Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Born to Run: Chris Christie for President?!?!?



I can't help it.  Presidential elections are just a lot of fun.  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.  Who would have guessed that Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and a fully array of characters would declare that they were candidates for the GOP nomination?  Now, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with a personality that is larger than life, has made it official.  He is running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

An avowed fan of New Jersey native son Bruce Springsteen, Christie once supported a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants but publicly changed his view a few weeks ago as he readied his presidential run.  A International Business Times article observes that

"Christie has spent much of his time in office avoiding the issue of immigration. . . . Initially, Christie backed a pathway to citizenship. But that view has become untenable among many Republicans, who call it amnesty as they make an effort to stamp out any of its supporters in the party. In May, Christie shifted his position, saying he no longer backs that pathway. . . . There are still a lot of blanks for Christie to fill in on the issue of immigration. And, since it will be such a hotly contested issue during primary season, there will be many waiting to hear a more lengthy explanation of his views."'


June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Painting: La gran pesadilla el los tiempos de sueños (the gran nightmare in the age of dreams)

ICE's New Regulations for Transgender Detainees

Yesterday, ICE issued new memorandum for regarding the care of transgender detainees. The 18-page memo affirms that ICE will provide "a respectful, safe, and secure environment for all detainees, including those individuals who identify as transgender."

Officers in Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will now give detainees an opportunity to disclose their gender identity, if they choose to do so. And ERO will make "individualized placement determinations to ensure the detainee's safety." That, as Fusion reports, means that individuals may be now housed in detention facilities that match their gender identities.

In addition, the memo calls for the specically-trained LGBTI coordinators and liaisons within the ERO.


June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Immigration Consequences of Obergefell v. Hodges by Geoffrey A. Hoffman


The Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteen Amendment guarantees the right to gay marriage in all states will have profound effects not just here in the U.S., but abroad. Immigration authorities already had recognized gay marriage if it was determined it was lawful where it was performed.  Previously, the Obama administration recognized the unconstitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The administration’s position was subsequently justified when the high court struck down key provisions of DOMA in 2012 in United States v. Windsor.  In that decision, the court held that the Fifth Amendment applied to invalidate provisions of DOMA which sought to confine the federal definition of marriage and spouse to apply solely to heterosexual unions. Only after Windsor did the administration begin officially recognizing gay marriage for immigration purposes. Friday's decision in Obergefell goes even further than Windsor. Now, the Supreme Court has held not just the federal government cannot restrict the definition only to heterosexuals but that all the states must allow homosexual marriages, and importantly must recognize any such marriages which were lawfully entered into in other states (and presumably abroad, although the court’s decision does not explicitly say that).  In terms of contiguous countries to the U.S., it is worth noting that Canada has recognized and provided for homosexual marriage for about 10 years now.  In 2010, the Supreme Court of Mexico, by a vote of 8-2 upheld the constitutionality of Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law and also later ruled  that such marriages were valid throughout the entire country. For purposes of immigration, the fact that all states must allow for and provide homosexual marriages will do away with a major impediment which faced some immigrants who resided in states where such marriages previously were not permitted. Under certain situations immigrants who reside in the U.S. can adjust their status if they are in a bona fide, valid marriage to a U.S. citizen. It is no longer an impediment that they are homosexual and living in the U.S. in a state which doesn’t recognize gay marriage. That said, the decision also affects not just people trying to adjust their status but also people who are applying for certain immigration benefits, such as waivers from the immigration courts and administrative bodies, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Waivers may apply, depending on the type of case, where for example a person has a “qualifying relative” such as a U.S. citizen spouse and can show certain equities exist, such as “extreme hardship” to the qualifying relative. Other important relief may be available, such as lawful permanent resident cancellation of removal, and the recognition of same-sex marriage, although not specifically required by statute to make someone qualified for this type relief, will now be considered by the immigration judge as it relates to the overall equities of the case. Most importantly, as the majority of justices duly recognized in Obergefell, a decision to validate same-sex marriage is not just about the spouses involved, but also about their entire family unit:  the son or daughter of same-sex partners can now rest assured that the state will recognize their whole “family” as legitimate. Immigrants who find themselves in immigration proceedings will now be able to point to the Obergefell decision and the immigration authorities will be bound to take into account their entire family.  The government now must recognize them as bona fide parents, spouses, and children as a product of a legitimate same-sex marriage.

Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Professor and Director, University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic

June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcoming 4,000 New Citizens to Celebrate Independence Day


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will celebrate the nation’s 239th birthday by welcoming more than 4,000 new U.S. citizens at over 50 naturalization ceremonies across the country July 1-4.

“As we celebrate Independence Day, we welcome over 4,000 new Americans who will be able to enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “From Los Angeles to New York, Miami to Seattle, Indianapolis to Los Alamos, these individuals are showing their full commitment to the freedoms, values and ideals that have inspired Americans since the Declaration of Independence in 1776.”

Citizenship candidates will take the Oath of Allegiance at locations including the New York Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, Seattle Center, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and the Tower Theater in Miami. This year’s celebration also will feature ceremonies at historic sites such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Virginia; Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia; and the USS Midway in San Diego, California.

To view a list of 2015 Independence Day naturalization ceremonies, visit uscis.gov/news.

USCIS encourages new citizens and their families and friends to share their ceremony experiences and photos afterward on Twitter and other social media, using the hashtag #newUScitizen.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon



New citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Kennedy Space Center in 2010


June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

NBC to Donald Trump: YOU are Fired!


NBCUniversal has cut its ties with Donald Trump, a recent GOP entrant in the race for the Presidency.  NBCUniversal, under pressure from an array of Hispanic and other groups, has announced that it is severing its business ties to Trump. The Miss USA pageant will no longer air on the network. Nor will the Miss Universe pageant. Both pageants were, until now, jointly owned by NBC and Trump.

"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the company said in a statement on Monday. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."


June 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Morning PAC Ad from Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal has only recently joined the presidential race for 2016. But his PAC already has a message on immigration currently airing in Iowa:


If it's too much of a commitment to watch the thirty-second ad, let me summarize: he's tired of "hyphenated Americans," "our immigration system is broken," folks who want to immigrate should do so "legally" "adopt our values" "learn English" and "roll up their sleeves and get to work."


June 29, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Noncitizen Eligibility for Coverage under the Affordable Care Act

Sunday, June 28, 2015

PEOPLE Magazine Headline: Donald Trump Defends His Immigration Stance Amid Miss Universe Controversy: 'I Don't Have a Racist Bone in My Body'

Bobby Jindal for President?!?!?! Where He Stands on Immigration Issues


Bobby Jindal looking pensive or confused, you pick!

For a variety of reasons, I have been avoiding any mention on this blog of the latest entrant in the 2016 Presidential race.  The American Immigration Council has done a report on where Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, the 13th presidential candidate to formally enter the 2016 presidential race, stands on immigration.  

Jindal is the third declared 2016 presidential candidate that is the son of immigrants – the two others being Senators Mario Rubio and Ted Cruz. In his announcement speech, Jindal embraced his own immigrant heritage.  A look into his rhetoric and policy positions on key pieces of immigration reform legislation reveals some thoughtful, but missequenced solutions on immigration, as well as a general misunderstanding of executive authority and the nation’s humanitarian obligations to asylum-seekers. 


June 28, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Satnam Singh, 1st Indian-born basketball player picked in NBA draft


Photo courtesy of NBA Draft.Net

The National Basketball Association draft was last week.  As ImmigrationProf blog has highlighted, the NBA has increasingly gone international.  The draft reflected thius and Satnam Singh became the first basketball player from India to be drafted by an NBA team. The Dallas Mavericks selected the 7-foot-2-inch, 19-year-old with the 52nd pick in the draft.

Here are the details about Singh.  Although Canadian-born Sim Bhullar became the NBA's first player of Indian descent last year, Singh would be the first player actually born on the subcontinent to make the league.

Singh was born in a village in Punjab with just 700 inhabitants. They nicknamed him "Chhotu" -- Punjab for "Little One." There were no basketball courts there -- his dad's wheat farm is 4 miles from the nearest paved road -- so he was sent off to a basketball academy at age 12. 

ESPN reports that three of first seven players drafted are international players.  The Orlando Magic took Mario Hezonja (Croatia) with the fifth pick after the New York Knicks took Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) at No. 4. The Denver Nuggets made it three international players when they took Emmanuel Mudiay (Congo) with the seventh selection. The only year there were more international players taken in the top 10 was 2011 (four players). With the 26th pick, the San Antonio Spurs took Nikola Milutinov (Serbia).  The Spurs have drafted nine international players in the last 10 years, the most by any team.


June 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

From the Bookshelves: U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice by Lupe S. Salinas



U.S. Latinos and Criminal Injustice by Lupe S. Salinas

Latinos in the United States encompass a broad range of racial, socioeconomic, and sociopolitical identities. Originating from the Caribbean, Spain, Central and South America, and Mexico, they have unique justice concerns. The ethnic group includes U.S. citizens, authorized resident aliens, and undocumented aliens, a group that has been a constant partner in the Latino legal landscape for over a century. This book addresses the development and rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States and how race-based discrimination, hate crimes, and other prejudicial attitudes, some of which have been codified via public policy, have grown in response. Salinas explores the degrading practice of racial profiling, an approach used by both federal and state law enforcement agents; the abuse in immigration enforcement; and the use of deadly force against immigrants. The author also discusses the barriers Latinos encounter as they wend their way through the court system. While all minorities face the barrier of racially based jury strikes, bilingual Latinos deal with additional concerns, since limited-English-proficient defendants depend on interpreters to understand the trial process. As a nation rich in ethnic and racial backgrounds, the United States, Salinas argues, should better strive to serve its principles of justice.


June 27, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Possible Initiative in California: State Residence for Undocumented Immigrants


California has been at the forefront of recent state and local efforts to promote immigrant integration through the so-called "California package" (see this Los Angeles Times op/ed), an alternative to the approaches to immigration enforcement pursued by Arizona, Alabama, and other states and localities.   

The International Business Times reports on the latest interesting development out of California.  An initiative to give residency permits to undocumented immigrants living in California  is gaining momentum.  Backers of the measure are gearing up to begin collecting signatures to get the proposal before voters in 2016. The California Immigration Reform Act would require permit holders to pay state income taxes and bar the state from using public funds to aid federal immigration enforcement. Initiative supporters have until December 21 to get the required 365,880 signatures from registered California voters to put the initiative on the 2016 ballot.

The permits would establish an official arrival date in the country and give immigrants a tax identification number to allow them to attend school or apply for jobs. “If you come forward, register, pay state income taxes and get your immunizations, California will allow you to stay in California and you will be here legally, at least as far as California is concerned,” Louis J. Marinelli, president of Sovereign California, Inc., the group behind the initiative, said in a statement.  The Los Angeles Daily News reports that "Marinelli is also the proponent of initiatives that would create an advisory group to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States; require the display of the California flag above the U.S. flag, change the governor’s title to president of California and ban out-of-state contributions to California election campaigns.


June 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses


 Today, the American Immigration Council released ,A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses.This updated guide provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern border. It also seeks to explain the basics.

Who are these children and why are they coming?

What basic protections does the law afford them?

What happens to the children once they are in U.S. custody?

What have the U.S. and other governments done in response?

What additional responses have advocates and legislators proposed?

The answers to these questions are critical to assessing the U.S. government’s responses and understanding the ongoing debate about whether reforms to the immigration laws and policies involving children are needed.

To view the guide in its entirety, see:
To view the blog on this report, see:


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

I Told You So: The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

Today, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision  held that there is in fact a fundamental right to marriage, including same sex marriage.  As I suggested in my analysis of Kerry v. Din for SCOTUSBlog, the decision in that case did indeed foreshadow the outcome of the same sex marriage case.  Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, refused to sign on to the plurality opinion of Justice Scalia (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas) in Kerry v. Din, with its narrow view of the right to marriage.  Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, along with the Chief, dissented in the same sex marriage case.


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

Donald Trump, You're Fired! Univision Cancels Miss USA Telecast After Trump's Immigration Comments

The Integration of Refugees in the United States

Using previously non-public refugee admissions data from the State Department, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis finds that despite the fact that refugees to the United States come from increasingly diverse origins and linguistic backgrounds and that some arrive with low native-language literacy and education, most refugees successfully integrate into the U.S. labor market and society over time.

The U.S. resettlement program is the world’s largest, accounting for two-thirds (66,000) of the 98,000 refugees who were permanently resettled in 2013. Between fiscal 2002 – 2013, the United States admitted 644,500 refugees from 113 countries.

Without significant increases in federal funding for refugee resettlement since the mid-1980s, the increasing diversity of resettled refugees poses challenges for resettlement agencies and other service providers by complicating service delivery and potentially increasing costs, the MPI authors conclude in The Integration Outcomes of U.S. Refugees: Successes and Challenges.
Beyond rising linguistic diversity (the number of primary languages spoken rose from 114 in 2004 to 162 less than a decade later) and nationalities (64 in 2013, up from 11 in 1980), refugees also arrive with a wider range of education and native-language literacy levels than in the past.
The report, which draws on analysis of data from the State Department’s Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS), provides a unique demographic snapshot of the 10 largest refugee populations resettled in 2002 – 2013: from Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Russia, Somalia, Ukraine and Vietnam. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the report also traces integration outcomes for refugees over time, examining their employment, English proficiency, educational attainment, household income, poverty status, and public benefit use.
“We conclude that as refugees’ experience in the United States increases, their income levels and rates of public benefit participation approach parity with the U.S.-born population,” said lead author Randy Capps, director of research for U.S. programs at MPI.

Economic self-sufficiency is the core goal of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Researchers found this goal is largely being achieved: During the 2009 – 11 period studied, refugee men were more likely to work than U.S-born men (67 percent versus 62 percent), while refugee women were as likely to work as their U.S.-born counterparts (54 percent). Refugees also saw their income rise with length of U.S. residence, with median annual household income $31,000 higher for those here at least 20 years than for those here five years or less. Still, even after 20 years of U.S. residence, refugees’ household income was only 85 percent of the U.S. average, and was lower relative to the U.S. average than in 2000.

“Lower starting incomes and less income progression for more recent arrivals suggest that the economic climate for refugee integration may have become more challenging since the 2007 – 09 recession,” said MPI President Michael Fix. “This disadvantage could also be due to the large numbers of refugees with low literacy and education levels resettled recently. It remains to be seen whether recent refugees with limited human capital will experience the same levels of economic mobility as earlier, better-educated cohorts of refugees.” 


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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Plight of Transgender Asylum Seekers by Vicky Yau, UC Davis School of Law

News articles with variations of the headline,,“Obama shushes heckler: ‘You are in my house!” pervaded almost every search engine I opened Wednesday. An intriguing headline and a constant reminder, how could I resist? It turns out the “heckler” was a transgender LGBT activist advocating rights for the LGBT immigrant community. What sort of rights would she be advocating, I wondered? What I discovered was heartbreaking indeed.
The United States of America prides itself on being called “the land of opportunity”, “land of the free and the home of the brave,” as well as various other nicknames. Immigrants flock to the shores of our nation with dreams of grasping some of that freedom and opportunity. Transgender immigrants arrive at our shores with no different aspirations, but are met with a whole different set of difficulties. Fusion, a multi-platform media company, conducted a six-month investigation of the atrocities committed by ICE, some of which I will described below.
ICE detains asylum seekers that are not admitted right away. This can pose a dangerous situation for transgender men and women who are often detained in centers based on their sex, rather than gender. Of the detained transgender immigrant population, 90% are transgender women. Despite their gender identity, they are nevertheless, often detained based their sex. One immigrant recalls that for her male inmates, she was the “closest thing they [had] to a woman.” It takes very little imagination to envision what was the horrific reality for this woman and many others like her. Some detention centers will try to remedy this problem by placing the victim in solitary confinement. Yet this is another type of torture that one victim even requested deportation rather than remain in the confinement.
This brief summary does the investigation no justice. The report, which can be found  here, provides an insight into this problem that most of the American population cannot even begin to imagine. It is no wonder the activist tried to bring this problem straight to our commander-in-chief.
Vicky Yau is a second year law student at UC Davis School of Law and will be blogging regularly on the ImmigrationProf blog this summer.

June 25, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Just the Facts: Undocumented Immigrants


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Public Policy Institute of California has put together some handy facts on immigration.  One critical fact -- About one in ten workers in California is an undocumented immigrant.  California’s labor force includes about 1.85 million undocumented immigrants—the second-highest statewide share of undocumented workers (9.4%) in the nation, after Nevada (10.2%). Undocumented immigrants work disproportionately in the farming, construction, production, services, and transportation/materials moving industries.


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

Obama Administration Relaxes Family Detention Policy