Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Florida Strikes Again: Biden Immigration Policies Handed a Setback in the Eleventh Circuit

Governor DeSantis

Campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been keeping his immigration enforcement bona fides in the news, including by taking credit for relocating migrants to California's capital. 

Politico reports that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for now gave Florida a victory in delaying President Joe Biden’s pursuit of immigration policy.  The 11th Circuit denied a stay that would have allowed the Department of Homeland Security to parole some asylum-seekers into the U.S. as the legal battle continues.

Here is court's order

The Florida lawsuit against the Biden administration targets immigration policies put in place shortly after the president entered office. The challenge claims that federal authorities were ignoring a federal law that requires all migrants unlawfully entering the country to be detained.

U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell ordered federal immigration authorities to revamp their "Parole Plus Alternatives to Detention" policy.

Click the link above for details.


June 7, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

New Report Released by the Southern Poverty Law Center : Hate Groups Are Descending on Main Street America

Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released Year in Hate & Extremism, an annual report detailing the scope and danger of hate and antigovernment extremist groups operating in the United States. The report documents 1,225 active groups and shows how their tactics shifted after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — organizing locally and pursuing their agenda in venues where it is easier to gain power and strip communities of their rights and livelihoods. 

Click the link above to read the report.  Here is the Table of Contents.



June 6, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minyao Wang, Thirty Years After the Golden Venture


Guest Post:  Manyao Wang

Thirty years ago this morning, the Golden Venture struck a sandbar off the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. The rusty vessel carried almost 300 immigrants from China. Each would-be migrant paid about $40,000 for the hazardous journey. Most departed China on foot, cut through the jungles of Myanmar and arrived in Bangkok. After a plan to fly to the U.S. using forged passports fell through, they boarded the Golden Venture bound for Kenya. From Kenya the ship picked up additional Chinese human cargoes, circled the Cape of Good Hope, and then crossed the Atlantic. 

Ten people drowned when they tried to jump off the stranded ship. The other passengers were taken into immigration custody. It remains to this date the largest apprehension of undocumented immigrants in American history. The Golden Venture arrived in the middle of a great wave of illegal migration from the southeastern coast China that started in the mid-1980’s and accelerated after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. In fact, only three days before the Golden Venture’s arrival, two ships carrying nearly 300 Chinese migrants were apprehended within hours of each other off the coast of San Francisco.

The Golden Venture incident set off a media frenzy which in turn led to panic inside the United States government.  Like the Biden administration in 2023, the new Clinton administration did not want to be seen as losing control of the nation’s borders. A swift decision was made to subject the Golden Venture passengers to long-term detention.  U.S. officials explained publicly that imprisonment was intended to deter people in China from starting the same journey. This policy represented a sharp break from the prior general practice where asylum applicants were given a future court date and then released with a temporary work permit.  A substantial part of the Golden Venture passengers was detained for four years. And what started as a one-off emergency response soon became entrenched as a matter of statute.  In 1996, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide for mandatory detention of foreign nationals in various circumstances. For example, asylum applicants who arrive without documents or with fraudulent documents must be detained.  See 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)(B)(iii)(IV) (such persons “shall be detained pending a final determination of credible fear of persecution and, if found not to have such a fear, until removed”); Dep't of Homeland Sec. v. Thuraissigiam, 591 U.S. ___ (2020) (preclusion of judicial review of the detention of asylum seekers does not violate the Suspension Clause). The detention requirement most controversially applies to long-term residents of the United States who are subject to deportation because of a criminal record. See e.g., Demore v. Kim, 538 U.S. 510 (2003) (upholding such detention against a Fifth Amendment due process challenge).  As a result, a thriving private prison industry has emerged to cater to the needs of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The arrival of the Golden Venture also led to sharp gyrations in substantive eligibility for asylum. Under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, asylum had been generously granted for violations of China’s draconian one-child policy, which was often implemented with no regard for human dignity. That generosity no doubt stemmed at least in part from the Republican Party’s vocal pro-life position. To reduce the perceived magnet effect and lacking the need to defer to the religious right, the Clinton administration reinterpreted asylum law to say that because the birth control program applied to the entire Chinese population, it could not form the basis of an asylum claim, even to the extent that physical force was used compel compliance.  This is how matter stood until the fall of 1996, when the new Republican majorities in Congress amended the refugee definition to expressly protect individuals who have been persecuted by undergoing a forced abortion or involuntary sterilization. The detention of the Golden Venture passengers and the horrific punishment they endured for wanting to have more than one child was at the heart of the public relations campaign for the legislative change. This new law has opened a pathway to American citizenship and the prosperity that comes with it to tens of thousands Chinese nationals. Its codification in the INA has means that the asylum policy is insulated from abrogation by future Democratic administrations.  

The law enforcement crackdown in the wake of Golden Venture ended the business of smuggling people on big freighters. But that did not by any means end unlawful Chinese migration to the United States. In the last two decades, China is consistently a top source country for asylum applications filed in the United States.  Indeed, the City of New York has estimated that almost half of the new Chinese migrants to the city have been under the U.S. asylum program. Recent news events strongly suggest that illegal Chinese immigrants will continue to come the United States to seek the freedom and economic opportunities that are not available in their country of birth. The allure of the American Dream is irresistible to those living under totalitarianism.   


June 6, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Considers Kidnapping Charges

As we posted earlier on the blog, Florida has put asylum seekers on planes to Sacramento in recent days. Yesterday, according to The Guardian, Governor Gavin Newsom threatened possible kidnapping charges resulting from the flights that did not appear to have the consent or full understanding of those put on the flights. Attorney General Rob Bonta of California explained that if Florida supported the flights, it could be guilty of "state-sanctioned kidnapping."


June 6, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Now Streaming: Land of Gold

When truck driver Kiran hears pounding from inside his shipping container and finds Elena, a young Mexican-American girl, his already tumultuous life takes a drastic turn as he seeks to reunite her with her family.

That's the premise of Land of Gold, a film by Nardeep Khurmi. It's currently streaming on Max and on the Max channel on Amazon.


June 6, 2023 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas sheriff recommends criminal charges after migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard

About Attorney General Rob Bonta

Official California Attorney General Photo

The last few days have seen multiple instances of migrants transported and left in Sacramento.  California officials have threatened criminal charges.  See the interview of California Attorney General Rob Bonta here.

Shipping migrants by the Texas and Florida governments has been going on for quite some time.  And criminal charges may be possible for the perpetrators of these political stunts.  UPI reports that a Texas sheriff investigating the September 2022 involuntarily transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard has recommended that criminal charges be filed in the case.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the case had been filed with the county's district attorney's office for consideration.

"The charge filed is unlawful restraint and several accounts were filed, both misdemeanor and felony," the Bexar County Sheriff's Office said. "At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA's office."

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar had announced an investigation days after dozens of migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard.


June 6, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New U.S. immigration rules send asylum requests soaring in Mexico


NPR reports on the fallout in Mexico migrant shelters with the recent end of Title 42.  Overcrowding is the norm and shelters are pressed to the limits.


June 6, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 5, 2023

Not An Onion Article: Pro-Enforcement Group "NICE" Launches Today

It sounds like an Onion article, but it's not. Today is launch day for the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE), a new nonprofit that aims to "push back" against the "Abolish ICE" movement and "help return ICE to the enforcement agency it was meant to be." Okey doke.


June 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants have helped change how America eats. Now they dominate top culinary awards


Immigrants are changing what Americans eat through their culinary influence in cities large and small, reports Joel Rose of NPR. The culinary awards for restaurants granted by James Beard Foundation offer proof: For today’s ceremony, "more than half of the 75 finalists  vying for the chef and baker awards are immigrants or children of immigrants from all over the globe."


June 5, 2023 in Current Affairs, Food and Drinks | Permalink | Comments (0)

White House Proclamation on National Immigrant Heritage Month 2023

The White House proclaims June as Immigrant Heritage Month. Here is President Biden's proclamation:

    America is more than a place; it is an idea.  It is the idea that everyone is created equal and deserves to be treated equally throughout their lives and that everyone should have a fair shot and an equal chance to get ahead.  That is what has drawn people to our shores for centuries.  It is what makes us who we are.  And that very idea of America has been advanced by immigrants from every part of the world — my ancestors and yours.  Their dreams built America, and during National Immigrant Heritage Month, we celebrate their courage.

      The First Lady and I are proud descendants of immigrants — the Giacoppas, from the northeast corner of Sicily in Italy, and the Finnegans of County Louth and the Blewitts of County Mayo in Ireland.  Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California, to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica.  Like so many who still come here seeking a better future, our parents and great-grandparents could not be sure what life would bring. But they had faith that, for their children and grandchildren, anything would be possible in America.  And they were right.

      Many families also came to America in search of a better future and the promise of the American Dream, and each wave of newcomers brings energy and new ideas to move our Nation forward.  Today, one third of our doctors and nearly three quarters of our farmworkers are immigrants, and so many more are essential workers, first responders, and military service members.  Immigrants own approximately one in five businesses, create millions of jobs, pay hundreds of billions in taxes, and spend even more on American goods.  Almost half of all Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their kids. Immigrants help strengthen our diplomatic and people-to-people ties around the world.  It’s simple:  immigrants keep our Nation strong and our economy growing.

      That truth used to be something most of us agreed on.  President Ronald Reagan proudly signed a law giving an opportunity to 2.7 million undocumented people to seek permanent residence.  President George W. Bush pushed hard for comprehensive immigration reform.  On day one of my Presidency, I sent the Congress my plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, people with temporary status, farmworkers, and essential workers; smarter border solutions, including more equipment and modern infrastructure; and provisions to clear court backlogs, speed up processing, and protect families.  Let us come together again in a bipartisan way to fix our broken immigration system for good.

      Until the Congress acts, my Administration will keep using every tool we have to make the system more orderly, safe, and humane.  We have announced new pathways for nationals of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti, and other countries in the region to come here lawfully.  And in May, we joined with partners across the Western Hemisphere to launch a plan to open new centers where people can receive help with applying to come to the United States, rather than making the dangerous trek at the mercy of criminal organizations and smugglers.  At home, we have expanded whistleblower protections for undocumented workers so they too can call out wage theft or unsafe working conditions, improving things for everyone.  And we have strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that for more than 10 years has allowed 800,000 Dreamers to live and work freely in the only country they know as home.  In addition, we have recently proposed a plan to expand DACA recipients’ access to health care through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.  

      Immigration has always been essential to America, and this month, we reflect on the strength and spirit of immigrants that have been passed down through families and infused in our Nation.  This spring, I had the chance to travel back to Ireland, to walk the ground my ancestors walked, and to celebrate the bonds that connect us still.  Over the years, stories of that place have become part of my soul.  I stood beside a cathedral built of bricks that my great-great-great-grandfather supplied.  I imagined his son bringing his family across the ocean during the famine of 1850, leaving all they had known for hope on a distant shore.  I remembered stories of his son — my great-grandfather — who kept those roots alive in Scranton, helping to found the Irish American Association, chairing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and passing that pride on to his granddaughter — my mom.  It is a pride that speaks to the history and the values that bind us:  immigrant values of hard work, dignity, and respect that I have tried to pass on to my own children and grandchildren.

      Most Americans have their own version of that same story:  ancestors who overcame incredible odds to build new lives in this promised land and contribute to the fabric of our Nation.  And we see those same values alive at the White House every time we celebrate our proud immigrant communities, whose holidays and rich cultures give new life to our Nation — including Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights; Eid, the feast ending Ramadan; Greek Independence Day, a celebration of freedom and democracy; and the Lunar New Year, a festivity committing to new beginnings.  We see that spirit of hope at every naturalization ceremony, when we celebrate the journey completed by millions of people whose courage and commitment have earned them a title that is equal to that of President in our democracy — the title of “citizen.”  This month, we honor our ancestors by working to keep the torch of liberty lit and held high.

      NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2023 as National Immigrant Heritage Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of our Nation’s diverse and varied immigrant communities and to observe this month with appropriate programming and activities that remind us of the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.


June 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Jimmy Carter's Refugee Legacy


Former President Jimmy Carter is in hospice care in his home state of Georgia.  We should not forget that, as President, Carter accepted refugees from Viet Name, signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law, and responded to a wave of Cuban migration through an unprecedented boatlift. 

Read this CNN story on President Carter's immigration achievements, which were not  popular politically. 


June 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Economists Love Immigration. Why Do So Many Americans Hate It?

In "Economists Love Immigration. Why Do So Many Americans Hate It?", for the New Yorker considers the U.S. love/hate approach to immigration.


June 5, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Whose America?: U.S. Immigration Policy since 1980 by Maria Cristina Garcia and Maddalena  Marinari, editors



Whose America?: U.S. Immigration Policy since 1980 by Maria Cristina Garcia and Maddalena  Marinari, editors (July 2023, University of Illinois Press)

The publisher's description of the book:
"A centerpiece of contemporary politics, draconian immigration policies have been long in the making. Maria Cristina Garcia and Maddalena Marinari edit works that examine the post-1980 response of legislation and policy to issues like undocumented immigration, economic shifts, national security, and human rights. Contributors engage with a wide range of ideas, including the effect of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and other laws on the flow of migrants and forms of entry; the impact of neoliberalism and post-Cold War political realignment; the complexities of policing and border enforcement; and the experiences of immigrant groups in communities across the United States.

Up-to-date yet rooted in history, Whose America? provides a sophisticated account of recent immigration policy while mapping the ideological struggle to answer an essential question: which people have the right to make America their home or refuge?

Contributors: Leisy Abrego, Carl Bon Tempo, Julio Capó, Jr., Carly Goodman, Julia Rose Kraut, Monique Laney, Carl Lindskoog, Yael Schacher, and Elliott Young"


June 5, 2023 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 4, 2023

From The Bookshelves: Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad


Need another rec for a fun summer read? Consider Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad. The publisher's pitch is definitely intriguing:

It’s the holy month of Ramadan, and twin sisters Amira and Lina are about to graduate high school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On the precipice of adulthood, they plan to embark on a summer of teenage revelry, trying on new identities and testing the limits of what they can get away with while still under their parents’ roof. But the twins' expectations of a summer of freedom collide with their older brother's return from prison, whose mysterious behavior threatens to undo the delicate family balance.

Meanwhile, outside the family’s apartment, a storm is brewing in Bay Ridge. A raid on a local business sparks a protest that brings the Arab community together, and a senseless act of violence threatens to tear them apart. Everyone’s motives are called into question as an alarming sense of disquiet pervades the neighborhood. With everything spiraling out of control, how will Amira and Lina know who they can trust?

A gorgeously written, intimate family story and a polyphonic portrait of life under the specter of Islamophobia, Between Two Moons challenges the reader to interrogate their own assumptions, asking questions of allegiance to faith, family, and community, and what it means to be a young Muslim in America.


June 4, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Playing Politics with Immigrant Lives: Migrants Transported from Texas to Sacramento, California


In recent months, Governors of Texas and Florida have sought to score political points in the immigration debate by shipping vulnerable migrants to other states, with Martha's Vinyard in Massachusetts one of the destinations.

CNN now reports on the latest development in this cynical practice:  "over a dozen migrants arrived in Sacramento, California, by private jet `with no prior arrangement or care in place,'"

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta met with the group yesterday.

The immigrants were taken from Texas to New Mexico, then flown by private chartered jet to California, where they were “dumped on the doorstep of a local church without any advance warning,” Newsom said in a statement.

The full statement of Governor Gavin Newsom on the migrant arrivals in California reads as follows:

“Today, Attorney General Rob Bonta and I met with over a dozen migrants in Sacramento. These individuals were transported from Texas to New Mexico before being flown by private chartered jet to Sacramento and dumped on the doorstep of a local church without any advance warning. We are working closely with the Mayor’s office, along with local and nonprofit partners to ensure the people who have arrived are treated with respect and dignity, and get to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases. My Administration is also working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group’s travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping.”


UPDATE (June 5):  There was another migrant flight to Sacramento today.



June 4, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Changing (International) Face of Professional Basketball in the US


The National Basketball Association (NBA) finals featuring the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat continue later today.  One interesting development in the NBA is that, as reported here,

"[f]or a fifth straight year, the NBA's Most Valuable Player award will go to someone born outside of the United States. While the league has not yet announced the winner of the Michael Jordan Trophy, the finalists are Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Cameroon-born Embiid (the league's leading scorer), Serbia's Jokic (the two-time reigning MVP), and Greek-Nigerian Antetokounmpo (who hoisted the trophy in 2019 and 2020) each turned in a superlative 2022–2023 campaign . . . 

Along with Slovenian guard Luka Doncic, who at the tender age of 24 has already made the All-NBA First Team three years running, Embiid, Jokic, and Antetokounmpo are becoming the defining faces of the NBA's global brand . . . .

. . . 120 foreign-born players . . .  now constitute about one-third of the league, a total that is up from just 23 such players 30 seasons ago.

This injection of foreign talent has been a boon for the NBA and, in turn, for American basketball fans. League revenue is at a record high, and quality of play is as well, by many metrics. While their pure hoops talent is key, the NBA's foreign star quartet has accelerated the adoption of new, more free-flowing, all-court playing styles borrowed from the international game that have elevated the league's on-court aesthetic.

The NBA's adoption of talented individuals from around the globe provides a lesson for the wider American economy." (bold added).


June 4, 2023 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Portrait of Linda Ronstadt


Latino USA is celebrating its 30th anniversary.  It is bringing listeners voices of some of the most influential Latina/os in the last three decades.  This episode of Latino USA is with music legend, Linda Ronstadt.  Ronstadt has had an extraordinary music career.   She has produced a wide range of musical work, from rock, folk, country, big band, Broadway, mariachi and even light opera. In 2000, Latino USA interviewed Linda for the first time — delving into her Mexican roots and her decision to return to the traditional Mexican music of her childhood.  At 76 years old, Ronstadt talks about her memories growing up in Tucson, Arizona, reckoning with her family history and her legacy.


June 4, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 3, 2023

From The Bookshelves: Holding Pattern by Jenny Xie


Summer is here and that means travel, which, in turn, means you're in need of new reads. Whether you're on the beach or in the air, the immprof blog has you covered.

Consider picking Holding Pattern by Jenny Xie. Here's the publisher's pitch:

Kathleen Cheng has blown up her life. She’s gone through a humiliating breakup, dropped out of her graduate program, and left everything behind. Now she’s back in her childhood home in Oakland, wondering what’s next.

To her surprise, her mother isn’t the same person Kathleen remembers. No longer depressed or desperate to return to China, the new Marissa Cheng is sporty, perky, and has been transformed by love. Kathleen thought she’d be planning her own wedding, but instead finds herself helping her mother plan hers—to a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur.

Grasping for direction, Kathleen takes a job at a start-up that specializes in an unconventional form of therapy based on touch. While she negotiates new ideas about intimacy and connection, an unforeseen attachment to someone at work pushes her to rethink her relationships—especially the one with Marissa. Will they succeed in seeing each other anew, adult to adult?

As they peel back the layers of their history—the old wounds, cultural barriers, and complex affection—they must come to a new understanding of how they can propel each other forward, and what they’ve done to hold each other back. Brilliantly observant, tender, and warm, Holding Pattern is a hopeful novel about immigration and belonging, mother-daughter relationships, and the many ways we learn to hold each other.


June 3, 2023 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSA Puerto Rico 2023 Sessions on Citizenship and Migration (CRN2): Saturday 6/3/2023 & Sunday 6/4/2023

DACA Litigation Continues

Judge Andrew S. Hanen.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen heard oral arguments on the fate of the federal policy that prevents the removal of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.  In a hearing earlier this week, attorneys representing the nine states that have sued to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy argued the updated policy is essentially the same as the earlier one that was declared unlawful and asked Judge Hanen to find the program illegal.

For additional coverage of the oral argument, click here and here.  Stay tuned for a ruling, which will be the latest chapter in years of litigation over the policy.


June 3, 2023 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)