Friday, May 31, 2013


A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP: ERADICATE POVERTY AND TRANSFORM ECONOMIES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  A subtitle to this report could be "and reduce global migration pressures."  Interesting -- and surprisingly optimistic -- reading.


May 31, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Integration at the Border The Dutch Act on Integration Abroad and International Immigration Law by Karin de Vries


Integration at the Border The Dutch Act on Integration Abroad and International Immigration Law by Karin de Vries

A recent development in the immigration policies of several European states is to make the admission of foreign nationals dependent upon criteria relating to their integration. As the practice of 'integration testing abroad' becomes more widespread, this book endeavours to clarify the legal implications which have hitherto remained poorly understood and studied. The book begins by looking at the situation in the Netherlands, which was the first EU Member State to introduce pre-entry integration requirements. It explores the historical and political origins of the Dutch Act on Integration Abroad and explains how, in this national context, integration has become a criterion for the selection of immigrants. It then examines how integration requirements must be evaluated from the point of view of European and international law, including human rights treaties, EU migration directives and association agreements and the law on non-discrimination. The book identifies the legal standards set by these instruments with regard to integration testing abroad and draws conclusions as to the lawfulness of the Dutch approach.

Karin de Vries is Assistant Professor in the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the VU University of Amsterdam.


May 31, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Connecticut to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Apply for Driving Licenses

ColorLines reports that the Connecticut state senate on Thursday narrowly approved a measure that will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has pledged to sign the bill, which passed the Senate by a 19-16 vote.


May 31, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Is Gang of Eight Seeking 70 Senate Votes?

From: Alexander Bolton, The Hill:

Pro-immigrant advocates are pushing back against the Gang of Eight’s strategy to win 70 votes or more for comprehensive immigration reform, fearing it would require too many concessions to Republicans.

Liberal advocates of comprehensive immigration reform argue the bill only needs 60 votes to clear the Senate and that additional concessions to pad the vote total are not necessary.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other members of the gang are pushing for 70 votes, to give it maximum political momentum out of the upper chamber.

But the cost of winning 15 to 17 Republican votes could prove steep. Pro-immigrant advocates are leery of proposed changes to strengthen enforcement provisions, which could lengthen the already arduous path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

Some advocates of comprehensive immigration reform prefer the strategy of passing the strongest possible Senate bill — from their point of view — to maximize negotiating leverage with the House in conference talks expected later this year.

Frank Sharry of America's Voice said he is most concerned about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight, who has pressed for changes to the bill since the group unveiled the legislation in April.

The National Review Online reported Thursday that Rubio is contemplating changes that would lay out more definitively a plan for border enforcement, instead of leaving it largely to the discretion of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Rubio touched on the idea during a May 24 interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Rubio has also voiced support for a Republican amendment to implement a visa-tracking system based on biometric data before adjusting the legal status of immigrants. Pro-immigrant advocates say this could significantly delay the path to citizenship.

“It’s not only Rubio. Schumer and McCain have talked about getting more than 70 votes,” said Sharry. “And we just want to be very clear that from our point of view [what] we’re interested in is a good bill, even if it means 63 or 65 votes rather than a bad bill that can pick up more Republicans but at the expense of policy that will work when implemented.” Read more...


May 31, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Same Sex, Binational Couples Should be Included in Reform

From David Leopold:

There is a scene in the film "Fiddler on the Roof" where Tevye, a devout Jew living in a small village in czarist Russia, desperately struggles with the decision of Chava, his youngest daughter, to marry outside the faith.

How can I accept them, can I deny everything I believe in?   
On the other hand, can I deny my own daughter?
On the other hand, how can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I'll break.
On the other hand...
No! There is no other hand!

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is no Tevye. But his struggle with the Uniting American Families Act — an amendment to the Senate immigration bill that would have allowed the foreign spouses of same-sex couples to immigrate — was no less about a world that is changing faster than he can.

Graham, one of four Republicans in the bipartisan Gang of Eight, explained last week to a packed Judiciary Committee hearing room why he could not support the UAFA. "You've got me on immigration" Graham said. "You don't have me on marriage. Let's keep this about immigration".

There was a palpable sense of history as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the sponsor of the UAFA, gave an impassioned closing argument in support of immigration equality for same-sex couples. Other than the sound of fingers clicking keyboards, the packed hearing room was silent. Perhaps the most poignant moment was when Leahy, referring to the Defense of Marriage Act's denial of benefits to same-sex couples, wondered, "Will our grandchildren ask why this law was even on the books?"

While it didn't happen last week, marriage equality is destined to become the law of the land. Read more...


May 31, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

House Committee Demands More Detentions

From Royce Bernstein Murray of The Hill:

House budget bill attempts to thwart Congress's progress on immigration detention reform

Even as the Senate and House Judiciary committees last week made important strides toward common-sense and humane immigration reform, the House Appropriations Committee took a giant leap backward when it created new immigration detention rules that will waste government resources and continue to unnecessarily incarcerate thousands of people.

The appropriations committee voted to include a provision in the 2014 Department of Homeland Security budget which requires that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fill 34,000 jail and prison beds each night with immigrants facing deportation. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) noted during the debate that the detention bed mandate is “arbitrary,” yet the committee voted to increase the quota by 600 beds over its current level. At $164 per person per night, such a mandate is a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars to hold individuals who pose no threat to the community and are facing only civil proceedings. Effective alternatives to detention cost 30 cents to $14 per detainee per day. Even the criminal justice system commonly uses an array of less-costly custody options, such as electronic monitoring and house arrest to meet pre-trial and post-sentencing needs.

In addition to expanding the bed quota, the Appropriations Committee added a requirement that ICE provide the committee with information about every detainee the agency administratively releases and ICE’s rationale for releasing each individual. This micro-managing approach is operationally infeasible and impractical. ICE detains more than 400,000 non-citizens each year and regularly uses a risk-assessment tool to determine the need to detain or release many of the individuals in its custody.

The committee’s vote contradicts statements and actions other members of Congress made in recent days to reduce the use of expensive and inhumane detention. Read more...


May 31, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Income and Poverty Characteristics of Immigrants in the United States

Access to gainful employment is one of the most powerful forces shaping how immigrants and their families fare once they arrive in a new country. Such opportunity provides not only economic stability, but the building blocks of successful integration through up-close interaction with native-born colleagues and the chance to learn country-specific business and social practices, as well as sharpen language skills.

Not surprisingly, however, significant differences exist between the economic well-being of immigrants and the native born.

Analysis of the latest national and state-level data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) and 2000 Decennial Census reveals many interesting facts regarding issues of pay equality, poverty rates of immigrants and their families, and income levels among certain immigrant groups.

This month, the Data Hub's updated "Income and Poverty" fact sheets offer a platform to learn more about the earnings of immigrant workers, variation in earnings by gender and region of birth, and the share of immigrant families living in poverty. Here is a quick tour through some of our national and state-level income and poverty statistics for immigrants (and the native born) in the United States in 2011:

• Nationwide, foreign-born workers earned less than native-born workers: Among full-time, year-round workers, 33 percent of immigrants make less than $25,000 a year compared to 20 percent of native-born workers. Higher up the earnings spectrum, 33 percent of immigrants earned $50,000 or more annually compared to 43 percent of native-born workers. So where do immigrants fare best geographically when it comes to overall earnings? The jurisdictions with the largest share of immigrants earning $50,000 or more per year are the District of Columbia (55 percent, compared to 66 percent of native-born residents), New Hampshire (52 percent, compared to 47 percent of the native born), and Maryland (45 percent, compared to 57 percent of the native born). Interestingly, in New Hampshire, immigrants outearned the native born.

• Immigrant men have higher median earnings than immigrant women: Median earnings for immigrant men ($35,900) surpass those of immigrant women ($31,700) for nonseasonal, full-time, year-round workers. Among immigrants of both genders, naturalized citizens make more than noncitizens. (For more on this point, read The Economic Value of Citizenship)

• The native born are less likely than the foreign born to live in poverty: One of every five immigrants (20 percent) lives in poverty compared to 15 percent of the native born. Immigrants who are not US citizens are more than twice as likely to live in poverty (26 percent) as their naturalized US citizen counterparts (12 percent).

• Traditional immigrant-receiving states have the highest numbers of immigrants living in poverty: These states are California (with 1.9 million immigrants below the poverty line), Texas (1 million), and New York (793,000). The three states with the highest proportions of immigrants living in poverty are New Mexico (31 percent), Arizona (27 percent), and Nebraska (27 percent).

For a full look at income and poverty data on a national or state level – or to find a wealth of other state-level and national data examining social and demographic, language and education, and workforce characteristics of immigrants in the United States, click here.


May 30, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

‘What Kind of Asian Are You?’ Answered in Hilarious Video

Immigration Article of the Day: Deconstruct and Superstruct: Examining Bias Across the Legal System by Debra Lyn Bassett


Deconstruct and Superstruct: Examining Bias Across the Legal System by Debra Lyn Bassett Southwestern Law School May 14, 2013 UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 5, 2013

Abstract: The fourth edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary defines "bias" as "a mental leaning or inclination; partiality; bent[,] . . . to cause to have a bias; influence; prejudice . . . ." In the law, we have tended to think of bias in the straightforward context of claims of employment or housing discrimination. More recently, awareness has increased that eyewitness identifications and identifications from criminal line-ups can be skewed by bias. However, the potential for bias reaches more fundamentally across every participant category within the legal system. Law is a distinctively human activity, involving a series of human actors -- clients, lawyers, judges, jurors, witnesses, and court personnel. The potential for bias reaches across every area of the law through all of these human actors in legal proceedings. For example, the potential for bias extends to layperson-witnesses, whose identification of perpetrators or characterization of events may be tainted by bias. The potential for bias extends to attorneys, who may favor one client over another, adopt assumptions, or assert peremptory challenges due to biased stereotypes or expectations. The potential for bias extends to jurors, who may approach legal proceedings with biases or prejudices that impact their perceptions and their decision-making in evaluating the participants in those proceedings. And the potential for bias extends to judges, who may be biased in favor of (or against) particular claims, particular litigants, or particular lawyers. Psychological studies have demonstrated the existence of unconscious bias -- a phenomenon to which all these categories of participants in legal proceedings are susceptible. However, there has been little attempt to discuss the full range of ramifications across the legal system. Instead, discussions of unconscious bias -- indeed, discussions integrating any psychological concept with the law -- typically have taken aim at one specific issue within the law, rather than examining the applicability of the psychological concept across a broader legal context. In this Article, I deal systemically with unconscious bias in the context of legal proceedings broadly. I examine how psychology informs the phenomenon of unconscious bias, and analyze the potential impact of unconscious bias upon the individuals who participate in legal proceedings, including eyewitnesses, lawyers, jurors, and judges. In doing so, I encourage a broader recognition of the potential role of unconscious bias in legal proceedings, and seek to identify commonalities in recognizing and remedying such bias.


May 30, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Feinstein Fails, Immigration Reform Advances

From Chinese for Affirmative Action:

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in support of legislation to fix our country’s broken immigration policies.

The bill now moves to the full Senate and it retains many features of the original proposal from April.  Some of the key components include:

A pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
A plan to clear the massive visa backlogs that are separating families
A faster process for DREAMers (young people who have entered the U.S. before the age of 16) to earn their citizenship
A new priority for spouses and children of legal permanent residents be petitioned without numerical limitations

The Committee also amended the bill to address special circumstances facing children of Filipino WWII veterans, victims of domestic violence, and immigrant parents facing deportation.

Nevertheless, serious problems remain.  Most Republicans are holding onto excessively harsh citizenship requirements and preventing the fair treatment of bi-national same sex couples. 

We are especially frustrated that the broadest efforts to strengthen family-based immigration -- including a measure to save the sibling visa category -- have been unsuccessful.  American families from Mexico, Asia, and Central America in particular have benefited from family-based visas, and family-based immigration helps the small businesses that fuel our economy.

Senator Dianne Feinstein cast one of the most disappointing votes against these family-based measures even while she acknowledged, “For my constituency, California, this is the one issue people have commented the most on.”  We believe her vote completely ignored the wishes and best ideals of the constituency she references.

However, the legislation is far from complete.  In addition to amendments and votes by the full Senate, action from the House of Representatives, and ultimately the President will be necessary.

Thank you for standing with us in support of fair and inclusive immigration reform and to all of you who have taken action with us thus far. 

Jenny Lam
Director of Community Initiatives   

Vincent Pan
Executive Director


May 30, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conference on Southeast Asian American Studies

From: Vichet Chhuon ( ) and Cathy Schlund-Vials (

Call for Papers:  “The States of Southeast Asian American Studies”

We are currently soliciting conference abstracts (250-500 words) for the fourth tri-annual Southeast Asians in the Diaspora conference, which is scheduled to take place on October 2-3, 2014 at the University of Minnesota. What follows is a brief conference description:

Suggestive of shifting politics and conditions, this conference considers the now established field of Southeast Asian American studies. As a research site, South-east Asian American studies encompasses multiple sociopolitical formations that intersect with war, immigration, race and identity. At the same time, the conditions that “brought the field into being” have shifted in light of scholarship in social sciences, education, the humanities, and cultural studies.  Last, but certainly not least, the notion of “stating” where the field is and why it remains relevant – in terms of emergent scholarship and interdisciplinary engagement – foregrounds this conference, which considers the past, present, and future of Southeast Asian American Studies.

The conference organizers are seeking abstracts that represent a variety of fields (social sciences, education, cultural studies, and humanities) and multiple sites (in Filipino/a American Studies, Vietnamese American Studies, Laotian American Studies, Hmong Studies, Cambodian American Studies, Thai American Studies, and diasporic Southeast Asian Studies). The deadline for submitting an abstract is October 15, 2013. Please submit abstracts (for both panels and individual papers) and direct questions to the conference co-chairs: Vichet Chhuon ( ) and Cathy Schlund-Vials (


May 30, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Health Coverage Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

A new Migration Policy Institute issue brief, A Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Health Coverage Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States (Download CIRbrief-Profile-Unauthorized (1)), provides data about unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The brief draws on an innovative new methodology developed by demographers at The Pennsylvania State University’s Population Research Institute and their analysis of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The SIPP national survey allows for a more complete overview of the noncitizen population, since it asks whether noncitizens are legal permanent residents. The analysis marks the first time that these self-reported data on legal status have been used to generate a national profile of unauthorized immigrants.


May 30, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Documented Flaws: The fine print in the immigration bill that Democrats should be ashamed of

The New Republic's John Judis has criticisms of the latest comprehensive immigration reform roposal. In "Documented laws: The fine print in the immigration bill that Democrats should be ashamed of," Judis writes:

"To their credit, the Obama administration and the Senate negotiators have tried to fashion a bill that addresses the plight of 11 million undocumented workers while protecting native-born workers from undue competition. But the proposal still puts the onus of sacrifice primarily on undocumented immigrants and low-income citizens, while exempting business and the wealthy. The bill reaffirms political scientist E. E. Schattschneider’s adage that American pluralism invariably 'sings with an upper-class accent.'"

Most problematically, the bill restricts immigrants' access to the Affordable Care Act. Judis points out: "Lowskilled immigrants who work in physically strenuous and polluted settings will be denied preventive coverage and treatment for chronic diseases, and if they acquire serious illnesses—tuberculosis, cirrhosis of the liver, and several cancers are common among immigrant farm workers—they will have to go to sequester-squeezed emergency rooms."

"Immigration reform could have been fairer: It could have been coupled with a dramatic increase in the minimum wage for all workers or could have required employers to provide health insurance. These measures would have raised the standard for wages and benefits for both new immigrants and citizens. Instead, the bill egregiously favors businesses and the wealthy. Businesses will be able to use a surplus of potential employees to keep their costs down, while America’s professionals will continue to get nannies and landscapers at a sharp discount."


May 30, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Law Of Asylum In The United States, 2013 ed. by Deborah Anker


Law Of Asylum In The United States, 2013 ed. by Deborah Anker

Law of Asylum in the United States is a classic and comprehensive presentation of U.S. asylum law. It describes and interprets applicable U.S. laws, as well as numerous international sources, and provides detailed discussions of all aspects of asylum and refugee law, including:

•  The meaning of well-founded fear and persecution

•  The five grounds (race, religion, nationality, social group membership, and political opinion)

•  Withholding of removal protection and protection under the Convention Against Torture

•  Claims based on childhood status and gender-based persecution

•  When non-state actors can be considered agents of persecution

•  Asylum eligibility for those fleeing gang violence in their home countries

•  Elements of proof

•  Credibility determinations

•  Recent changes in statutory language enacted with the REAL ID Act


May 30, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration


The Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration is accepting submissions on a rolling basis. OxMo is a bi-annual publication which is published in March and September every year. Please refer to Home to find out the closing date for submissions for the upcoming issue. OxMo is divided into five sections:

1.Policy Monitor

2.Law Monitor

3.Field Monitor

4.First Hand

5.Academic Articles

and a forum entitled 'From Academia, Policy and Practice' where professionals are invited to delineate specific aspects or concerns that may serve to direct students towards particular issues that require further scholarship.

Click the link above for further information.


May 30, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 6 in El Paso: Dialogue with Customs and Border Patrol

Presentation to Border Patrol
The last substantive day of Hofstra's Program on the Enforcement of Immigration Law at the Border involved a presentation to and conversation with Customs and Border Patrol. As you can see from the picture above, much of the dialogue focused on the 4th Amendment's application to the border. 
Lauris Wren (Hofstra) and I discussed cases decided by the 5th and 10th Circuits to CBP in the last five years. During our presentation, we divided the participants into different groups to discuss several hypotheticals. Participants of the program included lawyers for CBP, CBP supervisors and Office of Field Operations supervisors, and, of course, the students.  Each group was asked to discuss on whether a stop of a vehicle conducted by Border Patrol agents complied with the 4th Amendment. Then, using clickers, each person was asked to answer the question, "Did the [Border Patrol] stop violate the 4th Amendment."
Here's one of the hypotheticals we used during the presentation. (Readers of this blog should be able to identify the case on which the facts are based).

Here's how the participants responded to the question.
Of course, I hoped for 100 percent. 

May 29, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Updated Law & Society 2013 Immigration-Related Panels

I updated the chart that I created of immigration-related panels at Law & Society 2013.

Download Law and Society 2013 Immigration Related Panels

Let me emphasize that there are many more panels that, unfortunately, I did not have the chance to include here. Please search the preliminary program to get a more complete list of immigration and citizenship-related panels.


May 29, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants Contribute Billions to Medicare

From the NY Times:

Immigrants have contributed billions of dollars more to Medicare in recent years than the program has paid out on their behalf, according to a new study, a pattern that goes against the notion that immigrants are a drain on federal health care spending.

The study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, measured immigrants’ contributions to the part of Medicare that pays for hospital care, a trust fund that accounts for nearly half of the federal program’s revenue. It found that immigrants generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009. In comparison, the American-born population incurred a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.

The findings shed light what demographers have long known: Immigrants are crucial in balancing the age structure of American society, providing an infusion of young, working-age adults who support the country’s aging population and help cover the costs of Medicare and Social Security. And with the largest generation in the United States, the baby boomers, now starting to retire, the financial help from immigrants has never been more needed, experts said. Read more...


May 29, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Alvaro Huerta: Lessons My Mexican Father Taught Me

Alvaro Huerta speaks of his "bracero" father in "Lessons My Mexican Father Taught Me" in The Progressive.


May 29, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Golden Door Scholars

American academia carries an unfortunate inconsistency. As a country birthed by immigration, incubated by multiculturalism, and notarized by meritocracy, the U.S. still struggles to properly accommodate well-qualified, hardworking, yet undocumented students.

Nominally, there are nearly 1.4 million undocumented students in the United States. For some of these students, college applications aren’t even worth the time or effort, considering only 12 states offer in-state tuition to undocumented applicants, and financial aid is sparse.

This yields a large crop of highly merited students who won’t get a chance to enroll in a college or university – and at no fault of their own.

There’s Hope

Golden Door Scholars is a non-profit organization that’s driven to give undocumented students the opportunity to achieve what they deserve. By partnering with select colleges and companies, Golden Door Scholars seeks to open both academic and professional pathways to high-performing students. By helping to secure scholarships and internships, Golden Door Scholars is working to level the playing field for all interested in attaining higher education.

What You Can Do

Undocumented students can find out more information about applications and assistance by visiting Educators, parents and administrators can do their part by spreading the word about the program and encouraging undocumented students to continue with their schooling. Higher education shouldn’t be a selective reality; help undocumented students get a fair shot by supporting Golden Door Scholars.

May 29, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)