Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Today, "the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which administers the U.S. immigration courts, has agreed to a settlement with the National Association of Immigration Judges [NAIJ] to again recognize NAIJ as the exclusive union representative and collective bargaining agent for the nation’s more than 500 immigration judges. Today’s announcement puts to an end an effort begun in 2019 by the DOJ, at the direction of the Trump administration, to strip away union rights from the nation’s immigration judges." See the NAIJ press release for details.
The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce a dissertation research grants (DRG) program to support innovative and high-quality dissertation research projects that address questions relevant to RSF's priority areas: Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context; Future of Work ; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. Proposed projects must be closely aligned with the funding priorities listed on the RSF website for any of these areas, contribute to RSF's mission to improve social and living conditions in the U.S., and demonstrate appropriate use of relevant theory, innovative data, rigorous research methods, and measures. The application period is January 18-February 1, 2021.
Government responses to COVID-19 have involved severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of people all around the world. In late November, many countries including the U.S. and European countries, instituted bans on travel from South Africa to thwart the spread of the Omicron variant. Until early November, the U.S. imposed restrictions on nonessential travel from many other high infection or low vaccination countries.
The University of Oxford Covid19 Government Response Tracker taps a new data set that records a wide range of government responses globally, including various “stay-at-home” measures, restrictions on internal movements within a country, and international travel control measures. It shows that both internal and international migration controls were quickly put in place by the vast majority of countries around the world, with the peak occurring in late March to early April 2020. (The chart can be manipulated from the IOM tracker website.)
Also, the highest increases to migration occurred in Europe and Asia. Additional maps, timelines, and data appear in the report. They are both visually striking and informative!
This article illustrates a simple risk of algorithmic risk assessment tools: rigging. In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed the “release” recommendation from the algorithmic tool that helped officers decide whom to detain and whom to release. After the change, the tool only recommended detention or referred cases to a supervisor. Taking advantage of the suddenness of this change, I use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to show that the change reduced actual release decisions by about half, from around 10% to around 5% of all decisions. Officers continued to follow the tool’s detention recommendations at almost the same rate even after the tool stopped recommending release, and when officers deviated from the tool’s recommendation to order release, supervisors became more likely to overrule their decisions. Although algorithmic tools offer the possibility of reducing the use of detention, they can also be rigged to increase it.
Representatives Espaillat (D-NY) and Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) News Conference on Immigration
Representatives Adriano Espaillat and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will hold a news conference on immigration. It should be interesting. Both, with other members of Congress, signed on to a statement in November backing immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Official House Photo of Representative Adriano Espaillat
The Federal Defender Services has announced a Diversity Fellowship for the next generation of public defenders. Defense work in the federal defender system is especially important for immigrant rights given the impact of criminal convictions on noncitizens, and the federal government's role in prosecuting immigration crime.
The Diversity Fellowship is for two years and designed to train new attorneys in criminal defense and representation.
For more information and a list of offices participating in the program, see https://diversityfellowship.fd.org/frontpage.
Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University has found new and troubling inconsistencies in EOIR's juvenile case data. As TRAC reports in a recent press release, TRAC has been "forced to suspend its publication of data on juveniles facing deportation in Immigration Court due to serious, unresolved deficiencies in the EOIR's data. TRAC's analyses indicate that the data used by the Immigration Court for tracking and reporting on juveniles who are facing deportation appear to be seriously flawed to the point that we question whether the agency has the ability to meaningfully and reliably report on juveniles in its caseload."
Sandra Sanchez at the Border Report underscores just how crucial these data are given that the "Remain in Mexico" program is being reinstated and there is an urgent public need to understand how cases are being handled. The article also quotes TRAC's Director, Professor Sue Long of Syracuse University, explaining that EOIR record keepers have also lost 50,000 pending asylum applications.
A spokesperson for EOIR said that it would "look into these concerns."
Official White House Photo
Ruben Navarrette Jr. for the Daily Beast suggests that, even though he lost the 2020 election, he may well have won the war over immigration.
While President Biden has softened some of the Trump administration policies, some remain intact. Yesterday, the Biden administration brought back the Migrant Protection Protocols, the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The policy, devised by Stephen Miller, in response to the asylum seekers coming to the U.S./Mexico border. In addition, the Biden administration has been accused of "doubling down" on the Trump administration's efforts to de-certify the immigration judges union.
Navarrette is critical of the Biden's immigration policies:
"That was true back to when the Trump administration first concocted the inhumane idea of harboring thousands of would-be refugees south of the U.S.-Mexico border, even though doing so placed those people in harm’s way. And it’s true now that the Biden administration is not only picking up where Trump left off but, worse, expanding the program to include a whole new group of people that the White House wants to get rid of."
Monday, December 6, 2021
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Patel v. Garland. Here is a copy of the transcript. Bloomberg Law, for one, sees oral argument as indicating that SCOTUS is "likely" to side with Patel over Garland. A ruling in favor of Patel would mean that federal courts would have jurisdiction to review non-discretionary determinations by immigration courts about eligibility for adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).
Official White House Photo
Immigrant advocates have not been entirely pleased with the Biden administration's immigration moves. For example, the return of the Remain in Mexico policy has come under fire. Due to court order, the policy returned on December 6.
Nolan Rappaport on The Hill discusses the return in the Remain in Mexico policy and the policy debates over immigration.
"In 1977, a Republican senator from Kansas joined the newly formed Congressional Hispanic Caucus as an `honorary member.' In the 1980s, he voted for amnesty for undocumented immigrants. In the 1990s, he ran for president while embracing anti-immigrant measures.
Such was the complicated legacy of Bob Dole — who died Sunday at 98 — with the Latino community. During Dole’s political heyday, the Latino population tripled, and immigration emerged as a hot-button issue among conservatives. While his national campaigns failed to draw strong Latino support, Dole’s passing is an opportunity to reflect on the politics of a Republican from a different era."
"Human lives, real people, are at stake!" Francis said.
The pope thanked the residents of Lesbos for welcoming refugees and walked in the camp with storage containers housing refugees.
"Please let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!" Francis said.
He added that "we are living in the era of barbed wire and walls" but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that "we are all in the same boat."
Americans have heard a lot about the challenges that many employers are experiencing with hiring and retaining workers. Rebecca Rainey for Politico lays some of the blame on the U.S. immigration system. "Processing delays for millions of foreign workers are aggravating the nation’s labor shortage, lawmakers and business groups say, putting the dysfunction of the immigration system on display at a pivotal time for the economic recovery."
The Center for American Progress has released the "The Demographic and Economic Impacts of DACA Recipients: Fall 2021Edition." It presents the most up-to-date information about the recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The DACA saga continues. The Supreme Court halted the Trump's administration's attempted rescission of DACA but new applications still are not being accepted. The Biden administration has proposed a rule that would administratively codify DACA.
Hat tip to Nolan Rappaport.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Emtithal Mahmoud was born in Darfur, Sudan, and ultimately resettled in the United States. She's a recognized slam poet, winner of the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship (2015) and Women of the World Poetry Slam Co-champion (2016).
Watch her deliver her moving poem 2AM:
Mahmoud has also given a TED talk about the genocide in Darfur from which her family escaped.
Saturday, December 4, 2021
Yesterday, immigration attorney Greg Siskand opined that most Afghan humanitarian parole cases would be denied because of a lack of evidence indicating that the applicant/s will be specifically targeted by the country's new government. The program, Siskand states, is "a sham."
URGENT for journalist followers - @uscis is now expected to DENY most Afghan humanitarian parole cases - more than 30K pending - because they are applying standards most applications won't meet. Here's why - 1x— Greg Siskind (@gsiskind) December 3, 2021
Law360 has picked up Siskand's story. AILA is also on this issue and has released a Practice Pointer on USCIS Processing of Humanitarian Parole Applications for Afghan Nationals (AILA Doc. No. 21120304).
The National Immigration Law Center is calling for applications for a fellowship. See National Immigration Law Center - Law Fellowship (lever.co)
Applications will be accepted on a rolling-basis through Friday, January 7th, 2022 at 9pm Pacific.
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia: "Justices will decide scope of judicial review over certain immigration decisions"
Patel challenged the BIA denial in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The circuit court concluded that subparagraph (B)(i) bars a court from reviewing Patel’s case. . . . Patel sought review before the Supreme Court.
At the heart of this case is whether a federal court can review questions tied to Patel’s statutory eligibility for adjustment of status. Specifically, the Supreme Court will consider `[w]hether 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) preserves the jurisdiction of federal courts to review a non-discretionary determination that a noncitizen is ineligible for certain types of discretionary relief.'”
Stay tuned for reports on the oral argument next week.
UPDATE (Dec. 6, 2:15 p.m. PST): Here is the transcript to the argument. The Justices focused on the technicalities of the statutory language in a sprawling argument that only an immigration law professor could love. Stay tuned for a link to Professor Wadhia's recap of the argument when it is posted.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Oh, man. I'm a sucker for a good graphic novel. A graphic memoir? So cool. Check this one out: I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib. Here's the publisher's pitch:
I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.
Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.
On Amazon, the "Look Inside" feature will give you a glimpse at some of the novel's fabulous images and compelling story line.