Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In deportation debate, don’t forget Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The Urban Institute reminds us that President Trump's recent immigration executive orders affect Asian as well as Latina/o immigrants.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last week detained hundreds of undocumented immigrants, including at least one who qualifies for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action, prompting emotional reactions from people on both sides of the issue. But public debate about President Trump’s pledge to secure the country’s southern border, cancel DACA, and crack down on illegal immigration often focuses on the large groups of Latinx beneficiaries, overlooking the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families who will also be affected by the president’s immigration actions.

Asian American and Pacific Islanders accounted for about 14 percent of the undocumented immigrant population and 13 percent of immigrants immediately eligible for DACA when the program was announced in 2012. Disproportionately low DACA application rates among potentially eligible AAPIs reflect an urgent need for improved multilingual community outreach and education in all service areas.


February 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pro-Trump town riled up after immigration officials arrest popular restaurant manager



Fox News reports that a southern Illinois community that solidly backed President Donald Trump is rallying behind a Mexican restaurant manager who has been detained by immigration officials.

Letters of support for Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, who has a U.S. citizen wife and three U.S. citizen children, have poured in from West Frankfort's mayor, police chief, high school athletic director and the county prosecutor. They describe Hernandez as a role model and praise his robust civil involvement, including funding school scholarships, benefit dinners for families in need and hosting a law enforcement appreciation event.

Hernandez came to the United States in the 1990s but didn't obtain legal status, according to friends. He has been the manager of La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant for a decade in the community with coal mining roots, about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis.

He was arrested at his home earlier this month and remains in custody at a U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement facility.

Though the community largely backed Trump — who has made an aggressive stance on immigration central to his agenda — many residents of West Frankfort said Hernandez' case has complicated their views on immigration policy.

"I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that," Lori Barron, the owner of a beauty salon, told The New York Times. "But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it's absolutely terrible that he could be taken away."


February 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Argument analysis: Justices divided on meaning of “sexual abuse of a minor” for removal purposes


Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, a case that arose from the U.S. government’s effort to remove a lawful permanent resident for a “sex crime.”   Here is my recap for SCOTUSBlog.  In my estimation,  the justices appeared closely divided on the question of statutory interpretation before the court.

My conclusion:

"In sum, the justices did not seem to have reached a consensus as to whether Esquivel-Quintana’s crime constituted “sexual abuse of a minor” under the immigration laws. The justices’ questions revealed the complicated interaction among the relevant statutory provisions; the high stakes of removal for lawful permanent residents, the complex state/federal issues involved, and the intersection of criminal and immigration law add to the difficulty and significance of this case. A decision is expected by the end of June."


February 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Video shows Tucson police shoving 86-year-old woman to pavement



The Washington Post reports on the body camera footage of a recent protest against President Trump’s immigration policies in Tucson, Arizons shows an 86-year-old woman, weighing less than 100 pounds and standing about 4 feet, 5 inches tall, approaching police officers and pointing at them as she shouted indiscernible words.

Then, a police officer appears to push her arm, causing her to fall backward and hit her head on the pavement. As a 65-year-old woman beside her reaches down to help the woman up, an officer pepper-sprays her in the face, temporarily blinding her and causing her to turn away in pain.

The video footage, released Friday by the Tucson Police Department to a local television station, illustrates the tense clashes from the Feb. 16 protest there that began peacefully but soon escalated as protesters reportedly began disrupting rush-hour traffic. Three police officers sustained minor injuries and four protesters were arrested.

Click the Post link above to watch the video.


February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trauma Sensitive Interventions: Helping Asylum Applicants Receive Protection

Guest blogger: Marshal Arnwine, University of San Francisco Law Student:

In order to qualify for asylum, an applicant must prove that he or she is a refugee, a person unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country or place of last habitual residence because of past persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution, on the basis of race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, religion, or political opinion. When the applicant is presenting their case, the story must be credible. A tremendous challenge asylum applicants face is the ability to tell a consistent and highly detailed story of their past persecution or experiences. The inability to tell a consistent story can derive from the severe trauma an asylum applicant experiences. The severe trauma often leads to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can cause a person who suffered torture and beatings to blend the different occurrences together and not remember details from a particular event.

PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, either by experiencing it or witnessing it. PTSD can affect an asylum applicant’s credibility. For example,

imagine if you were faced with the task of recalling a traumatic event in your life to an immigration judge and if your story does not “sound” credible, your asylum application can be denied. That is an incredible amount of pressure. Unfortunately, this is the pressure that asylum applicants often feel, and worse, they often lack guidance on how to alleviate that pressure. Attorneys should be diligent in preparing their client for their asylum hearing.

I propose that immigration attorneys send asylum applicants to trauma sensitive interventions before a hearing; that will improve the client’s chances of telling the story credibly, increasing their chances of having a winning asylum application. As of 2016, Veteran Affairs provides two forms of therapy to Veterans who suffer with PTSD. I believe that the same therapy Veterans receive can also benefit asylum applicants in being prepared to tell a consistent credible story.

The first form is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is known to be the most effective type of counseling for PTSD. In cognitive therapy, the therapist helps patients understand and change how they think about their trauma and its aftermath. The goal is to help the patient understand how certain thoughts about their trauma causes stress and worsen their symptoms. I believe CBT would be helpful to asylum applicants because they would know what thoughts and words trigger certain negative feelings that could cause them to inaccurately recall what happened.

 In the initial sessions of CBT, the patients learn how to identify their thoughts and what makes them feel afraid or upset. The therapist helps replace those thoughts with more accurate and less distressing thoughts. I believe it would be important for the asylum applicant’s attorney to be present at the therapy sessions too. In preparation for a removal hearing, it would be beneficial for the attorney to hear how the therapist uses alternative phrasing to help the client tell the traumatic story without getting consumed in negative emotions.

In the CBT sessions, patients talk about any negative or unhelpful thoughts they had about the trauma and work with therapist to consider other ways of thinking about the situation. When considering CBT as an option for asylum applicants, attorneys must keep in mind that CBT is most effective when the sessions are completed. Normally, sessions occur over a twelve week period are sixty to ninety minutes each. If the asylum applicant has time to participate in CBT before their hearing, it would be worth the investment. The trauma sensitive program would allow the asylum applicant to be mentally prepared to recall their traumatic story and tell it consistently to persuade an immigration judge that their story is credible.

The second form of therapy offered to Veterans with PTSD is called prolonged exposure therapy (PE). PE teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma related memories, feelings, and situations they have been avoiding since the trauma occurred. The goal of PE is to confront the challenges the patient has with rethinking the trauma and decrease the PTSD symptoms.

The therapist starts by giving the individual an overview of treatment and getting to know more about the individual’s past experiences. It would be important for the attorney, the asylum client and the therapist to develop a relationship. Being friendly and personable with the asylum client would make it more effective to advocate for them. Also, the client would feel more comfortable sharing this very personal information to the therapist and attorney.

Lastly, in PE the therapist teaches breathing exercises to help the patient manage anxiety. If an attorney can get their asylum client to manage their anxiety when telling their traumatic story, I believe that would increase the probability of the client telling the story accurately and consistently.


February 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

SB 54 -- California as a Sanctuary State

Guest blogger: Kathia Morales, University of San Francisco Law Student:

California’s legislature has recently proposed to make California a “Sanctuary State” in response to President Trump’s aggressive stance on immigration. Cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles already have sanctuary status meaning that local agencies do not actively cooperative with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means that on a routine stop or arrest, officers are not inquiring about a person’s legal status. What does a “sanctuary state” entail? According to a Vice News television report, the proposed legislation would prohibit local, county, and campus police departments and state agencies from collaboration with federal immigration authorities. It would also make public schools, courthouses and health facilities a safe haven or “Safe Zone.” More important, SB 54 would prevent the federal government from accessing data on the undocumented population found in the state database. Recently, more than 50 organizations showed up in strong support of the legislation. The California Sheriff’s Association, however, is one of the major opponents to SB 54.

            President Trump has threatened to defund sanctuary cities. California receives a total of $368 billion in federal funds. Dan Reeves, the press secretary for State Senator and President pro tem Kevin de Leon (D – Los Angeles) believes that Trump’s comments regarding defunding the state or cities are “empty threats.” According to Gustavo Solis of the Desert Sun newspaper, “the bill aims to limit what information local agencies can gather so that when ICE asks about immigration status, local agencies are allowed to communicate but won’t have much to say.” This would therefore meet the requirements to maintain federal aid.

            Currently, more than 3 million undocumented immigrants are estimated to be living in California. I believe the idea of a “sanctuary state” would reiterate that the majority of Californians disagree with the president and are going to maintain dignity for all Californians regardless of immigration status.  This bill would prevent cities and counties from extending their authority by collaborating with immigration officials in the rounding up of the undocumented population. This is a positive development because our local and county law enforcement should be focused on preventing crime, not assisting in removal operations of our undocumented populations. A study from the American Community Survey in 2010 shows that the undocumented population is more law abiding than citizens of the United States, and less likely to be incarcerated.

            Unfortunately, there are cities in the state such as Fresno and Bakersfield who feel inclined to question an arrestee on their legal status and report violators to immigration officials. Sheriff Youngblood of Kern County stated he was uncertain he would follow SB 54 if it became state law.

            Within the past few weeks ICE has conducted raids in sanctuary cities across the country including Los Angeles without the assistance of city and county officials. Similarly, ICE has been spotted in San Francisco’s Mission district. This shows that just because California would become a sanctuary state does not mean that ICE would not be active or visible in the state. This bill would only hamper ICE’s ability to seize the undocumented population. The Trump administration’s new immigration priorities expand on Obama’s priorities for deportation, increasing the eligible population for deportation.

        The largest and most progressive state in the country should take the lead in fighting back against the president’s dehumanizing immigration priorities. The criminalization of the undocumented population is a surreal reality and needs to be combatted by California and other progressive jurisdictions across the country. Taking such a stance would send a clear message to the White House and show our undocumented community that although our border may soon close, our back is not turned on the folks who have contributed to American society.


February 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

DACA Recipient a Major League Soccer Star


The Los Angeles Times reports on an immigrant who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

A first-round pick of D.C. United in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Miguel Aguilar is believed to be the first DACA recipient to become a professional athlete. That temporary status allowed him to work, get a driver’s license and graduate from the University of San Francisco with a finance degree and a 3.7 grade-point average.

Aguilar’s parents separated when he was 9 and his mother Carmen fought to protect two sons and a daughter in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, where running gun battles between rival drug cartels had turned the city into a danger zone. So she secured travel visas for her children and sold the family’s belongings at a yard sale to finance their journey to Sacramento, where relatives took them in.

“We were just kind of leaving everything behind,” Aguilar remembered. “We weren’t thinking of coming back.” So when those visas expired, the Aguilars exchanged life in Mexico for life as undocumented immigrants in the shadows in the U.S.


February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump's Immigration Plans & Rural Medicine

If you live in a big city or metropolitan area, you probably don't think much about your healthcare. If you need a specialist, one or two or thirty are just around the corner. That's not the case in rural America. It's not even the case in urban centers (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as having populations of 50K or more) that are otherwise surrounded by rural America.

For those of us who live in these zones, finding medical specialists can mean hours and hours of driving. This is not an exaggeration. I have driven nearly 7 hours to get to Rochester, MN, and I have driven 5 hours to get to St Paul, MN, in pursuit of medical care for my family. Those are one-way calculations. Which explains why, in December, I was so thrilled to get a referral to a specialist just one city away. It meant a mere two-and-a-half hour round trip drive.

The former Senator of North Dakota, Kent Conrad, understood this problem. He is the name behind the Conrad 30 Program, which waives the J-visa's foreign residency requirement for foreign physicians hired by states to practice in medically underserved areas of the country.

It's an amazing program. But President Trump's immigration policies threaten our ability to recruit and retain doctors in rural America.

CNN Money spoke with one doctor, a Syrian citizen who is just one of five full-time pediatric endocrinologists in the 150,000 square-mile area that covers North and South Dakota. Dr. Al Nofal worries that qualified doctors "may no longer want to practice in the United States."

I'm not worried, I'm terrified. 


February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Criminal Removal Case


The Supreme Court will here oral arguments this morning in Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, a removal case based on a criminal conviction for a "sex crime" involving consensual sex with an underage girlfriend.  Here is a link to a preview of the argument.  I will be re-capping the argument for SCOTUSBlog.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE (Feb. 27, 2:15 p.m. PST):  Here is the transcript to the argument.


February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mexican Actor States Opposition to Trump's "Wall" during Oscars


Making worldwide news, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal was responsible for one of the most directly political moments during the 2017 Oscars ceremony, when he challenged President Donald Trump's planned border wall between the United States and Mexico.


Self reports on other political statements at the Oscars.  One more subtle message was by film director Ava DuVernayAs she put it on Twitter,

"A small sign of solidarity. I chose to wear a gown by a designer from a majority Muslim country. Thanks to @AshiStudio of Lebanon. ."



February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

America’s mass deportation system is rooted in racism

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: U.S. Congress Member Adriano Espaillat (Dominican Republic)


Freshman Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) was the first formerly undocumented immigrant to be elected to Congress. He has expressed disappointment that the country he once saw as “a country of aspirations” has turned into “a country of deportation.”

“Are we a country of deportation or are we a country of aspirations?” Espaillat asked CNN “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota. “I think that’s what’s on the table right now. Have we changed the course of America? Are we now a heavy-handed, bullying country, or are we a country that anybody could do anything, including an undocumented young boy that’s now a member of Congress.”

Espaillat was brought by his parents from the Dominican Republic to the United States when he was just nine-years-old. He lived with his grandparents who worked as a seamstress and in a Ray Ban factory in New York.

CNN reports that, decades before being elected to Congress, Rep. Espaillat arrived in America as a young boy on a visa with his family before becoming undocumented.  "I came here at the age of 9 with my parents and my brother and sister. We were here on a visa and overstayed," he told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Wednesday on "New Day." "I was a young boy but I remember my grandparents talking to us about being careful where we went, not approaching any strangers."

"It sent a chilling effect to anybody who doesn't have any documents," the New York Democrat said. "How do you move around? How do you go to school? How do you go to a store?"
Those days of living in fear of being deported shape his view of how children of undocumented parents must be processing President Donald Trump's immigration proposals, Espaillat said.

February 26, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who Was Not at the Academy Awards? Iranian director Asghar Farhadi


As previously reported on ImmigrationProf, two refugee documentaries have been nominated for Academy Awards.  The Conversation reveals a prominent foreign absentee from this year’s Oscars ceremonies.  Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” is one of five films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. But last month, after President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iran, Farhadi decided to boycott the Academy Awards ceremony.

“To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity,” he wrote.


UPDATE (Feb. 28):  The Salesman won the Oscar. 


A statement read on behalf of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who was absent from Academy Awards, challenged President Trump’s “inhumane” travel ban.


February 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fore!!!!! Why President Trump's immigration policy could affect golf's workforce more than you think


We know that President Trump likes golf and has built a golf course or two.  Perhaps the argument that might sway him on immigration is that the administration's heightened enforcement will adversely impact golf course maintenance workers.  Gabriel Thompson for Golf Digest looks at the concern that Trump's immigration enforcement policies might have on immigreant workers on the nation's golf courses.



February 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

US almost deports French Jewish Holocaust scholar

Poetry Break: Let America Be America Again

I like to use poetry in the classroom when I can. As I've blogged before, I find Warsan Shire's Home to be a provocative entry into asylum law. And Psalm by Wisława Szymborska is an excellent kick-off read.

Langston Hughes' Let America Be American Again might also be worth a look. Here are some snippets to whet your appetite:

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.


O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

It is not a happy poem. While the title of the work speaks of an America that once was, the poem itself talks about an America that never was: "(America never was America to me.)" And yet, near the end, there is a stanza of hope:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!


February 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Times They Are a Changing: Immigration Headlines in a Time of Trump


It has been a wild and wooly few weeks in the U.S. immigration world.  The headlines tell us just how much immigration enforcement has changed with the inauguration of President Trump.  As the New York Times reports, immigration officers feel emboldened by the Trump administration's support for aggressive enforcement measures. It thus seems likely that we will see more events like those described below in coming weeks, months, and years.

News from Florida

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, born and raised in Kentucky, USA, was detained for hours by immigration officials at a Florida airport. Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini. Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn't as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?



News from California

Australia’s best-loved children’s author, Mem Fox, was left sobbing and shaken after being detained for two hours and aggressively interrogated by immigration officials at Los Angeles International airport.  Fox says she’s unlikely to ever travel to the United States again after being made to feel like “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.”


News from Mississippi

The Los Angeles Times reports on immigration raids at a string Asian restaurants in Mississippi.  It now appears that my colleague Jack Chin's analysis of "The War on Chinese Restaurants," can be updated to include the immigration operations of the 21st century.


February 25, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Summer Seminar for College and University Faculty: Bridging National Borders in North America

Great International Railway Suspension Bridge, Niagara Falls, Poole 29.
Monday, July 10, 2017Friday, August 4, 2017
Led by Benjamin H. Johnson, Loyola University Chicago
NEH Summer Programs - McNickle

The Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies will be hosting a four-week summer 2017 NEH seminar for college and university faculty that explores the history of North America’s border and borderlands. In keeping with the recent work in the field and the collection strengths of the Newberry Library, this seminar will take a broad geographic approach, framing borderlands as distinct places at particular moments in time where no single people or sovereignty imposed its will. The organizing theme is the process of border-making. We will examine three aspects of this theme: how nation-states claiming exclusive territorial sovereignty re-drew the continent’s map; the intersection and sometimes collision of these efforts with other ways of organizing space and people; and the social and political consequences of the enforcement of national territoriality. Two questions guide our examinations of these developments: how did diverse peoples challenge national borders, or use or alter them for their own purposes? And, how does consideration of these topics recast our understanding of the intertwined histories of indigenous peoples, Mexico, the United States, and Canada?

  1. Institute Description
  2. Faculty
  3. Borderlands Research at the Newberry
  4. Stipend and Housing Information
  5. Eligibility and Selection Criteria
  6. How to Apply

View the syllabus.

Applications are due by March 1, 2017; notifications will be made March 31, 2017

For further information, please contact Benjamin Johnson at bjohnson25@luc.edu.


Benjamin Johnson, Associate Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago

Patricia Marroquin Norby, Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Julianna Barr, Associate Professor of History, Duke University

Kornel Chang, Associate Professor of History and American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark

Geraldo Cadava, Associate Professor of History, Northwestern University

This Summer Seminar is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency. The Newberry Library is an independent library for research and reference in the humanities.


February 25, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peter Margulies: The DHS Border Memo II: Removal First, Hearing Later?


Peter Margulies on LawFare critically analyzes the constitutional implications of a possible Trump administration immigration reform.   He writes:

"One subject of senior U.S. officials’ talks with Mexico on Thursday was a proposal in the recently issued DHS memo on border enforcement that would return undocumented noncitizens to Mexico before a U.S. deportation hearing (See Memo Part H, p. 7). News reports have indicated that U.S. officials plan to use this approach to send nationals from Central American states back to Mexico if those individuals have entered the U.S. along the southern border. However, there are serious legal problems with this pre-hearing return proposal, including problems under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)."

Click the link above to read Margulies' analysis.


February 25, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

In a Time of Trump Why Immigrant Students Are Changing Their Minds About UC President Janet Napolitano


Louis Freedberg in The Atlantic analyzes how students' perceptions of University of California President Janet Napolitano are changing.  When she was named UC President in 2013, immigrant students protested her appointment.  Over time, however, Napolitano has emerged as one of the leading defenders of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Donald Trump vowed during the presidential campaign to rescind. The program has provided temporary relief from deportation to three-quarters of 1 million undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, including many attending the University of California.

Soon after arriving at the university, Napolitano convened a national summit on undocumented students. She set up a $5 million fund to assist undocumented students attending the system’s 10 campuses. She oversaw the creation of the Undocumented Student Legal Services Center, based at the UC Davis School of Law, and worked with Governor Jerry Brown to create a loan program for undocumented students.

February 25, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)