Monday, June 26, 2017

IRC: Innocent, Security-Vetted Refugees Victims of Supreme Court Decision

From IRC

New York, NY, June 26, 2017 — David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said today’s implementation of a partial stay by the Supreme Court on rulings against Trump Administration’s Travel Ban immediately impacts already vetted refugees scheduled to come to the United States.   

“Too much time already has been spent litigating this misguided order,” said Miliband. “The approach of the Administration is bad policy. That is not changed by the legal arguments. The Court’s decision threatens damage to vulnerable people waiting to come to the US: people with urgent medical conditions blocked, innocent people left adrift, all of whom have been extensively vetted. We urge the Administration to begin its long-delayed review of the vetting process and restart a program which changes lives for the better,” said Miliband.

According to the IRC, refugees are vetted more intensively than any other group seeking to enter the United States: 

Once those refugees most in need are registered by the U.N. refugee agency, the U.S. then hand-selects every person who is admitted. The U.S. resettlement program gives priority to refugees, usually vulnerable families, who have been targeted by violence. The U.S. does not recognize as refugees people who have committed violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the crime of terrorism, as refugees. They are specifically excluded from the protection accorded to refugees.

Security screenings are intense and led by U.S. government authorities, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and multiple security agencies. The process typically takes up to 36 months and is followed by further security checks after refugees arrive in the States.

Refugees undergo biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. Because of the complexity of the conflict in their country, Syrian refugees must go through extra review steps with intelligence agencies and Department of Homeland Security officers who have particular expertise and training in conditions in Syria and the Middle East. The IRC encourages the Administration to quickly engage with the real expertise in agencies to increase their knowledge of the current resettlement vetting process, and to better understand who refugees are.


June 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sanctuary Creativity and Expansions

From David Bacon

Sanctuary churches. Sanctuary schools. Sanctuary cities.

Sanctuary workplaces?

Albeit far from its intentions, the Trump administration has put the idea of sanctuaries on steroids -- spaces free from the threat of raids and deportations. As immigrant workers, unions and their allies look for creative ways to counter anti-immigrant onslaughts, they're adopting the sanctuary framework to deal with the dangers faced on the job.

This is not just a recent response to administration threats of increased enforcement. Immigrant workers have been battling jobsite raids and firings for many years, seeking ways to prevent la migra (immigration agents) from using their employment to sweep them into the enforcement net. Says Wei-Ling Huber, president of UNITE HERE Local 2850, the hotel union in the East Bay area of northern California, "When we go to work, we should be valued for the contributions we make, and we should be able to do our jobs free from fear of deportations."

Those contributions should be obvious. One in every ten workers in California is undocumented. So are over half the nation's farm laborers and 9 percent of its restaurant workers.

In April, Huber's union went before the Oakland City Council, asking for a policy that would protect immigrants on the job. The council passed a resolution, noting it has been a "City of Refuge" since the anti-apartheid movement of the mid-1980s, a policy reaffirmed last November, just days after Trump's election. "The City Council ... calls upon all employers to establish safe/sanctuary workplaces where workers are respected and not threatened or discriminated against based on their immigration status," the measure stated.

Local 2850 wanted the statement as a way to define public policy, but actual implementation of an enforcement-free workplace requires more than resolutions. Ten years ago, the union headed a fight in next-door Emeryville, when the Woodfin Suites, a hotel in the southern California-based chain, fired 12 immigrant women housekeepers. Emeryville had just passed a living-wage ordinance for hotel employees, and at the Woodfin Suites workers demanded its enforcement. The hotel accused the 12 women of not having legal immigration documents, and protests over the retaliatory firings went on for four years. Eventually the company had to pay several hundred thousand dollars in back pay. In the process, the Emeryville City Council became committed defenders of the housekeepers.

Moving further toward making the sanctuary workplace a reality, Local 2850 began negotiating protections into union contracts. The union is trying to make one key provision a standard, which cautions that "Should a federal immigration agent or a Department of Homeland Security agent demand entry into the Employer's premises or the opportunity to interrogate, search or seize the person or property of any employee, then the Employer shall immediately notify the Union by telephone to the union's office. Except as required by law, the Employer shall not permit the agent(s) to enter the premises without a valid warrant."

The contract prohibits retaliation against workers because of their immigration status. Once the hotel accepts the documents provided by workers when they're hired, it can't go back later and use the government's E-Verify database to revisit their immigration status.

The need for this was evident in a recent change in one hotel's ownership, when the new owners wanted all the employees to submit new evidence of their legal status. The workers banded together and refused, thus protecting anyone who might have trouble doing so. The company backed down, and everyone went back to work. In San Francisco, when another boutique hotel chain changed hands, UNITE HERE Local 2 mobilized community pressure to stop the new owners from similarly re-verifying workers' immigration status.

At issue is a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which, for the first time in US history, prohibited employers from hiring undocumented workers. The law required employers to verify workers' immigration status when they are hired, and led to the creation of the huge E-Verify database of all workers' immigration status.

After 1986, undocumented workers could no longer apply for Social Security numbers. Since then, to get hired, workers without papers have made up numbers or used those of other people. Employers deduct contributions from their paychecks for Social Security -- about $13 billion/year. But workers without papers can't collect the benefits the contributions pay for. In the meantime, the government uses the discrepancy in numbers as a tool for immigration enforcement.

Another purpose, therefore, of the sanctuary workplace is to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from using Social Security numbers to identify undocumented workers and force employers to fire them. In some cases, ICE (and its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service) have even sent workers to federal prison, charging that providing a bad Social Security number constitutes "identify theft."

In Local 2850's contract language, hotels can't terminate workers simply because Social Security questions their numbers -- a protection won by San Francisco's Local 2 several years ago. And if undocumented employees gain legal status, and a new valid number, the company must recognize their continuing seniority and job rights. Workers are even given a paid holiday on the day they're sworn in as new citizens.

The strategy used in the Oakland resolution, and unions' contract language, has also become the basis of a bill introduced into the California state legislature, at the initiative of the SEIU United Service Workers West -- the union for janitors, security guards and airport workers. AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, requires employers to ask for a judicial warrant before granting ICE agents access to a workplace. It prohibits employers from sharing confidential information, like Social Security numbers, without a court order. This bill also says employers must notify the state Labor Commissioner if ICE demands employee information.

United Service Workers West, like the hotel unions, also has a history of fighting workplace immigration raids and firings. In 2011 Los Angeles janitors sat down in city intersections to protest immigration-based firings by Able Building Maintenance. The union fought similar firings in Stanford University cafeterias, and among custodians in the Silicon Valley buildings of Apple and Hewlett-Packard. UNITE HERE members in San Diego mounted a hunger strike outside the Hyatt Hotel over the same issue. Over 200 Molders Union members in Berkeley at the Pacific Steel foundry fought firings for almost a year.

A number of unions are beginning to train workers to act together on the job to resist raids and firings. This spring, in a session organized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Filipino Advocates for Justice and several other groups, workers acted out scenarios that used job action to protect each other. ILWU members from a local recycling company, Alameda County Industries, dramatized their own strike three years ago, when they stopped work to keep the company from firing employees for not having papers. In another skit, they suggested that workers take action to demand that their boss bar ICE agents from the workplace, if they have no court order. Other unions described their experiences over the past decade in organizing workers to fight off raids and firings.

As a result of this activity, unions with a significant membership of immigrants, and a history of fighting to defend them, were very visible in May Day's "Day Without Immigrants" marches. Many had participated in the crowds that shut down airports in January, in response to Trump's attempted ban on migrants and travelers from Muslim countries. As workers did in 2006 -- when marches protested a bill in Congress to make undocumented status a federal felony -- marchers this year protested similar threats from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In a highly publicized event in April on the Arizona-Mexico border, Sessions told the press that enforcement would now prioritize identity theft, among other factors. "And it is here that criminal aliens, and the coyotes, and the document-forgers seek to overthrow our system of lawful immigration," he announced. By employing phrases like "identity theft" and "document-forgers," Sessions once again treats giving a bad Social Security number to an employer as a criminal offense. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that over 8 million undocumented people are in the workforce, working under bad numbers, making them potentially subject to these charges.

Anger over workplace enforcement actions has a long history in California. One of the first battles took place at the Kraco car radio factory in the early 1980s. In an action that preceded the sanctuary debate by over 30 years, workers joining the United Electrical Workers stopped the plant to force the owner to deny entry to immigration agents. Later that decade, the Molders Union Local 164 in Oakland joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in suing the Immigration and Naturalization Service over its practice of having agents bar the doors of factories, holding workers prisoner, and then interrogating them and detaining those without papers. The case went to the US Supreme Court, which found the practice unconstitutional.

In the Day Without Immigrants actions, unions and immigrant rights organizations sought to tap into this history, and linked the sanctuary workplace to the enforcement of labor rights in general. Sixty workers from Oakland and Emeryville hotels left their jobs and picketed the site of a proposed new hotel that has refused to guarantee workers' freedom to organize. After tearing down a symbolic "Trump wall," they joined the main May Day march.

In New York City, immigrant workers at one of the world's largest suppliers of photography materials, B&H Photo Video, struck for the day, protesting a plan to relocate 330 jobs from Brooklyn, New York, to Florence Township, New Jersey. Workers have been trying to negotiate a union contract with the help of the Laundry Workers Center and the United Steel Workers, and they have accused the company of using the move to punish workers for their union support.

A thousand people marched in Yakima, in the heart of central Washington's apple orchards. Most were farm workers who had taken off work for the day, including a large contingent from the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery who belong to the United Farm Workers. Some workers were released for the day by their employers at local packing sheds. Mike Gempler, executive director of the Washington Growers League, criticized the Trump administration, calling officials like Sessions "very zealous." Trump's enforcement program, he said, "will economically destroy much of the agriculture industry, and I think we will also end up treating people unfairly."

And a week after May Day, the country's newest farm worker union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, marched 17 miles from Lynden to Bellingham in Washington. In addition to protesting Trump's anti-immigrant policies, farm workers demanded that Washington grower Sakuma Brothers Farms sign a union contract. The union mounted a three-year boycott of Driscoll's Berries, which markets the berries they pick for Sakuma. Combined with strikes in the fields, the boycott forced the grower to agree to a union election, won by workers last September. Their march coincided with a hunger strike by immigrants held in Tacoma, Washington's Northwest Detention Center. Familias Unidas por la Justicia has a history of support for the center's detainees, in part because they are forced to do all the work at the privately-run prison (except guarding themselves), at an illegal wage of $1 a day.

In the mobilizations around May Day, support grew on a national level for immigrant workers facing raids. Four unions (Communications Workers of America, Amalgamated Transit Union, National Nurses United and the United Electrical Workers) sent out a letter urging workers and labor activists to participate in the Day Without Immigrants strikes and marches.

"As leaders of the unions who supported Bernie Sanders for president, we refuse to go down that road of hatred, resentment and divisiveness," they declared. "We will march and stand with our sister and brother immigrant workers against the terror tactics of the Trump administration."

Over a month later, the Trump administration appears strangely reluctant to implement Sessions' threats on a wide scale in the nation's workplaces, but organizers are far from declaring victory. According to Agustin Ramirez, an organizer for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in California, "The threats from Trump tell us this is coming. We just don't know when."


June 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Ends 2016 Term, Agrees to Hear Travel Ban Cases, Vacates and Remands Cross-Border Shooting Case, Punts in Two Immigration Cases

Sct equal

The Supreme Court's 2016 Term has come to an end.  Today, the last day of the Term, the Court in the biggest news agreed to review the travel ban decisions in the 2017 Term. In a per curiam order, the Court stayed the injunction in part.  Justice Thomas, joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch, concurred in part and dissented in part.   He would have stayed the injunctions in full.   

In Hernandez v. Mesa, which involved a cross border shooting by U.S. immigration enforcement officer of a young Mexican national, the Court in a per curiam pinionr vacated and remanded the case to the court of appeals to consider whether the family could sue for violation of the Fourth Amendment under the Supreme Court's 1971 Bivens decision.  The order, which is analyzed here, observed that the case involved "a heartbreaking loss of life."  Justice Gorsuch did not participate in the case.

The Court ordered reargument in two immigration cases.  

In Jennings v. Rodriguez  (reviewing the legality of detention of immigrants without a bond hearing) and Sessions v. Dimaya (reviewing a Ninth Circuit decision, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, striking down a criminal removal provision as unconstitutionally vague), the Court will hear rearguments next fall.   The Court likely was split 4-4 in these cases  Justice Gorsuch will break the tie.

The Court earlier this Term decided four decisions touching on immigration:

1.  Sessions v. Morales-Santana (invalidating gender distinctions favoring women over men based on antiquated on stereotypes in derivative citizenship laws).

2.  Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions  (interpreting criminal removal provision).

3.  Maslenjak v.. United States  (denaturalization).

4.  Lee v. United States  (ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on erroneous advice on immigration consequences of guilty plea).

The Court agreed to review is seven immigration-related cases  in total in  the 2016 Term, which is a relatively large number. Two  (Maslenjak and Santana-Morales) touched on citizenship and denaturalization.  Five (Jennings, Dimaya, Esquivel-Quintana, Lee v. U.S.. Hernandez v. Mesa) involved immigration enforcement, which should not be surprising in light of the Obama administration's immigration enforcement push.  Increased immigration enforcement under President Trump will likely lead to a steady stream of immigration cases to the Supreme Court.


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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Federal Court to Hear MALDEF Request to Block Texas SB 4

(SAN ANTONIO, TX) – MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) will appear before a federal judge in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, tomorrowmorning on behalf of clients seeking to block Texas Senate Bill 4 from taking effect.

WHAT:     Hearing on motion for a preliminary injunction to block Texas SB 4

WHO:        Nina Perales, MALDEF vice president for litigation

WHEN:      9:30 a.m., Monday, June 26, 2017

WHERE:   John H. Wood Jr. United States Courthouse

                    655 E Cesar E Chavez Blvd.

                    San Antonio, TX

BACKGROUND: MALDEF has sued Texas on behalf of the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Councilmember Rey A. Saldaña, the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, the Workers Defense Project and La Union Del Pueblo Entero, alleging SB 4 violates the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well other constitutional and statutory provisions.

Last week, MALDEF filed a motion requesting a federal court to block the law from taking effect. The request is intended to prevent Texans from being subject to the negative and punitive impact the law would bring about if it goes into effect as scheduled on Sept. 1. Among other harmful provisions, the law would allow local law enforcement authorities to ask, without training or cause, about the immigration status of individuals they stop. It would also curb free speech protections by allowing for the removal or prosecution of elected officials who oppose SB 4. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will hear arguments tomorrow.


June 25, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

South of the border, US expats have a different take on Mexico than many Americans

CNN reports on the growing number of American expatriates who are living happily in Mexico and enjoying the "three Cs," climate, culture, and (lower) cost of living.  According to the State Department, roughly 1 million US citizens live in Mexico



Cathy Peoples, 61, is a newbie to Mexico. She says she moved here from Laurel, Maryland, in January to get away from the political climate in the US. She was surprised by the ease of the process; it only took her six weeks to become a legal resident. PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN


June 25, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Congratulations to Three Newly Tenured Immigration Law Professors

Congratulations to three superstar immigration law professors whose tenure was finalized by their respective universities in the last few weeks.



Ming Hsu Chen is a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she holds a faculty appointment in the law school and faculty affiliations in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. Professor Chen brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of immigration, civil rights, and the administrative state.



César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He runs the acclaimed blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law. In 2014, In 2014, he was presented with the Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award by the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups.  Professor Garcia has published much influential immigration and crimmigration scholarship.



Professor Mariela Olivares has been at Howard University School of Law since 2011. She has published extensively on immigration and its impact on immigrant families. Her most recent law review article is “Intersectionality at the Intersection of Profiteering and Immigration Detention.”


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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

In Clooney's Italian Hometown, Immigration Is Key

Clooney by Ed Van-West Garcia

When I think of Lake Como in Italy, I think of George Clooney. Don't judge. I'm pretty sure most of our readers would say the same. And, by the way, you're welcome for the editorial decision to include a photo of George instead of a photo of the picturesque Northern Italian city.

Today, the NYT has coverage of the local elections in Como, which are seen as a harbinger for upcoming national elections.

What's the big issue? Immigration, of course!

The debate centers on what ought to be done with African migrants who are currently living in Italy but who hope to head North to work in Switzerland or other parts of Northern Europe.


June 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Family Values? Only in America: The Impact of Removal on a Bay Area Family


Photo: Paul Chinn, San Francisco Chronicle                                    

At least nine million "mixed status families" have family members with persons wih unauthorized immigration status and others who are U.S. citizens or have lawful status. Removal of one member of the family impacts the entire family unit.

Hamed Aleaziz for the San Frencisco Chronicle tells a heartbreaking story of a family, including U.S. citizens, given a horrivle choice due to removal of the father. After spending months grappling with her family’s immigration dilemma, Sandra Salazar decided to move with her daughter Nubia from the San Francisco Bay Area to Guadalajara, Mexico — even though they were both native-born U.S. citizens who preferred to stay. Even though she would be leaving behind a grown daughter struggling with medical issues. Even though they had grown close with their community and their church.

The other option was to stay put and accept living apart from the family patriarch, who was forced to leave the country last August. Though Cuauhtemoc “Temo” Salazar, 46, had been brought to the U.S. at age 6 with a visa by his mother, and though he married an American at age 23, he never obtained citizenship — and a couple of drug-possession convictions he picked up as a young man led to his removal.


June 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Your Nationality Matters to Employers


Check out this report on a new study finds that employers are a startling 82 percent less likely to hire an applicant from a particular country if they previously had a negative experience with an applicant for a similar job from that same country.

UC Berkeley Professor Ming Leung analyzed 3.9 million applications from freelancers worldwide for more than 290 thousand jobs and found that employers react more strongly to negative hiring experiences than to positive ones.

Leung studies labor markets and hiring at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. His findings can be found in “Learning to hire? Hiring as a dynamic experiential learning process in an online market for contract labor.”


June 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Zero Undocumented Population Growth Is Here to Stay and Immigration Reform Would Preserve and Extend These Gains by Robert Warren

Zero Undocumented Population Growth Is Here to Stay and Immigration Reform Would Preserve and Extend These Gains by Robert Warren


This paper makes the case that the era of large-scale undocumented population growth has ended, and that there is a need to reform the US legal immigration system to preserve and extend US gains in reducing undocumented entries and the US undocumented population overall.  The paper demonstrates that a broad and sustained reduction in undocumented immigration to the United States occurred in the 2008 to 2015 period.  It shows that the Great Recession had little, if any, role in the transformation to zero population growth of the undocumented population. Rather, the undocumented population stopped growing because of increased scrutiny of air travel after 9/11, a decade and a half of accelerating efforts to reduce illegal entries across the southern border, long-term increases in the numbers leaving the population each year, and improved economic and demographic conditions in Mexico. These conditions are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.


June 24, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Immigration is One of the "Fastest Growing Skills Online"

The next time your dean asks you to justify offering immigration law or running an immigration clinic, you just might find some backup from this data from Bloomberg:

Experts on immigration law saw the demand for their labor soar eight-fold from a year earlier, according to data from the first quarter compiled by Upwork, which connects freelancers with employers. That made immigration law the fourth fastest-growing skill on the online job market[.]

For the record, the top three fastest growing skills online were: (1) Asana project management, (2) artificial intelligence, and (3) rapid prototyping. If you understand any of those words, kudos to you.


June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (3)

Brutal Assault of Lao American Man by Minnesota Police

From Southeast Asian Resource Action Center:

SEARAC condemns the brutal assault of Anthony Promvongsa, a Lao American man from Worthington, MN, at the hands of area police. The incident occurred almost a year ago on July 28, 2016, but the ACLU of Minnesota only recently received video footage. 
The footage shows Agent Joe Joswiak of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force screaming, kicking, and punching Promvongsa before he had the chance to step out of his car. Sgt. Tim Gaul then appears to deliberately disable the audio recording of the incident. Prior to being pulled over, an off-duty officer had called Agent Joswiak to pursue Promvongsa because he claimed Promvongsa was tailgating him.
To this date, Agent Joswiak has not been held accountable for his treatment of Promvongsa in any way, and Sgt. Tim Gaul has not been investigated for his role in potentially tampering with the evidence. The police have instead charged Promvongsa with multiple felonies.
The incident comes to light shortly after Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, MN, police officer, was acquitted of all charges for shooting Philando Castile seven times and killing him as he reached for his wallet during a traffic stop.
Police violence with impunity against Black people is a cancer on American society with historical roots as old as our country. Promvongsa's beating underscores how important it is for Southeast Asian Americans to stand together with African American communities and all communities of color for stronger oversight, training, and accountability in our law enforcement systems.
We echo the ACLU of Minnesota's call for a complete and immediate investigation of Agent Joswiak and Sgt. Gaul to ensure due process and justice for Anthony Promvongsa, and to set a precedent of accountability for too many other victims of racialized police brutality. 
The graphic video can be viewed here.

June 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three-fourths of Foreign Students from Asia


High resolution infographics available for download at

WASHINGTON — There are 1.18 million international students with F (academic) or M (vocational) status studying at 8,774 schools in the United States according to the latest "SEVIS by the Numbers." The biannual report on international student data, which includes a new section on regional data trends, is prepared by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The report, released Thursday by SEVP, highlights May 2017 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that includes information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States.

Based on data extracted from SEVIS May 5, the international student population increased 2 percent compared to May 2016, with 76 percent of students enrolled in higher education programs of study.

Seventy-seven percent of international students hailed from Asia. Among continents, South America had the largest percentage increase (6.5 percent) in international students studying in the United States when compared to May 2016.  

China and India continue to send the largest number of students to study in the United States, at 362,368 students and 206,698 students, respectively. And even with a 19 percent decline – the steepest percentage decline among the top 10 Asian countries – Saudi Arabia still had 55,806 students studying in the United States in May 2017, ranking fourth among Asian countries. With an 18 percent increase, Nepal saw the largest proportional growth in students coming to the United States.

Nearly 514,000 international students pursued science, technology engineering or mathematics (STEM) degrees in May 2017, marking an 8 percent increase from May 2016. Thirty-nine percent of those students pursued engineering degrees. India not only had the largest number of STEM students, but also the largest proportional STEM student population; 84 percent of Indian students in the United States studied STEM.

In May 2017, 10 U.S. universities certified to enroll only F international students accounted for 10 percent of the entire international student population. New York University (15,386 students), the University of Southern California (13,365 students) and Northeastern University (12,372 students) – all certified to enroll F students – had the highest international student enrollment numbers among U.S. schools.

Nine percent of schools can enroll both F and M international students. The top three schools in this category included: Cornell University (5,716 students), the Houston Community College System (4,768 students) and Santa Monica College (3,554 students).

The international student population in the Northeast increased 4 percent when compared to May 2016, marking the highest proportional growth of the four U.S. regions. Rhode Island was the only state in the region to experience a dip in the number of international students compared to the previous year, while New York and Massachusetts added the largest number of international students during that same period, 4,490 students and 2,770 students, respectively. New Jersey saw an increase of 10 percent in international students pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

In the South, the international student population grew 3 percent since May 2016. Florida, Georgia and Texas all saw significant increases in the number of international students studying in those states.  While Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma saw decreases in the number of international students studying there..

Arkansas, Kentucky and Maryland all saw major growth in international students taking part in their higher education system. Maryland saw a 10 percent increase in the number of students earning a bachelor’s degree. However, the southern region saw the largest growth at the graduate degree level. The number of international students pursuing master’s degrees increased 25 percent in Arkansas and 35 percent in Kentucky.

The Midwest saw minimal growth of 1 percent. Illinois added 1,331 students to its international student population, marking the largest increase in the region, while Nebraska experienced the largest proportional growth of 7 percent. Missouri experienced the largest decrease in international students, both in terms of student numbers and proportional decline, 763 students and 3 percent, respectively.

In the western part of the United States, international student enrollment stayed relatively static in California, other than an 8 percent increase in the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees. Idaho saw a 14 percent drop in the total number of international students studying in the state, with a 16 percent decrease in the number of students earning a bachelor’s degree. But, Nevada’s international student population grew by 5 percent, marking the largest proportional growth in the region.

The full “SEVIS by the Numbers” report can be viewed here. Report data was extracted from SEVIS May 5. The report captures a point-in-time snapshot of data related to international students studying in the United States. Data for the previous "SEVIS by the Numbers" report was extracted from SEVIS in November 2016.

Individuals can explore more international student data from current and previous "SEVIS by the Numbers" reports by visiting the Study in the States interactive mapping tool. This information is accessible at the continent, region and country level and includes information on gender and education levels, as well as international student populations by state, broken down by geographical areas across the globe.

SEVP monitors the more than one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies the schools and programs that enroll these students. The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Both SEVP and the Department of State use SEVIS to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws. SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with possible national security risks or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.


June 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

North Carolina deportation case symbolizes “everything wrong with the immigration system”

From Rewire:

Minerva Cisneros Garcia, an undocumented immigrant living in Winston-Salem, has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the last 8 years. Though Garcia faced many roadblocks to citizenship, she was told repeatedly by ICE agents that she was not a priority for deportation.

After President Trump took office and began to wield his executive power, suddenly everything changed. Garcia is now being forced by ICE to leave her home of 17 years by on a bus bound for Mexico on June 28. Rewire Immigration Reporter Tina Vasquez writes:

“Her oldest, Eduardo, is 21 years old and blind due to complications from cancer. Her second-oldest son died of cancer in 2007, seven years after they first migrated to the United States. Her two remaining children, who are 6 and 3 years old respectively, were born in North Carolina. Winston-Salem is the only home they’ve ever known.”

The community where Garcia and her family call home know Garcia as a mother who “just wants to work and take care of her kids.”  In part two of her series, Vasquez explores the community response to Garcia’s story and on how locals are mobilizing – both in Winston-Salem and across the nation – to try to stop the deportations of their friends and neighbors.

“Undocumented people and their attorneys are seeking support from their local communities as last-ditch efforts to avoid deportation under an administration that has taken a hardline stance on immigration. Garcia, who has received support from Winston-Salem organizers, activists, and members of various faith communities, is quickly running out of time. Her attorney has just seven days to get her a stay of deportation.”

For more details, please read:


June 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Decides Immigrant Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Case (Lee v. United States)


The Supreme Court has been busy with immigration cases in the 2016 Term.  (For a description of the six immigration cases, click here.).  The Court decided a denaturalization case (Maslenjak v. United States) yesterday and a criminal removal case (Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions) in May. 

Today, the Supreme Court decided Lee v. United States, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts (and joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.  Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, dissented.  Justice Gorsuch did not participate in the consideration or decision in the case. 

The  case involves the application of Padilla v. Kentucky (2010), a blockbuster decision that held that an ineffective assistance of counsel claim under the Sixth Amendment could be alleged by an immigrant who had not been advised of the removal consequences of a plea agreement.  Jae Lee, an immigrant from South Korea, had lived in the United States since 1982.  Lee was charged with possessing ecstasy with intent to distribute. His lawyer urged him to plead guilty because he would not be deported, and would receive a shorter sentence. As the Court bluntly stated, "Lee's attorney was wrong." "Dead wrong" is more like it.  Lee accepted the plea agreement.

The plea agreement in fact meant mandatory deportation for Lee; he had expressed concern about removal to his attorney and the court. When he learned that his plea would result in his removal from the United States, Lee moved to vacate his conviction on the ground that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The U.S. government agreed that Lee had received ineffective assistance but argued that he also had to show that he was prejudiced by his attorney's bad advice.  The government further argued that Lee could not establish prejudice because he had no viable defense to the drug charges. Lee said that he would have gambled with a trial (and a possible lengthier sentence) if he had known about the removal consequences of a conviction.  Reversing the court of appeals' ruling, the Court held that Lee had adequately shown a reasonable probability that he would have rejected the plea if he had known he would be deported.  The majority applied generally applicable doctrine from its decisions on the elements of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
In his dissent, Justice Thomas at the outset emphasized that he believed that Padilla v. Kentucky was wrongly decided.  He proceeded to explain his disagreement with the majority's analysis of the prejudice prong of Lee's ineffective assistance claim.
Lee v. United States does not break new ground.   But it continues a trend in which the Court has shown a willingness to protect the rights of immigrants and to apply standard constitutional doctrines to protect the rights of immigrants, in this case the right to effective assistance of counsel.  We will see whether the trend continues in two immigration cases raising constitutional questions in which we are likely to see decisions on Monday, Jennings v. Rodriguez (immigrant detention) and Sessions v. Dimaya (constitutionality of criminal removal provision of the U.S. immigration laws). Three of the six remaining cases from the 2016 Term are immigration cases (the final one is Hernandez v. Mesa, a case involving a shooting by a border patrol office of a young Mexican man.
UPDATE (June 24):  Amy Howe's analysis of the Court's opinion in Lee v. United States  for SCOTUSBlog can be found here.

June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Beat Goes on: Trump Calls for Law that Has Been on the Books Since 1996


USA Today reports that President Trump yesterday called for a "new" law barring immigrants from receiving public benefits for at least five years at a rally in Iowa. But neither Trump nor supporters seemed to realize that the law has already existed for more than 20 years.

As The Hill reported, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996. The law prevents immigrants from receiving federal benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security for five years after entering the country.


June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ninth Circuit: Employer's Counsel May be Subject to FLSA Liability for Calling ICE on Plaintiff

Here is an update on an important Ninth Circuit decision from Ninth Circuit watcher Cappy White:
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit in Arias v. Raimundo, No 15-16120, in a case interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), held that an employer’s attorney could be liable under FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision when that attorney allegedly retaliated against an undocumented employee by arranging to have the employee apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a scheduled deposition.  Judge Stephen Trott wrote the opinion for the court; Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw and Ronald Gould were also on the panel. 
The employee alleged in his complaint that he settled his case “due in substantial part to the threat of deportation created by Defendant’s communications with ICE,” and that the attorney had contacted ICE regarding other employees who have asserted their rights against employers he represented on at least five other occasions.
Relying in large part on Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53 (2006), a Title VII case, the court distinguished the substantive provisions of employment laws with their anti-retaliation provisions, noting that the “economic control” test for determining whether a defendant is an “employer” is not relevant in determining who can be liable for retaliation.
Plaintiff is represented by attorneys from the Legal Aid at Work (formerly the Legal Aid Society -Employment Law Center) in San Francisco and California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.

June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigrant Workers and Workplace Discrimination: Overturning the Missed Opportunity of Title VII Under Espinoza v. Farah by Maria Linda Ontiveros


Immigrant Workers and Workplace Discrimination: Overturning the Missed Opportunity of Title VII Under Espinoza v. Farah by Maria Linda Ontiveros

Berkeley Journal of Labor and Employment Law, forthcoming


This essay argues the Supreme Court decision Espinoza v. Farah Mfg. Co. should be overturned because of its incorrect definition of national origin discrimination under Title VII. The essay argues that Espinoza v. Farah's holding that discrimination based on citizenship status, immigration status or migrant status is not national origin discrimination under Title VII's disparate impact or disparate treatment theories is incorrect from both theoretical and doctrinal standpoints. To bolster its analysis, the essay presents a social and political history of discrimination against Latinos at the time of the decision, as well as the litigation strategy behind Espinoza to illustrate how discrimination based on citizenship status, migrant status and immigration status is discrimination based on national origin. It then shows how two lines of cases — Title VII discrimination cases brought by H1B guest workers on the basis of national origin discrimination and EEOC trafficking cases alleging discrimination based on national origin and/or sex — have begun to erode the analysis underlying Espinoza. It concludes with an argument, based on current Supreme Court standards, that Espinoza should be overturned.



June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui                                               
Hardcover – Illustrated, March 7, 2017                              
National bestseller
ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection

An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.

June 23, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Bernadette Ludwig

Staten Island women participate in cooking demonstration and conversation about Liberian culture and cuisine
Photo via Staten Island Arts: Folklife

Throwback Thursday is back! Be excited.

First, some background. On Tuesday, during discussion that followed the screening of Warehoused, several individuals got into a discussion about whether the term "refugee" has negative connotations. I don't typically think of it that way, but as I've mentioned before, some do. One member of the discussion tried to articulate why he prefers the term "New American." For him, it was an issue of time. How many years after resettlement should he still be considered a refugee? Will he always and forever be one? Is he instead a "former refugee"?

These are fascinating questions that had me thinking about the work of Dr. Bernadette Ludwig, who teaches in the sociology department at Wagner College. For those who haven't read it before, I want to highlight her 2013 article: “Wiping the Refugee Dust from My Feet”: Advantages and Burdens of Refugee Status and the Refugee Label. It's about the experience of Liberian refugees living in Staten Island, New York and, in particular, their struggles with being identified as refugees.

Ludwig notes that there is real stigma to the term refugee in this particular Liberian community because, among other things, it's a label placed on people rather than one they've actively chosen for themselves. It's also a term that's associated with poverty, homelessness, and lack of education. It is, in short, "insulting" and "degrading." The word carries such weight that "many refugees anticipate the end of their 'refugeeness.'"

And yet, of course, the term has significant advantages. "Refugees" are entitled to special protections and services - ones not available to all immigrants.

Ludwig concludes that there's a difference between the "legal refugee status and the informal refugee label" that ought to be understood. And individuals' perspective on the term "change in the course of time." Being a "refugee" is not "a fixed identity."

It's a great read. I highly recommend it.


June 22, 2017 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (2)