Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Will Obama Executive Action Create Farmworker Shortage?

From the Associated Press:

 Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California — the nation's leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts — fear an even greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama's executive action to block some 5 million people from deportation.

Thousands of the state's farmworkers, who make up a significant portion of those who will benefit, may choose to leave the uncertainty of their seasonal jobs for steady, year-around work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms.

"This action isn't going to bring new workers to agriculture," said Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel of the powerful trade association Western Growers. "It's possible that because of this action, agriculture will lose workers without any mechanism to bring in new workers."
. . .
Ed Kissam, an immigration researcher at the immigrant advocacy group, WKF Giving Fund, said he doubts a significant number of farmworkers will leave the industry. Farmworkers often lack the language, education and technical skills to move up the employment ladder, he said. "Surely some will," Kissam said. "It's not going to be a mass exodus."

Edward Taylor, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, said a shortage of farmworkers could be exacerbated by a dwindling flow of workers from Mexico, the largest supplier of labor to the United States. Taylor said the lower birthrates, more industrial jobs and better schools in rural Mexico are cutting into the supply of farmworkers. Read more....


December 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dude, what’s that smell? The Sriracha shutdown and immigrant excess



In "Dude, what’s that smell? The Sriracha shutdown and immigrant excess," Anita Mannur (Miami) and Martin F. Manalansan, IV (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), co-editors (with Robert Ji-Song Ku) of Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (NYU Press, 2013), analyze the ongoing dispute over the production of the hot sauce Sriracha in a hardscrabble Southern California town, which in my youth was known for its unsightly rock quarry, many freeways, and a drag racing speedway.

In 2013, Huy Fong Foods, which manufactures sriracha, was sued by the town of Irwindale, California for causing “burning eyes, irritated throats, and headaches” to its residents. "Huy Fong’s owner and creator David Tran’s mistake was in assuming that the sriracha boom meant that the town of Irwindale would accept the changes that came with the presence of Asianness. In many ways, his story was that of the consummate Asian American model minority who had made his mark through hard work and perseverance in America. From origins in Vietnam to “making it” as an ethnic entrepreneur in the US, the story of sriracha, and in particular that of Huy Fong, can be understood as a quintessentially Asian American story."


December 31, 2014 in Current Affairs, Food and Drinks | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congressional Research Service: Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry

Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service released a report on "Border Security".  Here is the executive summary:

Border enforcement is a core element of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to control unauthorized migration, with the U.S. Border Patr ol (USBP) within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the lead agency along most of the border. Border enforcement has been an ongoing subject of congressional interest since the 1970s, when illegal immigration to the United States first registered as a serious national problem; and border security has received additional attention in the years since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Since the 1990s, migration control at the border has been guided by a strategy of “prevention through deterrence”—the idea that the concentration of personnel, infrastructure, and surveillance technology along heavily trafficked regions of the border will discourage unauthorized aliens from attempting to enter the United States. Since 2005, CBP has attempted to discourage repeat illegal migrant entries and disrupt migrant smuggling networks by imposing tougher penalties against certain unauthorized aliens, a set of policies eventually described as “enforcement with consequences.” Most people apprehended at the Southwest border are now subject to “high consequence” enforcement outcomes.

Across a variety of indicators, the United States has substantially expanded border enforcement resources over the last three decades. Particularly since 2001, such increases include border security appropriations, personnel, fencing and infrastructure, and surveillance technology. In addition to increased resources, the USBP has implemented several strategies over the past several decades in an attempt to thwart illegal migration. Recently, the Obama Administration announced executive actions to “fix” the immigration system. These actions address numerous issues, including a security plan at the southern border.

The Border Patrol collects data on several different border enforcement outcomes; and this report describes trends in border apprehensions, recidivism, and estimated got aways and turn backs. Yet none of these existing data are designed to measure illegal border flows or the degree to which the border is secured. Thus, the report also describes methods for estimating illegal border flows based on enforcement data and migrant surveys.

Drawing on multiple data sources, the report suggests conclusions about the state of border security. Robust investments at the border were not associated with reduced illegal inflows during the 1980s and 1990s, but a range of evidence suggests a substantial drop in illegal inflows in 2007-2011, followed by a slight rise in 2012 and a more dramatic rise in 2013. Enforcement, along with the economic downturn in the United States, likely contributed to the drop in unauthorized migration, though the precise share of the decline attributable to enforcement is unknown.

Enhanced border enforcement also may have contributed to a number of secondary costs and benefits. To the extent that border enforcement successfully deters illegal entries, such enforcement may reduce border-area violence and migrant deaths, protect fragile border ecosystems, and improve the quality of life in border communities. But to the extent that aliens are not deterred, the concentration of enforcement resources on the border may increase border area violence and migrant deaths, encourage unauthorized migrants to find new ways to enter illegally and to remain in the United States for longer periods of time, damage border ecosystems, harm border-area businesses and the quality of life in border communities, and strain U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada. (emphasis added).


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

House Majority Whip Scalise confirms he spoke to white supremacists -- and immigration restrictionist group


The nation is seeing the ripple effects of the publicity surrounding the acknowledgement of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House majority whip, that he spoke at a gathering hosted by white-supremacist leaders while serving as a state representative in 2002. Scalise confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO. The adviser also said that Scalise did not know at the time about the group’s affiliation with racists and neo-Nazis.

EURO was founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.  It has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Duke has called for dramatic restrictions on immigration.





EURO's "Statement of Principles" provides, among other things, that


We believe that America, Canada and Europe already have the maximum population for the maintenance of good economic health. Legal and illegal aliens are increasing unemployment among US citizens, adding to already overburdened welfare rolls, and contributing to violent crime. Ultimately, massive Third World immigration will destroy the character and heritage of America and put the European American population at risk. The time has come to demand enforcement of our laws concerning illegal immigration and to severely limit legal immigration.



We believe that all peoples on this planet must have the right to life, that is, the right to exist and preserve their cultural integrity. We do not object to Black Groups having Black “beauty contests”, Black radio stations, Black colleges, or Black scholarships. Nor do we object to Blacks teaching their young about Black Heritage and instilling Black Pride in them, but we do demand the same rights for our own people, for we deeply love the beauty, culture, and heritage of the White Race, and want to preserve them.

The Republican leadership in Congress has voiced confidence that Scalise will be effective in his leadership position and that his "lapse in judgment" was excusable.


Like many Republicans, Rep. Scalise has advocated greater border security.



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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Immigration Article of the Day: Problems Faced by Mexican Asylum Seekers in the United States by J. Anna Cabot

Problems Faced by Mexican Asylum Seekers in the United States by J. Anna Cabot

Executive Summary:  Violence in Mexico rose sharply in response to President Felipe Calderón’s military campaign against drug cartels which began in late 2006. As a consequence, the number of Mexicans who have sought asylum in the United States has grown significantly. In 2013, Mexicans made up the second largest group of defensive asylum seekers (those in removal proceedings) in the United States, behind only China (EOIR 2014b). Yet between 2008 and 2013, the grant rate for Mexican asylum seekers in immigration court fell from 23 percent to nine percent (EOIR 2013, 2014b). This paper examines—from the perspective of an attorney who represented Mexican asylum seekers on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas—the reasons for low asylum approval rates for Mexicans despite high levels of violence in and flight from Mexico from 2008 to 2013. It details the obstacles faced by Mexican asylum seekers along the US-Mexico border, including placement in removal proceedings, detention, evidentiary issues, narrow legal standards, and (effectively) judicial notice of country conditions in Mexico. The paper recommends that asylum seekers at the border be placed in affirmative proceedings (before immigration officials), making them eligible for bond. It also proposes increased oversight of immigration judges.


December 30, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

New on the Tube: Bordertown


Bordertown is an upcoming American adult animated sitcom on Fox created by Family Guy writer Mark Hentemann and executive-produced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.  It will premiere in spring 2015.  Bordertown will follow two families living in a Southwest desert town on the United States–Mexico border. pisode first season will premiere in spring 2015.

Bordertown takes place in a fictitious town in Texas.  The two main characters are Bud Buckwald and Ernesto Gonzalez. Bud is a Border Patrol officer living with his wife, Janice Buckwald, and their three children, Becky, Sanford, and Gert. Living next door to him is Ernesto Gonzalez, an ambitious immigrant and family man, who has been in the country less than 10 years and is happy to be with his family in the United States.[

Cartoonist and social commentator Lalo Alcaraz is one of the writers for Bordertown.



December 30, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: A Most Violent Year


A Most Violent Year, which opens December 31, in a nutshell: 

A thriller set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city's history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.  The film is one immigrant’s determined climb up a morally crooked ladder, where simmering rivalries and unprovoked attacks threaten his business, family, and––above all––his unwavering belief in the righteousness of his own path.

Here is the official movie website.



December 30, 2014 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Center on Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice Positions

The Center on Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice is hiring for three positions in the New York Office: 1) a Senior Program Associate to work on the Legal Orientation Program, 2) a Senior Program Associate to work on the Unaccompanied Children Program, and 3) a Program Analyst to work mainly on the National Qualified Representative Program. We will be accepting applications for each position until it is filled. You can find more information and the job application online:

         Senior Program Associate (Legal Orientation Program):


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

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

AALS Annual Meeting Immigration Programs

As previously posted, the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in Washington D.C. will have some outstanding immigration programs:

Saturday, January 3, 2014, 3:30 pm to 5:15 pm

The 1965 Immigration Act: 50 Years of Race-Neutral (?) Immigration

 On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this joint program that will explore the 1965 Immigration Act’s origins; its legal, political, economic, and cultural effects; and its future, including proposals for alternative systems.

 The 1965 Immigration Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, is arguably the most successful federal civil rights law since Reconstruction.  Before 1965, the immigrant stream was overwhelmingly white, and predominantly from the countries of Northern and Western Europe.  Since 1965, a supermajority of immigrants have been people of color from Asia and Central and South America and the United States is expected to become a majority minority nation as a whole by 2043.  However, the 1965 Immigration Act may have ended formal racial discrimination but it did not eliminate race as a critical and problematic concern in the administration of immigration law.  Moreover, it also perpetuated discrimination based on sexual orientation and political opinion.  It failed to account for the interests of Mexican migrant workers who had traveled to the United States for generations but were restricted under the new law.  It also had the effect of giving Africans few opportunities to come to the United States.

Business meeting of Section on Immigration Law at program conclusion

Business meeting of Section on Minority Groups at program conclusion


Speaker from a Call for Papers: Ming Hsu Chen, University of Colorado School of Law

Speaker: Gabriel "Jack" Chin, University of California at Davis School of Law

Speaker from a Call for Papers: Kevin R. Johnson, University of California at Davis School of Law

Speaker: Kunal Parker, University of Miami School of Law

Moderator: Maritza I. Reyes, Florida A&M University College of Law


Sunday, January 4, 8:30  am to 10:15 am

AALS Hot Topic/Bridge Program - The Tipping Point, How the Recent Migrant Children's Crisis

During the last year 70,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the United States illegally. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees fifty-eight percent of these children were forcibly displaced and are potentially in need of international protection. Currently, the only protections available to these children are narrow forms of immigration relief.  Such relief is onerous to obtain and therefore the success of a worthy child acquiring protection usually depends upon the assistance of an attorney. These children are not entitled to government-funded counsel and must proceed before an immigration judge alone.  For some children there is no relevant immigration relief available.

The current crisis on the border has underscored the profound structural deficiencies in our federal agencies to meet the needs of unaccompanied immigrant children – as children. In addition to highlighting the current “surge” of children on the border and the failed policy responses, this panel seeks to provide solutions that both keep the children in need of international protection out of harm’s way, and are grounded in international human rights law and practice. This panel will recommend discrete steps for Congress and the executive branch to take in addressing significant structural gaps in the federal government’s capacity to provide for the best interest of each child in need of international sanctuary.


Speaker: Lauren Aronson, Michigan State University College of Law

Speaker: Lenni Beth Benson, New York Law School

Speaker: Erin Corcoran, University of New Hampshire School of Law

Speaker: Maria Woltjen, The University of Chicago, The Law School

Speaker: Ms. Wendy Young, Kids in Need of Defense


Monday, January 5, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

DACA:  Exective Discretion or Lawmaking

Session Details

This panel will present a rich case study to deepen the conversation on the issues raised in the first three panels. On June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano, then head of the Department of Homeland Security, issued a Memorandum directing the immigration agencies to exercise prosecutorial discretion in favor of certain undocumented youths who came to the United States as children. USCIS responded by creating Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), under which nearly two million undocumented youths became eligible for a temporary reprieve from removal and for work authorization. As a result of DACA, youths became eligible for driver’s licenses under existing federal law. DACA could also bear on other issues currently debated by states such as the granting of professional licenses, including the license to practice law. DACA has not been without its critics: its legality has been challenged in litigation and some states have attempted to push back by refusing to issue DACA youths driver’s licenses. This panel will entertain the question of whether DACA is within the permissible scope of prosecutorial discretion in immigration and will also examine the dynamics and implications of cooperative or uncooperative federalism provoked by DACA.


Moderator: Alina Das, New York University School of Law

Speaker: Geoffrey Heeren, Valparaiso University School of Law

Speaker: Peter Margulies, Roger Williams University School of Law

Speaker: Juliet P. Stumpf, Lewis and Clark Law School

Here is the program for the entire AALS Annual Meeting.


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

Happy New Year in California! Undocumented Immigrants Eligible for Driver's Licenses


It has frequently been reported that, in California, undocumented immigrants will be eligible for driver's licenses in the new year.  The state's Department of Motor Vehicles has been hard at work on the implementation of AB 60, the law that after years of efforts restored such eligibility.  Until 1994, undoumented immigrants were eligible for driver's licenses in California.  That ended with a flood of legislation directed at immigrants that came on the heels of Proposition 187, which was passed by the Golden State's voters in 1994.

Times have changed since 1994 in California, with large increases in Latino voters and legislators over the last 20 years.  Besides AB 60, the legislature passed a law permitting undocumented immigrants to secure a license to practice law, a bill spurred on by the Sergio Garcia case in the California Supreme Court.

Happy New Year!


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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Immigration Turmoil in Germany?


What is going on in Europe on immigration? 

 Yesterday, ImmigrationProf reported on an arson at a mosque on Christmas Day in Sweden.  News out of Germany today is a equally troubling. 

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Saturday that immigration is good for the country and politicians must explain better that everyone stands to gain from it.  He was responding to the rise of a new movement in Germany opposing an influx of Muslim immigrants. The number of asylum seekers in Germany, many from Syria, has more than doubled this year to around 200,000. Many Germans are concerned about the related costs and worry about refugees taking jobs.


The emergence of grass-roots movement PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, which has a Facebook page and last week held a 17,500-strong anti-immigrant rally in the eastern city of Dresden, has forced lawmakers to respond.


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

At the Movies: A Comprehensive List of Immigration Movies and Documentaries

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tension Over Swedish Immigration Rises, Christmas Day Arson at Mosque



Stephen Castle in the New York Times reports on a disturbing development on Sweden.

With fears of racially motivated violence on the rise in Europe, political leaders in Sweden on Friday condemned a suspected arson attack on Christmas Day at a mosque that injured five people.  Immigration has become a significant political issue in Sweden. The fire broke out at the mosque in a town about 70 miles west of Stockholm.  15 to 20 people were inside the mosque at the time that the fore broke out.

Sweden's justice minister, Morgan Johansson, called the suspected arson “disgusting” and told Swedish Radio News that he hoped the culprits would be arrested.

Sweden historically has been one of the most welcoming nations in Europe for refugees, but migration has become a prominent political issue in recent years. The right-wing Sweden Democrats party, which campaigns against immigration, has become the country’s third largest and recently voted against the national budget, prompting a government collapse and forcing new elections, set for March.

Swedish media outlets have reported that  black swastikas were painted on the front door of a mosque in Stockholm in January, and in December 2013, right-wingers attacked people participating in an anti-racism demonstration in a suburb of Stockholm, injuring three people.

Sounds like not all is perfect in Sweden.  Among other nations in Europe, Switzerland also has experienced anti-immigrant political activity in recent months.



December 27, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pittsburgh Tries To Attract Enterprising Immigrants And Refugees



NPR ran an upbeat story on immigration appropriate to the holdiay season.  While recent headlines have focused on the kinds of stories that make the U.S. sound wary of immigrants — border security, strict new state laws, failed national reform efforts — Pittsburgh is the latest of a number of cities trying to attract them. "It's 20,000 new residents over the next 10 years, and a portion of that — if we're doing it right — should be immigrants," says Betty Cruz, head of Welcoming Pittsburgh, a new initiative to attract and retain newcomers.  Studies show immigrants start businesses at a higher rate than non-immigrants, and can raise home values when they move into neighborhoods. 


December 26, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!


December 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Families In Detention This Christmas

Karnes Civil Detention Center by San Antonio Press News

Many of our readers will spend today with their family and friends - sharing presents, food, and fellowship.

Many migrant families will be spending this day in detention facilities in Texas. Hundreds of children - with an average age of six and a half - will spend today behind barbed wire and under the watchful eyes of government contractors.

Immigration attorneys Mary Neal and Daniel Thomann have published a moving op-ed about family detention via Fox News Latino. They write:

President Obama has said to Americans that his deportation policies will focus on “felons not families,” but we have met hundreds of children in immigration jails who tell a different story. These children – nursing infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school aged – are fleeing unimaginable violence in their home countries, and are being re-traumatized by our government in a morally bankrupt effort to deter people seeking asylum. These children and their mothers are not felons, they are families with U.S. relatives willing to shelter and support them. However, they had the misfortune of seeking refuge in the U.S. at a time when our policy was not to help and protect, but to detain and deport.

These children, Neal and Thomann write, "deserve to live with their families while they await their day in court." They are, after all, waiting to present claims of asylum based on their desperate flights from "death threats, torture, and sexual violence" in countries that offer no protection from such terror.


December 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa: Everyone's Favorite Immigrant

Santa has to be the most beloved immigrant of all. Who else is welcomed around the globe without any fanfare over visas?

To celebrate this Christmas Eve, I give you Santa's Christmas travels visualized. Enjoy.


December 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: The Interview to Premiere on Christmas Day

Jan Brewer: Obama a "Big Disappointment"