Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unaccompanied Minors Face Death -- So What?


On Huffington Post, Laura Murray-Tjan discusses the controversy surrounding the U.S. government's treatment of Central Americans migrants, with a special emphasis of the limited definition of "refugee" under U.S. law.  "Even as political leaders debate whom to blame for the surge of child migrants at the border, most agree on one goal: deporting the children as quickly as possible. Yet few advocates of their speedy removal are willing to state on the record that the children's death is a strong possibility. . . . Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the highly conservative Center for Immigration Studies, has no problem acknowledging the risk of death. As he stated in a recent radio interview, the fact that one person loses his life after removal does not force the conclusion that others like him should be permitted to stay."


August 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama Promise of Executive Action on Immigration Put on Hold Again?



For most of the summer, there has been talk of President Obama's bold executive action on immigration that would break a congressional gridlock on immigration reform.  It appears that the administration is rethinking the issue.

Carrie Budoff Brown on reports that "White House officials are locked in an intense debate over whether President Barack Obama should announce a plan to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants before Election Day — mindful that whichever choice they make could be tagged as the reason that Democrats lost the Senate. The problem: a lack of consensus, both inside and outside the West Wing, on the political ramifications. With the most endangered Senate Democrats faring better than expected heading into Labor Day, each option carries risks that could shake up the political environment — in essence, creating a September or October surprise."

The New York Times ran a similar story.


August 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Pierre Omidyar From France | Founder of eBay and Philanthropist

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The millionaires who rescue people at sea

ImmigrationProf has previously reported on migrants dying in the Mediterranan on the journey to Europe.  The BBC has an interesting report about a philanthropist couple have launched what they say is the world's first privately funded vessel to help migrants in trouble at sea.

"Last summer, Regina Catrambone and her husband Chris were on board a yacht cruising around the Mediterranean - but the idyllic holiday scene was interrupted when they spotted something in the sea. "My husband and I were on the deck and we saw a winter jacket floating in the water, like a ghost," says Regina. They asked the captain how it ended up there. "His face became very dark and he said probably the person who was wearing it is not with us any more. That started to trigger our attention." They realised it had probably belonged to one of the thousands of migrants who try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe - 1,889 have died in these waters since the start of the year, 1,600 of them since the beginning of June.

"Since then the couple, who are in their 30s, have drawn deeply from their own pockets to fund a highly-sophisticated ship, the Phoenix, based in Malta, where they live. It has dinghies and two state-of-the art drones which they are using to find and help migrants trying to enter Europe by boat, mostly from Africa."


August 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Human Rights and Immigrants' Access to Care by Wendy E. Parmet and Simon Fischer


Human Rights and Immigrants' Access to Care by Wendy E. Parmet, Northeastern University - School of Law, and  Simon Fischer, Northeastern University - School of Law 2014 Salud Pública de México, Vol. 55, No. 6, pp. 631 -637 (2013) Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 183-2014

Abstract: This article first examines the international framework for the right to health, and how it applies to non-citizens within a state. It then looks specifically at the case of the United States of America, which does not recognize a general right to health, but does have numerous particularized health programs, each with their own criteria and exclusions. The resulting hodgepodge is especially difficult for non-citizens, who face a number of exclusions based on their immigration status. This results in non-citizens being insured at low rates, and being put at greater risk for certain preventable or treatable diseases. Finally, the article looks at an example of using state rather than federal law in the United States to secure better health care for immigrant populations. Particular attention is paid to Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which established under Massachusetts law that legal immigrants could not be discriminated against in a state-funded broad-based health insurance program.


August 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Judge Frank Schwelb, DC Court of Appeals (RIP)

  Frank Schwelb

A civil rights lawyer. A fair and reasonable judge.  A wonderful husband.  An immigrant turned naturalized citizen.  These are some of the words one can use to describe Judge Frank Schwelb of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals who passed away on August 13, 2014.  

Judge Schwelb was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  As his obituary from the Washington Post reported, Judge Schwelb  fled with his family to England on the eve of World War II.  (His father was a human rights lawyer who represented anti-Nazi refugees and was arrested and later released. More about their family story and his father may be found here).  The Schwelb family lived in  England as refugees until they moved to the United States when Judge Schwelb was fifteen years old. Born Frantisek Arnost Schwel, he later changed his name to Frank Schwelb.  

As his D.C. Court of Appeals bio explains, Judge Schwelb attended Yale University and then Harvard Law School.  While in law school, he took two years off to serve in the Army and later became a naturalized citizen before finishing law schooli n 1958. He would then have a successful career working in a law firm, then the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division and worked on several important voting rights cases, desegregation cases, and the case involving the murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerne. 

President Carter Jimmy Carter appointed him to the District of Columbia Superior Court in 197o and President Ronald Reagan later appointed him to the DC Court of Appeals in 1988.   As a judge, he became known for using cultural referances in his opinions, citing among others, Shakespeare and John Keats.  Although I did not clerk for Judge Schwelb, I have very fond memories of him. (I clerked for one of his colleagues, Judge Stephen H. Glickman, who was a big fan of Judge Schwelb).  He was nice, witty and had a very nice and welcoming smile. 

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Taffy Wurzburg Schwelb.

He will very much be missed. Rest in peace, Judge Schwelb.


August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Documentary and Play about "UndocuAsians"

As Sahra Vang Nguyen of NBC News reported in this article, a group of Asian Americans recently performed a play that portrayed their struggles with being undocumented in the United States.  

"The performance, 'Letters From UndocuAsians,' was written, produced and performed by members of RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), the first pan-Asian, undocumented, youth-led group on the East Coast.'

RAISE has also put together a documentary short, "Why We Rise," which features the experiences of three young Asian Americans who are living in New York without authorized immigration status from the U.S. 

One of RAISE's points in highlighting the experiences of undocumented Asian Americans is to challenge their perception as the "model minorities." “One of the biggest challenges of being an undocumented Asian American is the 'Model Minority Myth,'” said the play’s host, Rhustie Valdizno. “People always think that since we’re Asian, we are doing well.”

Although coming out of the "undocumented" closet is risky, the efforts of these performance artists should be lauded for working to better deepen our understanding of the difficulties faced by those among us who have had to live in the shadows of immigration law.


August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

BuzzFeed: Could You and Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview?

Professor Liz Keyes of the University of Baltimore brought to my attention this terrific BuzzFeed Quiz: Could You and Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview?

I had my Immigration Law students take the quiz with their partners. It was very interesting to hear their reactions to the questions.

Having known my S.O. for more than 15 years, I was shocked by our collective score of 28 out of 46.

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August 29, 2014 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Op/Ed on the DOJ Recusal of Immigration Court Judge Tabaddor


ImmigrationProf previously reported on a lawsuit against the Department of Justice brought by Immigration Court Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and current adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law.   The lawsuit challenges a DOJ order recusing Judge Tabaddor, an immigrant from Iran, indefinitely from all cases involving Iranian nationals.   The dispute apparently all started after Trabaddor sought a day of of leave to attend a meeting of Iranian American leaders at the White House.

For an op/ed on the DOJ order, see Download Daily Journal Article (Dean Johnson)


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foreign Students Contribute Billions to Metro Areas

Immigration Impact reports on a new study about the positive economic impacts of foreign students. International students enrich U.S. colleges and universities, but “only recently, however, have local leaders begun to appreciate that students from fast-growing foreign economies can also be important anchors in building global connections between their hometowns abroad and their U.S. metropolitan destinations,” said Neil Ruiz, author of a new report released by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, The Geography of Foreign Students in the United States: Origins and Destinations. As Ruiz said, “With knowledge of both markets, foreign students can be valuable assets to local business communities that are seeking to expand globally and the wider metropolitan economies in which they sit.”


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Training Videos on Representing Unaccompanied Minors

Immigrant of the Day: Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Mohammad H. Qayoumi From Afghanistan | President of San Jose State University

Mohammad H. Qayoumi is the 28th president of San Jose State University, as well as a professor of electrical engineering. As an immigrant who arrived in 1979, he is the first person born in Afghanistan to become president of a major American university. In addition to his three decades of experience as an engineer and an administrator at several universities, he has published eight books and presented at numerous international conferences. He holds four advanced degrees from the University of Cincinnati.


August 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fom the Bookshelves: Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez


Living “Illegal”: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vásquez

A myth-busting account of the tragedies, tales of success, and ambiguities of undocumented immigration—the stories behind the overheated rhetoric in the news

“What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?” —anti-immigrant protest sign

Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more hostile.

Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing narrative takes us into Southern churches (which have quietly emerged as the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida, onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala.

A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time.


August 29, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Immigration Council Seeks Your Support For Justice

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Immigration Law and Executive Power on C-SPAN

From the Bookshelves: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain is a Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of short stories by Robert Olen Butler, all of which concern Vietnamese immigrants in Louisiana. 

In my Immigration Law class, I use the following excerpts to illustrate the point that even quota-exempt family members are not entitled to automatic presence in the United States. The process for their entry can, in fact, be quite lengthy.

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August 28, 2014 in Books, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cuellar Confirmation Hearings for California Supreme Court Today

Sugrue_Stanford_Cuellar_040 2

Earlier this summer, California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated a Mexican-born Stanford Law School professor, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, to serve as an Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court. Cuéllar is the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science.

Today, the Commission on Judicial Appointments will hold a hearing on Cuéllar's nomination. The Commission members are Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (a proud alum of UC Davis School of Law), Attorney General Kamala Harris, and soon-to-retire Second District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

I will be attending the conformation hearings, which begin at 9 a.m. at the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco, and will update this post with details later in the day.

UPDATE:  After a short hearing (mostly accolades for soon-to-be Justice Cuellar) with no opposition and a mere two questions for the nominee, the Commission unanimously approved the nomination.  Click here for more details about the hearing.  

There were no statements or submissions in opposition to his confirmation.  Cuellar will be on the ballot in November for confirmation by the voters


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist


Liz Balmaseda From Cuba | Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Liz Balmaseda was born in Puerto Padre in the midst of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. After graduating from Florida International University, she began her career in print and broadcast journalism, working as a reporter and feature writer for the Miami Herald, Central America bureau chief for Newsweek, field producer for NBC News, screenplay writer for HBO, and columnist for the Palm Beach Post. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the first in 1993 for her writing on refugees in Cuba and Haiti, and the second, in 2001, for her reporting on Elián González—she has spent her career reporting on human rights and social justice. She co-authored the book Waking Up in America: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those Who Need It Most. She won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 2001.


August 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 14 U.S. Hispanic Groups by National Origin

Call for Papers: Feminist Legal Theory CRN at L&S 2015

The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network has issued a call for papers to present at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting in 2015.

The planning committee notes:

"Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform. We would be especially happy to see proposals that fit in with the LSA conference theme, which is the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities. We welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals."

Your submission need only be a 400-500 word abstract. Proposals are due Friday, September 19. Click here for the full announcement.


August 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)