Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Two-Year Battle Ends as DOJ Reverses Course and Agrees to Recognize Immigration Judges Union

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.

Before the settlement, the Biden administration has been accused of "doubling down" on the Trump administration's efforts to de-certify the immigration judges union.



December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dissertation Grants on Immigration and Immigrant Integration

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.

Read the full description of the dissertation research grants program, including information on how to apply.

December 7, 2021 in Data and Research, Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19 related immobility the "great disruptor" of migration

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.)

COVID-19 migration disruption

COVID-19 migration disruption 2

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!


December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Danger of Rigged Algorithms: Evidence from Immigration Detention Decisions by David Hausman


The Danger of Rigged Algorithms: Evidence from Immigration Detention Decisions by David Hausman


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.


December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

LIVE TODAY: Representatives Espaillat and Ocasio-Cortez News Conference on Immigration

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


December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Post-Graduate Fellowship: Diversity Fellowships with the Federal Defender

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.


December 7, 2021 in Jobs and Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

TRAC at Syracuse Finds Flaws in EOIR's Juvenile Case Data

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."


December 7, 2021 in Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Lost the Presidential Battle but Won the Immigration War?


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."


December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration groups merge to brace for 2022 elections

Two leading immigration groups — the New American Economy and the American Immigration Council — are merging, in part, to prepare for a potential Republican takeover of Congress, Axios reports.

The New American Economy and the American Immigration Council are merging, in part, to prepare for a potential Republican takeover of Congress.

The new group is called the American Immigration Council. The council was founded by the sister group American Immigration Lawyers Association.
The merger comes after an outcry among immigrant advocates, including the Council, over the Biden administration reinstating the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy, under federal court order.

December 7, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 6, 2021

Oral Argument in Patel v. Garland

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).


December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden supporters don't like 'Trump-lite' — they'd like the alternative even less


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.



December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Late Senator Bob Dole's Immigration, Latina/o Legacy


Senator Dole in the 1980s courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An American hero, Senator Bob Dole, has passed away at 98.   Raul Reyes for NBC News looks at Dole's complicated legacy with Latina/os and 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."


December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pope Francis Visits Refugee Camp in Lesbos


UPI reports that Pope Francis visited refugees in the Greek island of Lesbos yesterday and called on Europe to take in asylum seekers.

Speaking to migrants, Francis said that progress on immigration has been "terribly absent" and that it was an "illusion" to believe society could protect itself without helping those in need.

"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."


December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration System Backups to Blame for Labor Shortage?

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."

Other commentators (here and here) suggest that increased immigration could help address labor issues.


December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Demographic and Economic Impacts of DACA Recipients: Fall 2021 Edition


Logo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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.


December 6, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Poetry Break: 2AM by Emtithal Mahmoud

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.


December 5, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Is The USCIS' Standard for Afghan Humanitarian Parole Too High?

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."

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).


December 4, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Immigration Law Center Fellowship


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.



December 4, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia: "Justices will decide scope of judicial review over certain immigration decisions"

December 4, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 3, 2021

From The Bookshelves: I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib


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.


December 3, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)