Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Immigration Article of the Day: State-Created Immigration Climates and Domestic Migration by Van H. Pham and Huyen Pham


Huyen Pham

State-Created Immigration Climates and Domestic Migration by Van H. Pham and Huyen Pham


With comprehensive immigration reform dead for the foreseeable future, immigration laws enacted at the subfederal level -- cities, counties, and states -- have become even more important. Arizona has dominated media coverage and become the popular representation of the states’ response to immigration by enacting SB 1070 and other notoriously anti-immigrant laws. Illinois, by contrast, has received relatively little media coverage for enacting laws that benefit the immigrants within its jurisdiction. The reality on the ground is that subfederal jurisdictions in the United States have taken very divergent paths on the issue of immigration regulation.

Compiling city, county, and state immigration laws from 2005-2011, we created a unique database that enables us to build the Immigrant Climate Index (“ICI”): a measure of the divergent immigration climates created by individual jurisdictions. The reasons for this divergence have received surprisingly little analysis; existing analysis has focused on the presence and effect of immigrants and the political ideology of the subfederal jurisdictions.

Our study demonstrates that there is another important factor to consider. Instead of looking outward to the foreign immigrants moving into a jurisdiction, we look inward and study the impact of domestic migrants (those who moved into a state from another state within the past year). Using panel regressions incorporating our ICI scores and census data, we observe that domestic migrants are affecting the immigration climate of their new home states. Domestic migrants are more likely to be educated and to be politically active, and thus to carry their immigration preferences to their new states. Specifically, domestic migrants coming from states with negative ICI scores have a negative effect on their new states’ ICI scores. Moreover, the influence of domestic migrants is magnified, and more negative, when they move from states that are predominantly white, to states with large immigrant populations. Our results support a story of intergroup conflict, in which domestic migrants react negatively to the racial, ethnic, and cultural dislocation they experience in their new home states.


November 22, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Border Wedding

Photo Howard Lipin//The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP

On Saturday, Evelia Reyes and Brian Houston were married in a cross-border ceremony at Friendship Park in San Diego. A Mexican judge officiated the wedding.

The couple married at Friendship Park because Ms. Reyes was unable to get permission to come to the United States. And Mr. Houston was unable to travel to Mexico.

The wedding lasted about three minutes (the time allotted to families who are selected for contact visits at Friendship Park). Both the bride and groom had to bring their own rings as individuals are not allowed to exchange goods during these meetings.

The couple met three years ago in Tijuana. They've built their relationship through phone calls and conversation through the border fence on Saturdays and Sundays.

Their story has received wide press coverage including by HuffPo, People, and WaPo.

Interestingly, this isn't the first cross border wedding we've brought to your attention. In 2013, we highlighted a cross-border wedding on the international bridge in El Paso.


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Butterfly Story Collective Podcast: stories of immigration and immigrant experience

Butterfly Story Collective is a network of local storytelling projects and events produced by immigrants and about the immigrant experience in the United States. Each project is locally produced by its participants, and can take various forms, including videos, live events, story circles, music, art installations, blogs, among others. In this case, it's a podcast.

Whatever the form, the practice that guides the Collective is one of ethical storytelling, which puts the person who lived through a particular experience in control of how their story is told. As a space to share resources, learn from one another and strengthen local relationships, the Butterfly Story Collective strives to create more intimate connections through the collective power of storytelling.





Students with DACA at the University of California at Davis


Deniss, a graduate student at University of California at Davis joins Andrea Gaytan of the AB540 & Undocumented Student Center to share her experience of growing up in a conservative part of California as undocumented, of reconnecting to her indigenous identity in college, and of finding strength in the joy and laughter of her community.

November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Law of the United States-Mexico Border: A Casebook by Peter L. Reich

9781594601644 8704

The Law of the United States-Mexico Border:  A Casebook by Peter L. Reich

This casebook is the first to focus on the interaction of the U.S. legal system with Mexican law in the border region.  The work presents American court decisions supplemented with the author’s commentary and study questions.  As the U.S.-Mexico border has generated a wide array of controversies, the casebook covers boundary questions, border detentions, immigrants’ rights, family law, real estate transactions, finance and trade, torts, crimes, environmental law, and Mexican law within the United States.  It will teach law students in law, public policy, and undergraduate courses about the power and limitations of law in resolving border-related disputes. 


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Trump Administration at Work? DHS inspector general: Travel-ban confusion led agents to violate court order

for the Washington Post report that the Trump administration’s rollout of its first travel ban led federal agents to violate court orders by telling airlines not to let certain passengers board U.S.-bound flights, according to an internal watchdog.

In a letter Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general notified lawmakers of the violations. He also alerted them that his findings have become bogged down in a battle with the department over redactions that he said would obscure the true failures of the administration’s handling of the first travel ban.  In the early days of the Trump administration, the president signed an executive order temporarily banning entry to the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, as well as refugees.

According to the Post, the inspector general’s letter is particularly critical of the leadership of the Customs and Border Protection agency.

“While CBP was compliant at U.S. ports of entry with travelers who had already arrived, CBP was very aggressive in preventing affected travelers from boarding aircraft bound for the United States, and took actions that, in our view, violated two separate court orders that enjoined them from this activity,” Roth’s letter says.

For instance, after a federal judge in Massachusetts issued a temporary restraining order on Jan. 29 instructing CBP not to notify airlines that passengers will be “detained or returned based solely on the basis of the Executive Order,” government documents show that agents were doing precisely that two days later at Boston Logan International Airport.

Swiss Airlines, for example, was notified on Jan. 31 that a prospective passenger, a 31-year-old Iranian, would probably be denied entry to the United States. Dozens of similarly eligible travelers were not allowed to board flights that they should have been able to board, according to a person familiar with the inspector general’s findings.


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The "Sanctuary" Battle Continues: Court Permanently Enjoins Executive Order Sanctuary Provisions

Judge_William_H._Orrick _III

Judge William Orrick III

Here is big news on the "sanctuary cities" front.  A federal judge has permanently blocked President Donald Trump's executive order to cut funding from "sanctuary cities," cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration enforcement authorities.   U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued the ruling yesterday in lawsuits brought by two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara. Judge Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.  The ruling is here.  Download Summary-Judgment

As the Washington Post summarizes the ruling, Judge Orrick "found that the Trump administration’s efforts to move local officials to cooperate with its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants violated the separation of powers doctrine as well as the Fifth and Tenth amendments.

“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds. Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not be unduly coercive,” the judge wrote. “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Immigration Article of the Day: Providing Sanctuary or Fostering Crime? A Review of the Research on 'Sanctuary Cities' and Crime by Daniel E. Martinez , Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt, and Guillermo Cantor


Daniel Martinez

Providing Sanctuary or Fostering Crime? A Review of the Research on 'Sanctuary Cities' and Crime

Daniel E. Martinez , Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt, and Guillermo Cantor

Sociology Compass, Forthcoming


Recent high-profile, isolated incidents of violent crime committed by deportable noncitizens have led to increased public attention paid to so-called “sanctuary” cities, with some policymakers calling for the eradication of policies limiting local officials role in the enforcement of immigration law. This current public and political debate provides an opportunity to critically examine the existing literature on immigrant “sanctuaries.” We begin by offering a broad definition and description of “sanctuary” policies. We follow by discussing how and why such policies have evolved since the early 1980s. Considering the public safety concerns often articulated in contemporary political discourse, we then offer possible sociological explanations regarding how these policies might either be positively or negatively associated with crime. We subsequently highlight findings from existing empirical research that examines the relationship between the adoption or presence of “sanctuary” policies and crime. The few empirical studies that exist illustrate a “null” or negative relationship between these policies and crime. We conclude by offering possible directions for future research.


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

TPS for Haitians to End


Yesterday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the "decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti with a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019. This decision follows then-Secretary Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months.

The decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute. Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.


Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the respective termination or extension periods. Further details about this termination for TPS will appear in a Federal Register notice."

The termination of TPS status for Haitians follow the termination of TPS for Nicaraguans announced by the Trump administration earlier this month.  

Almost 60,000 Haitians had been granted TPS status.  Other countries that have been designated for TPS status include El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

The Trump administration's decision to end TPS for Haitians has been met with criticism.  "A variety of American groups, including the Congressional Black Caucus, the United States Chamber of Commerce and immigrant advocacy organizations had urged the Trump administration to extend the protections again. . . . Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, called the decision `unconscionable.'"


November 21, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2017

ICE Admits Gang Operations Are Designed to Lock Up Immigrants


Julianne Hing for The Nation reports on the implication of ICE’s announcement last week of Operation Raging Bull.  As the initiative's name suggests, the operation was clearly intended as a way of showing tough-on-crime follow-through on the Trump administration’s threats. And the arrests are significant. The Trump administration has clearly focused its law-enforcement resources on cracking down on MS-13.   Hing claims that the gang database used by ICE is a weapon that allows ICE officers to indiscriminately round up immigrants of color.

For ICE, the database is the weapon. Labeling immigrants gang members—whether or not they’ve been suspected or charged (let alone convicted)—of any crime is what will keep them from ever being free in the United States again. The stated aim of the operation is supposedly public safety, but upon closer inspection the execution looks a lot like indiscriminate roundups of immigrants of color.


November 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CNMI Indictment Highlights Lure of Birth Tourism


This month, a Chinese tourist to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was indicted for allegedly operating a birth tourism business for Chinese women looking to secure U.S. citizenship for their children. The Saipan Tribune has the details.

As a tourist, Sen Sun was not allowed to operate a business - much less one that, according to the indictment, involved "harboring illegal aliens, unlawfully employing aliens, and money laundering."

The going rate for birth in CNMI? $15,000. Cash.


November 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: In the Midst of Winter: A Novel by Isabel Allende



Interview with Isabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Worldwide bestselling “dazzling storyteller” (Associated Press) Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil.

In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.

Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allende’s landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of “humanity, and it does so with passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics” (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you turn the final page.


November 20, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Myanmar Leader blames world conflicts on illegal immigration



It appears that President Trump has found a kindred spirit.  News agencies are reporting that Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said the world is facing instability and conflict in part because illegal immigration spreads terrorism in a speech Monday that comes as her country is accused of violently pushing out hundreds of thousands of unwanted Rohingya Muslims.

Suu Kyi did not directly mention the refugee exodus as she welcomed European and Asian foreign ministers to Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar. But her speech highlighted the views of many in Myanmar who see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and blame the population for terrorist acts.

The world is in a new period of instability as conflicts around the world give rise to new threats and emergencies, Suu Kyi said, citing “Illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war. Conflicts take away peace from societies, leaving behind underdevelopment and poverty, pushing peoples and even countries away from one another.”

Suu Kyi has drawn international criticism over her response to the persecution of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State.


November 20, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

More Perfect Looks at Korematsu v. United States


Fred Korematsu

The podcast More Perfect looks at a case that should interest all Americans.  What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been widely denounced and discredited, but it still remains on the books. This is the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of U.S. citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if you can’t get justice in the Supreme Court, can you find it someplace else?


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dramatic Photo Highlights Perils of Mediterranean Crossing


Photojournalist Alessio Paduano captured this dramatic image of a migrant near drowning in the Mediterranean. As the BBC reports, Paduano was on board a rescue ship racing to help migrants who ran into trouble with their inflatable boat. He heard "desperate screams coming from everywhere" that "felt even more deafening in the silence of the sea."


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Trump Effect: Record Number of Citizenship Applications, Wait Time Doubles


The American Immigration Council reports that the average processing time for United States citizenship applications used to take five to seven months – already a lengthy timeline for immigrants waiting to get their citizenship vetted and approved. A spike in applications before and after the 2016 presidential election has caused that wait time to double. Yet, immigrants by and large are not deterred from applying for citizenship.

This sharp increase in the number of applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also led to a backlog of 708,638 applications nationwide, new federal data shows. In Los Angeles County, for example, the uptick in applications has caused the processing time to shoot up from around five months to 10 months.

The process itself has also gotten more laborious. After the implementation of an Obama-era policy, vetting of applications heightened. The 10 page naturalization application has instead become 20 pages, consequently taking additional time and manpower for USCIS officials to sift through.

The online naturalization petition (Form N-400) can be found here.


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)




On the Comedy Channel, comedian Jeff Ross takes a special look at immigration and the border.  CNN reports on the special, which primarily includes footage from his time in Brownsville, Texas, a town on the frontline of the immigration debate.  Ross dives into an issue that remains front of mind for many as the Trump administration takes steps to reform U.S. immigration policies.   Ross speaks to residents of a town that is already home to a wall meant to curtail illegal crossings, law enforcement who are witness to a daily influx of immigrants, and even some people fresh from their journey across the border, including a father-son pair and a pregnant woman.

"Jeff Ross Roasts the Border: Live from Brownsville, Texas" aired on November 16.


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Problem With Apu: Racial Stereotyping and The Simpsons



Comedian Hari Kondabolu, the creator and star of the feature-length documentary The Problem with Apu, confronts his long standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons. Through this comedic cultural exposé, Kondabolu questions how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans and continues to exist – intact – twenty-eight years later.

The Problem with Apu premieres on tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TruTV.

The Hollywood Review has a review of The Problem with Apu.  Here is a part of the review:

"If nothing else, truTV's new documentary The Problem with Apu, written by and starring comic Hari Kondabolu, has probably quashed any desire to bring up caveats in my hypothetical response. A brisk discourse on hegemony and representational inequality, The Problem with Apu lays out its thesis against the character's acceptability in 2017 (to say nothing of 1989) with such clarity it's hard to imagine it generating an adversarial response more cogent than that hoary classic "It's a joke, stop taking it so seriously," which is no response at all.

The problem with The Problem with Apu is that, at 49 minutes, it's half a film. Directed by Michael Melamedoff, The Problem with Apu makes its primary case, has a couple of talking heads including Kondabolu admit they aren't sure what can or should be done, and ends abruptly and frustratingly.

That case can be summed up simply: Although representation of South Asian actors and characters has increased and improved on television and in movies in recent years, it's still relatively minuscule and when The Simpsons premiered, South Asian characters were basically nonexistent. So for the one prominent South Asian character on TV to be a frequently deceitful convenience store proprietor with a cartoonish Indian accent voiced by a white guy? That's bad. It's bad for a generation of South Asian children growing up and seeing only that one representation of their culture and having fellow kids judge them based upon it. It's bad for the older generation that had their immigrant experience represented in only this one way on TV for millions or maybe even billions of viewers. It's just bad."


November 19, 2017 in Books, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

New UNLV Immigration Clinic program to benefit immigrant children


The UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law formally launched the Edward M. Bernstein & Associates Children’s Rights Program in which attorneys and law students work together to represent unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings.

During a ceremony Nov. 16 at the Law School’s Thomas & Mack Moot Courtroom, university leadership, elected officials and community supporters recognized a transformational $250,000 gift from Edward M. Bernstein & Associates that will enable the school to continue its work on behalf of local unaccompanied immigrant children.

Three years ago, the UNLV Immigration Clinic was one of only seven organizations – and the only law school – to receive an AmeriCorps grant to provide legal defense to children fleeing violence and abuse in Central America who arrived alone in the United States. However, the AmeriCorps program has been discontinued causing UNLV’s AmeriCorps grant to end in October. The Bernstein's donation will fund the clinic for the next five years and ensure its work will carry on uninterrupted.

The Children’s Rights Program works closely with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to represent unaccompanied children in both family court and in their immigration cases.


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

You can't please everyone? ICE agents rebel, say Trump ‘betrayed’ them by leaving Obama’s people in place


With respect to immigration, critics have focused on the enforcement orientation of the Trump administration, as seen in the various immigration Executive Orders, dismantling of DACA, enforcement operations, public statements, etc.

But here is a new one.  The Washington Times reports that U.S. immigration enforcement officers launched a website earlier this week demanding President Trump do more to clean up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying he’s left the Obama team in place and it’s stymieing his goal of enforcing the laws on the books.  I can almost hear the ICE officers saying, "We want more immigration enforcement!"  

National ICE Council President Chris Crane, in an open letter to Mr. Trump, posted on the site, said he finds himself regularly having to defend the president to ICE officers who backed Trump during the campaign but now feel “stab[bed] in the back” by the administration.  Crane said he gives President Trump the benefit of the doubt but that those around the president — whom he doesn’t name — appear to be trying to shield him from hearing about the continued struggles at ICE.

“While officers view the President’s position on enforcement as courageous, the Trump administration has left all of the Obama managers and leadership in place, a group that ICE Officers know after the last eight years to be completely incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement,” Mr. Crane wrote.

“While President Trump did create an uptick in morale at ICE through his support of enforcement operations, tensions are on the rise between Trump’s army of Obama holdovers and boots on the ground officers in the field, as behind the scenes Obama holdovers continue to undermine law enforcement operations and wage war against their own law enforcement officers.”


November 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant Who Had Prosthetic Leg Mocked by Trump Officials to Be Freed After 'Inhumane' Detention


Photo courtesy of United We Dream

Newsweek reported  that a 20-year-old disabled immigrant detained for more than a month without being charged was to be freed Friday, but he has been stripped of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.

After being detained by Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents on October 11 as part of a human smuggling investigation, Felipe Abonza-Lopez of San Marcos, Texas, was granted a $7,500 bond and will be released sometime Friday, a legal assistant for Abonza-Lopez’s attorney told Newsweek Friday.

Abonza-Lopez has lost his DACA status, which had been set to expire in 2019. It was revoked October 12,  Abonza-Lopez’s detention at South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas, spurred a #FreeFelipe social media campaign demanding his release.

It has been widely reported that Felipe Abonza-López wrote a letter about his treatment in detention and that personnel  at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas denied him medical attention and made crude jokes about his prosthetic leg.  “I went to the clinic, I believe it was October 22, 2017,” the letter alleges. “I had sharp pain in my leg. I have screws in my leg. The men who were at the clinic did not know I spoke English. I graduated [high school in 2016]. I have DACA status. The medical guy said in English, ‘This is the prosthetic guy, he doesn’t need any medicine.’ The guard that escorted me to the clinic started laughing and making fun of me, ‘You can put a broomstick in his leg and he can use [it to] sweep.'”


November 18, 2017 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)