Friday, March 1, 2024

Russian Disinformation Fueling Immigration Concerns? A Ploy to Undercut U.S. Aid to Ukraine?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

David Klepper for the Associated Press reports that "]i]n recent weeks, Russian state media and online accounts tied to the Kremlin have spread and amplified misleading and incendiary content about U.S. immigration and border security. The campaign seems crafted to stoke outrage and polarization before the 2024 election for the White House, and experts who study Russian disinformation say Americans can expect more to come as Putin looks to weaken support for Ukraine and cut off a vital supply of aid."

Food for thought!


March 1, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Opinion: Is Biden about to close the border in the name of election year politics?

Headshot of Karen Musalo

Immigration law professor Karen Musalo in the Los Angeles Times (Opinion: Is Biden about to close the border in the name of election year politics?) powerfully calls on the President to avoid playing politics with migrant lives:

"Multiple news sources report that President Biden is considering implementing executive action to try to close the U.S.-Mexico border, including to asylum seekers. It would be an extreme move, and a violation of the Refugee Act of 1980 and the country’s international obligation to protect those fleeing persecution. Only one other president — Donald Trump — has blatantly breached that obligation before. With the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext, Trump invoked Title 42 of the U.S. Code, which allowed him to curb migration in the name of public health."


February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of Detained Migrants Increases; Number of Migrants on ATD Decreases

The number of detained immigrants has increased by over 45 percent over the last calendar year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). By contrast, the number of individuals enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program has decreased by 37 percent. As of late February 2024, nearly 185,000 families and single individuals are enrolled in ATD, a drop from 293,000 enrolled at this time in 2023. About 39,000 individuals are currently detained, up from 27,000 last year.

Costs associated with detaining immigrants are much greater than any of the monitoring systems implemented under ATD. Based on ICE’s budget justification, it costs about $157 to detain an adult immigrant for one day. ATD monitoring technologies vary in cost and sophistication, but based on current ATD enrollment figures, it costs about $1.13 per day to monitor a single enrollee, or less than 1 percent of the cost of detention. However, the ability for ICE to monitor many more immigrants on ATD than they hold in detention, also means that ATD’s total daily costs exceed $200,000 per day—less than detention costs, but not insubstantial.

Highlights from data updated in TRAC's Detention Quick Facts tool show that:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 39,175 in ICE detention according to data current as of February 25, 2024.
  • 26,339 out of 39,175—or 67.2%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of February 25, 2024. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2024, according to data current as of February 20, 2024.
  • ICE arrested 6,510 and CBP arrested 14,025 of the 20,535 people booked into detention by ICE during January 2024.
  • South Texas Fam Residential Center in Dilley, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2024, averaging 1,845 per day (as of February 2024).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 184,601 families and single individuals, according to data current as of February 24, 2024.
  • San Francisco's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of February 24, 2024.

For more information, see TRAC's Quick Facts tools or click here to learn more about TRAC's entire suite of immigration tools.


February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal Court Enjoins Texas Criminal Immigration Law


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

CBS News reports that a federal judge today enjoined Texas officials from implementing a state law that would have allowed them to arrest, jail and prosecute migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally.

The Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law,,SB4, which was set to take effect on March 5.

In a 114-page order, Judge David Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas entered a preliminary injunction preventing Texas officials from enforcing the state law.

Ezra wrote that the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent make clear that states cannot enforce immigration measures without federal approval, and that the Texas law conflicts with federal law. He rejected an argument from Texas that the state's authority to repel an "invasion" allows it to enforce SB4, writing that "surges in immigration do not constitute an 'invasion' within the meaning of the Constitution." He wrote that allowing Texas to enforce the law would mean states could override federal statutes.

Here is the order.


February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

IACHR Hearing Today on Climate Migration

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is holding a hearing today about the Human rights of people in human mobility due to the effects of climate change.

The Guardian reports that the hearing will feature speakers from Mexico, Honduras, the Bahamas and Colombia who are on the "frontline of the climate emergency" in those countries. The hearing, they report, was sought by human rights groups in Latin America, the U.S., and the Caribbean. These groups are interested in having the IACHR "formally recognise forced displacement as a consequence of the climate crisis, to carry out country visits, and to establish guidelines to protect people internally displaced and those seeking refuge in other countries."

It looks like the IACHR ultimately publishes videos of their hearings. So this will be one to watch for those immprofs researching in this space.


February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opinion: Laken Riley deserves justice – not to be exploited as a symbol of xenophobia or hate

I have been avoiding blogging about the truly sad and tragic story of Laken Riley, the University of Georgia nursing student, who was allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant.  Raul Reyes captures some of my thoughts in this CNN commentary.  He writes: "Study after study has found no conclusive link between immigrants and crime. In 2023 Stanford University researchers found that such a connection was `mythical' and unsupported by 140 years of data."


February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden and Trump Visit U.S./Mexico Border Today

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Official Presidential Photos

It is an election year and we can expect candidates shown posing at the U.S./Mexico border (but rarely, if ever, on the northern border).  Expect the national news this evening to have an immigration "crisis" feature. 

The Associated Press reports that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump today will both visit the U.S-Mexico border.  The candidates no doubt will seek to make political hay out of the current migration issues at the border.

Biden will travel to the Rio Grande Valley. He will meet border agents and discuss the need for immigration reform.

Trump l heads to Eagle Pass, Texas, another pace of migration activity.  Expect a fiery speech on immigration.

Stay tuned!
UPDATE MARCH 1:  Here is a summary (and here) of the political machinations on the border visits of the two presidential frontrunners.

February 29, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

At The Movies (Friday): Problemista

Another exciting immigration movie is about to drop--Julio Torres' Problemista. Check out the trailer:

If the name Julio Torres doesn't ring an immediate bell, let me refresh your memory with this trailer for his HBO series Los Espookys. (You had me at the name my friend.)

Anyhoo, back to Problemista. As the trailer shows, it's a surrealist take on Torres' life in El Salvador and immigration to New York. I can't wait to see it.


February 28, 2024 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fueled by Immigration, U.S. Economy is roaring; Still, Americans Concerned with Immigration

Rachel Siegel, Lauren Kaori Gurley, and Meryl Kornfield  in the Washington Post report on a new economic report finding that immigration has propelled the U.S. job market to an extent that the country’s economic rebound from the pandemic as the most robust in the world.

"About 50 percent of the labor market’s extraordinary recent growth came from foreign-born workers between January 2023 and January 2024, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis of federal data. And even before that, by the middle of 2022, the foreign-born labor force had grown so fast that it closed the labor force gap created by the pandemic, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco." (bold added).

Despite the economic benefits, a Gallup poll released yesterday finds that Americans say immigration is the most important issue in the U.S., marking the first time it has been the top-ranked concern since 2019, according to a new poll.  The Gallup survey found 28 percent of Americans named immigration as the top problem, which is an 8-point jump from January.


February 28, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ProPublica on Migrant Dairy Farm Workers

Photo of Dairy Cows by Keith Weller; Public Domain

For the past year, ProPublica has been reporting on the conditions facing migrant workers at dairy farms in the United States. The series is called America’s Dairyland: Risking Workers’ Lives for the Milk We Drink. There have been twelve separately published stories over the past year concerning dairy farms.

The first story in the series (February 2023) concerns the death of a young boy on a dairy farm--the son of a migrant worker who lived on the farm with his dad and who got run over by another worker operating a skid steer at night, without headlights, and following minimal instruction on the machine's operation. That sounds straightforward, but the story has so many twists and turns. One huge element is the mis-translation of English-to-Spanish by sheriff's deputy who reported to the scene of the boys death and ended up reporting that the father himself had killed his child with the skid steer. A truly compelling read (as nearly all ProPublica articles are!).

Today's contribution to the series (February 2024) focuses on the housing made available to migrant dairy workers. As reported in the first story of the series, dairy farms are able to draw migrants in part because they often provide housing, which makes their meager pay (the two workers in the first article got $8.50 and $9.50/hour) stretch farther. This doesn't mean the housing offered is great. The little boy whose death was covered in the first story slept on a top bunkbed with his father; another worker slept below. Today's article goes beyond that farm to talk about widespread problems. Dairy workers, they report, frequently live in squalor with no plumbing or heat but plenty of cockroaches and mold. ProPublica concludes:

"the reality is that substandard housing is widespread on dairy farms across the country. That’s because state and federal laws meant to ensure adequate housing for agricultural workers often exclude those on dairy farms."

I highly recommend checking out the whole series.


February 27, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report: The Fiscal Impact of Refugees and Asylees at the Federal, State, and Local Levels from 2005-2019

Report: The Fiscal Impact of Refugees and Asylees at the Federal, State, and Local Levels from 2005-2019 by Robin Ghertner, Suzanne Macartney and Meredith Dost for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Between 1990 and 2022, the United States welcomed over 2.1 million refugees and accepted over 800,000 asylees.  This analysis estimates the fiscal impact of refugees and asylees on federal, state, and local governments from 2005 to 2019.

Key Points

  • The net fiscal impact of refugees and asylees was positive over the 15-year period, at $123.8 billion. This means that refugees and asylees contributed more revenue than they cost in expenditures to the government. The net fiscal benefit to the federal government was estimated at $31.5 billion, and the net fiscal benefit to state and local governments was estimated at $92.3 billion.
  • Governmental expenditures on refugees and asylees totaled an estimated $457.2 billion over the 15-year period. Expenditures by the federal government represented 72.5 percent of the total, at $331.5 billion. State and local government expenditures were 27.5 percent of the total, at $125.7 billion.
  • Refugees and asylees contributed an estimated $581 billion in revenue to federal, state and local governments. They contributed an estimated $363 billion to the federal government through payroll, income, and excise taxes, and $218 billion to state and local governments, through income, sales, and property taxes.
  • Including refugees and asylees and their spouses and children under age 18, most of whom are U.S. citizens, expenditures totaled $723.4 billion. Refugees, asylees, and their immediate families contributed an estimated $739.4 billion in revenue to all levels of government.
  • When compared with the total U.S. population on a per capita basis, refugees and asylees had a comparable net fiscal impact.


February 27, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2024

At The Movies: Io Capitano

Io Capitano is an Italian movie by filmmaker Matteo Garrone. Italy's submission to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film, the movie is "an epic odyssey from West Africa to Italy told through the eyes and experiences of two Senegalese cousins — teenagers living in Dakar who yearn for a brighter future in Europe."

Here is the trailer:

WaPo declares the movie "gorgeous at times yet also tough to watch."

Io Capitano was released nationwide in the US on Friday (Feb. 23). Nationwide doesn't include Norman, Oklahoma, but you big city types might be able to catch it in theaters. The sweeping desert scenes look like they'd be particularly stunning on the big screen.


February 26, 2024 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Patterns of Exploitation: Understanding Migrant Worker Rights in Advanced Democracies by Anna Boucher

Anna Boucher's new book, Patterns of Exploitation: Understanding Migrant Worker Rights in Advanced Democracies, is now available with the Oxford University Press.

Here is the abstract: Screenshot 2024-02-26 082750

Numbering an estimated 164 million globally, migrant workers are an essential component of contemporary businesses. Despite their number and indispensability in the global economy, migrant workers frequently lack the legal protections enjoyed by other workers. In Patterns of Exploitation, Anna K. Boucher looks at workplace violations across four major immigration countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Incorporating interviews, the Migrant Worker Rights Database, and in-depth analysis of court cases, Boucher uses legal storytelling to document individual migrant experiences and assess the patterns of exploitation that emerge in case narratives. This unique mixed-methods approach provides a novel understanding of migrant workplace violations across a variety of immigration contexts. 


February 26, 2024 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anti-immigrant pastors may be drawing attention – but faith leaders, including some evangelicals, are central to the movement to protect migrant rights

God’s Resistance

In "Anti-immigrant pastors may be drawing attention – but faith leaders, including some evangelicals, are central to the movement to protect migrant rights" in The Conversation, Brad Christerson, Reverend Dr. Alexia Salvatierra, and Robert Chao Romero contend that religious beliefs can provide motivation, hope and endurance in the long and often discouraging task of mobilizing people for social change.

As they in their new book, co-authored with sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen, “God’s Resistance: Mobilizing Faith to Defend Immigrants,” faith leaders, including some evangelicals, are central to the current movement to protect immigrant rights, and they have been for over a hundred years.


February 26, 2024 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nikki Haley on Immigration

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Nikki Haley has been in the news and remains the last Republican challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.  

USA Today looks at Republican presidential candidate's Nikki Haley's positions on immigration.  The gist:

"As a daughter of Indian immigrants, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has stood behind legal pathways to U.S. citizenship and has taken a strict stance on immigration similar to that of former President Donald Trump.

As the former South Carolina governor, she signed one of the country's most restrictive immigration bills, which required law enforcement to check the legal status during stops if they suspected someone was in the country illegally. Here is where she falls on other immigration policies." (bold added).




February 26, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 25, 2024

UC Regents Change Course on Hiring Undocumented Students

ImmigProf blog co-editor Ming H. Chen published an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee advocating campus support for undocumented students after UC Regents change course on authorizing hiring, to the disappointment of many immprofs and Opportunity for All student activists who signed open letters supporting the previously proposed policy and attesting to their willingness to hire well-qualified students, without regard to immigration status. Her op-ed accompanies leadership efforts from ImmProfs Ahilan Arulanantham and Hiroshi Motomura at UCLA's Center for Immigration Law and Policy.

An excerpt of the article:

The UC should continue to lead the way on educational opportunities for undocumented students by thinking creatively and fighting fiercely for its students. This latest episode may mean that the mantle is shifting. If change will not come from the top, then campuses need to identify and implement their own solutions from the bottom up.

What can campuses do on their own? Universities can create meaningful experiences as fellowships with stipends, even if they will not permit salaried campus jobs; they can increase scholarships to reduce need; and reconfigure academic credit for experiential work (which many colleges are embracing as higher education strives to demonstrate its relevance to the world beyond their campuses). At law schools such as UC Law San Francisco, where I teach, the American Bar Association is requiringexperiential work for accreditation. More ideas are being explored by the UC Labor Center and student activists as they process the unexpected decision.


February 25, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

South Carolina Republicans see immigration as top issue in primary

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Official White House Photos

Reuters reports that IMMIGRATION ranked as the top issue for voters in South Carolina's Republican presidential primary  won convincingly by Donald Trump yesterday, according to an exit poll conducted by Edison Research.

Among the polling results:

39% of voters said immigration mattered most when deciding how they would vote in the contest, compared with 33% who said the economy mattered most. 10% cited abortion policy and 11% said foreign policy.

South Carolina has one of America's smallest immigrant populations. Just 5% of residents were born abroad, compared with 14% nationwide, according to U.S. Census estimates.

65% of voters on Saturday do not think Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, while 63% said that if former President Donald Trump were convicted of a crime, he would still be fit for the presidency.


February 25, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 23, 2024

ABA Commission on Immigration Report “Electronic Monitoring of Migrants: Punitive not Prudent” Released


ABA Report Criticizes Widespread Electronic Monitoring of Migrants

A report released today by the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration criticizes the U.S. government’s electronic monitoring of migrants and recommends that the program be curtailed. The report, “Electronic Monitoring of Migrants: Punitive not Prudent,” is available here

Three law students with the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law  —  Muskan Momin, Alice Min and Niko Marcich drafted the report.  They worked under the supervision of Professor Denise Gilman and received input and guidance from Dora Schriro, special adviser to the Commission on Immigration.

The report calls electronic monitoring “de facto detention” that imposes “a significant financial cost on taxpayers and a considerable human toll on the participants and their family members.” Such monitoring is unnecessary, the report concludes, because most migrants “present neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community to justify either detention or electronic monitoring.”   As currently used, electronic monitoring of migrants is punitive, the report says, because it is imposed without objective assessment of need or risk and may violate constitutional guarantees of liberty and due process.

The report proposes that electronic monitoring be “significantly reduced and only used in extraordinary cases."

Electronic monitoring of migrants began in 2004 and was significantly expanded in recent years. As of December 2023, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was electronically monitoring more than 190,000 migrants. A 2022 study showed most of those being monitored were asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"Electronic monitoring is not used as a true alternative to detention but a net-widening expansion of detention,” the report concludes. “The use of electronic monitoring should be reevaluated and limited.” 




February 23, 2024 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration Law Professors at Book Event in San Diego


From Cesar’s Barrio

Immigration Professors Carrie Rosenbaum, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, and Pooja Dadhania.  Photo courtesy of Carrie Rosenbaum

CGH wretched book cover

Immigration law professor Carrie Rosenbaum is pictured above with another immigration law professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández and Pooja Dadhania at his book appearance yesterday at the Logan Heights Branch Library in San Diego. Cesar was discussing his new book, Welcome the Wretched: In Defense of the ​Criminal Alien”.  The book event was open to the public.  Carrie shared that the talk ended with a spirited Q&A, with audience members engaging the author in discussing possibilities for a more humane approach to immigration law. Carrie's favorite moment was when César read part of page 230 of his book with a surprising reference to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Curious? Check out page 230. 


February 23, 2024 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Climate Change and Cross-Border Displacement: What the Courts, the Administration, and Congress Can Do to Improve Options for the United States by Kate Jastram

Climate Change and Cross-Border Displacement: What the Courts, the Administration, and Congress Can Do to Improve Options for the United States by Kate Jastram,   Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Forthcoming


This paper examines seven existing and potential legal and policy options for improving the United States’ response to people fleeing across international borders in the context of the adverse effects of climate change and disasters. These opportunities are maximizing the potential of the refugee definition in the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopting the expanded refugee definition in the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, accepting non-refoulement obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, expanding climate change considerations in the Refugee Admissions Program, making greater use of nationality-specific humanitarian parole programs, leveraging Safe Mobility Offices to lead regional solutions, and reimagining Temporary Protected Status.

It argues that a more realistic and less constricted conception of both international protection and the national interest of the United States will not only provide life-saving refuge to those in need while resuscitating the asylum system but will also serve as a model to other countries in the Americas and beyond.


February 23, 2024 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)