Saturday, March 31, 2018

Using Dr. Seuss To Explore Refugee/Asylum Politics

Dr. Seuss actually drew this cartoon. (It's snopes confirmed.)


You may already be talking about the doomed voyage of the the S.S. St. Louis in discussing U.S. apathy towards refugees during WW2. This Dr. Seuss cartoon is a wonderful addition to that discussion, and it has the added benefit of being made current again with the message on the mom's shirt: America First.


March 31, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Think Reaching the Final 4 Is Tough? Then You Haven't Met Kansas' Udoka Azubuike



It is the culmination of March Madness.  This weekend, we shall see who will play for NCAA Men's Basketball championship and a national champion emerging on Monday night.

The Kansas Jayhawks are in the Final Four and one of their stars, Udoka Azubuike, had a long journey from violence-torn Nigeria to the pinnacle of college basketball.  It truly is an inspiring story and reveals that Azubuike is much more than just an athlete.

Azubuike's mother, who still lives in Nigeria, was issued a visa to visit the United States.  She will see her son play basketball for the first time this afternoon.


March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant

Although the research has long shown otherwise, President Donald Trump regularly claims that immigrants are disproportionately responsible for crime in the United States.

The New York Times highlights the latest in a string of studies reaching similar conclusions:

"Immigrant populations in the United States have been growing fast for decades now. Crime in the same period, however, has moved in the opposite direction, with the national rate of violent crime today well below what it was in 1980.

In a large-scale collaboration by four universities, led by Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers compared immigration rates with crime rates for 200 metropolitan areas over the last several decades. The selected areas included huge urban hubs like New York and smaller manufacturing centers less than a hundredth that size, like Muncie, Ind., and were dispersed geographically across the country.

According to data from the study, a large majority of the areas have many more immigrants today than they did in 1980 and fewer violent crimes. The Marshall Project extended the study’s data up to 2016, showing that crime fell more often than it rose even as immigrant populations grew almost across the board.

In 136 metro areas, almost 70 percent of those studied, the immigrant population increased between 1980 and 2016 while crime stayed stable or fell. The number of areas where crime and immigration both increased was much lower — 54 areas, slightly more than a quarter of the total. The 10 places with the largest increases in immigrants all had lower levels of crime in 2016 than in 1980."



March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jeffrey S. Chase: The AG's Certifying of BIA Decisions


In this piece, Jeffrey S. Chase, a former immigration judge, questions -- as others are -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions intervention in immigration adjudications:

"The recent flurry of case certifications by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (he has certified four BIA decisions to himself since January) raises the question of the continued appropriateness of the practice.  Certification allows a political appointee who heads an enforcement agency, and is subject to the policy agenda of the administration he or she serves, absolute authority to overrule or completely rewrite the decisions of an ostensibly neutral and independent tribunal comprised of judges possessing greater subject matter expertise."


March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

It is Baseball Season: Baseball, Latino America's pastime, faces new challenges in age of Trump

It is finally baseball season!  But, as The Guardian reports, there is a cloud over baseball.  President Trump's immigration policies are on the mind of many Latino ball players.  About one-third of all Major League Baseball players are Latino.   

Baseball has long played a key role in conversations on racial equality in the United States. Jackie Robinson integrated the Major Leagues nearly eight years before Brown v Board of Education integrated public schools.

At a time when immigrants are under attack, “America’s pastime” could play a key role in helping to overcome barriers to racial equality for immigrants.




March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Law Professors File Brief in Travel Ban Case in Supreme Court

Margulies_P3 Shoba_wadhia_faculty2

Law professors Peter Margulies and Shoba Wadia, along with WilmerHale, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of a group of immigration law professors in the travel ban case, Trump v. Hawaii, pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Peter and Shoba preview the brief in a post on The Hill:
"Our brief narrates the history of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a statute that has been compared second in complexity to the United States tax code and contains Congress’s vision for who should be admitted into the United States, the reasons a person may be excludable or deportable from the United States, and the terms under which a person may seek a waiver or reprieve from deportation. While much of the attention in the travel ban cases have focused on the ban’s relationship to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, our brief shows the clash between the travel ban and Congress’s framework."


March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Legitimating the Immigrant Family by Gillian Chadwick


Legitimating the Immigrant Family by Gillian Chadwick, Washburn University - School of Law 


The concept of legitimation represents a widening chasm at the intersection of immigration and family law. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and courts’ persistent reliance on legitimation as a dispositive factor in determining who counts as a “real” family is increasingly at odds with family law’s complex, nuanced, and ever-more inclusive vision of family. The BIA and courts tend to significantly privilege parent-child relationships linked by biological or pseudo-biological connection, despite the Immigration and Nationality Act’s reliance on state family law frameworks that have evolved beyond that narrow idea. In the context of derivative citizenship, the exclusionary forces at the heart of immigration law override family law’s inherent drive to include children and protect families. Whether it is the intent or merely a byproduct of a pretext driven by the exclusionary imperative of immigration law, the result is the same: the BIA and courts cling to the otherwise obsolete notion of legitimation, which has its roots in an archaic social norm designed to control reproduction and with it, the female body. This paper argues that immigration law should cede to family law’s inclusionary concept of the family, pushing back against the inherent exclusionary interests at the heart of modern immigration law.


March 31, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Nationwide Victory for Asylum Applicants

A federal court in Seattle issued far-reaching decision in the class action lawsuit of Mendez Rojas v. Johnson. The court’s ruling orders the government to remove significant impediments to filing asylum applications within one year of arriving in the United States, as required by law.

Specifically, under the court’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security must provide all class members—defined as individuals who enter the United States, express a fear of return to their home countries, and then are released from immigration custody—with written notice of the one-year deadline, and the government must accept as timely filed any asylum application from a class member that is filed within one-year of adoption of the notice. The court also ordered the government to adopt, publicize, and implement uniform procedural mechanisms that will ensure class members are able to file their asylum applications.


March 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Liberal Lion of the Nation -- and Fierce Defender of the Rights of Immigrants -- Judge Stephen Reinhardt Dies at 87


Judge Stephen Reinhardt, known as the "Liberal Lion" of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has died at the age of 87.  A brilliant jurist known for giving voice to the voiceless, Judge Reinhardt will be sorely missed on the federal bench.  A story about his career from his hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, is here

Judge Reinhardt was a long-time champion of immigrants.  He wrote some early asylum opinions, in cases that arose not long after Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980.  And Judge Reinhardt left an indelibly mark on the law.  In Bolanos-Hernandez v. INS (1984), for example, he wrote what proved to be an influential opinion holding that neutrality in a violent civil war in El Salvador could constitute the "political opinion" necessary to establish eligibility for asylum as "persecution on account of political opinion"; in his words, 

"Choosing to remain neutral is no less a political decision than is choosing to affiliate with a particular political faction. Just as a nation's decision to remain neutral is a political one, see, e.g., Neutrality Act of 1939, 22 U.S.C. §§ 441-465 (1982), so is an individual's. When a person is aware of contending political forces and affirmatively chooses not to join any faction, that choice is a political one. A rule that one must identify with one of two dominant warring political factions in order to possess a political opinion, when many persons may, in fact, be opposed to the views and policies of both, would frustrate one of the basic objectives of the Refugee Act of 1980 —to provide protection to all victims of persecution regardless of ideology. Moreover, construing "political opinion" in so short-sighted and grudging a manner could result in limiting the benefits under the ameliorative provisions of our immigration laws to those who join one political extreme or another; moderates who choose to sit out a battle would not qualify."

Some critics may emphasize that the Supreme Court reversed a number of Judge Reinhardt opinions, a fact for which he was unapologetic.  ("If they want to take away rights, that's their privilege. But I'm not going to help them do it.").  But in Cardoza-Fonseca v. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1985), his opinion established the law that remains in place to this day with respect to relief for noncitizens who have fled persecution.   The INS had conflated the standards for relief for asylum and withholding of deportation, two distinct statutory forms of relief.  Correcting the error, Judge Reinhardt clarified the standards in a rational fashion.  The Supreme Court in INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca affirmed Judge Reinhardt's opinion, with even Justice Antonin Scalia concurring in the judgment.  ImmigrationProf blogger Bill Hing was one of the attorneys in that case.

More recently, Judge Reinhardt in a 2017 opinion (and here) took on the Trump administration's immigration agenda:

"President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the “bad hombres.” The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the “good hombres” are not safe. Magana Ortiz is by all accounts a pillar of his community and a devoted father and husband. It is difficult to see how the government’s decision to expel him is consistent with the President’s promise of an immigration system with “a lot of heart.” I find no such compassion in the government’s choice to deport Magana Ortiz.


We are unable to prevent Magana Ortiz’s removal, yet it is contrary to the values of this nation and its legal system. Indeed, the government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz diminishes not only our country but our courts, which are supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of justice. Magana Ortiz and his family are in truth not the only victims. Among the others are judges who, forced to participate in such inhumane acts, suffer a loss of dignity and humanity as well. I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not."

I had the privilege of clerking for Judge Reinhardt in 1983-84.  (I credit former Massachusetts Governor  Deval Patrick, a Reinhardt clerk in 1982-83 and law school colleague of mine, with helping me land the clerkship.).  Today, I still feel honored to have had the experience -- although it admittedly was an exhausting year indeed. 

Among the many debts that I owe "SR" is my interest in immigration law.  During law school, I did not have the opportunity to take a course in immigration law -- it was not on the curriculum -- and clinics were basically nonexistent.  There also were not many immigration cases on the Ninth Circuit docket at that time. Nonetheless, I had the occasion to talk to Judge Reinhardt about immigration on one of our regular walks around the downtown LA area.  (Judge Reinhardt at the time took regular walks as his form of exercise.).  It was clear to me that he took the immigration and asylum cases seriously and he told me why in words that I paraphrase from memory:  "the U.S. government turned its back on Jews who fled Nazi Germany and we all knew what happened.  We cannot let it happen again."  Judge Reinhardt got me thinking.  I like to think that I took his lessons to heart.

Throughout my career, I often have thought of what I learned from Judge Reinhardt.  A few weeks ago, I could hear him lecturing me as I was working on an amici brief with others in the Ninth Circuit appeal of a case challenging President Trump's rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.  Even as I wrote this post, I thought of Judge Reinhardt's rigorous -- and unequalled in my experience -- devotion to the craft of writing.  Memories of going over opinions with him line-by-line as I sat there, many times late in the evening, will forever be a part of who I am professionally. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Judge David Barron, a Reinhardt clerk in 1994-95, in the following e-mail to the Judges former clerks, expressed my feelings well:

"This is a terrible email to have to write, and many of you may have heard the news, but Judge Reinhardt died this evening.  His family wanted to be sure that his law clerks — who gave him such pride — knew right away.  He was an incredible force on the courts, and, in consequence, in the country.  He made the lives of so many people better, and the world more just.  But, for us, his clerks, he was also an incredible force in our own lives.  It somehow seems to me not real, but if I have known anyone who was willing to confront the truth no matter how hard it was to do so, it was the Judge. I will miss him greatly, as I know you will as well.  With gratitude for having been fortunate enough to have known him, to have been inspired by him, to have learned so much from him, and to have been invited into the network of clerks who loved him."


March 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants and Political Engagement in California


The Public Policy Institute of California has a fact sheet on immigrants and political engagement in California that I found interesting.  Here are the bullet points: 


A quarter of the nation’s immigrants live in California.


Immigrants in California express less interest in politics than US-born residents …

… but both groups are paying more attention to politics since the presidential election.


Naturalized citizens in California are more likely to be registered as Democrats.


Immigrants are more likely than US-born residents to trust the federal government.


Immigrants have more favorable views on immigration than US-born residents.


March 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Changing Family Structure of American Children with Unauthorized Parents by Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes and Esther Arenas-Arroyo




"The Changing Family Structure of American Children with Unauthorized Parents" Free Download



Tougher immigration enforcement has been responsible for 1.8 million deportations between 2009 and 2013 alone, most of them involving fathers and heads of household. We exploit the geographic and temporal variation in intensified enforcement to gauge its impact on children’s propensity to live without their parents in households headed by relatives or friends, or in households singly headed by their mothers with absentee spouses. Given the emotional, cognitive and long run socioeconomic costs of being raised without parents or in a single-headed household, gaining a better understanding of the collateral damage of heightened enforcement on the families to which these children belong is well warranted.


March 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Using Poetry to Teach Refugee/Asylum Law

Y'all know I love using poetry to teach. I begin my classes on refugee and asylum law with Warsan Shire's magnificently moving piece Home. And I plan to read Jorge Argueta's El barrio La Campanera before tackling M-E-V-G-.

Here is another gem that I've already used this semester: Refugees by Brian Bilston:

They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

(now read from bottom to top)

Ten points for Gryffindor. Or perhaps Ravenclaw. So clever!


March 29, 2018 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sessions Pushes To Speed Up Immigration Courts, Deportations

220px-Jeff_Sessions _official_portrait

NPR reports on the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Session to ramp up deportations of immigrants in the country illegally. But one thing has been standing in its way: immigration judges often put these cases on hold.  Immigration law professor Nancy Morawetz is interviewed in the story.

Attorney General Sessions is considering overruling the judges.

One practice that's particularly infuriating to Sessions and other immigration hardliners is called "administrative closure." It allows judges to put deportation proceedings on hold indefinitely.

"Basically they have legalized the person who was coming to court, because they were illegally in the country," Sessions said during a speech in December.

Sessions is using his authority over the immigration court system to review a number of Board of Immigration Appeals decisions. If he overturns those decisions, thousands of other cases could be affected. In this way, he is expected to end administrative closure, or scale it back.

The attorney general may also limit when judges can grant continuances, and who qualifies for asylum in the United States.

This could reshape the nation's immigration courts, which are overseen by the Justice Department, and make them move faster. Sessions says he's trying to clear a massive backlog of cases that's clogging the docket.


March 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

California tells local law enforcement to follow federal law — but not to be federal immigration enforcers


California Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday issued two Information Bulletins to California law enforcement agencies regarding California Values Act (SB 54). The first bulletin addresses the statistical reporting requirements under the Values Act. The second bulletin provides guidance to California law enforcement agencies regarding their obligations and discretion under the Values Act and the TRUTH Act.

“The guidance we’re issuing today simply gives our public safety authorities a clear sense of what the Values Act – which works in concert not conflict with federal law – requires. We’re not going to let the Trump Administration coerce us into doing the federal government’s job of enforcing federal immigration law. We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”

As summarized by Matt Zapotosky in the Washington Post, the guidelines "clarified that its sanctuary state policies do not give state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to disregard federal law on cooperating with immigration authorities — but they do set limits on how the agencies can aid in immigration enforcement."

The Trump administration has sued the state of California, claiming that three of its "sanctuary laws" intrude on the federal power to regulate immigration.


March 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Unjust Deserts: How the Modern Deportation System Lacks Moral Credibility by Linus Chan


Unjust Deserts: How the Modern Deportation System Lacks Moral Credibility  by Linus Chan, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 


An examination of how the Modern deportation and detention system fosters resistance and non-cooperation by failing to establish moral credibility in its attempts to deport and detain non-citizens.


March 29, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Gift that Keeps Giving? If Elected to U.S. Senate, Sheriff Joe Arpaio will to Revive Birther Movement, Challenge Barack Obama's Presidency

NPR reports that Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff who is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, says that once elected, he will renew his quest to demonstrate that former President Barack Obama's birth certificate is a fake. Arpaio  is famous for his controversial stance on immigration (including a judicial finding that his sheriff's office had engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the rights of Latina/os, U.S. citizens as well as immigrants), and for pushing the debunked claim that Obama was not born in the United States.  He was convicted last year of criminal contempt after repeatedly violating federal district judge's orders in a civil rights action challenging the Arapio office's discriminatory immigration enforcement measures. Less than a month after being convicted, President Trump pardoned Arpaio.

In response to the conspiracy theories, the White House released copies of the President Obama's long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, and posted an image of it to the White House website reaffirming that he was born on August 4, 1961, in Hawaii.


March 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comedy Break: The New Yorker and President Trump

The Onion Tackles the Census

The Trump administration will be asking for citizenship information on the 2020 Census. California has already sued over this development, while academics have highlighted just why this is a bad idea.

Leave it to the satirical paper The Onion to craft the perfect response: Census Adds Question Asking Participants To Identify Any Unpatriotic Neighbor.

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“This will aid the U.S. Census Bureau in finally gaining an accurate count of citizens who do not staunchly support the nation’s leaders and policies,” The Onion writes. “The aim of this question is only to provide complete and precise block-level census data on the traitorous demographic.”


March 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why the 2020 census shouldn’t ask about your citizenship status


Van hook

Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that it would add a citizenship question to Census 2020.  Jennifer Van Hook on The Conversation articulates why this is a bad idea:

"I am a social scientist who studies immigration. I have used census data on immigration and citizenship in my research for over two decades, and I have urged government statistical agencies before to collect more data about immigrants. But I don’t think it’s wise to collect citizenship status in the 2020 census. Doing so would not only raise the risk of collecting inaccurate data, but also reduce public confidence in the census itself."


March 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Samoans sue for birthright citizenship

The Associated Press reports that American Samoa residents living in Utah filed a lawsuit Tuesday in a second attempt to gain citizenship status for residents of the U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

Lead plaintiff John Fitisemanu, and others born in American Samoa, are petitioning U.S. courts for citizenship under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which confers citizenship at birth to anyone born in the United States.

Thanks to Rose Villazor for the tip.


March 28, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)