Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Forbes/Bloomberg Immigration Debate

Check out this great pairing of back-and-forth articles on immigration in Bloomberg and Forbes.

First, from Bloomberg, comes Ramesh Ponnuru's Don't Blame Immigrants for Your Flat Paycheck. Ponnuru is not in favor of increased immigration, but he takes to task immigration restrictionists' citation to "dubious evidence" in support of claims that immigration hurts the middle class. "If you want to know why middle-class living standards aren't rising as fast as they used to," Ponnuru writes, "don't look to immigration for an explanation."

Instead, Ponnuru concludes:

Higher immigration brings big benefits to immigrants and modest benefits to the economy as a whole. It poses a risk of making life worse for Americans with low levels of schooling. And only a small minority of Americans is in favor of it. The smaller the number of immigrants, on the other hand, the more likely they are to assimilate culturally, economically and politically, and the less likely they are to place a strain on American society.

It seems to me then, for all those reasons, that we should refrain from increasing immigration and should perhaps even reduce it. But one thing lower immigration will not do is boost middle-class paychecks.

Adam Ozimek over at Forbes has responded to Ponnuru's piece in Smarter Immigration Critics. Ozimek applauds Ponnuru's criticism of "popular arguments," though he nudges him to see that he is "underestimating the potential upside to high skilled immigration."


May 26, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pending Immigration-Related Cases in the Supreme Court


The U.S. Supreme Court is nearing the end of the Term.  A number of important cases remain to be decided, including cases touching on the Affordable Care Act, confederate flags and license plates, and more.  David Savage reviews some of the high profile cases that are before the Court.

Several cases will be of special interest to ImmigrationProf readers. 

Kerry v. Din revisits the scope of the doctrine of consular nonreviewability, a cousin of the plenary power doctrine, which historically has immunized the visa decisions of State Department consular officers from judicial review.  This case is of great practical importance to the many visa applicants who are denied visas at American embassies around the world and have no form of relief available if an error has been committed. 

In Mellouli v. Lynch, the Court looks at the law's provisions for removal based on drug-related convictions, in this case a "drug paraphernalia" conviction for possessing a sock used to conceal a prescription drug.  It is one of a number of cases taken by the Supreme Court in recent years that address the removal of lawful permanent residents based on minor drug convictions.  See, e.g., Moncrieffe v. Holder (2013) (rejecting mandatory removal based on conviction for possession of the equivalent of 2-3 marijuana cigarettes); Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder (2010) (rejecting mandatory removal based on possession of one tablet of a prescription drug).

Zivotofsky vs. Kerry involves the passport of a 12-year-old American born in Jerusalem.  It raises the question whether Congress or the president has the final word on foreign policy.   In 2002, Congress passed a law giving U.S. parents a right to have "Israel" listed as the birthplace for a child born in Jerusalem.  Presidents George W. Bush and Obama refused to abide by it, noting that both Israelis and Palestinians claim the city as their capital. The U.S. government argues that the law interferes with a president's "exclusive authority to recognize foreign states" and handle a sensitive matter of foreign policy.


May 26, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexican-American joins anti-immigration protest, dancing ensues

Immigration Article of the Day: Citizenship Taxation by Ruth Mason


Citizenship Taxation by Ruth Mason, University of Virginia School of Law May 15, 2015 Southern California Law Review, Vol. 89, Forthcoming Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2015-07

Abstract: The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrants.

Tax and U.S. citizenship is a hot topic and  the subject of a conference in LondonA record number of U.C. citizens renounced their citizenship last year, many citing tax reasons.


May 26, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Group Blames Immigrants for Impacts of Drought in California

Is immigration contributing to the impacts of the drought in California?  Yes, according to television ads aired by Californians for Population Stabilization, a group that promotes reductions in immigration.   Others have made similar claims.  CPS supported Proposition 187, a state immigration milestone passed by the voters in 1994 that was struck down by the courts. For more on this story, click here.


May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Honoring Immigrant Soldiers on Memorial Day


Memorial Day allow the nation to remember those who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.  By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day came to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

We should remember our immigrant soldiers on this Memorial Day.   As mentioned, veterans of the Union army began what became the Memorial Day tradition.  One-third of the soldiers who fought for the Union were immigrants. Many of those were Irish immigrants who had come to the United States. as refugees of the Great Potato Famine. According to a Los Angeles Times database, 35 of the recent California casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were born in Mexico and 18 in the Philippines


This Immigration Impact story from last Memorial Day reminds us to honor the foreign-born members of the armed services on Memorial Day. 


May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Global Migration: Old Assumptions, New Dynamics by Diego Acosta Arcarazo and Anja Wiesbrock, Editors


Global Migration Old Assumptions, New Dynamics by Diego Acosta Arcarazo and Anja Wiesbrock, Editors

Even in an age of mobility, 97 percent of people stay in the country where they were born.

This three-volume work exposes myths and debunks misinformation about global migration, an issue generating emotional debate from the highest levels of power to kitchen tables across the United States, Europe, and worldwide. Many don't realize that migration has been a central element of global social change since the 15th century. Unfortunately, misconceptions about the 3 percent of world citizens who do choose to migrate can be destructive. In 2008, riots broke out in South Africa over workers from neighboring countries. Today's rising tensions along the U.S.-Mexican border are inciting political, social, and economic upheaval. In the EU, political fortunes rise and fall on positions regarding the future of multiculturalism in Europe.

Relying on fact, not rhetoric, this three-volume book seeks to inform readers, allay fears, and advance solutions. While other reference works tend to limit their scope to one country or one dimension of this hot-button issue, this book looks at the topic through a wide and interdisciplinary lens. Truly global in scope, this collection explores issues on all five continents, discussing examples from more than 50 countries through analysis by 40 top scholars across 8 disciplines. By exploring the past, present, and future of measures that have been implemented in an attempt to deal with migration—ranging from regularization procedures to criminalization—readers will be able to understand this worldwide phenomenon. Both the expert and the general reader will find a wealth of information free of the unsustainable claims and polarized opinions usually presented in the media.

Here is the introductory chapter of this book. 


Offers the university student or interested lay reader a broad and accessible introduction to key questions on migration issues in 50 countries spanning 5 continents

Presents cutting-edge research drawn from the eight academic perspectives of law, economics, politics, sociology, demography, geography, anthropology, and history to allow the activist, journalist, or specialist to discuss the issues more thoroughly

Dispels numerous common myths surrounding migration, providing more depth and perspective than what is usually presented in the media Supplies the broad scope, accessibility, and utility to serve nearly every audience, making this three-volume work an ideal choice for libraries seeking to purchase one reference work on immigration

Authors: Diego Acosta Arcarazo, PhD, is a lecturer in law at the University of Bristol, UK. He holds a doctorate in EU migration law from King's College University, London, UK, and he previously lectured at the University of Sheffield. His published works include The Long-Term Resident Status as a Subsidiary Form of EU Citizenship and EU Security and Justice Law.

Anja Wiesbrock, PhD, is a senior judicial advisor at the Research Council of Norway. She has previously worked as an assistant professor in EU Law at the Department of International and European Law of Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Her published works include Legal Migration to the European Union and The Greening of European Business Under EU Law: Taking Article 11 TFEU Seriously.

Their book has benefited from the input of an advisory board composed of UN Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants François Crépeau; the former UN rapporteur, Jorge Bustamante; and five key migration scholars: Professors Aderanti Adepoju, Binod Khadria, Wei Li, Kees Groenendijk, and Andrew Geddes. The contributors are leading scholars from five continents in eight different disciplines.


May 25, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Cost of Free Trade: Beware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Guest blogger: Minh Le, second-year law student, University of San Francisco

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was initially signed by the U.S., Mexico, and Canada under the belief that it will lead to economic growth and prosperity between their borders. In actuality, it is not the countries or their people who are benefiting from these types of agreements, but rather it is the multinational corporations doing business abroad who are reaping the profits of free trade. Corporations are the lobbying forces pushing these agreements through. Their duties lie with the shareholders, and not in the welfare of their workers or the country. A money-driven agreement does nothing good for the welfare of the country, as the shareholder’s interest is put on top priority over everyone else’s.

The real cost of Free Trade is its impacts on the number of displaced Mexican agricultural workers and increased numbers of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994, removed trade barriers on U.S., Mexico, and Canada’s imported and exported goods and services such as agriculture, allowing for a free flow of commodities. The trade policy never took into account the flow of labor that quickly followed.  

Under NAFTA, the U.S. has been permitted to subsidize its corn and other agricultural businesses. When heavily-subsidized, the small Mexican farmers are not able to compete against these U.S. industries. And as U.S. corn and other agricultural products continue to lower in prices and imports into Mexico, the small Mexican farmers are driven out of the business and off their land. Because of this, millions of Mexican agricultural workers are displaced toward urban centers where they remain living in desperate poverty. These are among those who seek economic relief across the border, while others remain in the country where wages and working conditions have dropped significantly, especially for those working in maquiladora sweatshops.

The number of displaced farm workers grossly outweighs the number of new jobs that were actually created due to free trade. For the many unfortunate farmer workers who were not able to find jobs in different sectors, they have followed the agricultural workflow into the U.S. These workers now make up the bulk of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. each year. Since the signing of NAFTA, the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S. was estimated to have increased to 12 million today from 3.9 million in 1993.

NAFTA had failed to do what it had promised to do. Instead of curbing undocumented migration abroad, it aggravated the problem. NAFTA was not the exception, but the norm. Trade agreements like these were never designed to be the development programs they sell themselves as. CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement tells a similar story. Under CAFTA, the U.S. imports its subsidized agricultural products to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, precipitating the decline of local farming businesses in those countries and spurring mass displacement of farm workers all over. The promises of eliminating immigration pressures from Central America by creating jobs and raising wages were all a farce; thwarted by one-sided economic policies backed by big corporations.

The U.S. is currently under negotiation with 11 other countries to create a new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The treaty is trying to promote free trade between all 12 countries bordering the Pacific, covering topics such as intellectual property, investments, services, Internet access, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and even immigration. The TPP seeks to expand the NAFTA trade pact model that already has spurred massive U.S. trade deficits, job loss, severely lowered wages, inequalities in the levels of agricultural imports, while providing extra protection for corporations. What’s alarming about this new trade agreement is that most of the negotiations are being made in secret, and kept away from the public’s view, while over 600 lobbyists are pushing to “fast-track” the bill. Just this past week, the U.S. Senate already voted in a 62-37 vote in favor of the TPP. The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives for a final vote next month.

From an immigration perspective, the concern is that the massive partnership would continue to move jobs away from Mexico and Central America to lower-wage countries in Asia like Vietnam and Malaysia, displacing millions more farm and agricultural workers to the North.

As such, in making their decision, Congress and the public should be reminded of the failures of such trade agreements in the past, and their devastating effects on lower developed countries and the unintended consequences on migration. Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have labeled it “NAFTA on steroids.” Indeed, anything clearly resembling a failed trade agreement warrants closer scrutiny by the public, especially when the agreement is backed by 600 lobbyists, including hundreds of multinational corporations.

The fear is that passing a massive trade agreement that espouses the same false promises of NAFTA will further exacerbate the level of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. This would undercut any progress that the U.S. has made toward achieving anything close to a comprehensive immigration reform.


May 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Celebrating the Chinese Workers Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad

Stephen Magagnini reports on a gathering earlier this month at the California State Railroad Museum.  Several hundred of the region’s leading Chinese Americans joined Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in welcoming a delegation from the Chinese consulate general in San Francisco to see a photo display featuring murals, figurines and sculptures depicting Chinese railroad workers and celebrating the 150th anniversary of the building of the transcontinental railroad over the Sierra Nevada.

More than 12,000 Chinese workers took on a challenge that other Americans workers wouldn’t, getting paid between $28 and $40 a month to work 12 to 14 hour days, often in blizzards and blazing heat on cliffs that had to be blasted. 

Secrettown Trestle_N_4396

Photo from California History Room, California State Library


May 24, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero closer to sainthood


CNN reports that, 35 years after being assassinated while holding mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified on Saturday, bringing the slain priest a step closer to sainthood in the Catholic Church. Tens of thousands of people crowded El Salvador's Savior of the World Plaza for the bestowing of the honor. Romero was a hero of the liberation theology movement, which views the church as properly siding with the oppressed.  His beatification was delayed for years because Romero was controversial within the Church. Pope Francis declared Romero a martyr earlier this year.

I had the opportunity in 1986 -- a time in which political violence was rampant in the country -- to visit Archbishop Romero's tomb in the Cathedral of San Salvador.  It was a moving experience and clearly a scared place to the people of El Salvador.  President Obama visited the tomb on a trip to Latin America in 2011.

The movie Romero, starring Raul Julia as the Archbishop, tells of Archbishop Romero's experiences and is well worth seeing.



May 24, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Job Opportunity with the Vera Institute for Justice

The Vera Institute of Justice is looking to hire a Senior Program Associate for its New York City office.
The Senior Program Associate will work on the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), which informs detained immigrants about their rights, and the immigration court and detention processes.

So, brush off your resume because applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.


May 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Immigration Law & the Military, 2nd Edition by Margaret D. Stock

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Immigration Law & the Military, 2nd Edition by Margaret D. Stock

Immigration Law & the Military addresses immigration issues encountered by:

Noncitizens serving on active duty

Noncitizens affected by disciplinary and court martial procedures

U.S. military personnel who marry citizens of other countries

Children of U.S. military personnel who are adopted overseas and are in need of immigrant/nonimmigrant visas

Immigration Law & the Military is the only resource available that gives you the tools to tackle issues such as:

Selective service and enlistment rules Special rules and procedures for naturalization through military service

Types of military discharges

Implications of military disciplinary proceedings & courts martial

Parole in Place

Military-related issues for family members of military personnel

Civilian employees/contractors who work alongside military member

In addition to the above topics,Immigration Law & the Military explores common military-related issues through real case examples and provides information on special resources available to military personnel and their family members. Confidently handle immigration cases for military personnel and their families with the help of a top expert in the field.


As a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police, U.S. Army Reserve, Margaret Stock has extensive experience with U.S. military issues. She has also worked as a professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and as an adjunct instructor at the University of Alaska. Margaret is a member of the board of the Federal Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section and a former member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. In 2013, she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


May 23, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Proposed Bill: Inadmissible Due to Pregnancy

We have blogged before about what some have called maternity tourism - the issue of non-citizen women entering the United States and giving birth in the United States.  Another article about this issue was featured in the Huffington Post two weeks ago (see here).

Apparently to address this issue, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca) introduced H.R. 2.484, which would make inadmissible "certain aliens who are pregnant are ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States."

Kevin Penton of Law360 reports that Rep. Rohrabacher explained that "the amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act would help stop women from traveling to the United States for the primary purpose of having their children become U.S. citizens by right of birth."  He further explained, “While different proposals have been introduced to solve this problem, my approach does not require a change to the Constitution or risk the possibility of the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional[.]”  


May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Albany Law School Immigration Law Clinic Fellow

Albany Law School’s Law Clinic & Justice Center seeks a Fellow to provide legal advocacy services and direct representation to clients in its new Immigration Law Clinic and to perform other related duties pursuant to grants and contracts. The Immigration Law Clinic teaches law students practical lawyering skills in the context of Family Court and immigration proceedings at which students represent individuals who are seeking to regularize their immigration status. Additionally, the Fellow will assist the Director with research and analysis on long-term projects. At the Director’s discretion, the Fellow may have limited opportunities for participating in trainings, supervising in-class activities, assisting in program design and leading case rounds. This position begins July 1, 2015 and lasts for one year.

Qualified candidates will possess a JD degree and admission to the New York State bar. Practical legal experience in immigration and family law is preferred. Spanish language skills are desirable, but not required.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter, by June 12, 2015, to:

Albany Law School Director of Human Resources 80 New Scotland Avenue Albany, NY 12208-3494 Fax: (518) 445-3262 E-mail: humanresources@albanylaw.edu


May 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mary Tape & the 1885 Fight to End School Segregation

The Tape Family (c. 1884-85) via NWHM

The National Women's History Museum has highlighted the pioneering story of Mary Tape.

In 1885, nearly 70 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Mary Tape sued the S.F. School District. She sought the right to enroll her daughter in public school. Her child had been excluded because she was Chinese.

Superior Court Judge James Maguire found in favor of Mary Tape, writing: “To deny a child, born of Chinese parents in this state, entrance to the public schools would be a violation of the law of the state and the Constitution of the United States.”

The California Supreme Court agreed: "respondent here has the same right to enter a public school that any other child has."

Despite these rulings, the S.F.S.D. continued to deny access to school, arguing that Mary's daughter did not have the required vaccinations.

For more about the Tape family, check out this article from the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. You may also find of interest Mae M. Ngai's article Birthright Citizenship and the Alien Citizen.


May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bernie Sanders for President?!?!


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently announced that he will run for President, becoming the first to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Sanders has said little about what his immigration policy platform will be.

Immigration Impact in a short piece found that Sanders has previously staked out the following positions:

1. Sanders supports President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

2. Sanders voted for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. Sanders was initially reluctant to support the Senate Immigration reform bill, S. 744 over concerns with guest worker programs.

3. Sanders remains skeptical of guest-worker programs.

The restrictionist group Numbers USA concludes that Sanders "Usually supports higher immigration, population growth, foreign labor."


May 22, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Let’s Have A ‘PEP’ Talk: Is this S-Comm 2.0?

Guest blogger: Gabriela Mendez, second-year law student, University of San Francisco

The “Secure Communities” program (S-Comm) was piloted in 2008 with 14 jurisdictions under the Bush administration and by 2013 was rapidly expanded to include all 3,181 jurisdictions of the U.S. under the Obama administration. The supposed goal of this Immigration and Customs Enforcement program was to deport noncitizen felons and high level criminal immigrants, including long time legal permanent residents. This was to be accomplished by sharing fingerprints between the FBI and DHS at the time of booking at local jails. Instead of the fingerprints only getting sent to the FBI, this program would share them with ICE agents who would put a detainer, or immigration hold for up to 48 hours at the time of release (although sometimes the hold was extended for weeks or months at a time), on individuals ICE agents thought might be deportable immigrants. ICE agents would then make rounds to jails to pick up detainees for deportation proceedings.

There were many problematic issues with S-Comm. Instead of the deportation of level 1 and 2 offenders such as those convicted of serious or violent crimes like robbery, homicide and all other felonies, S-Comm resulted in the deportation of those who Committed misdemeanors or lesser crimes. S-Comm was even netting a large number of non-criminal undocumented immigrants including targets of racial profiling, or victims of domestic violence who were being put in removal proceedings after reporting abuse. It even resulted in the detainment of citizens who perhaps had never had their fingerprints taken. S-Comm resulted in having the greatest impact on level 3 offenders, or minor criminal offenders, which was not the original goal of the program.

The way in which S-Comm was enforced made the name and mission of the program very deceptive in that the opposite of “secure” and “Community” became the reality. Instead, the outcome was that S-Comm was forced upon local jurisdictions, discouraged immigrant Communities from reporting criminal activities, and destroyed Communities and families.

Due to these devastating outcomes, many jurisdictions began trying to opt-out of S-Comm. I first learned about S-Comm through my work at a remarkable Community organization in Santa Barbara County, named Pueblo. Pueblo created a Commission called Keeping Families Together to support immigrant families through the hardships S-Comm produced. S-Comm in Santa Barbara was being used to target parents driving their kids to school, undocumented young people who had resided in Santa Barbara their whole lives, and others who were not level 1 and 2 offenders.  Individuals within our own organization became victims of S-Comm. Thus began our long fight to try to pass the Trust Act in California which would put limitations on the cruel immigration hold allowed under S-Comm. In the meantime, many jurisdictions tried to follow in the footsteps of San Francisco Bay Area cities, counties, and local labor councils which had passed resolutions to opt out of S-Comm in 2011.

Finally a version of the Trust Act passed and went into effect January 1, 2014 in California. Many other states had already passed a similar law. Under the Trust Act, immigrants with serious criminal charges can still be held for immigration purposes, but those charged with lesser crimes are released at the time U.S. citizens would be released. The Trust Act has decreased unjustified deportations, rebuilt confidence in local law enforcement, and enabled witnesses and victims to cooperate without fear of deportation.

 Increasing numbers of governors, mayors, and state and local law enforcement officials around the country have refused to cooperate with the S-Comm, and many have issued executive orders or signed laws, such as the Trust Act, prohibiting such cooperation. Due to this widespread lack of support, DHS decided in November 2014 to discontinue S-Comm and instead replace it with a newer “refined” program called Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). The underlying question is are we being deceived again and is PEP simply another name for Secure Communities 2.0?

PEP is supposed to reflect DHS’s “new” top enforcement priorities, however the program will continue to rely on the fingerprint data taken at the time of booking just like S-Comm did. The memo issued by DHS about PEP indicates that the driving force behind PEP is because our country has turned its back on S-Comm and is no longer enforcing it. S-Comm needs a new name and fresher look, hence the creation of PEP, so is PEP simply a replacement name for S-Comm?

PEP appears to slightly narrow the scope of people who will be affected, however there is still discretion and ambiguities left about the implementation. Under PEP, ICE should only seek the transfer of an immigrant in the custody of state or local law enforcement through PEP when the immigrant has been convicted of an offense listed in Priority 1 (a), (c), (d), and (e) and Priority 2 (a) and (b) of the November 20, 2014 Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum, or when, in the judgment of an ICE Field Office Director, the immigrant otherwise poses a danger to national security.  

Under PEP, most people who have not been convicted of crimes should not be issued a detainer--although undocumented immigrants who are suspected of terrorism or “special circumstances” may be targeted. The “special circumstances” language should be clarified because right now it indicates much discretion as to what circumstances warrant the detainers used in S-Comm.

Under the priorities listed in 1 and 2, PEP will ensnare people found crossing the border illegally, gang members, those convicted of felonies, people who have been convicted of three misdemeanors, and those who have one "significant misdemeanor" on their record. Significant misdemeanors include domestic violence, burglary and drug-selling. Some of these offenses listed could raise issues in practice such as gang involvement where local enforcement agencies in some counties have pressured minors into signing off as gang members for crimes such as shoplifting even if they were not actually gang members. Also listing DUIs in priority 2 is controversial.

Instead of issuing a detainer for the less serious crimes, the DHS memo instructs local and state agencies to notify ICE that the person in question will soon be released instead of holding them like in S-Comm. This notification form could pose a problem if it remains the same as the detainer form used under S-Comm; it could confuse local enforcement agencies into using the same S-Comm practice of detaining.

Another ambiguity that arises is if ICE is truly moving to a post-conviction model of detainer enforcement, such as the DHS memo contends, it should be extremely clear that ICE agents must not issue a notification request unless and until the person has been convicted of a qualifying criminal offense. Right now the language in the memo states that ICE agents may issue notification requests only for people who fall within the elevated subset of priorities enumerated in the memo (and in general when looking at the priorities, these are people who have been convicted). But if ICE starts issuing notification requests for people who have only been charged with the offenses listed in the priorities, then PEP would definitely be reverting back to the past practices of S-Comm.

Although PEP seems to be moving in the right direction by limiting ICE holds, I remain worried. Obama’s executive action on immigration in November 2014 prompted the end of S-Comm and the creation of PEP. Obama stressed “new” targets for DHS: "Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids." We must remember however, that these targets—felons and criminals—were the original targets of S-Comm. S-Comm was supposed to deport only the worst of the worst, however it did not function that way in its implementation. What is stopping PEP from functioning in the same manner? It seems that PEP too could end up unjustly targeting a much broader group in its enforcement. Perhaps if some of the ambiguities in the language of the memo were clarified, I would feel more at ease.

S-Comm was forced upon local jurisdictions and has been responsible for the mass deportation of innocent people from this country while destroying families and violating their basic human rights. PEP seems to have similar goals with a narrower approach, however not much is new in the line of enforcement. Is it time to rally our troops and start getting ready to battle again for the Trust Act 2.0?


May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Conference on Tax Citizenship and Income Shifting

Paul Caron over at TaxProf has pointed out that the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, Norwegian Center of Taxation, and University of Notre Dame are hosting a two day multidisciplinary international taxation conference on Tax Citizenship and Income Shifting at Notre Dame's London Global Gateway. Among the papers of interest to immprofs:

Michael Kirsch (Notre Dame), Citizenship Exits and Neutrality

Ruth Mason (Virginia), Taxing the American Diaspora

Gabriel Zucman (London School of Economics), Taxing Across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits

I'm just going to say what you're all thinking - this looks like so much FUN! Well, maybe you're not as fascinated by my current passion for renunciation of citizenship for tax reasons, but, trust me, it's fascinating. Can't wait to read these articles on SSRN.


May 21, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice

Today, the American Immigration Council releases Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice. Among many longstanding problems plaguing the U.S. immigration system is the shortage of immigration judges. Over the past decade, Congress has increased immigration enforcement funding exponentially, yet has not provided the immigration courts commensurate funding to handle the hundreds of thousands of new removal cases they receive each year. The resulting backlog has led to average hearing delays of over a year and a half, with serious adverse consequences.


May 21, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Asian Immigrants in the United States Today

Adding to the previous work on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the Center for American Progress has published analysis looking at the demographics and contributions to society of Asian immigrants in the United States today.

Today’s Asian immigrant community is diverse: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese immigrants are the top six nationalities of Asian immigrants and account for 85 percent of the total Asian immigrant population. These immigrants have contributed greatly to the overall growth of the U.S. Asian population. Since 2008, Asian immigrants have represented approximately 40 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population compared to 27 percent in 2005. The U.S. Asian population is also majority-foreign born: 66 percent of Asian Americans were born in another country, compared with only 37 percent of Latinos.

While many reasons bring Asian immigrants to the United States, the biggest migration pathway is through family-sponsored visas for relatives of U.S. citizens. For example, among Asian immigrants, 55 percent of visas in 2012 were issued through family-sponsored preferences, of which 35 percent were issued to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

Nonetheless, Asian immigrants face some of the longest backlogs for visas of any immigrant group. The Immigration and Nationality Act caps visas at 26,000 for any single country. Consequently, countries with the highest family- and employer-sponsored visas have to wait years before reuniting with their families. For example, siblings of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines wait for more than 25 years for a green card, while the siblings of adult Chinese Americans wait for more than 14 years. Overall, an estimated 4.2 million individuals from Asian countries are currently stuck in family-visa backlogs.


May 21, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)