Thursday, March 23, 2023

Immigration Article of the Day: Keeping Counsel by Natasha Phillips

Photo: Natasha Phillips, Linkedin

Natasha Lee is a 2022 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. She recently published a Note with the Michigan Journal of Race and Law entitled Keeping Counsel: Challenging Immigration Detention Transfers as a Violation of the Right to Retained Counsel. 27 Mich. J. Race & L. 375 (2022). Check out the abstract:

In 2019 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) incarcerated nearly 500,000 individuals. More than half of the individuals detained by ICE were transferred between detention facilities, and roughly thirty percent of those transferred were moved between federal circuit court jurisdictions. Detention transfers are isolating, bewildering, and scary for the detained noncitizen and their family. They can devastate the noncitizen's legal defense by destroying an existing attorney-client relationship or the noncitizen's ability to obtain representation. Transfers also obstruct the noncitizen's ability to gather evidence and may prejudicially change governing case law. This Note describes the legal framework for transfers and their legal and non-legal impacts. It contends that transfers violate noncitizens' constitutional and statutory rights to retained counsel by obstructing the attorney-client relationship. Further, it argues that federal courts have jurisdiction to review right to counsel challenges to transfers under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Written with practitioners in mind, this Note canvasses the practical and legal difficulties of making such a challenge.

Congratulations on the publication, Natasha! I look forward to reading this piece.


March 23, 2023 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Profile on U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar

Guest blogger: Angelica Soria, Masters in Migration Studies Student, University of San Francisco:

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar was born on October 4th, 1982, in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. At the age of 2, her mother had unfortunately passed away, leaving Omar and her 6 siblings to be raised by their father and aunts on their family compound in Baydhabo. However, in 1991 the Somalian civil war pushed Omar and her family out of the country and into a Kenyan refugee camp for about four years. One of her better-known quotes, “By principle, I’m anti-war because I survived a war” was said in an interview with Rolling Stone after she was asked about former President Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria. Later in 1995, Omar’s family had been granted asylum in the United States where they first settled in Virginia but then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1997. The neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside in Minneapolis has the largest population of Somali refugees. By the age of 17 in the year 2000, she became a United States citizen.

Ilhan Omar’s love for politics stems from her trips to the Democratic Party caucuses with her grandfather where she interpreted the meetings for him. She eventually graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in Political Science and International Studies in 2011 and after graduation became the campaign manager for Kari Dziedzic’s reelection campaign for Minnesota State Senate. In 2013, she managed Andrew Johnson’s campaign for Minneapolis City Council then served as his senior policy aide for 2 years. She made history in 2016 by being the first Somali-American lawmaker when she unseated a 44-year incumbent in the Minnesota House. Then in 2018, she was elected into the US House of Representatives where she marked multiple firsts; first Somali-American, first naturalized citizen from America, first non-white woman elected from Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Following her election, the 1837 ban on head coverings in the US House of Representatives- which had originally represented the break from the British House of Commons- had been altered to allow Omar to enter the House floor with her hijab.

Through their first term, Omar along with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley were deemed “The Squad” because of their fearlessness in advocating for more left leaning legislation. All four members of The Squad are women of color have had targets on their backs from President Trump and his followers because of their leftist ideals. Trump signed an Executive Order in January of 2017, commonly known as the Muslim Travel Ban that banned a number of countries who had majority Muslim populations. Since this, Omar has outright spoken against the Trump era’s racist (and other discriminatory) remarks and legislations. After one particular tweet from Trump in 2019 in which he said Omar and other members of The Squad should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” Omar replied, “His nightmare is seeking a Somali immigrant refugee rise to Congress […] and so we are going to continue to be a nightmare to the president.” Holding true to that, Omar had been one of the first representatives to draft impeachment articles after the January 6th insurrection, actually announcing her intent the day of.

Representative Ilhan Omar’s most prominent stances are in issues regarding immigration, workers and economy, education, environmental justice, healthcare, and foreign policy. Omar supports more rights being given to undocumented immigrants living in the US and the revival of US refugee resettlement agencies as well as the conscious reformation of existing US foreign policies. Omar has been an avid advocate of a $15 minimum wage in order to close the gap between wage and the rising costs-of-living. Along similar lines, she believes in eliminating existing student loan debt and the implementation of tuition-free colleges. The Green New Deal has been one of her more well-known passions in her effort to reduce the United State’s carbon footprint. Another well-known piece of legislation that Omar has loudly supported is Medicare for All. In her interview with the Rolling Stone, she says, “I work every day to make sure we are living in a more tolerant world” which is what we see as she continues her work in Congress.


March 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grief and Unaccompanied Minors

Guest blogger: Ailleene Maldonado, Masters in Migration Studies Student, University of San Francisco:

            It is easy as adults to see children as not having the emotional capacity to deal with loss. To some, loss is associated with death, but working with unaccompanied minors, I have come to witness that loss does not always have to deal with death. Instead loss can mean leaving a home even if that home had flaws. Loss can be not ever knowing a parent. Loss can be witnessing domestic violence, gang violence, and femicides. Loss is letting go of your child-like innocence.

            I have encountered children who have endured so much that in spite of the trauma they have experienced, they are able to understand either their circumstance or their experience in a way that one might not think a child is capable of. I met a 12 year old boy during a declaration appointment. It was the first time we had ever met, and up until this point, most of the tender age boys that I have met struggle wanting to tell their story to a stranger. But this boy in particular was different. We started the process by confirming his full name, age, and parents. I then begin to ask the questions that start to make them anxious.

How was your relationship with your absent parent (in this case, like most of the cases, his father)?

He then starts by saying he had a normal relationship, like any father son relationship. He remembered in detail their affectionate interactions. These interactions were few because his father drank a lot and every time his father drank, he would hit his mother. He would sit witnessing the violence, crying and yelling for his dad to stop who would then get hit trying to defend his mother. He was about or around 2 to 4 years of age. He wanted to have a normal, loving father son relationship.

Why did you come to the U.S.?

His mother decided to move them to the U.S. because when they were walking on the street as a family, they were approached by gang members. The gang members, from the perspective of the 12 year old boy, just wanted to steal their shoes and money. He stayed with his grandparents who live in rural Guatemala for some days.

This is the point where I would normally ask how their relationship with their absent parent made them feel or leaving their home. With him, I didn’t have to because of how eloquent, and well spoken he was.

He then proceeds to tell me that everything he witnessed back home left him very traumatized. So did his journey to the U.S. Normally, in declarations I do not ask about their journey to the U.S. because it's not really relevant for SIJS cases. I normally ask this question when I conduct legal screenings to the children in the ORR shelter I visit, but it felt important for him, so I let him describe his journey. He told me it took him and his mother a very long time to arrive and they had to get on a train called La Bestia. This train would take them to the U.S. Mexico Border. He described the train as scary and huge. Because he was still little he had a hard time clinging on to the train and not falling down. He held onto his mom’s leg and the railing, aware that his mother also had to hold herself to keep from falling, so he tried to not be a disturbance for her. When they crossed the desert, they hadn’t eaten or drank water for days. All they had were crackers. He refused to eat them because he knew that his mom was bigger and needed more strength, and once again, didn’t want to be a bother for her. He also decided to not drink water so that his mom could have enough and so that he didn’t need to use the bathroom to not get them lost.

He then continues to tell me that everything he experienced and witnessed in his home country and on the way to the U.S. was very traumatizing for him. To this day, he still has nightmares about La Bestia  and about his father.

When was the last time you had contact with your father?  

The last time was on his birthday a year ago. On his birthdays, he always wants to talk to his father, to see if he remembers and to speak to him. He wants to have a relationship with his dad even though he knows that his dad made his mom and himself suffer.

How is your relationship with your mother?

He has a great relationship with his mother. He is a support system for her and she is his. When her asylum application got denied, his mom was in bed crying for two weeks. He wanted me to know that during these two weeks, he never left her side, not even to go to school. He knows that his mother has been through a lot and he will always be there to take care of her.

In this case, I believe that this child was able to verbalize his experience in a unique way that most children his age can’t, but that doesn't mean that he is the only one who can comprehend and grieve at this level. It is easy to think and see these children as weak and oblivious, but working with unaccompanied minors has shown me the various ways that a person can grieve.


March 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration fuels Canada's largest population growth of over 1 million

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

BBC News reports that Canada's population for the first time grew by more than a million people last year, the Canadiam government has said.

The country's population increased from 38,516,138 to 39,566,248 people, Statistics Canada said.  It also marked Canada's highest annual population growth rate - 2.7% - since 1957.  The increase was in part fueled by government efforts to recruit migrants to the country to ease labor shortages.  The country also depends on migration to support an aging population.

Statistics Canada said the surge in the number of permanent and temporary immigrants could "also represent additional challenges for some regions of the country related to housing, infrastructure and transportation, and service delivery to the population."

The Statistics Canada press release stated in part that

"The increase seen in international migration is related to efforts by the Government of Canada to ease labour shortages in key sectors of the economy. High job vacancies and labour shortages are occurring in a context where population aging has accelerated in Canada and the unemployment rate remains near record low. A rise in the number of permanent and temporary immigrants could also represent additional challenges for some regions of the country related to housing, infrastructure and transportation, and service delivery to the population.

Temporary immigration is the leading contributor to Canada's growth."




International migration accounted for nearly 96% of the population growth, according to the news release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made efforts to attract more immigrants to the country since gaining power in 2015. Last year, the government announced a plan to welcome half a million immigrants a year by 2025.

The Canadian government has also been accepting people affected by conflicts like the Ukraine war, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

March 23, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Immigrant innovators outpace American inventors

Past research points to the significant role immigrants play in American innovation. Studies have shown that immigrants represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They comprise more than a quarter of the nation’s Nobel Prize winners. A recent study by Professor Rebecca Diamond of Stanford and her colleagues, Abhisit Jiranaphawiboon, a PhD student at Stanford GSB; Beatriz Pousadaopen in new window, a PhD student at Stanford; Shai Bernsteinopen in new window of Harvard Business School; and Timothy McQuadeopen in new window of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, directly measure the output of patents from foreign-born inventors living in the US in their working paper. Their conclusion: "The average immigrant is substantially more productive than the average U.S.-born inventor."

The researchers started with an understanding of how social security numbers work: their first numbers contain the year of birth. In their database, they identified 300 million adults who had lived in the country between 1990 and 2016 and then used Social Security numbers to identify those who had immigrated after age 19. Using names and address history, the researchers matched individuals in the database to those listed as inventors with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Their findings show that immigrants generate patents across a broad swath of sectors, including computers, electronics, chemicals, and medicine. They also discovered that, while all inventors reach peak productivity in their late 30s and early 40s, immigrants decline from that peak at a slower rate than U.S.-born inventors over the rest of their careers.

Why? Some of the trend can be explained by self-selection since the types of people who migrate to the U.S. on high-skilled visas are likely to be successful. Another factor is the positive effect of diversity: collaboration with inventors in other countries and use of foreign technologies in their patented products seemed to yield productivity. Whatever the causes, the effects redound to U.S. scientists and society. The authors say the policy implication is:

The U.S. has done an amazing job of attracting the best and the brightest immigrants. Any policy that would revamp the visa process might want to consider how big a deal immigrants are in our innovation output.


March 22, 2023 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Ballet a Story of Immigration


For more, click here (subscription required).


March 22, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Webinar: The Crisis in U.S. Immigration Adjudication


The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation invite you to join us for the upcoming free National ABF Fellows Webinar:

The Crisis in U.S. Immigration Adjudication

The enforcement of immigration law and policy in the United States is a complex and much-debated topic. Join us for a panel discussion examining some of the most pressing challenges on this timely subject, including the increasing court backlog, the relationship between legal professionals, detainees, & interpreters, and the need for quality legal representation to ensure a more humane system and policies.

Register Here

Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 2:00pm ET / 1:00pm CT / 12:00pm MT / 11:00am PT



Jojo Annobil

Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps

Jojo Annobil is the Executive Director of Immigrant Justice Corps, the first and only fellowship program in the nation dedicated to increasing access to counsel for low-income immigrants. He is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, where he co-teaches the Immigrant Defense Clinic. He previously served as Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit, Co-Chair of the NY State Bar Association's Committee on Immigration. He is a member of the Katzmann Study Group on Immigration Representation created by the late Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, which developed and implemented the first universal right-to-counsel project for low-income New York detainees facing deportation from the US.


Sonya Rao

ABF/AccessLex Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow

Sonya Rao is a legal and linguistic anthropologist. She received her PhD at UCLA in Anthropology in 2021, where she wrote a dissertation on working conditions for language interpreters in immigration courts. Currently, she serves as the American Bar Foundation/AccessLex Postdoctoral Scholar in Legal and Higher Education, where she is investigating the state of training for law students to work across languages. 


Wendy S. Wayne

Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Past Chair, ABA Commission on Immigration

Director, Immigration Impact Unit, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Wendy S. Wayne is the founder and Director of the Immigration Impact Unit at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts public defender agency, where she provides training and advice to court-appointed attorneys throughout the state. She is the former Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration and currently sits on its Advisory Committee. Ms. Wayne previously served on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council Task Force on Secure Communities, the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Moderated by:


James R. Silkenat

Patron Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Past President, American Bar Association

Director & Treasurer, World Justice Project

James R. Silkenat is a former National Chair of the ABF Fellows and a Past President of the ABA. He currently serves as Treasurer and a Member of the Board of Directors of the World Justice Project. Mr. Silkenat previously served as Chair of the ABA Section of International Law, the ABA's Latin American Legal Initiative, and the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights (now Human Rights First). He is a member of the American Law Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a past Fellow of the US State Department Scholar/Diplomat Program. He is also an Honorary Master of the Bench at Middle Temple Inn in London, England.


American Bar Foundation

750 North Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60611



March 21, 2023 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Administration Resumes Deportations to Russia


Official White House Photo

In March 2022, the Biden administration after the Russian invasion of Ukraine suspended deportation flights to Russia, Ukraine, and several other European nations.  The Guardian (UK) now reports that the administration has resumed deportations to Russia.

A number of Russian asylum seekers have expressed fear that the U.S. government will return them to Russia where they could face prison or be sent to the frontlines in Ukraine, where Russia has suffered tens of thousands of casualties.

“US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) remains committed to enforcing immigration laws humanely, effectively and with professionalism. Ice facilitates the transfer and removal of non-citizens via commercial airlines and chartered flights in support of mission requirements,” the agency said, adding: “ICE conducts removals to countries, including Russia, in accordance with country removal guidelines.”

It is unclear when deportations to Russia resumed. The White House reportedly did not respond to a request for comment.



March 21, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2023

125th anniversary celebration of Wong Kim Ark decision

By Nicholas Lovino, UC Law SF

To mark the 125-year anniversary of a court ruling that guaranteed birthright citizenship in the United States, a group of law professors, historians, and SF Chinatown community members will gather for a series of commemorative events in late March.

The Center for Race, Immigration, Citizenship, and Equality (RICE) at UC Law San Francisco is hosting a March 23 lecture and co-sponsoring a panel discussion and community event on March 25 to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1898 decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark.

professional woman wearing blue suit talks during panel discussion
Ming Hsu Chen is a professor of law and director of RICE at UC Law SF.

“The legacy of Wong Kim Ark is a bulwark in the continuing struggle to define who gets be an American,” said Ming Hsu Chen, law professor and director of RICE at UC Law SF. “It stands for the proposition that children born in the U.S. are American, notwithstanding if their parents are Black, Asian, or Latinx.”

Born in San Francisco in 1873, Wong Kim Ark was denied reentry to the U.S. after visiting family abroad under the Chinese Exclusion Act. With legal assistance from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), he sued the federal government, and in 1898, the Supreme Court recognized that birthright citizenship is guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Here are details of three events to commemorate this historic Supreme Court case:

  • Thursday, March 23, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the Cothcett Law Center, 333 Golden Gate Ave. and on Zoom
    • Lecture: University of Michigan Law Professor Sam Erman will speak about Wong Kim Ark and contemporary threats to birthright citizenship at the Cotchett Law Center on UC Law SF campus. The lecture is part of a series of talks on race, citizenship, and equality sponsored by RICE. Register for in-person or virtual attendance here.
  • Saturday, March 25, 10:30 – 11:30a.m. at Victory Hall, 827 Stockton St.
    • A community celebration will feature local government officials and prominent members of the SF Chinatown community at Victory Hall, 827 Stockton St., in SF Chinatown. Register here to attend.
  • Saturday, March 25, 12 – 1:30 p.m. at Victory Hall, 827 Stockton St.
    • A panel talk and reception will follow the community celebration at Victory Hall in SF Chinatown. Chen will moderate the discussion between four panelists: UC Davis Law Professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin, University of Virginia Law Professor Amanda Frost, Susana Liu-Hedberg of the 1990 Institute, and UC Berkeley Law Professor Charles McClain ’74. Register here to attend.
University of Michigan Law Professor Sam Erman will speak about Wong Kim Ark and birthright citizenship at UC Law San Francisco on March 23.

At the March 23 lecture, Erman will discuss the white supremacist origins of U.S. legal arguments that citizenship should be based on one’s parents rather than one’s birthplace. “We today live in an age where birthright citizenship is again under attack,” Erman said.

The second event on March 25 will feature local government leaders and prominent community members discussing the importance of Wong Kim Ark and other historic court cases funded by the CCBA in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Wong Kim Ark is one of more than 20 cases sponsored by the CCBA as part of concerted effort to push back against the Chinese Exclusion Act and other discriminatory laws,” said David Lei, a co-organizer of the events and longtime member of the SF Chinatown community.

The third event on March 25 will include a panel discussion on the legal and historical implications of Wong Kim Ark followed by a reception.

John Trasviña, a co-organizer of the events and former dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law, previously helped organize a centennial commemoration of Wong Kim Ark in 1998 on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. “We’re really excited to reintroduce Wong Kim Ark to new people and to remind others that Chinese American leadership on civil rights dates back to the 1880s,” Trasviña said. “I’m pleased to be partnering with the RICE Center, an academic institution with a clear eye on public policy and community impact.”

Victor Qiu ’24 is the treasurer of APALSA at UC Law San Francisco.

Victor Qiu, treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) at UC Law SF, said his organization is helping promote the events and recruiting volunteers, “The story of children of immigrants fighting for their legal recognition is part of the broader American story.”

The events also coincide with the launch of a campaign, co-led by the 1990 Institute, to gain national recognition of Wong Kim Ark’s birthplace in SF Chinatown. “It’s an important piece of our nation’s history and showcases how the Supreme Court has played and continues to play a pivotal role in ensuring rights for not just the Asian American Pacific Islander community but for all Americans,” said Liu-Hedberg, executive director of the 1990 Institute, which promotes education to build bridges between the U.S., China, and Asian Americans.

The events are co-sponsored by RICE, CCBA, Chinese Historical Society of America, the 1990 Institute, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

March 20, 2023 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zolberg Institute webinar on US-UK border asylum policies, March 24


The US and UK have recently announced dramatic new border policies intended to deter the arrival of asylum-seekers. The Biden Administration will, with limited exceptions, deny migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum if they have passed through another country on their way to the US. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's "no small boats" policy would summarily return asylum-seekers to their home country or a designated "safe" third country. Are the proposed measures consistent with international refugee law? Will they accomplish their goals? Are there alternative policies that would both better protect the right to asylum and manage unauthorized flows? Will the new US and UK proposals spur a global "race to the bottom" of hardened borders?

Doris Meissner (Migration Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.) and David Cantor (Refugee Law Initiative, University of London) will discuss the recent asylum policy announcements in a conversation moderated by Zolberg Institute Director Alex Aleinikoff.

This event is co-sponsored by the Global Strategic Litigation Council on Refugee Rights.



March 20, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Years of Title 42

The American Immigration Council in "Three Years of Title 42" evaluates the impacts of the Title 42 order.  Beyond the drastic toll on human life and shifting public health policies, one startling constant has persisted throughout the pandemic. For three years now, the United States has turned its back on countless asylum seekers under Title 42—a Trump-era policy invoked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 20, 2020. Read More »

The conclusion:

"We hope that short-sighted political pressures to institute draconian border policies do not overshadow the calls from advocates to do the right thing. Border `solutions' that myopically focus on excluding migrants miss the point. We are supposed to be a nation of laws and have legal and constitutional commitments to offer migrants a fair process to seek protection. Three years after the start of Title 42, it is time to finally return to our promise to restore access to asylum."


March 20, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Commentary: "Canada is eating our lunch on needed immigration"

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Canadian Flag image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An opinion piece by the editorial board of the New York Daily News indicts the antiquated U.S. immigration visa system  :and points out that it allows skilled immigrants to go to Canada

"[The current system is something we] no longer afford, as we face shortages of certain types of high-skill labor and an aging population. Congress must streamline and modernize the outdated visa system. It’s already a day late and a Canadian dollar short, but the cost of inaction is only going to compound."


March 20, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Uniting for Ukraine: Where Do We Go from Here?

Guest blogger:  Katherine Cherubin, law student, University of San Fancisco:

On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in which he ordered his troops into Ukraine with the goal of “demilitarizing” and “denazifying” the country. Shortly after the announcement, the first of many explosions were heard in Ukraine. Over a year later, the war is still being waged and Russian forces have committed numerous unthinkable atrocities—from the Mariupol maternity hospital attack to the horrors in Bucha, to a number of other tragedies, there seems to be no end in sight (“Russian invasion of Ukraine,” n.d). In the first months of the war, many Ukrainians fled their home country— many went to surrounding countries, especially Poland, however, there were those that ventured further. On April 21, 2022, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced Uniting for Ukraine, which is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to welcome 100,00 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression (“Uniting for Ukraine,” n.d.).

            The program provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens to come to the U.S. and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole, when paroled they are eligible to apply for employment authorization. Ukrainians seeking to participate in Uniting for Ukraine are required to have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide financial support for them during the duration of their stay in the U.S. (“Uniting for Ukraine,” n.d.).

            It is also important to note that there were some Ukrainians who arrived in the U.S. prior to the implementation of Uniting for Ukraine, many Ukrainians who arrived in the U.S. between February 24, 2022 to April 25, 2022 came on humanitarian parole status. Before the Uniting for Ukraine program started, the government used the humanitarian parole program to admit those fleeing Ukraine into the states—the program allows people to enter the U.S. on “an emergency basis due to an urgent humanitarian situation … usually for a finite amount of time, like a year or two years, and must be renewed for people to stay longer” (Santana, 2023). Due to the ongoing state of the war, Biden recently announced that Ukrainians who arrived between the prior dates on humanitarian parole status do not need to file any additional paperwork to extend their stays in the U.S. and will automatically get an extension after their cases are vetted (Santana, 2023).

            Those who fled Ukraine before the announcement of the Uniting for Ukraine program are having more difficulties obtaining work permits and social security cards than their counterparts who were able to utilize the program (Roth, 2023). Further, a number of those displaced due to the war were unaware of the various programs potentially available to them, making the process even more difficult for them—as some Ukrainians entered on tourist visas unaware of the Uniting for Ukraine program or the general humanitarian parole program (Roth, 2023).

            There are good intentions behind the Uniting for Ukraine program, however, sometimes intent does not fully translate to the end result. When many fled Ukraine shortly after the war broke out, they assumed it would be over soon, however, the conflict has been going on for over a year now with no end in sight. There is so much uncertainty that comes with being displaced due to a conflict. Although Ukrainians are being admitted into the United States, there is so much that is unpredictable about their stay—those being paroled are only here for a temporary amount of time, but as the war wages on, extensions are granted—how do you set down roots when you are unsure of your future and the future of your home country? As one Ukrainian national who fled to the United States put it, “[i]t’s very complicated to live here when you don’t know how many years you can live here. Can you go study? Can you buy something like a car?” (Alvarez, 2023). Besides the uncertainty that comes with fleeing Ukraine for the United States, there are some hurdles when it comes to the Uniting for Ukraine program, specifically the requirement of having a supporter already in America—that can be a major roadblock for many and does not necessarily seem fair or just in a time of crisis. Lastly, one other issue surrounding is that those fleeing Russian aggression should be able to more easily find out their options. There is, hopefully, good intent behind the Biden administration’s efforts, however, Ukraine and Ukrainian’s need far more support and stability provided to them.


March 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Bill (Border Protection Unit Act) Headed the Direction of Arizona's SB 1070?


News from Texas:  The Republican leadership in the Texas House of Representatives announced this week that passing a bill to make illegal immigration a felony is a top priority.

The Border Protection Unit Act, supported by key leaders of the majority-Republican Texas House of Representatives, would create a border protection police force and make illegal immigration a felony.  Here is the bill.

The bill would allow the state officers to in effect deputize private citizens to assist in immigration enforcement.  Sounds to me like rounding a posse in the old West.

I am not sure how much of the Texas bill would survive the Supreme Court's federal preemption decision in Arizona v. United States (2012), which struck down the bulk of Arizona's SB 1070 and its efforts to criminalize unlawful immigration under state law.


March 19, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Refugeehood Reconsidered: the Central American Migration Crisis by Steven Macedo

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Refugeehood Reconsidered: the Central American Migration Crisis by Steven Macedo


“Who is a refugee?” This essay explores the lively debate on this question in ethics, political theory, and international law. The world now has more refugees than any time since World War II, and there may be no area of public policy in advanced Western states more fraught with deep moral and practical dilemmas. Are state persecution and alienage necessary conditions of refugeehood or is mortal peril sufficient, whatever its cause? The essay describes the various moral grounds relevant to claims for refugeehood, including general humanitarian duties, obligations arising from past and ongoing relations and commitments under international law, and the existence of the state system itself. Particular attention is paid to the Central American migration crisis, and the question of reparative obligations on the part of the U.S. arising from climate change and past state policies that have unjustly harmed sending countries. Further complicating the question of what we ought to do, even for progressive policymakers, is the looming threat of right-wing populist backlash.


March 19, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Court Allows Remain in Mexico Lawsuit to Move Forward


News on an important piece of immigration litigation from earlier this week:

"[A] federal court largely denied the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit, Immigrant Defenders Law Center et al. v. Mayorkas,​ brought on behalf of people seeking asylum who were stranded outside the United States as a result of the Trump administration’s unlawful “Remain in Mexico” policy. In its decision the court declared that, if true, the Plaintiffs’ allegations would amount to `acute and sweeping violations' of their `bedrock rights.' The court also granted the Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification . . . . 

`The court got it right. It is baffling that the government would even attempt to defend the grievous harms inflicted by a policy that the administration itself has condemned, citing its ‘unjustifiable human costs,’ said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). . . . 

Introduced in 2019, the Remain in Mexico policy forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers to await their U.S. immigration court dates just south of the border, in some of the most dangerous cities in the world. Trapped in Mexico, few had access to U.S. legal services, and many fell victim to grave violence." 


March 18, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Her name is on a pub, a boat and an AI platform. But what happened to the Irish teen who arrived at Ellis Island in 1892?

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers on the quayside in Cobh, Ireland.

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers in IrelandCourtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An interesting clo9sing story to St. Patrick's Day from CNN

Annie Moore was the first immigrant who walked through the doors when Ellis Island opened more than 130 years ago. These days, there are statues of her in Ireland and at the historic US site. Her name is on a pub in New York Citya National Park Service boat and even an AI platform that aims to help match refugees with communities where they can resettle.

CNN reports on the story of Annie Moore, her descendants, and a play about her life.  It is a rich and fun story.



March 18, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carly Goodman on St. Patrick's Day, in the Washington Post

image from uncpress.orgCarly Goodman, author of "Dreamland: America's Immigration Lottery in an Age of Restriction" (UNC Press), has an excellent essay in Friday's Washington Post 'Made by History' series on St. Patrick's Day and its connection to immigration and the immigrant experience.

As Goodman writes:

But the pageantry and pride on display on St. Patrick’s Day speak to something more than a shared ethnic identity. They are tied to the Irish immigrant experience, which is a crucial part of Irish American culture. Irish Americans have long used St. Patrick’s Day parades to demand opportunities for immigration from their native land, and one of these campaigns even opened doors for immigrants from across the globe. Its success is a reminder that immigration doesn’t need to be a zero sum game, especially because the inclusion of diverse communities of immigrants has long been a boon for the United States.

You can read or listen to the full essay here.


March 18, 2023 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Law and Slavery: Rethinking the Migration or Importation Clause by Geoffrey Heeren

Geoffrey Heeren

Immigration Law and Slavery: Rethinking the Migration or Importation Clause by Geoffrey Heeren, Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2023, No. 4, 2023


The traditional account of the origins of federal immigration law mostly glosses over its deep connection to slavery. An examination of that connection calls the constitutional foundation for immigration law into question, alters the calculus for judicial review of federal immigration action, reframes our understanding of federalism, and lays bare the nation’s exploitative dependence on immigrant labor. This article makes this paradigm shift by focusing on a long-neglected textual source for federal immigration power: the Migration or Importation Clause of Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 of the Constitution. Scholars have almost uniformly discounted the Migration or Importation Clause as a source for federal immigration power because of its connection to slavery. In sharp contrast, this article contends that the Migration or Importation Clause makes sense as a source for the federal immigration power because of its connection to slavery, which was deeply intertwined in the early Republic with immigration.The history of the Constitutional Convention reveals that the framers specifically discussed slavery and immigration together and were aware that their chosen wording for the Migration or Importation Clause would apply to free immigrants. An originalist understanding of the Clause therefore supports a federal immigration power under the Commerce Clause, which was the presumptive basis for regulating the slave trade after the 1808 date set out in the Migration or Importation Clause.The legacy of the Migration or Importation Clause continues to be felt in immigration law. Slavery was an atrocity that inflicted intergenerational harm on blacks; in contrast, immigrants have often enjoyed opportunities and passed on wealth. Nonetheless, the current structure of immigration law perpetuates nineteenth century labor norms for the millions of undocumented workers who under threat of deportation do much of the nation’s most difficult work for lower p ay and with fewer legal protections than documented workers. Reckoning with the ties between immigration law and slavery offers an opportunity to reflect on the failures of this system, and also reveals a redemptive path forward. In the face of an exploitative system, the strategies and logic of abolitionism offer hope for a better immigration future.


March 18, 2023 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day