Thursday, June 22, 2017
From the Center for American Progress
Washington, D.C. — Coming out of arguably one of the most comprehensive studies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since its implementation in 2012, the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) and the Center for American Progress released today a new analysis that looks specifically at DACA beneficiaries without high school or college degrees whose life trajectories have been improved by access to education and training programs thanks to DACA. This analysis draws on interviews with 319 respondents who, prior to receiving DACA, dropped out of high school; finished their education with a high school degree; or did not complete college due to financial, legal, or motivational barriers. Like the majority of DACA recipients, these particular beneficiaries have been able to increase their job mobility, and increased incomes and financial stability lead to greater spending. According to the analysis, this spending “percolates directly into household spending, lifting hopes for longer-term goals such as purchasing a home,” and ultimately boosts the country’s economy through paying taxes.
“Over the past five years, more Americans have come to know the plight of DACA recipients,” said Roberto G. Gonzales, an assistant professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and the principal investigator of the National UnDACAmented Research Project. “Much of what we know from research and the media is from the experiences of politically and socially active young people with advanced levels of education. But our research shows that DACA’s impact has been arguably most felt by those who, because of their immigration status, discontinued their schooling too early. Of the hundreds we have interviewed, many are returning to GED programs, workforce development, certificate programs, and college campuses. And they’re using these opportunities as building blocks to launch careers.”
Work authorization, the study found, provides the assurance that beneficiaries will be competitive for employment in their chosen industries after completing job training programs, which they view as stepping stones to four-year degrees and opportunities to gain relevant job experience. And not only does DACA lead to greater job mobility, skills-matching, and better jobs that allow recipients to save money for additional education and to support family, it also improves access to opportunities through the ability to obtain driver’s licenses.
“DACA has opened doors of opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and changed their lives for the better, benefiting not only them and their families and communities but the country as a whole,” said Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at CAP. “But it is still a temporary solution, and the success of DACA underscores the need for a permanent solution that provides a path to citizenship, something that poll after poll shows the American people support. The administration should genuinely commit to strengthening DACA while working to enact a meaningful legislative solution to allow these aspiring Americans and others to continue to prosper and contribute.”
Of the study’s 2,381 DACA recipients, approximately:
- 61 percent took on new jobs.
- 45 percent increased their earnings, with hourly salaries increasing from $5 to $8 per hour to more than $14 per hour, and most at least doubled their previous salaries, earning between $25,000 and $30,000 per year.
- 57 percent obtained a driver’s license within the first 16 months of DACA.
Colorlines reports on a new documentary. Dalya Zano and her mother Rudayna Aksh are but two of the millions of Syrians forced into exile by the country's ongoing civil war. Their flight from Aleppo and adjustment to life in multicultural Los Angeles is the focus of a new feature-length documentary, "Dalya's Other Country." Director Julia Meltzer ("The Light in Her Eyes") preceded the film's public premiere on PBS' "POV" Monday (June 26)* with a 13-minute short documentary and accompanying op-ed published by The New York Times yesterday (June 20).
The Supreme Court today decided Maslenjak v. United States . Justice Kagan wrote for the Court. The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor joined. The Court held that only material misstatements can result in a criminal conviction (and stripped of citizenship) under a federal statute prohibiting knowingly committing an illegal act to secure naturalization.
Justice Gorsuch concurred in part and concurred in the judgment. Justice Thomas joined his opinion. Justice Alito concurred in the judgment.
Divna Maslenjak, a Bosnian Serb ,had been granted refugee status and later naturalized to become a U.S. citizen. She made a misstatement in her naturalization petition about her husband's service in the Bosnian Serb Army. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th Circuits, that a naturalized U.S. citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement.
There were no other immigration decisions today. Perhaps tomorrow?
Here is the Supreme Court's opinion.
UPDATE (June 23): Amy Howe's recap of the Maslenjak decision for SCOTUSBlog is here. This post on the Faegre Benson Daniels website summarizes the case, the various opinions, and the holding. For additional analysis of the opinions, see Edith Roberts' "Friday Round Up" on SCOTUSBlog.
The briefing is completed on the U.S. government's request for review of the travel ban cases. Here is a link to all of the briefs. Edith Roberts on her update for SCOTUSBlog includes links to some of the commentary on the positions taken by the litigants. The U.S. government does not go without criticism.
The Supreme Court may be releasing some decisions later this morning. Maybe we will see an immigration decision? Stay Tuned!
Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker looks at the incredible backlog in the immigration courts:
"U.S. immigration courts are facing a backlog of over half a million cases—and each one, on average, takes almost two years to close. These delays mean that everyone from asylum seekers to green-card holders faces extended stays in detention while awaiting rulings. Speaking about the problem, one immigration judge recently told the Times, “The courts as a whole lose credibility.”
Much of the backlog can be traced back to the Obama Administration, when spending on immigration enforcement went up, while Congress dramatically limited funds for hiring more judges. The number of pending cases grew from a hundred and sixty-seven thousand, in 2008, to five hundred and sixty thousand, in 2017, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The broader trend, though, goes back farther. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, in 2002, the increase in resources allocated for border security and immigration policing has always significantly outpaced funding for the courts. (Immigration courts are part of the Department of Justice.) As more and more people have been arrested, detained, and ordered deported, the courts have remained understaffed and underfunded. . . .
Roughly three hundred judges nationwide are responsible for the entire immigration caseload, and hiring is slow—filling a vacancy typically takes about two years, according to the Government Accountability Office. In Nogales, Sessions said that he would try to streamline the hiring process. But until that happens the Administration has been relocating judges to areas where they’re deemed most necessary."
Will the Trump administration increase funding for the beleaguered immigration court system? One can hope so but we can't be optimistic given the budget cuts now seen in D.C.
Hat tip to Cappy White!
Indivisible is a high-definition, feature-length documentary film about the real people at the heart of our nation’s immigration debate. Renata, Evelyn, and Antonio were young children when their parents brought them to the U.S. in search of a better life; they were teenagers when their mothers, fathers, and siblings were deported. Today, they are known as Dreamers. Indivisible takes place at a pivotal moment in their lives, as they fight for a pathway to citizenship and a chance to be reunited with their loved ones. Frustrated with the stalled legislative process, the trio take matters into their own hands and petition for a special waiver that would allow them to leave the U.S to visit their families—and legally return. With the future of immigration reform uncertain, the three do not know if their trips are a once in a lifetime experience, or the beginning of true family reunification.
Here is a synopsis of Antonio's story:
Antonio Alarcon was raised by his grandparents while his parents traveled throughout Mexico and finally to the U.S. in search of work. Antonio joined his parents in the U.S. when he was 11, but his younger brother stayed in Mexico because the border crossing was too dangerous. When Antonio’s grandparents passed away, his parents faced an impossible dilemma: leave one child alone in the U.S. or leave the other alone in Mexico. They ultimately decided to "self-deport" and return to Mexico. Now 20, Antonio lives in New York City and is still undocumented. When filming began, he had not seen his parents in two years.
We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa DiffenbaughVanessa Diffenbaugh
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.
For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, fifteen, and Luna, just six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.
Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh blends gorgeous prose with compelling themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and the American Dream in a powerful and prescient story about family.
My friend and colleague Marisa S. Cianciarulo recommended this book on the Immprof listserve.
Immigration Article of the Day: Elusive Justice: Legal Redress for Killings by U.S. Border Agents by Roxanna Altholz
Elusive Justice: Legal Redress for Killings by U.S. Border Agents byRoxanna Altholz, Uiversity of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Since the 1990s, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have killed approximately fifty Mexican and U.S. nationals along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of the victims, including several teenagers, were unarmed and shot in the back. The vast majority of CBP agents have faced no criminal, civil, or disciplinary action for their conduct. This Article identifies U.S. legal doctrines, defenses, and procedures that make justice elusive for the relatives of victims. The Article argues that there is mounting legal and political pressure to hold CBP agents accountable for violence at the border and suggests that reformists look to international standards to help guide efforts to address systemic barriers to redress.
To date, no civil plaintiff has prevailed at trial in a case involving a CBP killing. Courts have dismissed most federal civil claims for lack of jurisdiction or after finding the U.S. government or CBP agent has immunity. Federal legislation, specifically the Westfall Act, effectively bars state-law tort claims in this context. As for criminal charges, federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges in all cases but one and the few state prosecutions have rarely resulted in a guilty verdict.
There is, however, mounting legal and political pressure to hold CBP agents accountable for border killings. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the U.S. Constitution protects foreign nationals killed in foreign territory by CBP agents. The U.S. Department of Justice recently brought criminal charges against a CBP agent for a border killing for the first time in the CBP’s nearly 100-year history. The Mexican government is also investigating multiple deaths and issued an arrest warrant for a CBP agent who killed an unarmed Mexican teenager. In addition, international human rights bodies have denounced the United States for use of excessive force and the failure to track or adequately investigate border deaths.
This Article discusses doctrines and defenses such as sovereign and qualified immunity, extraterritoriality, and the Westfall Act that have led to the dismissal of civil suits and the closing of criminal investigations without pursuing charges. But legal doctrines do not alone explain the lack of accountability—institutional policies and practices also play a critical role. This Article argues that international human rights standards reveal how far U.S. law enforcement has strayed from global standards in preventing the excessive use of force and serves as a guide to identify and address the systemic barriers to redress faced by victims’ families.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
I spent World Refugee Day with the Global Friends Coalition in Grand Forks, an organization that brings together individuals and organizations to foster the integration of New Americans into our community. Global Friends hosted a screening and discussion of the documentary Warehoused. Here's the the trailer:
The focus of the movie is what's it like to live in a refugee camp, specifically Dadaab in Kenya. You get a sense of the space - built for 90,000 but currently housing 350,000 though, unofficially, that number might be closer to 600,000. Those hundreds of thousands of refugees at Dadaab live an "extremely restrictive life." They cannot leave the camp and generations may be born and die there without leaving its boundaries. The film also sheds light on schooling, housing, food, water and sanitation within the camp.
The film highlights the "impossible dream" of resettlement in a third country like the United States or Australia. Only 2,000 or so will be resettled each year. Yet the birth rate at the camp is 1,000 a month.
The film is a little over an hour long. And I'll note that it's appropriate for mature children as well as adults. There's little discussion of the violence that leads refugees to seek shelter in Dadaab. It's really more about what it's like to live in a camp, "waiting for resettlement that will never come."
José A. Iglesias firstname.lastname@example.org
The Miami Herald reports on the development by the Trump administration of a new-and-improved express deportation system.
Until recently, foreign nationals convicted of a crime in federal court were told that immigration authorities would put them in deportation proceedings upon completion of their prison terms. Under orders from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a champion of hard-line immigration enforcement, federal prosecutors are asking district judges to issue what are known as “judicial orders of removal,” which ensure that a convicted foreign national will be deported on completion of the sentence instead of being sent to an immigrant detention center to await proceedings in immigration court and then a deportation order from an immigration judge.
The new legal tactic shortens the wait time for deportation, bypasses backlogs in immigration court, saves the federal government money in housing and food in immigrant detention centers, frees up space in those centers for other detained foreign nationals and sends a message to immigrant communities that under President Donald Trump immigration enforcement is real.
Yesterday, on World Refugee Day 2017, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) and Cristosal (El Salvador) released a report entitled, Point of No Return: The Fear and Criminalization of Central American Refugees. The report is available at http://cmsny.org/publications/cms-cristosal-report.
The report details ten cases from the Northern Triangle of Central America—four from El Salvador and three each from Guatemala and from Honduras—which chronicle the journeys of refugees in search of protection, how the system did not protect them, and what they face upon return to their home countries. The report concludes that the United States and Mexico are returning Central American asylum-seekers to danger, and, as a result, are violating the international principle of non-refoulement. Overall, 18 cases were interviewed and analyzed for the study.
Jeanne Rikkers, Director of the Center for Research and Learning at Cristosal, which interviewed the refugees, stated that those returned to their home countries remain living in fear and are restricted from attending school or obtaining employment. The majority are in hiding, restricted in their movements and liberty. Some have had family members killed in their place.
“The denial of due process to these refugees and their return by US and Mexican authorities have forced them into hiding, where they are unable to live normal lives,” Rikkers said. “They remain in danger and could still become victims of organized crime. It amounts to refoulement, which is a violation of international law.”
Donald Kerwin, CMS's executive director, stated that family networks, both in Central America and in the United States and Mexico, have replaced governments as a source of protection for many refugees.
“The sad truth is that family networks have filled the protection void that sending, transit and receiving countries have created,” Kerwin said. “Tragically, family members are not always in a position to protect their loved ones and they themselves can become targets of organized crime in the absence of targeted family members.”
Kevin Appleby, CMS's Senior Director of International Migration Policy, called upon the governments, who recently concluded a conference in Miami to address security and economic issues in the region, to replace deterrence with protection policies.
“For the past several years, the US and Mexico have done everything possible to deter refugees from fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle, to no avail and to the detriment of their rights,” Appleby said. All the nations in the region, including the US, must cooperate to ensure that these vulnerable families and children are protected, until the root causes of their flight can be adequately addressed.” The report includes several policy recommendations for the governments to consider.
For more information on the report or to set up interviews with one of the report’s authors, please contact Rachel Reyes, CMS’ Director of Communications, at (212) 337-3080 x 7012 or email@example.com.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has posted a number of Immigration Judge position openings, mostly in California and New York, specifically: Adelanto (detained - 3), Los Angeles (4), New York City (8), Ulster County (1) and Oakdale, LA (1).
The position description is pasted below:
If you are interested in a rewarding and challenging career, this is the position for you!
This position is in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) seeks highly-qualified individuals to join our team of expert professionals in becoming a part of our challenging and rewarding Agency. The primary mission of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is to adjudicate immigration cases by fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the Nation's immigration laws. Under delegated authority from the Attorney General, EOIR conducts immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.
EOIR consist of three adjudicatory components: the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, which is responsible for managing the numerous immigration courts located throughout the United States where immigration judges adjudicate individual cases; the Board of Immigration Appeals, which primarily conducts appellate reviews of the immigration judges' decisions; and the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, which adjudicates immigration-related employment cases. EOIR is committed to providing the fair, expeditious, and uniform application of our Nation's immigration laws in all cases. EOIR's Headquarters is located in Falls Church, Virginia, about 10 miles from downtown Washington, DC.
Additional positions may be filled from this vacancy announcement.
Additional positions may be filled from this vacancy announcement.
Immigration Judges preside in formal, quasi-judicial hearings. Proceedings before Immigration Judges include but are not limited to deportation, exclusion, removal, rescission, and bond. Immigration Judges make decisions which are final unless formally appealed. In connection with these proceedings, Immigration Judges exercise certain discretionary powers as provided by law, and are required to exercise independent judgment in reaching final decisions. Immigration Judges may be required to conduct hearings in penal institutions and other remote locations.
- 50% or Greater
- Immigration Judge may be required to travel frequently, including weekends. (May include short detail assignments.)
Credit U.S. Navy, via Associated Press
David Phillips of the New York Times reports that "the seven sailors who died when the destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship last weekend were a snapshot of the nation they served: an immigrant from the Philippines whose father served in the Navy before him; a poor teenager whose Guatemalan family came north eager for opportunity; a native of Vietnam hoping to help his family; a firefighter’s son from a rural crossroads in the rolling green fields of Virginia. The roll call of the dead also illustrated the degree to which the military relies on recruits from immigrant communities around the country."
One World Play Project today launched the Play Together campaign to bring the power of play to refugee youth through donations of One World Futbols. Inspired by refugee children in Darfur, the One World Futbol is an ultra-durable soccer ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat, making it ideal for the rough environments where many refugees live and play. The Play Together campaign kicks off on World Refugee Day and will run through the end of 2017, raising ball donations for refugee youth from around the world who have fled their homes due to war, conflict and other threats. [Watch the campaign video.]
According to statistics from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), of the nearly 21.3 million refugees worldwide living in exile, more than half are under the age of 18. This number does not include another 44 million men, women, and children displaced inside their own countries. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that refugees are uprooted from their lives for an average of 17 years.
Research shows that play helps individuals recover from trauma and cope with challenging situations while encouraging physical, psychological and social health. Play has the power to bring individuals together—no matter what their country, culture, age or religion. It gives refugee children an opportunity to make friends and build connections not just with other refugees but also with youth from their new communities.
Through One World Play Project’s Play Together campaign, individuals can bring the power of play to refugee youth around the world by simply giving balls to our partner organizations. Go to oneworldplayproject.com/play-together to:
Give Balls: Give an ultra-durable One World Futbol for $25 USD directly to Play Together partner organizations
Buy One, Give One: Get a One World Futbol for $39.50 or $44.50 USD, and One World Play Project will give a second ball to our partners.
The US Federal Judicial Center recently published International Human Rights Litigation: A Guide for Judges. This Guide was written to assist federal judges in managing and resolving federal cases involving international human rights claims, and it provides a comprehensive analysis of all substantive and procedural issues involved. A detailed analysis is provided on the Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act, and other federal statutes. The book also includes a model scheduling order for human rights cases as well as case summaries, tables, and research references, current as of Dec 31, 2016.
The Guide was drafted to be neutral as between human rights plaintiffs and defendants, and thus should provide useful information for all. Because it was commissioned by a federal government agency (the FJC) for the benefit of federal judges, lawyers, and agencies, the Guide has been placed in the public domain and is available as a free resource. Readers can freely distribute, print, and otherwise use and transmit the Guide in its present form, provided that no changes are made to the manuscript itself.
You download the Guide by clicking the links above or via this link to the author’s SSRN site.
Immigration Article of the Day: “Not a One-Person Show”: Trump as Administrator-in-Chief of the Immigration Bureaucracy by Ming H. Chen
“Not a One-Person Show”: Trump as Administrator-in-Chief of the Immigration Bureaucracy by Ming H. Chen, Notice & Comment (Yale Journal on Regulation) (2017)
Recent events paint a portrait of what President Trump is like as a boss. It is not flattering. The Ninth Circuit’s pronouncement that “Immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show” in its latest rejection of the travel ban reveals his autocratic style. President Trump’s contradictory defenses of the travel ban while litigation proceeds shows his disregard for law and agency expertise. This style of leading the executive branch raises legal as well as prudential concerns.
In Administrator-In-Chief, 69 Admin. L. Rev. 347 (2017), I set forth a framework for understanding the role of the president as chief administrator for the executive branch. The article drew upon Obama Administration executive actions pertaining to immigration: USCIS’ implementation of deferred action as agenda-setting in immigration enforcement, ICE’s prioritization of serious criminal offenses in the issuance of immigration detainers as rationalized agency discretion, and the DOJ’s use of priority docketing in immigration courts to deter Central American asylum-seekers as a failure of coordination with DHS. Drawing on interviews with DHS officials and other policymakers, the article argued that shoring up procedural legitimacy strengthens the President’s basis for intervening in administrative policy.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled today that DACA beneficiaries are not eligible for in-state tuition.
In 2012, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) began accepting EADs from DACA recipients as evidence that they qualified for residence-based, in-state tuition benefits. The Arizona Attorney General (AAG) objected and challenged the District.
The Court of Appeals held that Congress has not defined DACA recipients as “lawfully present” for purposes of eligibility for in-state tuition or other state or local public benefits. Congress has, conversely, authorized each state to determine whether aliens, otherwise non-qualified under federal law, should be granted state or local public benefits. Arizona’s statutory scheme for postsecondary education benefits does not demonstrate an intent to create that eligibility for DACA recipients. Although DACA recipients are “lawfully present” for the specific purpose of obtaining EADs, these documents do not automatically confer eligibility for in-state tuition. Considered together, federal and state law therefore prohibit Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) from granting in-state tuition benefits to DACA recipients. As a result, MCCCD may be enjoined from offering in-state tuition to DACA recipients.
Click here to read the full opinion.
George Joseph over at Slate has created an interesting set of maps to show "how sanctuary cities are winning against federal authorities."
You may also find interesting these quotes from ICE’s Acting Director Thomas Homan about how sanctuary policies affect ICE enforcement efforts:
“To arrest people at-large rather than in the county jail, it takes longer, it takes more resources, it's less efficient.... If people get released, now there’s several people out in the general public, we may not know where they are. So it is gonna take a team of officers to locate that person and do a lot of investigative research on where we can find them.”