Friday, June 30, 2017

Peter Margulies: Implementing the Refugee EO: Add Grandparents


In "Implementing the Refugee EO: Add Grandparents" on Lawfare, Peter Margulies argues for a modest expansion of the travel ban:

"Implementing a remedial decree always presents challenges. The Supreme Court’s partial stay of lower court injunctions of President Trump’s revised Refugee Executive Order (EO) is an acute example of this venerable truth. The Court’s effort to do equity provided that to be subject to ordinary visa-processing (not the pause in admission to the U.S. decreed by the EO), a noncitizen abroad had to demonstrate a “credible claim” to a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. person or a U.S. entity. Operationalizing that standard has been a work in progress, but progress has been made. Since Thursday afternoon, the government has wisely added two groups to the ranks of those covered by the stay: refugees with a “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course” relationship with a U.S. entity, such as a refugee assistance agency (FAQ 30) and fiancé(e)s of U.S. persons (FAQ 29). EO challenger Hawaii has filed a motion seeking further broadening of the government’s guidance, which still excludes, inter alia, grandparents (and grandchildren) of U.S. persons. In this fluid environment, the government should bring grandparents (and grandchildren) under its protective umbrella (see Marty Lederman’s post here)."


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

Public Universities Respond to New Immigration Executive Order


Public research universities are deeply concerned about the administration’s new policy preventing visa and green card holders of seven countries from returning to the United States for 90 days.  The consequences of this action, along with the ban on refugees, reverberate far beyond the higher education community and are worthy of everyone’s attention.  As a public research university association we are keenly aware of the impact this is already having on college campuses throughout the U.S.  The most recent figures show that more than 17,000 students from the seven countries that this ban targets studied at U.S. universities during the 2015-16 school year.

At this link are actions and statements APLU members are taking in response to this policy.  This list is not all-inclusive and is being added to on a regular basis.

To read the full statement from APLU President Peter McPherson, click here.


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

North Carolina Mother Facing Deportation Takes Sanctuary in Church

From Rewire:

Undocumented immigrant mother Minerva Garcia has sought sanctuary at a local church in Greensboro, North Carolina. In an update on Garcia's deportation case, Rewire Immigration Reporter Tina Vasquez writes:

"Garcia for years has maintained regular contact with ICE without indication she would face deportation. Her attorney says she has no criminal record, has paid taxes, and is not considered a threat of any kind. Her deportation order is representative of a larger, national trend of 'silent raids'." 

Silent raids are the increasingly common practice of ICE turning a routine check-in into deportation, where sometimes undocumented immigrants are detained on the spot -- a strategy that "punishes people who are trying to do what the government has asked of them," say advocates.

Laura Garduno, a mother, DACA recipient, and local immigrant rights advocate, echoed what many faith leaders have said in relation to Garcia's case: “When I first moved to North Carolina, I remember thinking: Why are there so many churches here? Now I find myself thinking: Are there enough churches here to take up this struggle?”

For more details, please see "North Carolina Woman Facing Deportation Takes Sanctuary as ICE’s ‘Silent Raids’ Continue." To contact Tina Vasquez, email [email protected].

More background available at "NC Woman’s Deportation Order a ‘Symbol of Everything Wrong With the Immigration System’" and "‘Minerva Is Our Neighbor’: Communities Unite to Fight Deportation of North Carolina Mother."


June 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICE Raids Targeting Parents of UACs

From KIND:

Washington, DC – On a press call today immigration and refugee advocates from the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), Kids in Need of Defense (KIND),  Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and Center for American Progress (CAP) reacted to the deeply disturbing reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are targeting undocumented parents of unaccompanied children.

Just this afternoon, an undocumented mother and sponsor of children who fled to the United States from gang violence was targeted by ICE agents at her home in Texas. The woman was questioned about her status and that of her children. The children are currently in ORR custody through one of LIRS’s foster care programs while the mother undergoes the family reunification process. The ICE agents told her she could face criminal charges for bringing her sons to the U.S. They revealed they obtained her information from Customs and Border Protection when  her children were detained at the border. For more information, please contact Jessica Jones at [email protected].

A recording of today’s call can be found here.

For a list of resources for individuals facing deportation, as well as for communities, and attorneys, click here.

As McClatchy broke the news, and the Associated Press corroborated, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is sharing information gleaned from interviews with unaccompanied children with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify undocumented parents and target them for detention and deportation. While the administration claims to be targeting smugglers, they are instead using vulnerable children to get to their parents, and ultimately separating families. This is a cruel and morally outrageous decision that is contrary to our country’s values.

Philip E. Wolgin, Managing Director, Immigration, Center for American Progress (CAP) said, “We cannot separate these ICE raids on parents of unaccompanied children from the wider out-of-control enforcement efforts of the Trump administration. Time and time again we have seen the administration make anyone here without status a target for enforcement, regardless of family and community ties, and regardless of whether it means terrifying our neighbors, tearing apart families, and leaving children at risk. DHS Secretary John Kelly should call off these raids immediately, and instead redouble efforts to protect refugees and asylees in a dignified and humane way.”

Cory Smith, Vice President, Policy, Advocacy, and Communications, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) said, “To apprehend sponsors for children who are fleeing alone and seeking safety from rampant gang violence is undeniably cruel, extremely traumatizing to the children, and poor policy as children would remain in extremely expensive detention centers while their cases proceed. The Trump administration denying migrant and refugee children the care of a loved one in favor of incarceration is beyond the pale.  Not only is this policy amoral and expensive, but  it will also drive sponsors away leaving children extremely vulnerable to predators and human traffickers."

Jessica Jones, Policy Counsel, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) said, “Children in LIRS’s programs have shared harrowing stories of violence by gangs, trafficking and child abuse. When a parent in the U.S. hears that their child has been threatened at gunpoint and they might not live to see another day, they often make the only choice they feel they have: to pay a smuggler to bring their child to the U.S. As a faith-based organization, we believe God has called us to respond compassionately to these families.”

Michelle Brané, Director, Migrant Rights and Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) said, “Don’t be fooled by claims that this is an effort to protect children from smugglers. What we are seeing is the United States government using children as bait with the clear intent of punishing parents and deterring them from protecting their children. This is a continuation of the administration’s effort to deter refugees from seeking protection by separating families and punishing people – children, mothers and fathers, who are fleeing violence and seeking safety.  It is not only un-American and cruel. It is bad policy.”  

Maria Woltjen, Executive Director, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights said, “Using children to unwittingly turn in their parents is unconscionable. Threatening deportation. Threatening to charge parents with human smuggling—smuggling their own children. The Department of Homeland Security is taking advantage of children at their most vulnerable. They’re on their own. Running from dangerous situations, looking for the safety of family. And this is how we greet them. We should be trying to assist these children, not use them as unwitting informants.”


June 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Private Bills & The Fate of Arthur Mkoyan

AM and his parents, photo SFGate

Arthur Mkoyan's story gripped me from the moment I first read it. (Look here and here for our prior coverage.) A high school valedictorian, he was accepted into U.C. Davis. Yet he was also slated for deportation days after his high school graduation when his parents' case for asylum was denied for the last time. Despite suffering in their native Armenia, courts were not convinced that changed country conditions wouldn't render it now safe for the family to relocate.

At this point, Senator Feinstein stepped in and presented a private bill to Congress - seeking individualized relief for the three. (Arthur does have a younger brother but he was born in the U.S. and so not subject to deportation with the rest of his family.)

Senator Feinstein's bill didn't pass. But just by presenting the bill, she achieved an effective stay of deportation for him. And with that stay, Arthur was able to attend Davis. He even did so a full scholarship donated by Sherry Heacox - just a woman who heard his story and wanted to help.

Every student of mine for the past several years has heard the story of Arthur. He's my go-to poster boy for private bills. And I talk to them about why Senator Feinstein didn't just submit the private bill once but instead kept on submitting it legislative session after legislative session. Even though it's never passed, the very existence of the pending bill has continued to provide a stay of deportation for the family.

But the legal effect of those pending bills may change, as BuzzFeed reports. On May 5, the Acting Director of ICE (Thomas Homan) wrote a letter to the chair of the Judiciary Committee. In that letter, he stated that ICE would no longer stay deportations for those with pending private bills (there are around 30 pending) unless ICE received a written request from the chair of the House or Senate judiciary committees, or an appropriate subcommittee. Homan further said that ICE would only grant one stay of removal for a maximum of six-months, with the possibility of a one-time 90-day extension thereafter.

We'll have to see how these changes play out. But it's certainly hard to understand why the individuals and families affected by these 30-odd bills have suddenly become an enforcement priority.


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

Texas AG leads push to end DACA

From the Bookshelves: Islamophobia and Racism in America by Erik Love (2017)


Islamophobia and Racism in America by Erik Love (2017)

Confronting and combating Islamophobia in America.

Islamophobia has long been a part of the problem of racism in the United States, and it has only gotten worse in the wake of shocking terror attacks, the ongoing refugee crisis, and calls from public figures like Donald Trump for drastic action. As a result, the number of hate crimes committed against Middle Eastern Americans of all origins and religions have increased, and civil rights advocates struggle to confront this striking reality. 

In Islamophobia and Racism in America, Erik Love draws on in-depth interviews with Middle Eastern American advocates. He shows that, rather than using a well-worn civil rights strategy to advance reforms to protect a community affected by racism, many advocates are choosing to bolster universal civil liberties in the United States more generally, believing that these universal protections are reliable and strong enough to deal with social prejudice. In reality, Love reveals, civil rights protections are surprisingly weak, and do not offer enough avenues for justice, change, and community reassurance in the wake of hate crimes, discrimination, and social exclusion.  

A unique and timely study, Islamophobia and Racism in America wrestles with the disturbing implications of these findings for the persistence of racism—including Islamophobia—in the twenty-first century. As America becomes a “majority-minority” nation, this strategic shift in American civil rights advocacy signifies challenges in the decades ahead, making Love’s findings essential for anyone interested in the future of universal civil rights in the United States. 


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

Report on Mexico's Southern Border: An Update on Security, Central American Migration, and U.S. Policy


In a report released yesterday. WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) examines Mexico’s immigration enforcement and its emerging role as an asylum destination. The report also analyzes U.S. assistance in Mexico’s southern border zone, and the on-the-ground impact of harsh U.S. rhetoric and enforcement policies. It finds that low levels of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. border during the first few months of 2017 are not sustainable. Significant migration is likely to continue, given ongoing violence and insecurity in Central America.



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

There's no evidence that immigrants hurt any American workers: The debate over the Mariel boatlift, economics’ most famous immigration controversy, explained.



A boat arrives in Key West, Florida, with Cuban refugees, in April 1980 Miami Herald / Getty          

Michael Clemens for VOX looks carefully at evidence about the impacts of immigrants on the wages of U.S. workers.

Do immigrants from poor countries hurt native workers? It’s a perpetual question for policymakers and politicians. That the answer is a resounding “Yes!” was a central assertion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. When a study by an economist at Harvard University recently found that a famous influx of Cuban immigrants into Miami dramatically reduced the wages of native workers, immigration critics argued that the debate was settled.

The study, by Harvard’s George Borjas, first circulated as a draft in 2015, and was finally published in 2017. It drew attention from the Atlantic, National Review, New Yorker, and others. Advocates of restricting immigration declared that the study was a “BFD” that had “nuked” their opponents’ views. The work underpinning the paper became a centerpiece of Borjas’s mass-market book on immigration, We Wanted Workers, which has been cited approvingly by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions as proving the economic harms of immigration.

But there’s a problem. The study is controversial, and its finding — that the Cuban refugees caused a large, statistically unmistakable fall in Miami wages — may be simply spurious. This matters because what happened in Miami is the one historical event that has most shaped how economists view immigration.

In his article, Borjas claimed to debunk an earlier study by another eminent economist, David Card, of UC Berkeley, analyzing the arrival of the Cubans in Miami. The episode offers a textbook case of how different economists can reach sharply conflicting conclusions from exactly the same data.  Click the link above for further analysis.


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

Republicans call on Ginsburg to recuse herself in travel ban case



Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

The ABAJournal reports that 58 Republican lawmakers are calling on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself in the travel ban case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.        

The lawmakers sent a letter to Ginsburg saying she should recuse herself because of critical comments she made about Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Ginsburg said Trump is “a faker” who “has no consistency about him.”


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Draft: Saving Lives by Shalini Ray


Draft: Saving Lives  by Shalini Ray,  Boston College Law Review, 2017


When Alan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler, drowned in the Mediterranean while fleeing civil war in his home country, the world’s attention turned to the Syrian refugee crisis. Offers to transport and house refugees surged. Private boats set out on the Mediterranean Sea to rescue refugees dying in the water. A billionaire offered to purchase an island on which the refugees could live out their lives. This Article analyzes private humanitarian aid to asylum seekers, a subset of migrants whose claims for refugee protection have not yet been adjudicated, and who typically travel without authorization. This Article determines that much of this aid is currently illegal or operates under a cloud of legal uncertainty, principally due to criminal laws prohibiting the smuggling and harboring of unauthorized migrants. In light of the compelling humanitarian interests at stake, as well as asylum states’ concern for national security, this Article argues for law reform to decriminalize private humanitarian aid to asylum seekers.


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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Travel Ban 2.0 Resources

Here is a preliminary list of basic resources for those looking to understanding the Travel Ban 2.0. Please add more in the comments or e-mail me to update this list:

I'd also point you to immprof Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia's Facebook video about the ban.


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

As Travel Ban 2.0 Goes Into Effect, Scramble To Understand Its Scope


President Trump's travel ban will go into effect at the top of the hour.

Yesterday, the Department of State issued a cable explaining how it ought to be interpreted and enforced. In particular, the DOS offered guidance on the issue of how to determine if an individual has or lacks, in the words of the Supreme Court “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

In paragraph 10(a) of that cable, the DOS indicated that an applicant has a "bona fide relationship with a person" only if there is a "close familial relationship." And in paragraph 11, "close familial relationship" is further defined as: 

a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. “Close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.

Any guesses on where the first lawsuits challenging this narrow definition will come from?


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

Remarks by President Trump During Meeting with Immigration Crime Victims


With health care reform looking unlikely, President Trump has returned to pushing immigration enforcement.   In remarks yesterday, he endorses bills that would increase criminal removals.


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

The Latest in the Flores Litigation


An agreement entered years ago in Flores v. Reno involving the detention of noncitizen minors continues to be a subject of litigation.

In an order issued regarding the plaintiffs' motion to enforce and appoint a special monitor, Judge Dolly Gee concluded that children continue to be held longer than 20 days in secure, unlicensed facilities in defiance of the Flores settlement and the judge's previous orders, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling last year. The court determined that almost all Rio Grande Valley sector facilities in which children and adults were kept had unsafe and unsanitary conditions, with inadequate food, inadequate access to clean drinking water, inadequate hygiene, cold temperatures and inadequate sleeping conditions. Further the court concluded the government has failed to: make repeated efforts to release children, ensure that children are not kept in secure, non-licensed facilities (like the facility in Dilley, Texas), and release children within the court's 20-day limit. As such, the judge ordered the appointment of a Juvenile Coordinator within 30 days. For more information, read the American Immigration Lawyers Association statement

The American Immigration Council released the following statement about the latest developments in the Flores case:

Last night, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.

Since the summer of 2014, the government has detained thousands of mothers and children fleeing violence in Central America. Although the longstanding Flores settlement guarantees minimum standards for the detention, release, and treatment of children in immigration detention, the government has failed to comply with the settlement.

Two years ago, a civil rights organization, on behalf of immigrant children, brought suit to enforce the Flores settlement. In July and August of 2015, Judge Gee said the government must apply the settlement to all minors, including those detained with family members. However, the government still refuses to comply with the settlement and holds children for far too long, in substandard conditions, and in non-licensed facilities.

Judge Gee’s most recent order makes clear that the government is not honoring its obligations and must be held accountable. She directs the government to identify a Juvenile Coordinator within 30 days to report to the court on the government’s compliance with the Flores settlement.

To learn more, view today’s post on Judge Gee's decision on

It remains to be seen how the government will respond and whether it will honor its commitments under the Flores settlement, but the order is a long-sought victory for the fair treatment of some of the most vulnerable among us, and we will continue to fight on their behalf. Thank you for continuing to stand with us.


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

New Citizen Ceremonies on July 4


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will celebrate the 241st  anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and our nation’s birthday, by welcoming nearly 15,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 65 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies across the country this year.

USCIS’ Independence Day activities this year will feature a naturalization ceremony at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 3. During this event, McCament will administer the Oath of Allegiance and deliver congratulatory remarks to 49 new Americans. Follow us on Facebook to view a live stream of this ceremony.

To view a complete list of 2017 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies, please visit


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

At the Movies: Migrants in Countries in Crisis: Why is This Important


A short educational film from the International Organization for Migration.



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

Immigration Article of the Day: Minor Protections: Best Practices for Representing Child Migrants


Minor Protections: Best Practices for Representing Child Migrants by Laila Hlass, , 47 New Mexico Law Review 247 (2017)


In recent years, the number of Central American children fleeing violence and seeking protection in the United States has surged, and these children’s cases have flooded the immigration courts. Children are treated virtually the same as adults in immigration court, and, because they are not provided government-appointed counsel, many must defend themselves from deportation pro se. In 2014, 80% of children — roughly 34,130 — were unrepresented, and this lack of representation often has profound consequences: many of these children are eligible for protection from deportation, but, without access to attorneys, most will be deported anyway. Governments, nonprofits, and child advocates have taken action to address this justice gap, but these efforts have fallen short of a solution. In a recent case, J.E.F.M v. Lynch, regarding the government’s failure to provide counsel to defend children matched against federal prosecutors in immigration court, the Ninth Circuit implored the Executive and Congress to address the crisis: “[t]o give meaning to ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ . . . to ensure the fair and effective administration of our immigration system, and to protect the interests of children who must struggle through that system, the problem demands action now.” The Justice Department and some state and local governments have begun funding a limited number of temporary fellowship positions, usually for recent law graduates, to defend children from deportation. As these initiatives develop and expand, policy makers and philanthropic organizations will need to determine the most effective and efficient ways to provide counsel to so many migrant children. This article contemplates the best practices for high volume delivery of legal services for children in immigration court. Drawing on original, empirical data regarding recent Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) applications and extensive interviews with organizations and individuals nationwide filing the most SIJS applications, this article considers emerging trends in the representation of child migrants, identifies common characteristics of effective high volume practices representing children, and offers recommendations to expand access to qualified counsel and to create a child-centered approach to youth in removal proceedings.


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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Immigrants" Video from Hit Hamilton


The play "Hamilton" is a phenomenon.  Read this Rolling Stone story on the above video.



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

Your Playlist: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)

Sure, I've posted about the Hamilton Mixtape before. I even highlighted the fabulous track Immigrants (We Get The Job Done). But today the song's official music video dropped. Check it out:


June 28, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)