Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ben Davis: Supreme Court to Syrian (and other) Refugees: Drop Dead

From the Bookshelves: The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray


The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray.  Here is a description of the book:

"The Strange Death of Europe is a highly personal account of a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide. Declining birth rates, mass immigration, and cultivated self-distrust and self-hatred have come together to make Europeans unable to argue for themselves and incapable of resisting their own comprehensive alteration as a society and an eventual end.

This is not just an analysis of demographic and political realities, it is also an eyewitness account of a continent in self-destruct mode. It includes accounts based on travels across the entire continent, from the places where migrants land to the places they end up, from the people who pretend they want them to the places which cannot accept them.

Murray takes a step back at each stage and looks at the bigger and deeper issues which lie behind a continent's possible demise, from an atmosphere of mass terror attacks to the steady erosion of our freedoms. The book addresses the disappointing failure of multiculturalism, Angela Merkel's U-turn on migration, the lack of repatriation, and the Western fixation on guilt. Murray travels to Berlin, Paris, Scandinavia, Lampedusa, and Greece to uncover the malaise at the very heart of the European culture, and to hear the stories of those who have arrived in Europe from far away.

This sharp and incisive book ends up with two visions for a new Europe--one hopeful, one pessimistic--which paint a picture of Europe in crisis and offer a choice as to what, if anything, we can do next. But perhaps Spengler was right: "civilizations like humans are born, briefly flourish, decay, and die."

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Douglas Murray about his new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. He argues that European civilization is dying as a result of immigration.


June 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration Article of the Day: A Particularly Serious Exception to the Categorical Approach by Fatma Marouf


A Particularly Serious Exception to the Categorical Approach by Fatma Marouf


A noncitizen who has been convicted of a “particularly serious crime” can be deported to a country where there is a greater than fifty percent chance of persecution or death. Yet, the Board of Immigration Appeals has not provided a clear test for determining what is a “particularly serious crime.” The current test, which combines an examination of the elements with a fact-specific inquiry, has led to arbitrary and unpredictable decisions about what types of offenses are “particularly serious.” This Article argues that the categorical approach for analyzing convictions should be applied to the particularly serious crime determination to promote greater uniformity and provide the predictability necessary to make informed pleas. Recent Supreme Court decisions, as well as a 2015 opinion by the Attorney General, support this argument by stressing that the use of the word “convicted” in the Immigration and Nationality Act triggers a categorical analysis. Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has interpreted the particularly serious crime bar as requiring an individualized analysis, this Article argues that the categorical approach better protects the High Commissioner’s underlying concerns of consistency and fairness.


June 28, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (49)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5-Min Film -- Exposed: The Injustice of Immigration Detention


Non-profit CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) has partnered with the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic to create a 5-minute video on immigration detention.  "Exposed: The Injustice of Immigration Detention" succinctly and effectively presents the harms and costs of detention, especially for those with little prior exposure to immigration detention .  It is narrated by Kristina Schull, who shares about her own husband's detention by immigration authorities, with graphics and editing by Stephanie Busing.



June 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Travel Ban Ruling Means My Kids Don't Belong

Immigration Symposium on SCOTUSBlog


With all the immigration action at the Supreme Court (click here for the latest), it should be no surprise that SCOTUSBlog is running an immigration symposium. 

The first installment is from Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia and explains why the reargument and ultimate decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez matters.  Her conclusion:

"It is uncertain how the Supreme Court will decide Jennings, but it should follow the 9th Circuit, which held that “the government must provide periodic bond hearings every six months so that non-citizens may challenge their detention ‘as the period of … confinement grows.’” The 9th Circuit decision should be a guide to the Supreme Court, because it is well reasoned, and it captures the history of how courts have handled and considered fundamental legal questions in the space of immigration detention."

The second installment was written by NancyMorawetz.  She notes that immigrants have prevailed over the government in a series of removal cases, including earlier this Term in Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions:

"Esquivel-Quintana shows how the executive branch’s positions can be dead wrong and that immigrants challenging their deportation can have viable claims and indeed may ultimately be vindicated by a unanimous Supreme Court. One can only hope that the Supreme Court will take that lesson to heart when it rehears Jennings v. Rodriguez in the fall. At issue in Jennings is whether an immigrant such as Mr. Esquivel-Quintana should be subjected to prolonged detention without any chance of release while pursuing a challenge to his deportation. The very fact that the Supreme Court has issued so many favorable rulings for immigrants makes clear that immigrants being detained are hardly destined to be deported simply because the government chooses to charge them as deportable. Understanding that basic fact is essential in achieving a fair result in Jennings."

Other contributions (all collected here) were posted by Professor John Eastman, Professor David Rubenstein, Charles Roth (National Immigrant Justice Center), and Richard Samp (Washington Legal Foundation)



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

Cyrus Mehta: Supreme Court May Have Bolstered Rights of Foreign Nationals with Ties to the United States


Cyrus Mehta on The Insightful Immigration Blog opines that, although it le disappointing that the Supreme Court allowed the ban to apply on visa applicants with no ties with the US from the banned countries, it may have permanently bolstered the rights of visa applicants who have ties to the US to challenge visa denials, which hitherto was not possible. This is the silver lining from yesterday’s court order.

In Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, the Supreme Court decided to review the preliminary injunctions of President Trump’s travel ban in its next term. As an interim measure, however, the Court granted the government’s application to stay the injunctions of the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, but created a broad exception. The travel ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Through this statement, the Court overnight fashioned a new standard for determining against whom the ban would apply or not apply. The following extract from the Court’s order is worth noting:

The facts of these cases illustrate the sort of relationship that qualifies. For individuals, a close familial relationship is required. A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member, like Doe’s wife or Dr. Elshikh’s mother-in-law, clearly has such a relationship. As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2. The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience. Not so someone who enters into a relationship simply to avoid §2(c): For example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.


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

Central American Women on the Run

Immigration Article of the Day: Country Conditions in Central America and Asylum Decision-Making: Report from a January 2017 Workshop by Jayesh Rathod, Eric Hershberg, Dennis Stinchcomb


Professor Jayesh Rathod

Country Conditions in Central America and Asylum Decision-Making: Report from a January 2017 Workshop by Jayesh Rathod, Eric Hershberg, Dennis Stinchcomb


In recent years, cases involving Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children (UACs) and families, have inundated the U.S. immigration system. Many of these migrants have expressed a fear of persecution and have applied for asylum, initiating a resource and time-intensive adjudication process with high stakes. Since many of these claims rely on non-legal expertise – often relating to country conditions and/or mental health assessments – the influx of cases presents new opportunities for collaboration between social scientists and legal scholars. In order to foster the collaboration that could inform the equitable adjudication of these cases, a cross-disciplinary team at American University convened an international group of researchers and practitioners with expertise across three areas: 1) country conditions in Central America; 2) psychological assessment of asylum seekers; and 3) asylum adjudication and evolving jurisprudence on asylum law in the U.S. The workshop had multiple goals, including the development of cross-disciplinary professional networks, the articulation of plans for future research, and the identification of other collaborative efforts seeking to address challenges in asylum adjudicat


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

University of California updated guidance (post-Supreme Court cert grant and partial stay of injunction) on executive order restricting travel and entry into the United States


The Office of the President of the University of California has issued an "Updated guidance on executive order restricting travel and entry into the United States by individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (‘Designated Countries’)."  The guidance responds to the Supreme Court's partial stay of the injunctions entered in the travel ban cases. 

The guidance states that

  1. permitting the entry ban in the Executive Order to go into effect as to foreign nationals from Designated Countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States;” and
  2. continuing to stay the Executive Order with respect to foreign nationals from Designated Countries who “have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
  3. The Supreme Court noted that a close familial relationship is sufficient to establish that a foreign national from a Designated Country has a bona fide relationship with a person in the United States.  To establish that a foreign national from a Designated Country has a bona fide relationship with an entity, the Court noted that the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading” the Executive Order.

The Supreme Court identified three circumstances relevant to members of the University of California community that would qualify as a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States:

  1. A student from a Designated Country who has been admitted to a university;
  2. a worker who has accepted an offer of employment from an American company; and
  3. a lecturer invited to address an American audience.

The University cannot be certain how the federal government will interpret and implement the Supreme Court’s order. However, from the University’s perspective there is a strong argument that current students; current employees; people who have accepted admission or employment offers by the University but have not yet started; people who have been offered admission or employment by the University through ordinary University procedures; and even people who have applied to the University for admission or employment through ordinary University procedures all have a “bona fide relationship” with the University.


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

California Governor signs budget with $45 million for deportation defense and immigration services

It is official, the California state budget has been signed by Governor Brown with the $45 million for an expanded One California program that includes the below services:

  • ​Education and outreach regarding immigrant rights and available relief from deportation
  • Application assistance for naturalization, DACA, and other affirmative relief from deportation
  • Legal representation for Californians facing deportation proceedings, including detained immigrants
  • Legal services for deported veterans
  • Legal training and technical assistance to build capacity for the provision of qualified legal services in underserved communities, to enhance the quality of legal representation for noncitizen clients, and to continue providing critical immigration expertise for legal service providers across California

The expanded program details are in SB 89


June 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sick and Afraid, Some Immigrants Forgo Medical Care

From the NY Times:

Dr. Luke Smith drove slowly through the unlit streets of a neighborhood filled with immigrants, searching for an address among small houses with windows ribbed by iron bars. Pharmacy bags lay at his feet.

His mission: to deliver medication to patients too frightened to pick up their prescriptions.

On this evening, Dr. Smith, a psychiatrist, was looking for the family of a 12-year-old boy with attention deficit disorder. Like most people who have sneaked into the United States illegally, the boy’s parents, from Puebla, Mexico, do not have drivers’ licenses.

Now, when they drive, being stopped at one of the frequent traffic checkpoints here can have consequences far more costly than a fine. Shaken by the Trump administration’s broad deportation orders, they and many others like them are retreating into the shadows, forgoing screenings, medications and other essential medical care.



June 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Trial


Fox News reports that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 85, faces a criminal charge stemming from his immigration enforcement actions. The eight-day trial in federal court in Phoenix will determine if the retired lawman is guilty of misdemeanor for criminal contempt for violating a federal district judge’s order in a racial [profiling case.  Stay tuned!


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

At the Movies: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan to Star in "The Foreigner"

Far-Right Member On Trial for Smuggling Refugee Lover

Béatrice Huret, photo Steve Finn via BBC

The story of Béatrice Huret feels a bit like a Lifetime movie. As the BBC reports, Huret was a card-carrying member of France's far-right National Front (FN). And then, one day, she gave a ride to a teenager living in France's notorious Calais refugee camp.

Huret was appalled by the conditions at Calais. And she began to help.

Along the way, she met Mokhtar. "It was love at first sight."

They lived together for a while. She ended up buying a small boat that he and two friends used to sail across the English Channel. At some point, the boat started taking on water, but the men were rescued and taken to a refugee camp in the UK.

While Huret's story hasn't made it to the big or little screen just yet, she does have a tell-all book called Calais mon amour. And The Local reports that "several film-makers are vying to acquire the rights."

All that attention has landed Huret in hot water. Last August, she was arrested and charged with people smuggling. Today, she goes on trial. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Asked by the BBC if it was worth it, Huret replied: "Yes... I did it for him. You do anything for love."


UPDATE: Huret has been found guilty but, the BBC reports, the court "did not hand down any punishment" for her.

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

Thoughts on the Reargument Orders in Jennings v. Rodriguez and Sessions v. Dimaya


I consider here the Supreme Court's orders that two fully argued and fully briefed cases, Jennings v. Rodriguez and Sessions v. Dimaya, be reargued next Term.  A majority of the Court apparently could not reach agreement on how to decide the cases. Justice Gorsuch will have the opportunity to break the deadlock.  In my estimation, the rearguments, with Justice Gorsuch as the tiebreaker, does not bode well for the Ninth Circuit rulings on those two cases. 


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

Amy Howe on Hernandez v. Mesa


Amy Howe for SOTUSBlog looks at the Supreme Court's disposition yesterday of Hernandez v. Mesa, which involved the shooting of a Mexican citizens by a U.S. border officer along the U.S./Mexico border.

The Court asked the parties to brief  the question whether the Hernandez family can rely on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents (1971), which held that a plaintiff can bring a private federal case for damages against federal officials who allegedly violated his constitutional rights.

As Howe summarizes:

"In an unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court emphasized today that the lower court had not given any consideration to the Bivens question. The justices noted that plaintiffs cannot rely on Bivens when there are “special factors counselling hesitation in the absence of affirmative action by Congress.” And in another decision last week, the court continued, it indicated that the focus of that inquiry should be whether courts are “well suited, absent congressional action or instruction, to consider and weigh the costs and benefits of allowing a damages action to proceed.” Therefore, the court concluded, the case should go back to the lower court for it to consider what effect that ruling might have on the Bivens question in this case. Doing so, the court indicated, might eliminate any need for the court of appeals to decide whether Hernandez was protected by the Fourth Amendment – which, the court seemed to suggest, could be preferable to deciding the “sensitive” and potentially “far reaching” Fourth Amendment question.

The court disagreed with the lower court’s conclusion that Mesa was entitled to qualified immunity from the family’s Fifth Amendment claim. That conclusion, the court explained, rested on the fact that Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen and did not have any connection to the United States. But that fact isn’t relevant to whether Mesa can be immune from a lawsuit, the court countered, because Mesa only learned after the shooting that Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen. Here too, the court stressed, the lower court had not addressed whether the family’s claim could even proceed under Bivens; it will now consider that question, as well as a series of other arguments about qualified immunity, on remand."

For a distinctively more biting assessment of the decision by Elie Mystal on Above the Law, click here.



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

CNN's Refugee Videos

CNN has posted a series of videos - interviews with Muslim refugees who resettled in the United States between 1982 and 2014.

The interviewees answer questions such as: What was the American dream for you? What is the greatest difficulty you face in the US? What are your greatest fears about today's political and social climate? What does the future hold for you and other refugees in America?

The clips are all brief - less than 2 minutes each. They could easily be incorporated into the classroom to really humanize the issue of asylum and refugee law.


June 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Refugees Heading North

Refugees Welcome by Taymaz Valley

Record numbers of asylum seekers living in the United States have been fleeing North into Canada. (You can read prior posts on this issue here, here, here, and here).

This week, the Winnipeg Free Press tackles what happens when such asylum seekers attempt lawful entry into Canada. That is, what happens if they show up at the U.S.-Canadian border and request protection? They're rebuffed due to the Safe Third Country Agreement between the US and Canada wherein claimants are, absent a recognized exception, "required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in." Thus, having sought refuge in the U.S. initially, such petitioners cannot then seek protection in Canada. 

Those who enter Canada without authorization are entitled to pursue refugee claims. But the country is experiencing a significant backlog in processing refugee claims, Reuters reports. In fact, refugee claims are taking longer to process than "at any time in the past five years." And the delays are expected to grow.

For Canadian claimants, this is a significant problem. Without a hearing, they cannot establish legal status in Canada. And that status is key to securing work, schooling, and housing.

What's fascinating for our American readers is to understand the actual numbers at issue. Canada has a backlog of 24,000 claimants. Refugee claims processing has gone from an average of 3.6 months to 5.6 months.

Of course, that level of delay would be welcome in the US where immigration courts have nearly 600,000 pending cases and a backlog of almost two years.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Dissent in Immigration by Daniel Morales

Check out Dissent in Immigration by recently-tenured immprof Daniel Morales (congrats!) of DePaul University College of Law. It's published in Law, Culture and the Humanities, a peer-reviewed publication.

Here's the abstract:

This commentary argues that prescriptive immigration scholarship has something to learn from the rise of Donald Trump. The Republican party’s relatively close ideological engagement with the aspirations of its immigration dissenters (white nationalists) has paid political dividends in the long run by allowing the party to capture a passion for immigration issues and marry that atavistic energy to legal know-how. But mainstream Democrats, along with scholars whose immigration reform prescriptions align with that group, reject as fantasy the open-borders demands of its dissenters. Yet fantasy can be made real, or at least spark real political enthusiasm, as Trump illustrates. A deeper engagement with the dreams of open-borders advocates, like the group #Not1More Deportation, could in time prove similarly fruitful and galvanizing for the mainstream immigration left.


June 26, 2017 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)