Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Urge Governor Brown to Sign Driver's License Bill


Late last night, the California State Assembly passed AB 60 (Alejo) which grants all California motorists a drivers’ license, regardless of immigration status, if t they pass a DMV road test and provide other required documents.
The bill, also known as the Safe and Responsible Drivers Act, is now heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for consideration to be signed into law.
Please call the Governor’s office and tell Gov. Brown to keep the strong message that undocumented people are a part of our communities, and it will also make all of us safer by ensuring everyone on the road is licensed. 
PHONE: (916) 445-2841 or send him an email by clicking here
Hello, my name is __(your name)__ and I live in ___(your city)__. I strongly urge Gov. Brown to sign AB 60: The Safe and Responsible Drivers Act into law. AB 60 is long overdue and in the right direction in ensuring safer roads for all Californians.  It will enhance public safety by ensuring people are trained, tested and properly licensed to drive in this state, and will reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road. Thank You.


September 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

TRAC: Few ICE Detainers Target Serious Criminals

Data made available by Transaction Reords Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration and provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show that no more than 14 percent of the "detainers" issued by the government in FY 2012 and the first four months of FY 2013 met the agency's stated goal of targeting individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety or national security. In fact, roughly half of the 347,691 individuals subject to an ICE detainer (47.7 percent) had no record of a criminal conviction, not even a minor traffic violation, according to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

The detainers are notices issued by ICE and other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies which ask local, state and federal law enforcement agencies not to release suspected non-citizens held at their facilities, in order to give ICE an opportunity to take them into its custody. Detainers, often called "immigration holds," are a primary tool that ICE uses to apprehend the suspects it is seeking. These results contrast sharply with the multiple press releases and official statements issued by the agency.

"The removal of aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety shall be ICE's highest immigration enforcement priority," claimed former ICE Director John Morton in an agency-wide memo describing the Obama Administration's approach to immigration enforcement announced in June 2010.

Additional detailed analysis of these case-by-case ICE detainer records is now available in the second part of this three-part series.


September 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama's Silent Raids Continue

More than 1,000 businesses across the country have been notified in recent weeks they must submit documents for audit as part of a new U.S. government crackdown on employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ reports the so-called "silent raids" are the largest since July 2009 when just as many companies were notified, according to immigration attorneys, and weren't publicly disclosed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that conducts such inspections.

When the WSJ asked ICE about the audits, the agency said it inspects company hiring records "when necessary…to ensure compliance with U.S. employment laws." An ICE official said the names and locations of businesses will not be released at this time due to ongoing inspections.

For more information on silent raids, see David Bacon and Bill Ong Hing, The Rise and Fall of Employer Sanctions, 38 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 77-105 (2010).


September 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Citizenship Day!


Today is Constitution and Citizenship Day!  In a statement celebrating the day, President Obama stated the following:

"Our Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and after an extended period of national conversation and with the promise of a bill of rights, it became the supreme law of the land. Since that time, America's Constitution has inspired nations to demand control of their own destinies. It has called multitudes to seek freedom and prosperity on our shores. We are a proud Nation of immigrants, home to a long line of aspiring citizens who contributed to their communities, founded businesses, or sacrificed their livelihoods so they could pass a brighter future on to their children. Each year on Citizenship Day, we welcome the newest members of the American family as they pledge allegiance to our Constitution and join us in writing the next chapter of our national story.

Throughout our history, immigrants have embraced the spirit of liberty, equality, and justice for all -- the same ideals that stirred the patriots of 1776 to rise against an empire, guided the Framers as they built a stronger republic, and moved generations to bridge our founding promise with the realities of our time."

Among other groups, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, in collaboration with ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! coalition partners and members of the New Americans Campaign and National Partnership of New Americans, is organizing more than 40 community-based naturalization events across the country to celebrate Citizenship Day. The workshops will provide legal permanent residents with information on the naturalization process, eligibility screenings and application assistance.

An estimated 8.7 million legal permanent residents are currently eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship, with nearly half originating from countries in Latin America. In celebration of National Citizenship Month, NALEO Educational Fund and partners are engaged in a multifaceted campaign aimed at mobilizing this group to naturalize. Informational workshop events will be held across the country, including multiple cities in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York and Texas.

In addition to workshop events, NALEO Educational Fund is partnering with the ya es hora coalition and Univision Communications Inc. to promote the benefits of citizenship through informational public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Emmy-award winning journalist and community leader Maria Elena Salinas. The PSAs, which will air throughout the month of September, will serve as a call to action for eligible legal permanent residents to naturalize.

NALEO Educational Fund will also be joining other leading national Latino organizations on National Citizenship Day (September 17th at 7 p.m. EDT) for a national Twitter town hall touting the importance of citizenship. Twitter followers can join the online event by using the hashtag #hazteciudadano. Local Univision television stations will also be hosting phone banks featuring live support through NALEO Educational Fund’s national bilingual hotline—888-839-8682.

A full list of events held in conjunction with National Citizenship Month can be found on NALEO Educational Fund’s website.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has big plans for celebrating Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 17. To commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, USCIS will welcome more than 18,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 180 naturalization ceremonies held across the country this week. USCIS sets one week in September aside every year to help the nation reflect on what it means to be an American citizen.


September 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Criminal Justice for Noncitizens: An Analysis of Variation in Local Enforcement by Ingrid V. Eagly



Criminal Justice for Noncitizens: An Analysis of Variation in Local Enforcement by Ingrid V. Eagly, UCLA School of LawNew York University Law Review, Vol. 88, 2013, Forthcoming

Abstract: The growing centrality of “criminal aliens” to American immigration enforcement is one of the most significant historical shifts in the federal immigration system. However, little is known about how this dramatic restructuring of federal immigration priorities affects local criminal justice systems. Do noncitizens experience the same type of criminal justice as citizens? This Article seeks to answer this question by offering the first empirical study of how local criminal process is organized around immigration enforcement and citizenship status. It accomplishes this task by analyzing the criminal justice systems of the three urban counties that prosecute the highest number of noncitizens: Los Angeles County, California; Harris County, Texas; and Maricopa County, Arizona. Comparative review of law, procedure, and practice in these three counties reveals that immigration’s interaction with criminal law has a far more powerful impact on local criminal practice than previously understood. Across all three counties, the practical effects of the federal government’s reliance on arrests and convictions in making enforcement decisions are felt at every stage of the criminal process: Immigration status is part of routine booking at local jails, “immigration detainers” impede release on criminal bail, immigration officials encourage criminal prosecutors to secure plea agreements that guarantee removal, and noncitizens are sometimes deported before their criminal cases are completed. Yet, there is surprising variation in how these three counties have structured their criminal practices in light of the consistently deep connections between criminal process and immigration enforcement. As this Article develops, the three jurisdictions have adopted distinct models of noncitizen criminal justice — what I term alienage neutral, illegal-alien punishment, and immigration enforcement. Each model reflects significant agreement across county agencies about the appropriate role of noncitizen status in criminal case adjudication and of local involvement in deportation outcomes. These findings have important implications for the institutional design of both local criminal systems and federal immigration enforcement.


September 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Immigration Reform Through Ice Cream? ‘Sergio Romo’s Mexican Chocolate’ Is Here

Romo ice cream
Photo Courtesy of ColorLines

I hope to make it up to San Francisco Giant fans put off by my post about the Ninth Circuit's affirmance of slugger Barry Bond's obstruction of justice conviction.  Who could not like a story about ice cream?

 Sergio romo

Sports Grid reports that Sergio Romo’s "Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream" (it only tastes illegal) will soon be available. The Giants closer is promoting the ice cream and all proceeds go to help enact immigration reform.    A supporter of immigration reform, Romo wore "I Just Look Illegal" t-shirt at a victory parade after his Giants won the 2012 World Series.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

At the Movies -- Too Close To Home: A Documentary

Human trafficking

"Too Close To Home,” a documentary produced by WEDU, premieres September 26 at 9 p.m. on WEDU.

Behind our world-famous beaches, tourist attractions and sunny suburbs lies an alarming secret: Tampa Bay is a hotbed for human trafficking. Men, women and children are forced against their will to serve in the sex trade, domestic servitude and agricultural industries. They are bought, sold and discarded in our own community, making Florida the third-highest ranked state in the nation for this fast-growing crime.

Join us for an in-depth look at this crisis with TOO CLOSE TO HOME, a WEDU documentary on human trafficking in Tampa Bay. Local law enforcement, service providers and citizens are creating a grass roots movement to help combat this form of modern-day slavery. The documentary will be followed by TOO CLOSE TO HOME: A Roundtable Discussion, which delves further into specific local efforts to help human trafficking victims in Tampa Bay. The issues of safe housing, public health, funding and state legislation will be addressed to recognize the special needs of victims and educate the community on the many ways it can help.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latino Americans Premieres on PBS on September 17


LATINO AMERICANS is a landmark six-hour documentary featuring interviews with nearly 100 Latinos and more than 500 years of History. Premieres on PBS September 17th at 8 pm E.T. on PBS.

LATINO AMERICANS is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S. The changing and yet repeating context of American history provides a backdrop for the drama of individual lives. It is a story of immigration and redemption, of anguish and celebration, of the gradual construction of a new American identity that connects and empowers millions of people today.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report: What Do We Know About Skilled Migration and Development?

Skilled migration is often thought to have overwhelmingly negative effects on countries of migrant origin. Yet recent research and policy experience offer a more nuanced picture. Countries of origin and destination can benefit from skilled migration when it is correctly structured. And evidence suggests that policy efforts to curb the emigration of skilled nationals may have unintended costs for origin countries, in addition to being ethically problematic.

In a new policy brief, What Do We Know About Skilled Migration and Development?, Center for Global Development Senior Fellow Michael Clemens takes on the concept of “brain drain,” finding that emigration has several overlooked benefits for countries of origin. Even if migrants do not return to their countries of origin, Clemens notes, they transfer money, skills, technology, and even democratic ideas. Furthermore, many skilled workers are actually underemployed or unemployed in their country of origin, so emigration can help alleviate labor market pressures in developing countries.

The policy brief is the third in a nine-brief series being published by the Migration Policy Institute in advance of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will take place Oct. 3 – 4. The briefs distill accumulated evidence and experience on the linkages between migration and development and offer recommendations for effective policymaking.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Applies Padilla v Kentucky Retroactively


Christopher N. Lasch on the crImmigration blog writes about a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision last week holding that the  U.S. Supreme Court decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), applies retroactively in Massachusetts. Padilla, of course, held that an ineffective assistance of counsel claim could be based on counsel's failure to explain to a noncitizen the immigration consequences of a guilty plea in a criminal case.

Professor Lasch authored an amicus brief in the Massachustts case for law professors. The Padilla retroactivity issue remains pending in several other state supreme courts, including New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Tennessee.

UPDATE (September 18):  The New Mexico Supreme Court granted leave for a four New Mexico legal academics and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild to file an amicus brief in Ramirez v. State, in which the New Mexico Supreme Court must decide the question recently decided in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Sylvain: Whether Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively as a matter of state law, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Chaidez v. United States that Padilla does not apply retroactively as a matter of federal law. The New Mexico amicus brief can be accessed here.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

LLCs as a Way Around Employer Sanctions

The employer sanctions provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibit employers from employting undocumented immigrants.  The provisions have proven difficult to enforce.  A number of undocumented immigrants have found ways to circumvent the laws, including self-employment.  Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times writes an interesting story about undocumented immigrants employing limited liability companies as a way to work legally in th eUnited States. Some even hire U.S. citizens.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Tylenol an an Ice Pack: An Inadequate Prescription for HIV/AIDS in Immigration Detention Centers by Carl Lipscombe

Tylenol an an Ice Pack: An Inadequate Prescription for HIV/AIDS in Immigration Detention Centers by Carl Lipscombe Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law August 2, 2013 11 Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal 529

Abstract: The administration of HIV treatment in immigration detention centers presents numerous challenges for both residents of the facilities suffering from the illness and the government agencies tasked with providing medical services for detainees. For detainees, failure to obtain access to a suitable HIV treatment regimen, and continuous monitoring by an HIV specialist, for even short periods of time, can make that regimen ineffective. Moreover, inadequate access to antiretroviral therapy increases the risk of spreading the illness, as HIV-positive individuals that do not undergo treatment are more likely to pass on the virus to others during unprotected sex. Incidents of sexual violence and a lack of access to condoms and prevention education in many detainment facilities, presents a serious public health threat. In addition, the lack of uniform guidelines for HIV treatment across detention facilities nationally results in unequal treatment of HIV-positive detainees. Non-citizens fearful of the health consequences of being housed in a detention center that does not have adequate medical provisions may opt to transfer to another facility, away from their families and legal counsel or to a jurisdiction that is less-likely to produce a favorable outcome in their immigration proceeding. From the government’s perspective, administering HIV treatment in detention facilities does not come without its challenges. The costs of antiretroviral therapy are exorbitant – the most effective antiretroviral drugs are also the most expensive. Additionally, providing the range of services available in many privately funded HIV clinics, including quarterly doctor visits, blood tests, and mental health services, can prove burdensome on detention facilities. It would be difficult for the federal government to justify placing this burden on taxpayers, especially when treatment for poor HIV-positive U.S. citizens is deficient. Issues concerning the distribution of HIV medication also present challenges. On the one hand, training and establishing protocols for nurses or guards to administer treatment may prove cumbersome, but leaving medicine in the care of detainees presents its own risks. Recent news reports note an emerging underground drug market for HIV medications. Further, the appropriate standard of care for HIV patients is highly debated. Specialists particularly disagree on when a patient should begin treatment. While some providers recommend beginning treatment as early as possible after diagnosis, others recommend treating the illness when it shows signs of maturity.This Note will explore legal and public policy strategies to address inadequate access to medical treatment for HIV in immigration centers.


September 16, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Exploitation Creep and the Unmaking of Human Trafficking Law by Janie A. Chuang


Exploitation Creep and the Unmaking of Human Trafficking Lawby Janie A. Chuang American University - Washington College of Law August 24, 2013 American University, WCL Research Paper

Abstract: The Article exposes how the U.S. government has been engaging in “exploitation creep” in an effort to reshape global anti-trafficking law and policy. Specifically, the U.S. government has sought to recast (1) all forced labor as trafficking, and (2) all trafficking as “slavery.” These moves evince a troubling “exploitation creep” – or the labeling of practices as more extreme than is legally accurate. At first glance, these “creep” moves appear to be well-intentioned efforts to galvanize outrage and political support for eradicating a broader range of exploitative practices. Closer examination reveals, however, that the two “creep” moves have opposite trajectories. Conflating forced labor and trafficking could lessen the grip of criminal justice paradigm dominance in the anti-trafficking field and enable development and application of a labor approach to trafficking. Such a shift carries the exciting potential to target – for the first time – the underlying labor and migration structures that facilitate human trafficking, and consequently, to address a broader spectrum of exploitative practices. Conflating trafficking with “slavery,” on the other hand, re-entrenches the dominant criminal justice paradigm by locating the harm of trafficking in individual deviant actors. In so doing, slavery creep absolves the state (and its corporate partners) of responsibility for maintaining labor and migration structures that render those at the bottom of the global labor market hierarchy vulnerable to trafficking. In either case, the doctrinal manipulations that undergird exploitation creep render “trafficking” legally redundant with other phenomena already addressed under well-established international law, thus potentially unmaking “trafficking” as a freestanding legal concept.


September 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month


National Hispanic Heritage Month Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to Hispanic American Heritage Month.

National Hispanic Heritage Month had its origins in 1968 when Congress passed Pub. L. 90-498 (PDF, 153KB), which authorized and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week.  President Lyndon Johnson issued the first proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 3869, which stated in part:

"Wishing to pay special tribute to the Hispanic tradition, and having in mind the fact that our five Central American neighbors celebrate their Independence Day on the fifteenth of September and the Republic of Mexico on the sixteenth, the Congress by House Joint Resolution 1299, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week."

Between 1969 and 1988 Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan issued a series of annual proclamations that designated a week in September including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. These proclamations celebrated the contributions to America of men and women of Hispanic origin as well as recalling the work of the early Spanish explorers and settlers.


September 15, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Zuckerberg to Lobby House Republicans

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will continue the efforts of the political-advocacy group he launched, FWD.us, to push for immigration reform when he meets with the top four Republicans in the House of Representatives Sept. 19.

Bloomberg reported
that Zuckerberg will meet with Speaker of the House John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) to discuss issues including Internet privacy, the economy, the tax system, and immigration law.


September 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Say It Ain't So Joe: Fallen Baseball Star Barry Bonds' Obstruction Conviction Affirmed


As baseball season comes to a close, it is worth mentioning a recent legal development touching on a contiuing problem in America's pasttime.  Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals  for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge Mary Schroeder (and joined by Judges Michael Daly Hawkins and Mary Murguia), affirmed former Major League Baseball star Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction for an evasive response to a question before a grand jury investigating the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball.

Speaking in terms that a baseball fan can well understand, Judge Schroeder begins the opinion:

"Barry Bonds was a celebrity child who grew up in baseball locker rooms as he watched his father Bobby Bonds and his godfather, the legendary Willie Mays, compete in the Major Leagues. Barry Bonds was a phenomenal baseball player in his own right. Early in his career he won MVP awards and played in multiple All-Star games. Toward the end of his career, playing for the San F rancisco Giants, his appearance showed strong indications of the use of steroids, some of which could have been administered by his trainer, Greg Anderson. Bonds’s weight and hat size increased, along with the batting power that transformed him into one of the most feared hitters ever to play the game. From the late-1990s throug h the early-2000s, steroid use in baseball fueled an unprecedented expl osion in offense, leading some commentators to refer to the period as the `Steroid Era.'"


The suspension of a group of players, including stars such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, earlier this summer shows that MLB has much to do to clean up the game.



September 14, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Articles of the Day: The Alien Tort Statute and Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

Today, we highlight two articles analyzing the Supreme Court's 2013 Alien Tort Statute decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.


 The Alien Tort Statute and the Law of Nations in Kiobel and Beyond by Anthony J. Colangelo, Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law August 20, 2013 Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 44, Forthcoming 

Abstract: In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum the U.S. Supreme Court wrongly applied a presumption against extra-territoriality to claims authorized by the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). Even assuming such a presumption properly could extend to the ATS and claims authorized thereunder, the presumption is easily overcome by Congress’s unambiguous instruction that the statute encompasses violations of “the law of nations,” which includes both substantive and jurisdictional components — including principles of extra-territorial jurisdiction. Early 19th Century case law and congressional reaction thereto clearly demonstrate that Congress expressly invoked “the law of nations” to overturn the Court’s imposition of a limiting presumption in the piracy context in order to grant the United States universal jurisdiction over that offense. Rather than rely on this strong indicia of congressional intent, the Court in Kiobel instead seized upon a judicially invented presumption that came into existence twenty years after the ATS was enacted, gave it novel application to a jurisdictional statute and claims authorized thereunder, and then projected it backward in time. Yet Kiobel nonetheless correctly determined that conduct-regulating rules of decision under the ATS derive from international law and that domestic law of the forum, or lex fori, provides procedures and remedies. This framework is consistent with public and private law principles of the law of nations under which the statute ought to be construed. Although this framework should have led the Court to conclude that the claims in Kiobel were actionable, the Court’s misunderstanding has not completely erased the possibility of future claims involving foreign elements from being brought under the statute. The Court left the door open for claims that sufficiently “touch and concern” the United States. The Article concludes that, going forward, courts should use international law for the conduct-regulating rules under the ATS and domestic law for procedures and remedies. Jurisdictional principles of the law of nations ought to guide analysis of whether claims involving foreign elements sufficiently touch and concern the United States so as to displace the presumption against extra-territoriality.




 Human Rights Litigation and the National Interest: Kiobel's Application of the Presumption Against Extra-Territoriality to the Alien Tort Statute by Jonathan Hafetz Seton Hall Law School August 20, 2013 28 Maryland Journal of International Law, pp. 101-122, 2013 (Forthcoming)

Abstract: The debate over the extra-territorial application of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) raised by Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. presumes an underlying tension between a state’s exercise of civil universal jurisdiction and its national interest. Realist-based critiques of the ATS posit that harmful consequences result when the United States provides a civil remedy for human rights abuses that occur in foreign territory, even where the conduct transgresses universally recognized norms. These critiques maintain that ATS litigation undermines U.S. investment in foreign countries; provokes a backlash against the United States in affected countries while also angering U.S. allies; and, more generally, reflects a naïve view of international relations that interferes with the executive’s prerogative to make foreign policy. In Kiobel, the Supreme Court appeared to vindicate these concerns in holding that the presumption against extra-territoriality applies to the ATS, thus limiting suits that may be brought under the statute for serious human rights violations that occur in foreign territory. Although the decision to adopt the presumption against extra-territoriality was supported only by a five-Justice majority, the Court was unanimous in concluding that the ATS did not provide for universal jurisdiction and in recognizing that ATS suits could potentially undermine U.S. interests. This Essay explains how concerns about the adverse consequences of human rights litigation underlie Kiobel’s adoption of the presumption against extra-territorial application. It also argues, however, that those concerns are overstated and ignore the way in which ATS litigation can advance U.S. strategic interests. The Essay concludes that even as Kiobel imposes a new territorial nexus requirement, it leaves open the possibility that some consideration may be given in future cases to how ATS suits advance U.S. interests in determining whether the presumption against extra-territoriality is displaced.


September 14, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Jose Antonio Vargas Event on Sept. 30 at UC Davis School of Law

As Kevin blogged yesterday, Jose Antonio Vargas will be doing a talk and promoting his film, "Documented," at UC Davis King Hall School of Law on September 30, 2013.  Please join us!



September 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to be Eligible for Driver's Licenses, Four Major Immigration-Related Bills Await Governor Brown's Signature


In the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session, the California Assembly sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for driver's licenses, a pressing issue of public safety and civil rights.  The 55-19 vote moved California toward adopting a measure that immigrant advocates have long sought.  Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), a proud graduate of UC Davis School of Law, sponsored the bill. The Sacramento Bee reported that, in a statement released shortly after the vote, Governor Jerry Brown "signaled" that he would likely sign the bill.

Besides the driver's license bill, Governor Brown has several immigrant-related bills on his desk for signature:  (1) the California TRUST Act limiting state and local cooperation with federal immigration authorities with respect to detaining and turning over minor criminal offenders; (2) a bill that would allow unauthorized immigrants to be eligible for admission to the California State Bar; and (3) a bill that would allow lawful permanent residents to serve on juries.  Click here for an analysis of the political dynamics resulting in the passage of this legislation.

In a gubernatorial debate with Meg Whitman at Fresno State before winning the election (with Latinos chossing Brown over Whitman by a wide margin), Brown stated that as Governor he would treat all Californians equally "as God's children."  We will see how true he is to his words in deciding whether to sign these four important bills, which together would move the state toward treating all Californians equally.


September 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Its Not Over 'Til Its Over: California Legislature Passes Bill that Would Allow Admission to the California State Bar to Sergio Garcia

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

The saga of Sergio Garcia continues.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Legislature yesterday passed a bill introduced just last week to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a license to practice law. The measure, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and backed by the Latino Caucus, was prompted by the case of Sergio Garcia, who was brought to the United States by his parents as a child and, having passed the California bar exam, is seeking to obtain a license to practice law.  The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in his case last week; some of the Justices indicated that, absent express authorization of the California Legislature, federal law may prohibit undocumented immigrants from obtaining law licenses.  The California Legislature responded in lightening speed and the bill awaits Governor Brown's signature.

Cyrus Mehta offers strong arguments on why undocumented immigrants sghould be eligiblle for bar licensure.


September 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)