Friday, December 18, 2015

How For-Profit Companies Are Driving Immigration Detention Policies

This Center for American Progress report documents the private sector's role in promoting immigrant detention to a point where record numbers of immigrants are detained annually.


December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale Law School Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization 2016 Paid Summer Fellowships


The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization of Yale Law School (LSO) invites applications for its 2016 Summer Fellowship program. Applications will be accepted immediately and reviewed on a rolling basis. LSO is the main organization at Yale Law School providing legal representation to individuals and organizations in need of legal assistance but unable to afford private attorneys.  During the academic year, law students work closely with clinical faculty members to represent clients in a wide range of litigation and non-litigation matters, helping to fill a critical need in legal services delivery for poor and marginalized communities in Connecticut.  LSO seeks to hire 20-25 Summer Fellows to work with clinical faculty in order to continue this client representation. These are paid positions, with a salary of $6,720 for 12 weeks of full-time work. The Fellowship will run from May 24 to August 26, with some flexibility as to start and end dates.  Part-time work or full-time work for a portion of the Fellowship period may also be possible.   

Summer Fellows can expect to have a range of challenging and rewarding lawyering experiences during the course of their time at LSO, including client interviewing and counseling; fact investigation and development; researching and writing legal memoranda, correspondence, briefs, and pleadings; drafting contracts and other legal instruments; interacting with opposing counsel, government actors, and community stakeholders; and negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.  In several clinics, students make court appearances to argue motions or appeals and to conduct evidentiary hearings on trial.  Fellows will work under the direct supervision of clinical faculty members and supervising attorneys, and will have significant responsibility for each case or project.  In addition, faculty members will host a weekly series of presentations and discussions for the Fellows on the work of the clinics, public interest lawyering, and other topics of interest.   

LSO clinics perform a wide range of exciting work, including litigation in state and federal court and before administrative agencies, transactional work on behalf of community organizations, and policy and legislative advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.  For 2016, LSO seeks Summer Fellows for the following clinics: 

• Sol and Lillian Goldman Family Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic

• Ludwig Community and Economic Development Clinic

• Criminal Justice Clinic

• Immigration Legal Services

• Landlord Tenant Legal Services

• Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation

• Veterans Legal Services Clinic

• Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic 

For more information on the work of each of these clinics, please click here.

Students who are eligible for summer funding from their own sources and who need an early decision on their LSO application to qualify for outside support are encouraged to advise LSO of their situation and to request expedited review of their candidacy.   Interested students should email a cover letter specifying the clinic(s) in which you have an interest, a resume, writing sample, transcript, and contact information for two references to  (Transcripts, if not available, can be sent after the initial application.) The final deadline to submit application materials is February 15, 2016.  Early applications are encouraged. 


December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy International Migrants Day


"On International Migrants Day, let us commit to coherent, comprehensive and human-rights based responses guided by international law and standards and a shared resolve to leave no one behind."

Ban Ki-moon
Message for International Migrants Day,
18 December 2015

Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.

This new era has created challenges and opportunities for societies throughout the world. It also has served to underscore the clear linkage between migration and development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, that is, the concerted improvement of economic and social conditions at both origin and destination.

Migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays. Mixed with elements of unforeseeability, emergency, and complexity, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions. The United Nations is actively playing a catalyst role in this area, with the aim of creating more dialogues and interactions within countries and regions, as well as propelling experience exchange and collaboration opportunities.

To mark this year’s International Migrants Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to come together and remember the refugees and migrants who have lost their lives or have disappeared while trying to reach safe harbour after arduous journeys across seas and deserts.

IOM invites people all over the world to hold the first global Candlelight Vigil on December 18 to commemorate the migrants whose lives have been lost this year. Each of them has a name, a story and left their homelands seeking better opportunities and safety for themselves and in many cases for their families - aspirations that all of us strive for.  Read more about the vigil.


December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Kinder, Gentler Nation? Denmark wants to seize jewelry and cash from refugees

A Modern Love Story? Love in a Time of Deportation


 David Noriega on Buzzfeed tells an unlikely love story that he calls "Love in a Time of Deportation."  Here is the teaser:  "He was an inmate, facing deportation over a minor arrest. She was a guard, fed up with her job at a for-profit prison. They fell in love, but living happily ever after was not going to happen."  Click the link above to read more.




December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Aliens, Aggravated Felons and Worse: When Words Breed Fear and Fear Breeds Injustice by Emily C. Torstveit Ngara


Aliens, Aggravated Felons and Worse: When Words Breed Fear and Fear Breeds Injustice by Emily C. Torstveit Ngara, University of Baltimore School of Law, October 2, 2015, Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Forthcoming

Abstract: As presidential candidates casually and inaccurately throw the term “anchor baby” into public discourse, the time is right to examine the Immigration and Nationality Act for many other examples of misleading language in the statute. This article undertakes the critical task of examining how the language of immigration law, using prevailing immigration metaphors, manipulates perceptions of noncitizens. From the use of the term “alien” to describe any noncitizen and emphasize otherness, to describing “prosecutorial” enforcement decisions to strengthen the alien-as-criminal narrative, these word choices are significant. This is especially true when noncitizens are interacting with the criminal justice system. These words and metaphors find their way into the collective subconscious and impact cognitive bias against immigrant communities. This article identifies several terms that are particularly problematic, then advocates for alternative language that more accurately reflects of the definitions provided by the INA.


December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Greenspan pushes for more high skill worker visas


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Nick Gass on Politico reports that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan opined yesterday that the United States should open up its H-1B visa program to more workers to grow the economy and boost productivity. Speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event on international economics, Greenspan maintained that he has always found the program rewarding skilled workers who attend college in the United States to be overly narrow.

In 2009, Greenspan testified before Congress that undocumented immigration makes a “significant” contribution to U.S. economic growth by providing a flexible workforce.  Greenspan testified that undocumented immigrants provide a “safety valve” as demand for workers rises and falls.


December 18, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Immigration Article of the Day: Producing Liminal Legality by Jennifer M. Chacón


Producing Liminal Legality by Jennifer M. Chacón, University of California, Irvine School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies November 30, 2015 Denver University Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 4, 2016

Abstract: Inside and outside of the sphere of immigration law, liminal legal statuses are proliferating. These legal categories function simultaneously as a means to effectuate administrative resource conservation through community-oriented risk management strategies and as a form of “preservation through transformation” that enable governmental actors to reassert and maintain control over populations identified as risky in ways that do not trigger the rights-protective schemes that evolved both internationally and domestically in the mid-Twentieth Century. This Article uses the existing literature on liminal legal subjects as a starting point for understanding and critiquing the legal mechanisms that produce liminal legality.


December 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hieleras (Iceboxes) in the Rio Grande Valley Sector: Lengthy Detention, Deplorable Conditions, and Abuse in CBP Holding Cells


The American Immigration Council has released Hieleras (Iceboxes) in the Rio Grande Valley Sector: Lengthy Detention, Deplorable Conditions, and Abuse in CBP Holding Cells, by Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D.

Each year, the Border Patrol—a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—holds hundreds of thousands of individuals, including women and children, in detention facilities near the U.S. southern border. These facilities are meant to hold individuals for a short time while they undergo initial processing and a decision is made about where they go next, taking into account whether they are adults or children. The holding cells are not designed for overnight or extended detention, and yet the research shows they are routinely used in this way.

This paper zeros in on CBP holding facilities—often referred to as “hieleras”—in the Rio Grande Valley. The Rio Grande Valley sector reports the highest number of apprehensions, including a disproportionately high share of women and minors apprehended and held there compared to all other southwest border sectors.

Using various sources of data, this new report takes a deep look at two aspects of detention in CBP facilities in the sector. First, based on never-before-released government data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, it reveals that individuals are detained for unconscionably long periods of time in facilities that are not designed nor equipped for overnight sleeping.

In addition, analyzing new survey data from the Binational Defense and Advocacy Program (Programa de Defensa e Incidencia Binacional), as well as declarations from a sample of women who were recently detained in the facilities, the paper sheds light on the deplorable conditions of detention that are prevalent in CBP holding cells, including extreme temperatures, overcrowding, and inadequate meals. 


December 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Urban Institute, The Positive Economic Impacts of the Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities

Naturalization ceremony

Servicemembers sworn in as citizens aboard the USS Midway in 2009

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This Urban Institute study finds that if the immigrants who are eligible for naturalization became citizens, their earnings would increase 8.9 percent, and combined earnings for the 21 cities would increase $5.7 billion. Federal, state, and city tax revenue would increase $2.0 billion. Expenditures in government benefits would decline $34 million in New York City and increase $4 million in San Francisco. With an additional $789 million in taxes for New York City and $90 million for San Francisco, the net fiscal impact of naturalization on these two cities is overwhelmingly positive.


December 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

K-Pop Meets Visa Waiver Program


Korean pop (“K-pop”) girl band Oh My Girl recently made immigration law news when Customs and Border Protection officials detained the group upon their arrival at Los Angeles International Airport. Initial reports suggested that CBP officials mistakenly believed the group to be sex workers. The BBC and LA Times report CBP’s explanation: the group allegedly sought to enter the US as tourists through the visa waiver program, but a search of their luggage and further questioning revealed that they planned to act as “working women” by participating in a promotional event and holding photo shoots for an upcoming album cover.  CBP states that they K-pop band should have obtained P-1 visas because of their plans to perform as entertainers, whereas the group’s manager says that P-1 visas were unnecessary because they did not plan to hold a solo concert.   Further statements from WM Entertainment, the company behind the group, are available here.

The visa waiver program has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following the Paris attacks. The Visa Waiver Improvement Act (H.R. 158), for instance, passed in the House of Representatives on December 9 but does not include provisions that address future attempts by K-pop artists to perform or conduct photo shoots on American soil.  The Visa Waiver Improvement Act has, however, raised concerns about the potential for national origin discrimination and the overbreadth of the proposed legislation.   


December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Throwback Thursday: Emily Ryo

Ryo, throwback style

Emily Ryo is not just an immprof; she's also a professor of sociology at USC. Her paper Deciding to Cross: Norms and Economics of Unauthorized Migration, 78(4) American Sociological Review 574-603 (2013), is today's pick for Throwback Thursday.

You're excused if you haven't read the paper before. The ASA, while the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association and the highest ranking journal in sociology, isn't available in Westlaw. (Though, in fairness, Kevin did bring it to your attention in 2013.)

The paper makes use of survey data collected through the Mexican Migration Project. It's used to assess the decision-making behind the choice to engage in unauthorized labor migration.

Ryo finds that the threat of arrest and punishment doesn't deter unauthorized migration, though "perceptions of availability of Mexican jobs and the dangers of border crossing" matter significantly. "General legal attitudes" matter too as do perceptions of "procedural justice," meaning whether immigration laws are legitimate and fairly applied. She concludes that the decision to migrate without authorization "cannot be fully understood without considering an individual’s underlying values and norms."

If you don't like reading double-columned papers (I feel you, they're unnatural), you can listen to this podcast from Sage Publications.

Do also check out Ryo's companion piece: Less Enforcement, More Compliance: Rethinking Unauthorized Migration, which immprof Juliet Stumpf covered on Jotwell.


December 17, 2015 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump's New Fan: Russian President Vladimir Putin



 Bloomberg reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a Donald Trump fan.  Why is this not surprising?  Accoring to the report,

President Vladimir Putin hailed Donald Trump as the “absolute leader” in the U.S. presidential contest, praising the candidate’s talk about building a deeper relationship with Russia.

The Republican candidate is “a very colorful character and talented,” Putin said after concluding his three-hour annual press conference in Moscow.

“He’s the absolute leader in the presidential race,” Putin said . . . .  

Putin dodged a question about the abusive language and combative ploys that Trump uses . . . . 


December 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Board Upholds Decision to Remove Former Salvadoran Minister of Defense from the U.S.


Archbishop Oscar Romero

 Yesterday,  the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the removal order of former Salvadoran Minister of Defense General José Guillermo García.  The ruling affirmed the findings of Immigration Judge Michael C. Horn that García assisted or otherwise participated in some of the most heinous human rights crimes committed in El Salvador in the 1980s, including the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the killing of four American churchwomen and two U.S. labor advisors, the massacre at El Mozote, and the torture of Salvadoran citizens.   

In 2014, Judge Horn’s ordered García’s removal from the United States and. catalogued the extent of the killings and torture in El Salvador when Garcia was Minister of Defense (October 1979 to April1983).  The judge found that these atrocities were “deliberate military policy” and that García should have known of these abuses and prevented them or punished the perpetrators.  Instead, García “fostered and allowed to thrive an institutional atmosphere in which the Salvadoran Armed Forces preyed upon defenseless civilians under the guise of fighting a war against communist subversives.”   

The Board’s decision was not made public.  The New York Times reportedly will seek to ensure that it becomes available. The Times previously won public access to the Immigration Judge’s decision. 

For further details, click here.


December 17, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Spare the rhetoric and save the refugees: National Perspective by Maryellen Fullerton

"We can never say it often or loudly enough: Immigrants, and refugees, revitalize and renew America." —@POTUS

From the Bookshelves: Human Rights In Children’s Literature: Imagination And The Narrative Of Law by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham


Human Rights In Children’s Literature: Imagination And The Narrative Of Law by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham, Oxford University Press 2015

How can children grow to realize their inherent rights and to respect the rights of others? And how are human rights norms disseminated so that they make a difference in children’s lives? In this book, Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham explore these questions through both human rights law and the texts much close to young people’s lives: children’s literature. Both international and domestic law affirm that children have rights. Human rights education research demonstrates that when children learn about human rights, they exhibit greater self-esteem and respect for the rights of others. The Convention on the Rights of the Child ─ the most widely-ratified human rights treaty ─ not only ensures that children have rights, it also requires that states make those rights "widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike." This first-of-its-kind requirement for a human rights treaty indicates that if rights are to be meaningful to the lives of children, then government and civil society must engage with those rights in ways that are relevant to children.

Human Rights in Children's Literature investigates children's rights under international law ─ identity and family rights, the right to be heard, the right to be free from discrimination, and other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights ─ and considers the way in which those rights are embedded in children's literature from Peter Rabbit to Horton Hears a Who! to Harry Potter. This book traverses children's rights law, literary theory, and human rights education to argue that in order for children to fully realize their human rights, they first have to imagine and understand them.



December 16, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Candidates Talk National Security, Terrorism, Immigration


Last night in Las Vegas, the candidates for the Republican nomination had the final debate of 2015.   The primary focus of the debate was on terrorism and national security.  Immigration was a topic as well and the candidates stated the predictable views. Senator Marco Rubio was challenged as soft on immigration as once a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul tracked Rubio for his failure to support securing the border. Donald Trump was Donald Trump. 

Rubio was the only candidate who expressed support for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants as part of immigration reform. Cruz portrayed Rubio as lining up with liberals in favoring “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.  As the International Business Times observed, it is interesting that the sons of Cuban immigrants are in such disagreement on immigration reform.


December 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alessandro Penso is TIME’s Pick for Photo Story of the Year


Portrait of a sub-Saharan migrant on Mount Gurugu, Nador, Morocco in 2012, where hundreds of African immigrants waited for the opportunity to cross the fence into Melilla, Spain Photo courtesy of TIME


A boat carrying migrants is helped by locals on the Greek island of Lesbos. The boat started to leak, forcing the passengers to swim ashore, Aug. 5, 2015.  Photo courtesy of TIME

Images of migrants and refugees climbing ashore in Lesbos, crammed together on arduous routes in Idomeni, Greece, or along train tracks in Tovarnik, have been seen by the vast public through the pages and websites of international publications and wire agencies. Without doubt, this was the most important story of the year, and when it came to select one photographer who have documented it outstandingly, one name rose above the fray: Alessandro Penso.

Penso is TIME’s Pick for Story of the Year. Alessandro Penso is a freelance photographer based in Italy. Deeply committed to social issues, his work focuses on the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.


December 16, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Documentary on Women Who Feed Migrants Traveling Atop “The Beast”

A relatively new documentary, “Llevate Mis Amores,” (English title:  All of Me) tells the story of Las Patronas, a group of women who cook food and feed migrants traveling across Mexico in the hopes of reaching the US.  The film is directed by Arturo Gonzalez Villasenor, who is interviewed about the film in this article. Here's the trailer:



December 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)