Monday, April 30, 2018

UK's Home Secretary Resigns in Immigration Scandal

Yesterday, the United Kingdom's Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned after claiming she "inadvertently misled" government over targets for the deportation of immigrants. Rudd resigned amid a growing scandal over the government's mistreatment of the so-called "Windrush generation," men and women from the Caribbean who arrived in Britain in the 1950s and 60s, but in recent years have been declared unauthorized immigrants despite having lived in the country for decades. Rudd had been under pressure to step down over her involvement in the affair, following allegations that members of the Windrush generation -- so named after the ship that had brought hundreds of Caribbean migrants to Britain -- had recently been refused medical care, denied housing and threatened with deportation.


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

"Caravan" Arrives at US/Mexico Border



Maya Averbuch and Joshua Partlow for the Washington Post report that Central American migrants traveling in the caravan that has prompted angry tweets from President Trump arrived at a border crossing near San Diego yesterday afternoon. Wearing white armbands, the first few dozen people, mostly women and children, tried to come through the San Ysidro port of entry in the late afternoon, at the end of an expedition that started more than a month ago and 2,500 miles south of here. But as the sun set in Tijuana, none from the group had been allowed on the U.S. side or processed by border officials, according to organizers accompanying the migrants.

If they eventually succeed in entering U.S. custody, the migrants will be at the beginning of a perhaps longer and more complicated journey through the immigration court system, where the odds will be stacked against them. Trump has made this caravan a symbol of a porous border and lax immigration laws. He has used it as justification to deploy National Guard troops, and his comments about it have further strained U.S. relations with Mexico.

“To anyone that is associated with this caravan, Think Before You Act,” Rodney S. Scott, chief patrol agent in San Diego for the U.S. Border Patrol, said in a statement. “If anyone has encouraged you to illegally enter the United States, or make any false statements to U.S. government officials, they are giving you bad advice and they are placing you and your family at risk.”

The caravan started out with more than 1,500 people, but the numbers dwindled to about 200 as the group made its way north by foot, bus and train. Some have dispersed, and others chose to stay in Mexico. About 300 people remained in the northern Mexican city of Hermosillo to apply for humanitarian visas. But the Mexican government has yet to issue the visas.


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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Lynching Memorial -- Black Women were Victims Too


On The Conversation, Evelyn Simien writes that about the recently opened memorial, which was backed by the Equal Justice Initiative, to victims of lynching in the United States:

"The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a six-acre site that overlooks Montgomery, the state capital. It uses sculpture, art and design to give visitors a sense of the terror of lynching as they walk through a memorial square with 800 six-foot steel columns that symbolize the victims. The names of thousands of victims are engraved on columns – one for each county in the United States where a lynching took place. In Alabama alone, a reported total of 275 lynchings took place between 1871 and 1920.

U.S. history books and documentaries that tell the story of lynching in the U.S. have focused on black male victims, to the exclusion of women. But women, too, were lynched – and many raped beforehand. In my book “Gender and Lynching,” I sought to tell the stories of these women and why they have been left out."

Here is a NPR report on the new memorial.


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

ICE's Arrest and Detention of U.S. Citizens

Paige St. John and Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times report on a disturbing trend:
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents repeatedly target U.S. citizens for deportation by mistake, making wrongful arrests based on incomplete government records, bad data and lax investigations, according to a Times review of federal lawsuits, internal ICE documents and interviews.
Since 2012, ICE has released from its custody more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, according to agency figures. And a Times review of Department of Justice records and interviews with immigration attorneys uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country’s immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention.
Victims include a landscaper snatched in a Home Depot parking lot in Rialto and held for days despite his son’s attempts to show agents the man’s U.S. passport; a New York resident locked up for more than three years fighting deportation efforts after a federal agent mistook his father for someone who wasn’t a U.S. citizen; and a Rhode Island housekeeper mistakenly targeted twice, resulting in her spending a night in prison the second time even though her husband had brought her U.S. passport to a court hearing.
They and others described the panic and feeling of powerlessness that set in as agents took them into custody without explanation and ignored their claims of citizenship."


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

Friday, April 27, 2018

At the Movies: Resistance at Tule Lake, Film about Japanese American Incarceration & Defiance, Set for National Broadcast Premiere on WORLD Channel May 6th


Resistance at Tule Lake, Film about Japanese American Incarceration & Defiance, Set for National Broadcast Premiere on WORLD Channel May 6th 

“… a potent piece of history at a time when the United States is once again feeling less than hospitable.” - Mike Hale, The New York Times

Over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in ten camps from 1942-1946, a dark chapter of American history that has taken on renewed relevance in the current political climate. Resistance at Tule Lake tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 who defied the government by refusing to swear unconditional loyalty to the U.S. Though this was an act of protest and family survival, they were branded as “disloyals” by the government and packed into the newly designated Tule Lake Segregation Center. The film, directed by Japanese American filmmaker Konrad Aderer, is having its national broadcast premiere on the WORLD channel as part of May’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month programming.

For over seven decades, the story of Tule Lake has remained hidden from the public narrative and school history books, and a taboo subject within the Japanese American community, due to widely shared feelings of shame and family trauma. The dominant narrative of World War II internment has been that the incarcerees behaved as a “model minority,” cooperating without protest and proving their patriotism by enlisting in the Army. Resistance at Tule Lake overturns that myth by telling the story of the overcrowded, highly militarized concentration camp where the U.S. government corralled “troublemakers” who dared to protest their confinement.

Tule Lake Segregation Center, located in northern California, just two miles from the Oregon border, became a virtual pressure cooker where the simmering conflicts between the Caucasian administration and the Japanese American incarcerees exploded into organized resistance and violent suppression. Faced with the uncertainty of the war and the rampant anti-Japanese climate that awaited them outside of camp, more than 5,000 renounced their “worthless” U.S. citizenship. Brought to visceral life with emotionally wrenching interviews, never-before-seen archival images, and stunning color footage taken inside the camp, the story of Tule Lake unravels racially codified standards of “loyalty” and illuminates today’s most urgent discussions of nationality and citizenship.

Resistance at Tule Lake’s national broadcast premiere is on Sunday, May 6 on the WORLD channel at 7pm EST/4pm PST. The feature-length documentary premiered last year at CAAMFest and continues to screen at festivals, schools and community organizations throughout the country, selling out tickets at a majority of their showings. Many audience members have come forward sharing their own long-hidden experiences of wartime incarceration, including family relatives of some of the people referred to in the film. 

The film has also sparked intense reactions on how these stories are relevant today under the current U.S. treatment of immigrant families as well as Muslim communities. College screenings have prompted powerful sharing from out-of-status students. Director Konrad Aderer says, “There has been a real sense of being encouraged to engage more with what’s happening today… The DREAMer movement is how the most vulnerable are putting themselves on the line on principle and for survival, as Tule Lake resisters did then.”

Visit WORLD online to check your local listings, or the Resistance at Tule Lake website  for upcoming feature-length screening schedules, updates and more.

WORLD will celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month every day during the month of May with a special PBS collection of stories that explores the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, in conjunction with a social media campaign for people to share their own stories online using hashtag #MyAPALife.


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

West Palm Beach Brewery Releases DACA-Inspired Dreamers Lager

New Times reports on a new brew that may be of interest to readers of the ImmigrationProf blog.

John Pankauski, owner of West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault, is releasing a beer for Cinco de Mayo that's a tribute to America's "Dreamers." The brewery will jump into the DACA political arena May 2 with the release of its Mexican lager aptly dubbed Dreamers Lager. "I know that politics can be risky business," Pankauski says, "but I felt this was too important an issue to remain silent on."


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Meditation on Oral Arguments in the Travel Ban Case


The oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the travel ban case has dominated the news, and recharged the debate about the legal basis for the ban.  Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia offers a "Meditation on Oral Arguments in the Travel Ban Case."  The conclusion:

"How the Court will rule remains uncertain. Importantly, the travel ban remains in full effect because of twin orders issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 4, 2017 allowing the travel ban to be fully implemented, pending a decision by the Supreme Court. As of this writing the travel ban suspends entry for most nationals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, as well as select nationals from Venezuela. I hope the statutory arguments are successful and ultimately provide some relief to the thousands of people hurt by this unlawful ban."


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Announcement on Temporary Protected Status for Nepal

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Announcement on Temporary Protected Status for Nepal


Release Date: 
April 26, 2018


WASHINGTON— The Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen has determined that termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nepal was required pursuant to the statute. To allow for an orderly transition, she has determined to delay the termination for 12 months. The designation will terminate on June 24, 2019.

The decision to terminate TPS for Nepal was made after a review of the environmental disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Nepal from the April 2015 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that served as the basis for its TPS designation have decreased to a degree that they should no longer be regarded as substantial, and Nepal can now adequately manage the return of its nationals. Thus, as required under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.

Since the 2015 earthquake, conditions in Nepal have notably improved. Additionally, since the last review of the country’s conditions in October 2016, Nepal has made substantial progress in post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction.

To allow for an orderly transition, the effective date of the termination of TPS for Nepal will be delayed 12 months to provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible. Nepali citizens in the United States who benefited from TPS may still receive other protections under our immigration system for which they are eligible.

The 12 months will also provide time for Nepal to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens. During this timeframe, DHS will work with the Department of State and the Government of Nepal to help educate relevant stakeholders and facilitate an orderly transition. In addition to materials posted online, DHS components will participate in outreach activities such as teleconferences, town halls and roundtables to ensure that affected populations have a full and accurate understanding of their rights and obligations.

Nepali citizens with current TPS registrations will be required to re-register for TPS and apply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the termination of Nepal’s TPS designation becomes effective June 24, 2019.  Further details about this termination for TPS, including the re-registration period, will appear in a Federal Register notice. Nepali TPS beneficiaries should not submit re-registration applications until the re-registration period is announced through the Federal Register notice.


The Trump administration also has ended TPS for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua.


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA president applauds Justice Department decision to keep immigrant education program during review

The ABA Journal reports that American Bar Association (ABA) President Hilarie Bass is applauding the Justice Department’s decision to keep in place a legal information program for detained immigrants during a review of its effectiveness.

The Legal Orientation Program provides basic legal information to 53,000 immigrants a year in federal detention centers in 16 states, Bass said in the statement on Wednesday. The DOJ had previously said it would suspend the program April 30 while the review was conducted. “We are pleased that today’s action reverses that decision,” Bass said.

The Justice Department contracts with 19 nonprofits to provide the educational sessions about the law and the removal process. The ABA operates two of the programs, one in California and the other in Texas.


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

USCIS premieres video highlighting historic connections to Ellis Island


Video: USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today released a new documentary video, “USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island.”  From 1892 to 1954, federal immigration employees processed more than twelve million immigrants at the Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York Harbor. 

The video tells the story of Ellis Island from the perspective of those who worked there, highlighting the historical connections between our agency’s mission to administer lawful immigration to the U.S. and this iconic port of entry in New York.

“USCIS and its predecessor agencies hold a distinct place in American history because of their important role in admitting immigrants into the fabric of our nation,” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said to employees at the premiere. “As employees, we all have an essential duty to honor and preserve that legacy and to ensure it lives on in the work we do today and in the future.”

The video consists of three chronological thematic chapters: 

Chapter One: Creating Ellis Island: Introduces the audience to the origins of the federal immigration service, Ellis Island and its role in our agency’s early history.

Chapter Two: Working on the Island: Explores the often overlooked roles of Ellis Island’s employees and their importance to the operation of the nation’s busiest immigration station.

Chapter Three: Remembering Ellis Island: Examines the closing of Ellis Island, discusses its historical legacy, and emphasizes its lasting connection to USCIS.

The result of extensive historical research, USCIS produced the video with the support of the National Park Service, who provided access to Ellis Island’s historic collections and enabled filming on-location at Ellis Island.    


April 26, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries' Economies

How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries' Economies is the result of a project carried out by the OECD Development Centre and the International Labour Organization, with support from the European Union. The report covers the ten partner countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand. The project, Assessing the Economic Contribution of Labour Migration in Developing Countries as Countries of Destination, aimed to provide empirical evidence – both quantitative and qualitative – on the multiple ways immigrants affect their host countries.

The report shows that labour migration has a relatively limited impact in terms of native-born workers’ labour market outcomes, economic growth and public finance in the ten partner countries. This implies that perceptions of possible negative effects of immigrants are often unjustified. But it also means that most countries of destination do not sufficiently leverage the human capital and expertise that immigrants bring. Public policies can play a key role in enhancing immigrants’ contribution to their host countries’ development.


April 26, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supporting & Protecting Undocumented Students: What Schools, Leaders & You Can Do to Help the Undocumented Community

Given the political uncertainty around DACA specifically and immigration policy in general, this guide is a reminder of what educators and ordinary citizens can do to help undocumented students. While it should not be taken as legal advice, it does provide readers with powerful examples of initiatives schools and students are taking, as well as several useful resources to learn more about immigration policy and its effects on people with undocumented status. Read on to learn how to be an ally for undocumented students.

11 Ways You Can Help Undocumented Students


April 26, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trafficked in America


FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley tell the inside story of Guatemalan teens forced to work against their will on an egg farm in Ohio.  For more details on the report, click here.



April 26, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)



Unshackled Ventures Overview from Unshackled Ventures on Vimeo.

Founded in 2014, Unshackled Ventures has a simple entrepreneurial vision - help immigrant founded startups succeed faster. Here is the founder's description of the venture:

As a first generation American and a first generation immigrant our pathways first crossed at a startup in 2010. Through our personal entrepreneurial experiences, we saw that our diverse backgrounds led to incredible and innovative thinking. As we worked with some the most successful VCs, we also understood the best partners provide much more than capital - they help alleviate time consuming distractions and obstacles. This is especially needed for early-stage, immigrant founded startups. By bringing together immigration support and venture resources we knew we could support some of the most brilliant minds in America succeed faster.

Unshackled Ventures believes that when we remove the obstacles for diverse teams they are free to tackle the biggest problems in the world. And that makes the world just a little bit better. For all.


April 26, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in the U.S. Are Often More Educated Than Those in Top European Destinations: Sub-Saharan immigrants in the United States are also more highly educated than U.S. native-born population

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Deportations Under ICE's Secure Communities Program

Immediately upon assuming office, President Trump issued an Executive Order terminating what was known as the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) and "reinstat[ing] the immigration [enforcement] program known as 'Secure Communities.'" This program is widely portrayed as the cornerstone of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts for stepped up deportations.

As TRAC reports, recently released ICE removal-by-removal records from Secure Communities—current through October 2017—provide a portrait of deportations of immigrants from each state and county in the nation by the Trump Administration. This report examines first how the level of Secure Communities deportations has changed under the new administration, and then turns to what types of crimes are now being targeted through this program.

Are Secure Communities Deportations Increasing?

The new administration initially did successfully ramp up deportations, although increases in removals of those who had committed serious crimes were modest. See TRAC's previous report with data through July 2017. Data now through October 2017 continue to show considerable month-to-month variability with no further upward trend. The number of those deported under this program - including some who have no criminal record - appear to have stabilized, averaging around 6,200 per month.

It is instructive to note that this number is still somewhat below the level that had prevailed during the Secure Communities years under President Obama. However, it does represent a significant increase above the Nov 2014 - January 2017 period when Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) replaced Secure Communities. 

Secure communities


April 25, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oral Argument in Trump v. Hawaii/Travel Ban Case


Here is the audio to the oral arguments in the Supreme Court in the travel ban case (Trump v. Hawaii) this morning.  The transcript is here.  Reports (and here) see the Court as upholding the travel ban.  Amy Howe agrees in her recap of the argument.  Commentary is abundant.

As always, it is hard to speculate abut how the Supreme Court will decide a case based on the oral arguments.  Prognosticators famously (and wrongly) declared the Affordable Care Act dead after the Court heard arguments.

I listened to the audio of the arguments and am worried that the ban may be upheld.  However, I am not certain that hope is lost.  The deciding vote in favor of the immigrant in Sessions v. Dimaya, Justice Gorsuch raised questions about justiciability and the propriety of a nationwide injunction, which could lead to a narrow majority holding of limited impact.

There was nothing that surprising in the arguments.  Justice Kagan, as well as Justice Sotomayor, seemed worried about the potential for invidious discrimination if the Court upheld the travel ban.  (I was happy that Solicitor General Francisco in response to Justice Kagan's hypothetical did not invoke The Chinese Exclusion Case or Korematsu v. United States in defense of the decision of an anti-Semitic President to bar admission of noncitizens from Israel.).  The Chief Justice, Justice Kennedy, and others seemed concerned with intervening in the President's decision on a national security matter. 


April 25, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Immigration policies can make the difference between life and death for newborn US children

 , Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University

r, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

From The Conversation:

The health of children born to unauthorized immigrants – who are U.S. citizens – is affected by local and federal immigration policies. There are as many as 4 million children who have at least one parent who is undocumented.

Along with colleagues at Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab and Oregon Health & Science University, we measure the impact of immigration policy on the health of individuals and communities. Our research reveals the public health benefits of laws that make it easier for unauthorized immigrants to integrate into society.

An Obama-era policy that temporarily shielded some Dreamers from deportation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, offers a dramatic example of how this has worked at the federal level.


April 25, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Over 7,000 Bodies Have Been Found at the US-Mexican Border Since the Nineties -- And that’s an underestimate.

Todd Miller for  The Nation offers analysis of death on the border -- the deaths along the US/Mexico border resulting from the U.S. government's immigration enforcement policies.  The deaths of migrants in the border region -- almost all of them from Mexico and Central America -- began to escalate with the border enforcement measures in the 1990s, which have increased ever since.


April 25, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil


The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

“The plot provided by the universe was filled with starvation, war and rape. I would not—could not—live in that tale.”
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.
When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.
In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

For a story on Clemantine and her book, click here.


April 25, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)