Friday, March 31, 2017

ICE Targets Austin Due to City's Sanctuary Policy?

From International Business Times:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deliberately targeted Austin, Texas after talks between the agency’s officials and local authorities went awry, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin said during a public court session Tuesday. Immigration officials reported at least 50 people were arrested in Austin – typically described as a sanctuary city for its welcoming stance on immigration – early last month after a federal crackdown began following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Read more....


March 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

UC law students pitch in to help immigrants assert their rights


Credit: Photo courtesy Chris Homandberg.  Protesters at Los Angeles International Airport after a Jan. 27 executive order limited travel from seven Muslim majority countries.

Needless to say, I am proud of all UC law students who have taken up the challenge of helping immigrants in a time of great need.

On a recent Saturday morning (when most people are relaxing) at the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento, dozens of UC Davis law students turned out to offer free legal assistance to throngs of anxious immigrants.

They helped some file papers for U.S. citizenship, and assisted others with designating authorized caregivers for their children, should they be deported.

Put together by UC Davis law students in conjunction with the Mexican Consulate and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, the clinic is just one of the ways in which UC law students have stepped up in recent weeks to help meet a surging demand for legal services.

For more details, click here.


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Catholic Institutions Instrumental in Immigrant Integration

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) today released findings from two surveys distributed to two broad sets of US Catholic institutions – (1) Catholic social and charitable agencies and (2) parishes and schools – to capture their work in helping integrate immigrants in the United States. The surveys – administered in collaboration with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church, and Catholic Charities USA – sought to:

  • gain a better understanding of the Catholic Church’s institutional work on immigrant integration;
  • document promising and successful practices;
  • identify obstacles to this work; and
  • assess how Catholic institutions measure the effectiveness of their work with immigrants.

The surveys were distributed to institutions that serve and work extensively with immigrant communities. Together, the Catholic institutions surveyed offer a broad array of social, legal, charitable, and pastoral services, including: education; bi-lingual/bi-cultural masses; language classes; legal services; counseling; scholarships; meals; clothes pantries; job training; health services; and cultural events.
CMS found:

  • The top five parish and school services accessed by immigrants were religious education, pastoral services, youth ministry, pastoral counseling, and elementary school. Social and charitable organizations indicated that their top five services accessed by immigrants were education, naturalization services, legal services, counseling, and interpretation/translation.
  • When asked to list the programs and services that most strongly advanced immigrant integration, parish and school respondents identified bilingual and bicultural mass and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and social and charitable entities said that legal services and ESL classes were their most successful integration programs.
  • Nearly two thirds of parish and school respondents (63 percent) and a high percentage of social and charitable organizations conducted outreach to immigrant communities, mainly through “word of mouth.”
  • Eighty-seven percent of social and charitable entities and 55 percent of parishes and schools reported that they educate their broader faith community (natives and immigrants) about issues affecting immigrants.

Among other striking findings, CMS found a disparity between immigrant participation and Catholic leadership. While immigrants constituted 39 percent of those who regularly attended mass, they constituted only 20 percent of parish and school leadership and 21 percent of paid staff. Social and charitable agencies reported that, while 75 percent of persons who accessed their services were immigrants, immigrants constituted only 31 percent of paid staff and 22 percent of program leadership.
Finally, 28 percent of social and charitable organizations identified the “receiving community” – i.e., lack of community support, racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and restrictionist immigration policies – as the largest obstacle they faced in advancing immigrant integration.
“This report offers a portrait of how a particular faith community comes together to welcome, assist, and incorporate immigrants in its own institutions and in US society,” said Donald Kerwin, CMS’s executive director and co-author of the report. “The report highlights the extensive efforts by Catholic institutions to improve the lives of newcomers. The nation can learn a lot from an institution that continues to integrate immigrants and unify newcomers and natives around shared values.”
The report, “Building Structures of Solidarity and Instruments of Justice: The Catholic Immigrant Integration Surveys,” is available here.


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)



A man looks through the bars of the border wall into the U.S.  Photo courtesy of Davis Bacon

David Bacon offers a glimpse into the sadness of the wall along the U.S./Mexico border on The Reality Check.


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanctuary Jurisdiction Symposium


The Santa Clara Law Review and the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center cordially invite students, faculty, practitioners, and members of the immigration law community to our Sanctuary Jurisdiction Symposium. The event will explore the history of sanctuary jurisdictions, constitutional issues often associated with federal and subfederal immigration policies, and the potential future of these policies under the new Trump administration.

In recent months immigration issues have risen to the forefront of political and legal debate. Legal scholars and local attorneys have attempted to make sense of the new political regime and its ramifications on both our country and local communities. Our 2017 Symposium panelists will address the rise of sanctuary jurisdictions and what we might expect from the legal responses to threats of defunding.

The symposium is on April 21.


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Revised Travel Ban Headed to Courts of Appeals, Supreme Court?


United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Lewis F. Powell, Jr. United States Courthouse & Annex
Richmond, Virginia

There are two appeals in cases enjoining President Trump's executive order revised travel ban.  In Hawaii v. Trump, the Justice Department filed a notice of appeal of the Hawaii district court's preliminary injunction.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear oral arguments in an appeal of an injunction of parts of the executive order entered by a district court in Maryland.  (Here is the court's webpage for the case.).  The court is considering en banc review of the case.  The plaintiffs in the Maryland case are two refugee groups, the International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS, as well as individuals affected by the order. They are represented by a team of lawyers from the National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.  


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Before the Supreme Court: Maslenjak v. United States -- Denaturalization Case


The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Maslenjak v. United States on April 28.  The case involves an ethnic Serb who fled Bosnia and allegedly made false statements to U.,S. immigration officers about her husband's military service in Bosnia.  The petitioner states the question in the case as whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th Circuits, that a naturalized American citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement. 

An amicus brief filed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice and other groups contends that

"The Sixth Circuit’s holding—that under 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 1015(a), any knowing false statement or omission can be grounds for denaturalization and criminal prosecution—would have dire consequences for naturalized citizens, significantly discourage lawful immigrants from seeking citizenship, and undermine a cornerstone of American society and values. As amici know well, the naturalization process is rife with potential for irrelevant misstatements, particularly for applicants who speak English as a second language and apply without the benefit of professional assistance. If any irrelevant misstatement can be grounds for denaturalization and prosecution, a substantial number of citizens will be placed at risk."


March 31, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Law Review Symposium -- Law and the Border: Defining our Nation, April 7

Download Symposium Schedule


The University of La Verne Law Review invites you to join us for an important conversation for this year’s symposium, Law and the Border: Defining our Nation, with keynote speaker Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF. This year’s symposium will allow an opportunity for its guests to be at the forefront of discussions concerning current legal, political, and cultural issues facing both the United States and Mexico.

Through three panels focusing on Illicit Activities, Immigration, and Economics the symposium seeks in bringing dual perspectives of both the United States and Mexico. Each of these panels will consist of experts from various disciplines providing insight into current issues concerning law,
policy, and civil rights; including what the possible effects future decisions could have on both nations.

Students, professors, practicing professionals, and other members of the community will be in attendance. After each panel, guests of the symposium will have an opportunity to ask the panelists questions and engage  in interactive dialogue regarding the presentations.

Date:  April 7

Time:  9:45 am - 3:30 pm

For the conference schedule, see Download Symposium Schedule


March 30, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Resistance at Tule Lake


Resistance at Tule Lake

The film Resistance at Tule Lake tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to protest the U.S. government's program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as "disloyals" and imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to resist in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship. Giving voice to experiences that have been marginalized for over 70 years, this documentary challenges the nationalist, one-sided ideal of wartime "loyalty."

This documentary is currently in final post-production. Missing from this fine cut: color correction; final archival masters; final motion graphics and titles; complete original score, sound effects, and sound mix.


March 30, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Seattle sues Trump administration over threats against sanctuaries cities


Reuters reports that the city of Seattle sued U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday over its executive order seeking to withhold federal funds from "sanctuary cities," arguing it amounted to unconstitutional federal coercion.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told reporters the Constitution forbade the federal government from pressuring cities, “yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Once again, this new administration has decided to bully.”

“Things like grants helping us with child sex trafficking are not connected to immigration,” Murray said, adding: "It is time for cities to stand up and ask the courts to put an end to the anxiety in our cities and the chaos in our system."

The Mayor of Seattle posted the following statement online explaining the lawsuit:

"Today, the City of Seattle, under the direction of Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes, filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s “sanctuary cities” Executive Order (No. 13768, 82 Fed. Reg. 8799). The order threatened to strip federal funding from cities that refused to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement and was reiterated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week. In this suit, the City of Seattle seeks a declaration that it is acting consistently with federal law and that the U.S. Constitution precludes application of the Order to deny it federal funds to which it is otherwise entitled. Seattle, a welcoming city where City employees do not inquire about immigration status and where all services are available to every resident, will argue the order is unconstitutional and that the City has not violated federal law.

“Seattle will not be bullied by this White House or this administration and today we are taking legal action against President Trump’s unconstitutional order,” said Mayor Murray. “We have the law on our side: the federal government cannot compel our police department to enforce federal immigration law and cannot use our federal dollars to coerce Seattle into turning our backs on our immigrant and refugee communities. We simply won’t do it. We are proud to be a welcoming city that is inclusive of all our residents. We are a safer and more prosperous city because of our immigrant and refugee communities and will continue standing with them.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Western District of Washington today, makes two main arguments about the Executive Order:
1. The order is unconstitutional and ambiguous, and creates uncertainty around Seattle’s budget by threatening federal funding. It violates the 10th amendment by attempting to force local entities to enforce federal immigration law, and violates the Spending Clause by attempting to coerce local action through the denial of federal funds.
2. The City of Seattle and our welcoming city policies do not violate federal law. The Executive Order calls for localities to cooperate with the federal government and share information. City employees are directed to cooperate with, not hinder, federal actions; however, City employees are prohibited from inquiring into immigration status. The City doesn’t prohibit information sharing, but instead limits the collection of information.

The ambiguity of the Executive Order leaves the City unable to accurately plan its upcoming budget. The Trump administration has made repeated threats cited in the lawsuit.

“Like Monday’s irresponsible press conference by the Attorney General, the Administration’s continual saber rattling is causing real harm in America’s cities,” said City Attorney Pete Holmes. “This lawsuit represents Seattle’s attempt to mute histrionics in favor of a plain statement of the law. I hope the President will refrain from tweeting his legal opinion before our Courts have an opportunity to do so.”

The City of Seattle has previously joined briefs against President Trump’s Executive Orders on travel from specific Muslim countries and filed a set of Freedom of Information Act requests for details of the administration’s definition of “sanctuary city.” While led by the City, other jurisdictions are welcome and encouraged to join this effort.

City of Seattle budget background
· The City of Seattle receives federal funds in support of a wide variety of programs and through many channels, including direct from the federal granting agency, or indirect via the State of Washington, King County, or other interlocal agencies, universities, etc.
· These funds are generally applied for and awarded to individual departments, which administer the spending of the awarded funds.
· Many of the awards are multi-year awards, which departments program and spend throughout the eligible use period. Spending is not necessarily even across a multi-year award.
· Most federal funds are reimbursed to the City after programmatic or capital spending has occurred, though in some cases the award is made up front.

City of Seattle 2017 federal funding
· The City anticipates at least $55 million of federal funds to support operating expenses in 2017.
· The City also receives federal support for its multi-year capital budget and expects to receive over $99 million of capital project support in 2017 alone.

Department of Justice (DOJ) funding
· The City of Seattle receives federal funding from the Department of Justice (DOJ); these grant funds support multiple departments including the Seattle Police Department, Human Services Department and the City Auditor’s Office.
· The City is scheduled to receive approximately $2.6 million from DOJ grants in 2017, a part of over $13 million in DOJ funds allocated over a multi-year period.
· The City’s Department of Justice Grants support a variety of efforts including but not limited to:
o Domestic violence prevention;
o Efforts to detect and interrupt internet crimes against children;
o Youth violence prevention;
o Crime prevention;
o Community-oriented policing;
o Gun violence prevention;
o Reducing recidivism rates
o Body-worn video development;
o School and community safety; and
o Human trafficking investigation and prosecution."

San Francisco and Santa Clara also have filed suit challenging the Trump administration's efforts to defund "sanctuary cities."


March 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Ethics and the Context of Justice (Review Essay) by Linda S. Bosniak

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lee v. United States: Practical Answers for Practical Questions – Nancy Morawetz and Sejal Zota

At the Supreme Court argument yesterday in Lee v. United States, the Justices had some very practical questions about how criminal defense lawyers handle cases of clients charged with offenses that could lead to mandatory deportation, and the role of the courts, prosecutors and defense lawyers in obtaining appropriate outcomes. We have a few thoughts about these questions based on our respective experience in this field- one of us is an immigration professor who specializes on the intersection of immigration and criminal law, the other works for a nonprofit organization that has extensive and longstanding practical experience advising defense counsel about the immigration consequences of convictions and helping them negotiate pleas that are sensitive to clients’ concerns about deportation.

Question 1: Does a trial judge’s Rule 11-type inquiry serve the same function as effective representation by defense counsel?

At the argument, Justice Kennedy asked about the implications of the district judge’s Rule 11 inquiry into the plea. One important point that might not have been clear is that a judge’s rule 11 inquiry serves a very different function from the defense lawyer’s obligation and cannot cure a defense attorney’s failure to accurately advise a defendant about the immigration consequences of a plea. First, judges and defense attorneys play distinct roles in the criminal justice system and defendants properly rely on the advice of counsel irrespective of a judge’s warnings. Judges are neutral arbiters—the Fifth Amendment requires them to ensure that a defendant’s plea is voluntary. See Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242-44 (1969). Attorneys, by contrast, have a duty under the Sixth Amendment to marshal the law and the facts (including confidential ones) to advise clients whether proposed pleas are in their interests, as defined by their clients’ goals, and to negotiate a plea that meets the client’s objectives. Second, judges generally give boilerplate notifications about immigration consequences without regard to the defendant’s individual circumstances, or the best interests, of a defendant; they do not constitute advice about whether to take a plea in light of the facts of the case, the governing law, and the client’s goals. Third, when a defense attorney’s failure to accurately advise about immigration consequences (and in the Lee case – the lawyer’s affirmative misadvice) prevents the attorney from negotiating an alternative plea that eliminates or mitigates immigration consequences a judicial notification cannot cure the resulting prejudice. In a case such as Mr. Lee’s where defense counsel has assured the defendant that there are no immigration consequences, the most that the court notification accomplishes is to confuse the defendant, or worse yet, to solidify his misperception of the immigration consequences.

In Mr. Lee’s case, moreover, the judge’s inquiry was only about the possibility of deportation, not the actual consequence of Mr. Lee’s plea, which was mandatory removal. No one at the trial stage – judge, prosecutor, or defense lawyer – understood that Mr. Lee was entering a plea to an offense that would bar him from a hearing before an immigration judge that would look at all the facts of his case and whether he should be deported.

Question 2: What would have happened if someone like Mr. Lee had declined to plead guilty to the charged offense in his case?

There was confusion at the argument regarding what would happen if someone like Mr. Lee had declined to plead guilty to the charged possession with intent to distribute offense. Justice Ginsburg asked if Mr. Lee could have asked the judge to charge the lesser-included offense of possession. The answer is that Mr. Lee's trial attorney could have requested such a lesser-included charge and the judge could have agreed to it, i.e., the prosecutor does not unilaterally have to offer such a charge. This is in fact precisely what happened in an earlier Supreme Court case, Price v. U.S., 123 S. Ct. 986 (2003), where the defendant there did get such a lesser-included charge.

Moreover, Mr. Lee could have offered to plead to different offense(s) that could have subjected him to more prison time than the prosecution got for his possession with intent to distribute plea. For example, Mr. Lee could have offered to plead instead to a possession offense in combination with a felony accessory offense, or he could have offered to plead to multiple possession offenses, and been subject to more prison time, yet avoid mandatory deportation.

The possibility of such alternate possible plea dispositions belie the government’s claims at argument that there is no evidence that there was any possibility of a better plea for Mr. Lee that the prosecution would have accepted. Alternate pleas, such as those described above, would be supported by the facts alleged by the prosecution in the case, and could also satisfy any prosecution demand that Mr. Lee’s prison sentence not be reduced. Thus, the evidence does show that both the goals of the prosecution, and the paramount goal of someone like Mr. Lee to avoid deportation, could realistically be satisfied once all parties are properly informed regarding the immigration consequences of alternate possible dispositions of the case. See Padilla, 130 S. Ct. 1473, 1486 (2010) (“By bringing deportation consequences into this process, the defense and prosecution may well be able to reach agreements that better satisfy the interests of both parties … Counsel who possess the most rudimentary understanding of the deportation consequences of a particular criminal offense may be able to plea bargain creatively with the prosecutor in order to craft a conviction and sentence that reduce the likelihood of deportation, as by avoiding a conviction for an offense that automatically triggers the removal consequence.”). Indeed, the reality is that when a defendant rejects an initial plea offer because it carries immigration consequences, further plea negotiation is an equally, if not more likely alternative to trial given that 97% of federal convictions and 94% of state convictions are the result of guilty pleas.

Question 3: What happens if the defendant wins his or her post-conviction motion and the case is reopened?

At the end of the argument, Justice Kennedy inquired about what would happen at a practical level if Mr. Lee won his case. This was a very important question, and is in fact the first question that criminal defense lawyers explore with a client before pursuing a post-conviction motion. At the outset of a Padilla post-conviction motion, attorneys advise immigrant defendants of the potential risks and rewards of winning such a motion. Should the motion be granted, the noncitizen is returned to his original position of facing the same criminal charges to which he or she had previously and illegally pleaded guilty. The reality of this means that he or she may have to serve a new and longer sentence (on top of the time already served) if convicted after trial. Noncitizens risk that every time they file such a motion. In many cases, however, particularly, where the defendant is represented by competent counsel, the parties are able to negotiate a plea bargain that achieves satisfactory outcomes for both parties. See Padilla, 130 S. Ct. at 1486. For the noncitizen, that would mean an immigration-neutral plea or one that at least mitigates the immigration consequences so that the noncitizen is still deportable, but maintains a chance to remain in the United States. For example, should Mr. Lee’s case be sent back to the trial court, his attorney may be able to renegotiate a plea to straight possession. If that were the outcome, Mr. Lee would still be deportable, but not automatically so. He would be able to apply for the relief of cancellation of removal, and an immigration judge would then be able to weigh the severity and circumstances of Mr. Lee’s conviction against all of his contributions and ties to this country to determine whether Mr. Lee should be allowed to remain here. It would give him a fighting chance to remain, which has always been his primary goal.

If Mr. Lee wins his case and his conviction is vacated based on ineffective assistance of counsel, his deportability will turn on the outcome of his criminal case. In particular, a critical question will be whether he is able to negotiate a plea (or obtain a verdict at trial) that preserves his eligibility for cancellation of removal. If he can, then the very sympathetic facts in his case can be examined by an immigration judge before he faces deportation.

By Nancy Morawetz and Sejal Zota


March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant workers help fuel U.S. farms. Does affordable produce depend on them?

DACA Deportee Finds His Way in Mexico

This CNN report follows Jorge Matadamas, who came to the US at four, received DACA status, lost it, and was deported to Mexico.

Jorge is comparatively lucky. He has family in Mexico who are helping with his adjustment. Not everyone has that.

In this 2:25 segment, CNN tells Jorge's story and shows how he's trying to adjust to life in Mexico. His family is helping him, but he's also getting help from Somos Mexicanos - an organization created by Mexico's immigration department three years ago to help repatriate Mexicans deported from the United States.

An excellent addition to classroom discussion.


March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

WEBINAR: ICE, Deportations & the State of DACA: What to Do if ICE Shows Up on Your Campus, Wednesday, April 5th • 2-3:30 pm (ET)

Immigration and customs border patrol show up on your campus. Weapons are flashed. Your police arrive. Turns out, it's an immigration raid. You know you have DACA students and undocumented (non-DACA registered students) in the building and in adjacent buildings. What are your options?

    The new federal administration has heightened immigration enforcement, already deporting undocumented individuals and threatening to continue with aggressive enforcement directives – including actions that appear to threaten students in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These actions have left undocumented students, including DACA students, and their families fearful for their current and future safety.
    Right now, administrators are worried about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showing up on their campuses looking for DACA students. If this happens, administrators must know what rights these students have, how and what to communicate with these students, and what your responsibilities are if federal agencies show up with a warrant.
    Many colleges have pledged to do what they can to support undocumented students, but only a handful have formally declared themselves to be "sanctuaries". However, some are uncertain about this term and many fear this offers a false sense of security to students that they can't actually protect.
  • What resources are available on your campus for students who may be impacted by Immigration changes?
  • Who is best on your campus to address immigration issues?
  • What provisions have been made to make sure that your students know their rights?
  • What will you do if the federal government shows up on your campus?
  • What are your institutional rights?
    Join us on April 5, 2017 and you and your staff will hear from experts on the current landscape, administration priorities for deportation, how to resist the changes, and what rights your DACA students actually have. You will walk away with measures you can take to safeguard your undocumented students and how to prepare for the optional removal of the DACA program.

March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Rule of Law at Work: Border agents beat an undocumented immigrant to death. The U.S. is paying his family $1 million.


Cleve R. Wootson, Jr. for the The Washington Post reports on a heartbreaking story of an immigrant death at the hands of Border Patrol officers. 

The story of Anastacio Hernandez’s 2010 death at the Tijuana-San Diego border, shown in the video above shot by a bystander, exemplified the brutality of the law enforcement officers who patrolled the border and the impunity with which they act, advocates for Border Patrol reform say.

The United States settled a lawsuit with Hernandez’s estate last month, agreeing to pay $1 million to his five children and his common-law wife, Maria Puga. The battle could have dragged on in court, the family’s attorney said, but they were worried President Trump could make Hernandez’s death a political issue amid efforts to beef up border security.

Still, none of the agents involved have been fired or disciplined or “lost a dime of pay,” for a beating that broke five of Hernandez’s ribs, damaged his spine and ultimately killed him, according to the family’s attorney, who claims the immigrant was handcuffed as he was beaten.


March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listen to the Blues: Eric Bibb Sings the Migration Blues


Eric Bibb from the U.S. performs at the Flux theater in Zaandam, Netherlands March 24, 2017. Picture taken March 24, 2017.

Voice of America reviews "Migration Blues", a new album from veteran bluesman Eric Bibb, uses the sounds of the American South to tell the tale of everyone from 1920s farmers fleeing the Dust Bowl for California to refugees crossing the Mediterranean today.

Along the way are Mexicans seeking a future in the United States, families moving from land the government has just seized for corporate expansion, and a Cajun jig reminding listeners of the expulsion of French Canadians south down the Mississippi.

The album's most contemporary subject is to be found in "Prayin' For Shore", a blues about the plight of millions of Syrians and others who have fled civil wars in the Middle East on sometimes fatal journeys to Europe across the Mediterranean.

"In an old leaky boat, somewhere on the sea/trying to get away from the war/Welcome or not, got to land soon/Oh lord, prayin' for shore," run the lyrics.  The song is about remembering the drowned.

But the fleeing migrants of today are nothing new.

For Bibb, an African American, another key moment in history was "The Great Migration" of millions of southern blacks away from America's segregated South.

By some estimates, more than 6 million left the rural areas for industrial places like Detroit, New York and Chicago between 1910 and 1970.



March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Best Evidence Aside: Why Trump's Executive Order Makes America Less Healthy by rence O. Gostin


Best Evidence Aside: Why Trump's Executive Order Makes America Less Healthy

Lawrence O. Gostin, Gorgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, 47(2) Hastings Ctr. Rep. 5 (2017)

Date Written: March 16, 2017


Although the immigration and nationality act gives the President power to suspend entry of classes of aliens to the US, he cannot discriminate on grounds of nationality or religion. The constitutional arguments based on religious freedom, establishment of religion, and equal protection appear powerful from a moral perspective, but face legal hurdles because the Order on its face does not discriminate against Muslims.

According to UNICEF, four of the countries targeted – Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia – rank among the world’s most hazardous for children’s health and dignity. In Iraq alone, >5 million children are in peril, with one-quarter displaced from their homes by conflict. Refugees often spend years in living conditions that exacerbate injury and disease: crowded and unsanitary spaces fan the spread of infectious diseases (cholera and tuberculosis); refugees risk sexual assaults, which may lead to sexually transmitted infections, as well as mental trauma; and they lack access to preventative services, as well as basic health care, including safe childbirth. President Trump’s order denied entry of improbable threats — a 9 year-old Somali child with congenital heart disease and a 1 year-old Sudanese boy with cancer — both seeking medical treatment.

Within days of the first executive order, a terrorist entered a Quebec mosque and murdered six people, injuring eighteen others. This atrocity underscores a sad truth — most victims of Islamic-inspired terrorism are Muslims, and most attackers are home grown. The President is rapidly eroding two of America’s greatest values — inclusiveness and diversity, endangering America’s position as a liberal beacon of freedom globally.


March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: Making America 1920 Again? Nativism and US Immigration, Past and Present by Julia G. Young


Making America 1920 Again? Nativism and US Immigration, Past and Present by Julia G. Young (The Catholic University of America)

This paper surveys the history of nativism in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. It compares the current surge in nativism with earlier periods, particularly the decades leading up to the 1920s, when nativism directed against southern and eastern European, Asian, and Mexican migrants led to discriminatory national origin quotas and other legislative restrictions on immigration.  The paper finds similarities between the nativism of the 1870-1930 period and the current era. However, there are key differences as well, including the targets of nativism and President Trump’s consistent, highly public, widely disseminated appeals to nativist sentiment. Historical studies suggest that nativism does not disappear completely and that immigrants themselves can and do adopt nativist attitudes. While eradicating nativism may be impossible, a focus on avoiding or overturning nativist immigration legislation may prove more successful. 

Download the PDF of the article


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