February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

William Barr sworn in as attorney general


Yesterday, William Barr was sworn in as the 85th attorney general of the United States, immediately assuming leadership of a Justice Department. Barr took the oath at a closed White House ceremony after the Senate voted to confirm him on a largely party-line vote of 54-45, allowing him to become only the second person in history to serve twice as the attorney general. 

Before becoming Attorney General the first time, Barr held numerous other posts within the U.S. Justice Department, including serving as Deputy Attorney General from 1990 to 1991 under George H. W. Bush.  Most recently, Barr was with the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis.

Dara Lind on VOX looks at Barr's immigration record. I am hopeful that Barr is more even-handed in his approach to immigration than his predecessor, Jeff Sessions.  His "dark vision for immigration policy" is considered in this New Yorker piece by Jonathan Blitzer.


February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Caribbean Immigrants in the United States


Migation Information Source has released a "Spotlight" on "Caribbean Immigrants in the United States" by Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova.

In 2017, approximately 4.4 million Caribbean immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants. With the notable exception of Jamaica, all major Caribbean nations were under direct U.S. political control at some point, which has created incentives and opportunities for the nationals of these islands to migrate to the United States.

Between 1980 and 2000, the Caribbean immigrant population increased by more than 50 percent every ten years (54 percent and 52 percent, respectively) to reach 2.9 million in 2000. The growth rate declined gradually afterwards. From 2000, the population increased 26 percent, to 3.7 million, in 2010, and grew another 18 percent, to 4.4 million, in 2017.


February 14, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)