Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Here is the transcript in Lee v. United States, which the Supreme Court heard oral argument in this morning. Recap to follow. The argument preview in this ineffective assistance of counsel case involving an immigrant's plea agreement in a drug case is here.
UPDATE (MARCH 29): Here is Amy Howe's recap of the argument for SCOUTSBlog. Howe saw a divided Court and we will have to wait and see how the case comes out.
Chief Justice of California: “The rule of law means that as a people, we are governed by laws, and not a monarch.”
Derek Hawkins in the Washington Post reports on how the Chief Justice of California (and UC Davis alum), Tani Cantil-Sakauye, has emerged as "one of the Trump administration’s most vocal critics in the judiciary." Earlier this month, she scolded federal immigration authorities for using courthouses as “bait” to arrest undocumented immigrants. Days later, she assailed the president’s disparaging comments about federal judges who ruled against his travel ban. Yesterday, Cantil-Sakauye used her annual State of the Judiciary address to argue that the rule of law was being “challenged” amid the administration’s immigration crackdown.
Without mentioning Trump by name, she told the state’s lawmakers that “the rule of law means that as a people, we are governed by laws, and not a monarch.” “We are living in a time of civil rights unrest, eroding trust in our institutions, economic anxiety, and unprecedented polarization,” she said. “Our values and our rules and laws are being called into question, and all three branches of government and the free press are in the crosshairs.”
Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appointed in 2010 by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has typically used the state of the judiciary address to discuss budget issues before the legislature. But she devoted much of the 2017 State of the Judiciary speech to immigration enforcement under the Trump administration.
Stumbled across this gem featuring Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter and Oscar-winning hip-hop artist Common. It's going to kick of my class today.
NPR has an interview with the song's composers that's worth checking out.
Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated President Trump's threat to bar "sanctuary cities" from federal funding. Section 9 of Trump's January 25 executive order on "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." As the Los Angeles Times reports, Sessions' statement did not refine previously announced federal anti-sanctuary initiatives or announce any new ones. Like the executive order, Sessions did not offer a definition of "sanctuary cities" or point to any congressional authorization allowing for their defunding. He instead simply reiterated the de-funding threats at a time when the Trump administration seeks to move attention away from the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Needless to say, Sessions' threats have been criticized, including by California Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, who stated that the threat was the equivalent to "blackmail." Federal defunding of "sanctuary cities" raise non-trivial constitutional questions.
Good afternoon. The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce our nation’s laws, including our immigration laws. Those laws require us to promptly remove aliens when they are convicted of certain crimes.
The vast majority of the American people support this common-sense requirement. According to one recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.
Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate the enforcement of our immigration laws. This includes refusing to detain known felons under federal detainer requests, or otherwise failing to comply with these laws. For example, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report showing that in a single week, there were more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests with respect to individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime. The charges and convictions against these aliens include drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offenses against a child and even murder.
Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets.
We all remember the tragic case of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed two years ago in San Francisco as she walked along a pier with her father. The shooter, Francisco Sanchez, was an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.
Just eleven weeks before the shooting, San Francisco had released Sanchez from its custody, even though ICE had filed a detainer requesting that he be kept in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up for removal. Even worse, Sanchez admitted that the only reason he came to San Francisco was because of its sanctuary policies.
A similar story unfolded just last week, when Ever Valles, an illegal immigrant and Mexican national, was charged with murder and robbery of a man at a light rail station. Valles was released from a Denver jail in late December, despite the fact that ICE had lodged a detainer for his removal.
The American people are justifiably angry. They know that when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe. Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk – especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.
DUIs, assaults, burglaries, drug crimes, gang crimes, rapes, crimes against children and murders. Countless Americans would be alive today – and countless loved ones would not be grieving today – if the policies of these sanctuary jurisdictions were ended.
Not only do these policies endanger the lives of every American; just last May, the Department of Justice Inspector General found that these policies also violate federal law.
The President has rightly said that this disregard for the law must end. In his executive order, he stated that it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that states and cities comply with all federal laws, including our immigration laws.
The order also states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary [of Homeland Security] . . . shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply” with the law “are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.”
Today I am urging all states and local jurisdictions to comply with all federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373. Moreover, the Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department grants to certify compliance with Section 1373 as a condition for receiving these awards.
This policy is entirely consistent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) guidance issued last July under the previous administration. This guidance requires state and local jurisdictions to comply and certify compliance with Section 1373 in order to be eligible for OJP grants. It also made clear that failure to remedy violations could result in withholding of grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.
The Department of Justice will also take all lawful steps to claw-back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates Section 1373.
In the current fiscal year, department’s OJP and Community Oriented Policing Services anticipate awarding more than $4.1 billion dollars in grants.
I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to re-think these policies. Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.
The American people want and deserve a lawful immigration system that keeps us safe and serves our national interest. This expectation is reasonable, and our government has a duty to meet it. And we will meet it.
Monday, March 27, 2017
This CNN headline says it all: As more Americans fail drug tests, employers turn to refugees. Take Sterling Technologies, a plastic molding company in Pennsylvania. The company was seeing a 20% fail rate on drug tests administered to workers (marijuana, amphetamines, crystal meth and heroin). Refugees hires, on the other hand, have all passed.
Rutgers Law School seeks Full-Time Immigrant Rights Attorney
Rutgers Law School is seeking to hire a Full-Time Immigrant Rights Attorney. The attorney will be paid $75,000/year plus benefits. The position is initially for one year, though it is anticipated that funding will continue for a second year. The precise start date is flexible.
The Immigrant Rights Attorney will work closely with Law School clinical faculty on both the Newark and Camden campuses to provide direct representation and coordinate pro-bono assistance to members of the Rutgers University community as well as members of neighboring communities. In addition, the attorney will engage in community outreach and provide research support for New Jersey non-profits responding to changing immigration policies. The Immigrant Rights Attorney will be expected to conduct outreach statewide. A travel budget will be provided
- A license to practice law, with good standing, in any state.
- A driver’s license and access to a car.
- At least three years’ experience in immigration law.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Fluency in a second language.
Interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter, writing sample, and list of references immediately. The cover letter should describe the applicant’s ability to meet the minimum and desired qualifications, as well as set forth a desired start date, indicating any flexibility.
Rutgers University is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. Applications from women, minorities, and people with disabilities are particularly encouraged. Rutgers is an EEO/AA employer.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and the position will be open until filled. To apply, please go to https://jobs.rutgers.edu/postings/43071
The Lewis and Clark Law Review is seeking submissions for it's symposium issue - Volume 23, Issue 2. The symposium's focus is on the current administration's immigration policies -- from specific litigation over and effects of Trump's Executive Orders, to the general immigration power of the federal government, the roles of state and local governments, and 'antagonistic federalism.'
The symposium is currently slated to be a paper symposium, but they have the goal to secure funding for a live symposium that would occur in early 2018.
Submissions or abstract proposals can be sent to the Editor in Chief, Elizabeth Schmitt, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Final drafts from the author will be due the first week of January 2018.
On Thursday, NBC aired its half-hour sitcom Superstore. The show (season 2, episode 17: "Mateo's Last Day") vilified the U visa.
In a prior episode, the popular character Mateo learns from a co-worker that he isn't lawfully present in the US. In this episode, Mateo wants to transfer to a new location ("a Cloud 9 signature" store) so as to no longer work in a store controlled by his District Manager/boyfriend. But the new store requires a copy of his social security card to run it through e-verify. Of course, this is a problem.
Cheyenne: "Do undocumented people have documents?"
Mateo: "No, no we don't."
Cheyenne: "Oh, so like won't that be an issue?"
Mateo: (exasperated) "Yes!"
And then the solutions flow.
I'm sure you can guess what the first stop is for a comedy faced with an immigration quandary: marriage fraud. Straight-guy Jonah offers to marry Mateo to secure his status in the US. But Mateo isn't interested.
Cheyenne and Jonah search online for answers. And Cheyenne has it:
Cheyenne: "Or you could just get beat up. A person may be eligible for a special U1 visa if they are victim of a violent crime such as an assault."
Jonah: "That's crazy. I can't believe that's real."
Mateo: "So I would just need to get punched."
Cheyenne: "No it seems like you have to get your ass beat pretty bad."
The friends then try to arrange a fight, unsuccessfully. And Mateo ultimately breaks up with his boyfriend rather than admit his undocumented status.
Here's the thing, the U visa does offer a legalization path for victims of violent crime - albeit only those who work with prosecutors to convict their assailants (something I doubt Mateo was going to do). But those eligible for U visas may have to wait years to get one. We're talking about people who have been significantly harmed while present in the US. And whose work inures great benefit to the public at large by ensuring criminal wrong-doers are identified and prosecuted.
Many things are funny. In the same episode - the give and take between the store manager and an online troll - that was funny.
U visas, however, are no laughing matter.
Ruben Vives for the Los Angeles Times offers a glimpse into the fears and uneasiness of residents of East Los Angeles in the era of Donald Trump.
Immigration Article of the Day: The Nondiscrimination Obligation of Immigration and Nationality Act Section 202(A)(1)(A) by Alan Hyde
The Nondiscrimination Obligation of Immigration and Nationality Act Section 202(A)(1)(A) by Alan Hyde, Rutgers University - School of Law, March 13, 2017
The nondiscrimination obligation of Immigration & Nationality Act Sec 202(a)(1)(A) entered the law in 1965 as part of a larger Congressional repudiation of the executive branch's claim to flexibility and discretion in the issuance of immigrant visas. The administration had specifically claimed the discretion to direct immigrant visas to Western European countries potentially disadvantaged by the abolition of national origin quotas. Congress eliminated this discretion and, in the same substitute bill, reserved the power to create categories of immigrant admission to itself. Congress reinforced that power by directing the executive branch to administer visa categories without favoring countries or races. The nondiscrimination obligation thus rules out some of the more extravagant recent claims for executive authority unilaterally to alter immigration law.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
From the District Sentinel:
Recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions raise questions about the Trump Administration using deportation proceedings to punish political opponents -- both institutions and individuals.
Three undocumented activists in Vermont were arrested over the past week by ICE agents -- two of them, while leaving the office of an organization that advocates for immigrants' rights. In Texas, meanwhile, a federal magistrate judge on Monday confirmed that immigration agents were conducting raids in response to policy changes carried out by the county seat of Austin.
The Texas-based federal magistrate, Judge Andrew Austin, recalled how ICE officials had told him to "expect a big operation" and that it was "a result of the [Travis County] sheriff's new policy." This assertion was confirmed by the testimony of an ICE Agent named Laron Bryant.
Fifty-one people were netted in the raids. Twenty-eight of them had no criminal record whatsoever.
The policy referred to by Judge Austin was a decision by Travis County to only cooperate with ICE detention requests, when they are paired with a warrant. Sally Hernandez, the county sheriff, enacted the change in January, after winning an election, in part, by promising reduced cooperation with federal immigration officials.
The Austin American-Statesman, which first reported the courtroom admission, noted that ICE had previously denied targeting Travis County for so-called "sanctuary city" policies. Supporters of such policies argue that local law enforcement should be concerned solely with community safety, and that it is threatened by asking local cops to enforce federal immigration law.
In Vermont, meanwhile, two undocumented activists with the group Migrant Justice were detained by ICE agents on Friday, while leaving the organization's Burlington-based office.
The arrests of Jose Enrique "Kike" Balcazar Sanchez and Zully Palacios Rodriguez occurred two days after the arrest of another local undocumented activist outside of a county courthouse. Cesar Alexis Carrillo Sanchez, a farm laborer organizer, had reportedly shown up for a hearing on drunk driving charges. Prosecutors were expected to drop criminal charges against Sanchez.
Migrant Justice organizer Abel Luna reacted to the arrests of Rodriguez and Sanchez, saying in a press release that it represents: "a clear demonstration that the Trump administration wants to break organized communities, bring us back to the shadows, bring us back to fear where we once were." Read more...
The New York Daily News reports that New Yorkers gathered on Friday to remember Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — a tragedy that killed 146 workers, many of them young women. The March 25, 1911 blaze at a factory near present-day New York University rocked the city — and galvanized the International Ladies Garment Workers Union to push for workplace safety rules still in place today.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and "Sara" Rosaria Maltese.
The factory was located on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, now known as the Brown Building and part of New York University.
Because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a then-common practice to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft – many of the workers who could not escape from the burning building simply jumped from the high windows. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), which fought for better conditions for workers.
The building has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of all funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid to low-income people. The proposed cut would hurt the poor, rural voters who helped elect him.
Legal Services Corporation works to ensure that low-income Americans have access to much-needed legal assistance. It is often the sole lifeline for vulnerable people with legal problems that affect their health, housing, safety and economic security.
With broad bipartisan support, Congress in 1974 created the LSC, an independent nonprofit organization. President Richard Nixon signed the bill into law. And for more than 40 years, Congress has annually funded the organization so that low-income Americans might realize some semblance of the nation’s promise of equal justice for all.
With the economic recession of 2008, the workload of LSC-funded organizations increased dramatically. In the last three fiscal years, bipartisan majorities in Congress have increased its funding by $10 million per year.
As the late Justice Antonin Scalia emphasized in a speech at the Legal Services Corporation’s 40th anniversary conference in 2014, it “pursues the most fundamental of American ideals, and it pursues equal justice in those areas of life most important to the lives of our citizens.”
Put simply, Legal Services Corporation is the backbone of the modern legal aid system in the United States. It is especially important in rural areas where there are few lawyers and many poor people. Federal funding for civil legal services provides crucial assistance to hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.
The 133 LSC-funded programs serve every county in every state. They help veterans secure benefits, assist domestic violence victims in obtaining protection orders against abusers, protect seniors from consumer scams and to obtain health care, and assist disaster survivors.
One in five Americans is eligible for civil legal aid. LSC-funded offices provide services to nearly 2 million people each year. The simple premise of LSC and civil legal aid is that a person’s economic status should not determine the quality of the justice they receive.
Continued funding makes basic fiscal sense: LSC delivers far more economic benefits to the country than what it costs to support the program.
I am proud to have served for many years as president of the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern California, which helps poor and working people from south of Sacramento to California’s northern border. In most of the region, Legal Services of Northern California is the only legal voice for poor and vulnerable populations. It protects the rights of thousands of people every year. Tens of thousands more in these rural areas benefit from Legal Services of Northern California’s community education materials, informational sessions and legal clinics.
Trump wants to change the nation as we know it. In the campaign, he promised to be the voice for the voiceless. Legal aid organizations across the country, especially in the nation’s rural expanses funded for decades by the Legal Services Corporations, provide the critical voice for the poorest and most vulnerable of our neighbors.
Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog previews Lee v. United States, an ineffective assistance of counsel case involving an immigrant that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in on March 28. (We posted Manny Vargas' take on the case a few days ago.).
Here is the gist of the facts of the case:
"Over 95% of criminal cases in the federal system end in a plea bargain, rather than going to trial. One such case is that of Jae Lee, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to possession of ecstasy with the intent to distribute it. Lee was sentenced to one year and one day in prison – considerably less than the 24 to 30 months suggested by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The real problems began after Lee went to prison. In 1982, at the age of 13, Lee had moved from South Korea to the United States with his parents. They became U.S. citizens, but he did not. Lee’s attorney, Larry Fitzgerald, had told Lee before he entered his plea that he would not be deported: The government wasn’t seeking to deport him as part of the plea bargain, Fitzgerald explained, and because Lee had been in the country so long, the government couldn’t remove him from the country even if it wanted to. Fitzgerald’s advice, it turned out, was dead wrong. Lee learned that deportation was a mandatory penalty for the crime of which he had now been convicted."
Amy Howe concludes her preview as follows:
"given the ubiquity of plea deals in the criminal justice system and the apparent frequency with which criminal defendants receive bad advice about the immigration consequences of such pleas from their attorneys, this is a case that attorneys and advocates in the field of `crimmigration' will be watching closely."
Immigration Article of the Day: Migrants and the Making of America: The Short and Long Run Effects of Immigration During the Age of Mass Migration by Nathan Nunn, Nancy Qian, Sandra Sequeira
Migrants and the Making of America: The Short and Long Run Effects of Immigration During the Age of Mass Migration by Nathan Nunn (Harvard University - Department of Economics), Nancy Qian (Yale University - Department of Economics), Sandra Sequeira (LSE)
We study the effects of European immigration to the United States during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1920) on economic prosperity today. We exploit variation in the extent of immigration across counties arising from the interaction of fluctuations in aggregate immigrant flows and the gradual expansion of the railway network across the United States. We find that locations with more historical immigration today have higher incomes, less poverty, less unemployment, higher rates of urbanization, and greater educational attainment. The long-run effects appear to arise from the persistence of sizeable short-run benefits, including greater industrialization, increased agricultural productivity, and more innovation.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Alvaro M. Huerta of the National Immigration Law Center spent Wednesday morning reminding a court that, despite how far we’ve come, our nation still needs to protect the freedom to marry. The client, Viet “Victor” Anh Vo, was denied the right to marry the love of his life in his hometown in Louisiana.
The problem? In 2015, state lawmakers decided to require all marriage license applicants to show a birth certificate and prevented those born outside of the United States who might not have one from proving their identity through other means. Any immigrant without this piece of paper -- like Victor, who was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia and who has lived in the U.S. since he was three months old -- was legally barred from marrying the person they love. It didn’t even matter that Victor has been a U.S. citizen since he was 8 years old.
With partners at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP, the National Immigration Law Center took Victor’s case for immigrants’ freedom to marry to court.
Before the hearing was over, the judge had declared that the law must be put on hold because it was likely to violate the Constitution. We all erupted in hugs and tears of joy. Yesterday, the judge issued a formal order to prevent this law from harming any other Louisianan too.
It’s shocking to believe that in 2017 -- five decades after the Loving v. Virginia decision that struck down laws preventing interracial marriage, and just two years since the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that reiterated the fundamental right to marry, regardless of sexual orientation -- a law like this could be on the books.
By fighting back against this discriminatory law, Victor paved the way for other immigrants in his state to get married without government interference, which helped him realize “one person can actually make a change in the world."
Debating the big questions on immigration: What rights do immigrants have — and is the president free to bar them?
John S.W. Park is chair and professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a specialist in race theory, immigration law and policy, and Anglo-American legal and political theory. His books include “Elusive Citizenship: Immigration, Asian Americans, and the Paradox of Civil Rights,” “Probationary Americans: Contemporary Immigration Policies and the Shaping of Asian American Communities,” with Edward J. W. Park, and “Illegal Migrations and the Huckleberry Finn Problem.”
David Brotherton is professor of sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY). His recent books include “Keeping Out the Other: A Critical Introduction to Immigration Control,” edited with Philip Kretsedemas, and “The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation: Street Politics and the Transformation of a New York City Gang,” with Luis Barrios. His current research projects include a performance-based sociological study of immigration removal hearings in New York City.
Stay tuned. Next week, these scholars will discuss the following questions: What are the worst effects of that 1996 immigration law — and the worst failures of our current immigration system? What can state and local governments do to counteract punitive federal immigration laws?
Teresa Watanabe for the Los Angeles Times reports that University of California President Janet Napolitano is headed to Mexico next week to reassure leaders there that UC remains committed to academic collaboration — even if some of it, such as climate change research, is at risk under the Trump administration. In an interview, Napolitano said she would build on the UC-Mexico Initiative she launched in 2014 despite President Trump’s plans to build a border wall, increase immigration enforcement and reduce federal research funding.
She said she planned to tell Mexicans during three days of meetings starting next Wednesday, "Regardless of what is happening federally, the University of California remains open to academic partnerships with Mexico."
Napolitano developed ties with Mexico as the governor of Arizona and as U.S. Homeland Security secretary. She said she launched the initiative to bring together disparate work at individual UC campuses. She provided $60,000 in seed money for UC faculty to meet with Mexican counterparts and decide priorities; they selected education, energy, the environment, health and the arts and culture.
Last week, the Washington Post ran a story about how, due to fears of removals, lawful immigrants are deciding to go hungry rather than access public benefits. Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic reports that, across the country, a climate of fear—sparked by Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement, a series of highly public raids, and a draft executive order that would push families off of means-tested benefit programs—has spooked families away from the safety net. Of the 20 organizations working with documented and undocumented immigrants that Lowrey spoke with in recent weeks, 17 said they had seen legally eligible families declining to enroll or even unenrolling from programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, free school lunches, and the Women, Infants, and Children program.
“The immigration-enforcement order created chaos and fear,” said Wendy Cervantes of CLASP, an anti-poverty nonprofit, referring to a Trump initiative to ramp up deportations. “The fear of immigration enforcement creates a chilling effect. We’ve seen seen this in states that have passed really aggressive and harsh anti-immigrant laws at a local level, and now we might be seeing it nationally.”