Friday, November 30, 2018

Legomsky's Immigration Law Textbook Appears in Ariana Grande Video


What do pop star Ariana Grande and scores of immigration law professors and students have in common?  They all read the seminal immigration law textbook by Stephen Legomsky (with Cristina Rodriguez and David Thronson), affectionately referred to by many an immigration law prof as simply, "the Legomsky."

The textbook makes its appearance in the singer's video teaser for her music video, Thank U, Next." These articles by Billboard Magazine and Hollywood Life explain further.

Here's the video teaser itself:


November 30, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Bookshelves: Asymmetry


Asymmetry: A Novel by Lisa Halliday has been named one of the NYT's 10 Best Books of 2018. Here is how the NYT describes the work:

In “Asymmetry,” two seemingly unrelated sections are connected by a shocking coda. The first, “Folly,” is the story of a love affair. It narrates the relationship between Alice, a book editor and aspiring writer in her mid-20s, and Ezra Blazer, a brilliant, geriatric novelist who is partly modeled on Philip Roth. The second section — “Madness” — belongs to Amar Jaafari, an Iraqi-American economist who is being detained at Heathrow. Halliday’s prose is clean and lean, almost reportorial in the style of W.G. Sebald. This is a first novel that reads like the work of an author who has published many books over many years, and it manages to be, all at once, a transgressive roman à clef, a novel of ideas and a politically engaged work of metafiction.

Sounds like a great immprof stocking stuffer to me!


November 30, 2018 in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)

Steve King's 'racist' immigration talk prompts calls for congressional censure


With the 2016 midterms, Congress will be changing.  According to news reports, Democrats have said that they have heard enough from Congressman Steve King, whose immigration rhetoric has prompted calls for Congress to formally censure the Iowa Republican. 

At a rally one day before the midterm elections, King was recorded in Webster City, Iowa, speaking about jalapeño peppers when he referred to immigrants as "dirt," according to The Weekly Standard. "I guess I'm going to have to go and get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch," King said, prompting a supporter to interject, "Trust me, it's already on its way."




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

Asylum Decisions and Denials Jump in 2018

TRAC Immigration released a report yesterday:

"Fiscal year 2018 broke records for the number of decisions (42,224) by immigration judges granting or denying asylum. Denials grew faster than grants, pushing denial rates up as well. The 42,224 decisions represented a 40 percent jump from decisions during FY 2017, and an 89 percent increase over the number of asylum decisions of two years ago." (emphasis added).

As discussed in the report, former Attorney General Sessions' intervention in BIA rulings to facilitate case closures appeared to have had an impact.


November 30, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6)

Statement of Bob Carlson, American Bar Association President on Improving the U.S. immigration system

Earlier this week, American Bar Association President Bob Carlson issued a statement and a letter calling for improvements to the U.S. immigration system.

Carlson’s statement, dated Tuesday, makes express reference to escalating tensions at the border before calling for “a comprehensive, peaceful resolution to our nation’s immigration challenges.” Specifically, it asks Congress and the White House to devote more resources to the systems for handling asylum claims.

“Our immigration adjudication system is underfunded and undermanned,” Carlson wrote. “Nothing should be done to impede access to counsel or diminish due process of law for people seeking asylum.”

Here is the statement:

"As tensions escalate on the Mexican border, the American Bar Association urges Congress and the White House to craft a comprehensive, peaceful resolution to our nation’s immigration challenges and to devote more resources to alleviate the backlog of asylum claims on the border and in United States’ immigration courts.

We call on our country’s leaders to embrace the United States’ historic foundation as a safe haven for immigrants and refugees, and to demonstrate compassion for asylum seekers, many of whom are fleeing unacceptable levels of violence in their home countries to find safety in our great nation. Over many years, the United States has created a comprehensive process to evaluate asylum claims effectively. We have rejected individuals who pose a threat and granted safe haven to those who meet our legally authorized standards.

Our immigration adjudication system is underfunded and undermanned.  We need additional judges and support staff to eliminate the backlog of more than 700,000 cases in U.S. immigration courts. Nothing should be done to impede access to counsel or diminish due process of law for people seeking asylum.

Our nation’s immigration challenges cannot be resolved by piecemeal actions or violence. Congress must adopt comprehensive laws that amply address immigration policy, including asylum, detention, and the future of undocumented young people who were brought to this country by their parents."


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Big Immigration Law by Stephen Manning and Juliet P. Stumpf


Stephen Manning and Innovation Lab Team


Juliet P. Stumpf

Big Immigration Law by Stephen Manning and Juliet P. Stumpf52 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 407 (2018)


The forays of the Trump administration into the wilds of immigration restriction have highlighted a trend that existed well prior to the election: the unchecked growth of immigration governance strategies that rely on large-scale restrictions of liberty in the form of mass detention and deportation. These mushrooming immigration policing strategies, however, are encountering a new conceptualization of immigrant advocacy that delivers representation on a large scale through massive collaborative representation. Like other mass advocacy models that aggregate clients and lawyers such as large law firms and the class action device, the big immigration law model may have potential to change the balance of power between individuals and private or governmental entities, restore unhealthy adjudication ecosystems that undermine access to justice, or improve blocked procedural or practical pathways to substantive legal norms such as asylum. This Article locates the origins of the big immigration law model in the national collaborative representation project that arose in response to the mass detention of female-headed families fleeing from Central America, which is now being applied to dysfunctional immigration adjudication and the detention facilities proliferating under the current Administration. It identifies its main attributes: collectivization, scalability, and the selection of a focal geographic point for advocacy. We conclude with an agenda for further research into this innovation in conceptualizing access to law.


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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Craig Mousin: Debating Immigration Law in the Midst of Exile


Earlier this year, Craig Mousin (DePaul) delivered the 2018 Sister Mary Schmidt, S.C. Lecture at Seton Hill University, entitled “Debating Immigration Law In the Midst of Exile.”  The lecture re-examines Catholic Social Thought (CST) and the biblical narrative to provide new responses to immigration law’s treatment of  refugees and immigrants. After reviewing United States immigration law in the light of the biblical narrative and Catholic Social Thought, Mousin argues that both CST and the biblical narrative undermine the use of deportation and private detention as a state remedies to unauthorized immigration or as a deterrent to asylum applicants. Through understanding the biblical narrative within its context of exile, the lecture urges people of faith to work towards eliminating deportation and private detention in the century ahead.  




November 29, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Domestic Workers Legislation Introduced by Senator Harris and Representative Jayapal

Senator Harris and Congresswoman Jayapal Announce Groundbreaking National Legislation for Domestic Workers for the new Congress in 2019

Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would ensure basic labor protections and transform the way people work in America

Washington, DC -- Today, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, alongside Senator Kamala Harris (CA) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), have announced that they will introduce groundbreaking new legislation to improve the lives of domestic workers and transform the way people work in America.

The first ever national Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which will be officially introduced early in the 116th Congress, will provide basic labor protections to more than two million nannies, house cleaners, and care workers across the country, while developing innovations for the future of one of the fastest growing occupations in the country.

“The work of domestic workers is so incredibly important, both as caregivers and as organizers. This is the work that our economy is built on, yet too often, it’s undervalued and underappreciated,” said Senator Kamala Harris. “In America, we all deserve basic rights, safety, and dignity in the workplace. By fighting for fairness and equal treatment, we are fighting for the best of who we are as a country.”

Domestic workers, who are overwhelmingly women of color and majority immigrants, face systematically low pay, rampant sexual harassment, and a lack of benefits. Since the 1930’s, in a legacy rooted in the history of slavery and devaluing of women’s work, domestic workers, along with farmworkers, have been excluded from many basic labor laws.

“For the first time in history, we have a chance to raise the bar for every domestic worker in our country, and set the stage for all working people,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “As people live longer, we have the opportunity to embrace an intergenerational future in America, where all of us are cared for at each stage of our lives. All of us deserve to work and live with safety and dignity, and this legislation ensures that no one is left behind.”

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will come on the heels of similar laws in eight states and one city enacted over the last decade. In addition to addressing issues facing domestic workers, the bill will:

  • Close legal loopholes excluding domestic workers from certain federal labor and civil rights laws.
  • Create new benefits and protections for domestic workers.
  • Encourage innovative solutions to address the unique challenges of domestic work.
  • Create new tools to ensure that these rights are real and that workers can exercise their rights without fear.

“In this critical moment for our country, domestic workers are shaping the future of our economy and drawing the shape of our democracy,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “Our future depends on each one of us coming together to make change. And domestic workers are standing up for all of us as women, as immigrants, as workers, as people of color. Their strength, courage and power inspires us all as we fight together for workplace democracy.”

Marzena Zukowska,, 872-216-3684

Natalia Jaramillo,, (786) 317-3524


November 29, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Nails It

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really nails it with this tweet:


I feel like I keep having the conversation implied in the above tweet. It is a statutory, international, and human right to seek asylum. If the capacity to screen for asylum at the border were increased, many of our recent problems would be solved. Way to get that already, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez!


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

5 facts about "illegal immigration" in the U.S.


Jens Manuel Krogstad, Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn for Pew Research Center identify five facts about unauthorized immigration:

  1. There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2016, representing 3.3% of the total U.S. population that year.
  2. The number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants declined since 2007, but the total from other nations changed little.
  3. The U.S. civilian workforce includes 7.8 million unauthorized immigrants, representing a decline since 2007.
  4.  Six states account for 58% of unauthorized immigrants: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
  5.  A rising share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.

According to the latest Pew report, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States was lower in 2016 than at any time since 2004. This decline is due mainly to a large drop in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, especially Mexicans, coming into the country. The origin countries of unauthorized immigrants also shifted during that time, with the number from Mexico declining and the number rising from only one other region, Central America.


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

A 6 year old Appears in Immigration Court by Himself

Ginger Thompson on Pro Publica tells the surreal story from the immigration fronts of a 6 year old caught appearing without counsel in immigration court.  "Wilder Hilario Maldonado Cabrera.  

“How old is Wilder?” the immigration judge asked.

An attorney, who was there with other clients, came forward and volunteered to stand in for Wilder. She turned to the boy and in Spanish asked his age.

“Seis años,” he said, 6, his legs dangling from a chair at the defendant’s table.

Wilder, a smiley, pudgy Salvadoran boy, missing his two front teeth, was the youngest defendant on the juvenile docket that day. But that wasn’t all that made him special. He was one of the last children left in government custody who had been affected by the administration’s widely criticized zero-tolerance policy, and who were still awaiting reunification with parents detained in the United States."


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Beauty and the Beast: Disney's Use of the Q and H-1B Visas by Kit Johnson


Beauty and the Beast: Disney's Use of the Q and H-1B Visas by Kit Johnson, 11 NYU Journal of Law & Liberty 915 (2018) 


The Walt Disney Company made national headlines in 2015 when its former information-technology employees went public with the news that they had been fired and asked to train their replacements: foreign workers holding H-1B visas. Disney’s move was spotlighted during the 2016 presidential campaign as then-candidate Donald Trump railed against Disney’s use of H-1B visas to employ people, “imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.”

What few appreciate is that Disney is not new to working the immigration laws to its advantage. Just at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, the company has employed student workers on J visas, vocational students on M visas, intra-company transferees from other parks around the world on L visas, Walt Disney World alumni on short-term H-2B visas, trainees on H-3 visas, and treaty investors on E-2 visas. Disney even led a lobbying effort to create a new visa category uniquely applicable to overseas workers staffing its Epcot theme park’s World Showcase attractions – the Q visa.

This Article takes a particular look at two Disney visa stories. Part I examines the company’s successful below-the-radar creation of the Q visa. Part II considers the public-relations fiasco that followed the firing of Disney IT workers and their replacement with H-1B visa-holders. Thinking about these two stories side-by-side pushes us to confront at least two questions: first, how do we feel about corporate users of the immigration system tailoring that system to fit their own needs? And second, how do we feel about corporate users of the immigration system making use of that system to replace U.S. workers with noncitizen labor?


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

ICE Nominee Vitiello Compared Trump with Dennis the Menace

From the Washington Post:

A key Senate committee postponed a vote Wednesday on President Trump’s pick to lead the main agency handling immigration enforcement as a coalition of unions raised “serious concern” about Ronald D. Vitiello’s ability to effectively oversee the agency. 


Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the committee’s chairman, said the vote on Vitiello was being delayed so that senators could practice “due diligence” regarding the concerns raised by unions representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel. One issue they mentioned in a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is that Vitiello apparently shared an image of Trump on Twitter that compared the president to the cartoon character Dennis the Menace. Read more...


November 29, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

$60 Million Lawsuit over Death of Toddler following ICE Detention

From: WGN:

The mother of a toddler who died weeks after being released from the nation’s largest family detention center filed a legal claim seeking $60 million from the U.S. government for the child’s death.

Attorneys for Yazmin Juarez submitted the claim against multiple agencies Tuesday. Juarez’s 1-year-old daughter, Mariee, died in May.

Juarez’s lawyers said Mariee developed a respiratory illness while she and her mother were detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. They accused U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of releasing the pair while Mariee was still sick.

The girl died six weeks later in Philadelphia.


November 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Race is Politics: Castas Mexicanas and Mexican Views on the Migrant Caravan

Guest blogger: Pilar Calderon, law student, University of San Francisco

In our Livingroom hangs a rendering of La Sistema de Castas, a Mexican cast system used in New Spain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  New Spain had a population composed of old and new world blood, traditions, customs, and language.  Three primary races, the European whites (Peninsulares), Amerindians (Indios), and Africans (Negros) were the building blocks of modern Latin ethnicity.

Mexican Cast System

At its height, the cast system ranged from southern Alaska to the Panamanian isthmus.  And overtime, a person’s physical features and sur name had lost its ability to understand the expanse of a person’s social standing.   Pedro Huizar, a Mullato man born in the modest city of Aguascalientes, Mexico was a tradesman.  His mastery in building and sculpture was recognized by a local Espaniol nobleman.  While witnessing Huizar’s respect in the community Pedro Huizar’s cast place was elevated from Mestizo to Spanish Nobleman and the people were to address him as Don.  Shortly following the growing practice of elevating community leaders out of their given class, violent rebellion exploded in all of Latin America.

For reasons too numerous to explore in one editorial, Latin American life, law, and attitude toward government, when juxtaposed against the United States can be surprising similar.  Mexico, with its rich pre-colonial pride in its Aztec and Mayan ancestors, its wealth in natural resources, and its border with the United States (one of the longest and most active borders in the world) is a position coveted by most other Latin countries.  Depending on the class of Mexican, invading masses of Central and South American’s poor are an unwelcomed sight. 

This month, President Trump focused his rage on the mass of men, women, and children leaving the pitiful conditions of their homeland.  For reasons as varied as physical safety, the closure of primary and secondary schools, victims of racketeering, and the devastation that befalls a community without public safety, education, or open markets.  Migration through Mexico in the search of a better place is not new. Caravans of people traveling in groups to protect themselves from ruthless and unpredictable gangs, have been guided by charitable organizations such as Pueblo Sin Frontiers for years. 

Before walking caravans, migrants from Latin America used the Mexican train system.  These “cyclical migrant workers,” who were primarily of Mexican origin, migrated to and from the United States several times to work and send remittance money back to their home villages.  The typical “cyclical workers” were young men of working age.  The migrants, often illiterate and unaware of their rights were easy targets for criminals.  While riding Mexico’s three-train network (that locals refer to as “the beast,” “train of unknowns,” and “the death train”) travelers risked injury from exposure, hunger, and lawlessness.  Kidnapping poor migrants and demanding ransomed from their indigent families was a common.

 Amnesty International, in a report on the Mexican attitude toward migration, noted that despite full awareness of the severity and frequency of harassment, assault, kidnapping, and rape of migrants, little efforts to enforce its laws were made. A great majority of Mexicans consider migrants to be a nuisance.  Mexican laborers crossing into the United States has become an image synonymous with illegal immigration.  It is perplexing then, that a country who earns half of its GDP by remittance, holds such contempt for its regional neighbors who attempt the same.  Some commentators on the subject suggest that it is the migrant’s innocence and vulnerability which attracts harassment and abuse, which leads Mexicans to believe that if a migrant trail appears near their home, criminals and violence will inevitably follow. 

Current Mexican President Peña Nieto has spent his term, working with both Obama and Trump, to use the Mexican federal military at its south border as the first line of defense for American immigration objectives.  Serving as “gatekeeper”’ for the United States, conservative Peña Nieto is currently capturing and detaining individuals in the Migrant Caravan who have been identified as undesirable. 

On December 1, 2018, President Peña Nieto will step down and President-Elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will take office.  Even before his presidential term has begun, Lopez Obrador faces a humanitarian crisis.  Known well for his leftist views on the economy, immigration, and public service reforms, pundits suspect that Obrador will likely favor international standards for the treatment of migrants, and not cower to the demands and threats of the Trump administration.

                Sample surveys of Mexican national attitudes toward invading migrants from Honduras show stark and clashing opinion, comparable to the polar political extremes in our own United States.  Some Mexicans believe that national resources, military police, and aid should be spent on the millions of Mexicans already suffering from poverty.  Others feel that the world is watching Mexico, and Mexico can and must dutifully support migrates and protect their vulnerable groups from the dark and dangerous trafficking centers. 

                Reading the news today, anticipating the domestic policy shifts that will likely come from the transfer of presidential power, all the while reflecting on the 17th century’s unapologetic illustration of racial hierarchies, I can’t help but notice that a Mexican person’s proximity to the United States is comparable to a “Cast members” genetic proximity to Spain.  


November 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Habitual Punishment: Family Detention and the Status Quo


David Hernandez on Europe Now critically looks at President Trump's family detention policy.  He does not see the "caravan" as the policy crisis but identifies the uncritical reliance on national security for immigration enforcement measures as the problem that needs to be addressed.  


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

U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade


A report by Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn for the Pew Research Center finds that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade. The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization.

But the Mexican border remains a pathway for entry by growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Because of them, Central America was the only birth region accounting for more U.S. unauthorized immigrants in 2016 than in 2007.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Beyond Severity: A New View Of Crimmigration by Rachel E. Rosenbloom


Beyond Severity: A New View Of Crimmigration by Rachel E. Rosenbloom, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2018


While the Trump Administration’s harsh crackdown on immigrants builds on an enforcement infrastructure inherited from previous administrations, this Article cautions against characterizing it as merely an escalation of “crimmigration”—the merging of criminal and immigration law evident in recent decades. I argue instead that key contrasts between current policies and the previous era provide an opportunity to understand the crimmigration era in a whole new way. Crimmigration scholars have thoroughly explored the increasingly harsh nature of immigration enforcement as it has developed over the past few decades. However, crimmigration scholarship, framed exclusively as a critique of severity, has neglected to account for significant aspects of the (pre-Trump) crimmigration era that fell outside the severity paradigm. In particular, crimmigration scholars have largely overlooked the advent of new visas and forms of discretionary relief that Congress created between 1990 and 2000 for noncitizens who are victims of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes. While both increased enforcement and crime-based relief have been the subject of significant analysis, this Article is the first to bridge the two subjects, proposing a new way to understand the relationship between these two key aspects of immigration law as it has developed since the 1980s: the “bad news” narrative of ramped-up enforcement and the “good news” narrative of expanded relief. Utilizing frameworks drawn from both feminist theory and criminology, this Article argues that the expansion of relief was never the counterweight to crimmigration’s harsh enforcement policies that it may have seemed but rather an integral component of crimmigration itself, and that crimmigration is best understood not simply as a transition to severity but as a complex phenomenon that produced new categories of favored immigrants at the same time that it expanded the categories of immigrants subject to detention, deportation, and other sanctions. This insight necessitates a new understanding not only of crimmigration but of the advocacy strategies that have taken place in its shadow.


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

The chaos behind Donald Trump's policy of family separation at the border: A 60 Minutes investigation has found the separations that dominated headlines this summer began earlier and were greater in number than the Trump administration admits


On Sunday, Scott Pelley and "60 Minutes" looked closely at the Trump administration's family separation policy.  The conclusion:

"No senior official would speak to us for this story but President Trump ended his separation policy after 11 weeks. The White House says more than 2,600 children were detained. But reports from various agencies show at least 5,000 children have been held since Mr. Trump's inauguration. The White House says only 25 remain to be reunited with their families, but given the bungled recordkeeping, and no public accounting of the mysterious El Paso pilot program, there may never be an accurate count of how many children were taken from their parents."

Click at the link above to watch the episode.

Here is a supplemental video on the "60 Minutes" website looking at the reuniting of a mother and child after separation: 




November 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dutch Church Holds Worship Service for 27+ Days to Protect Immigrant Family from Deportation

Here's an interesting story on immigrant sanctuary from a comparative law perspective:  Apparently, Dutch law prevents government authorities from entering places of worship while services are being held.  So one church located in the Hague has held a continuous service for over 27 days in order to protect an Armenian family that has lived in the country for over nine years from deportation. Reverends from across the Netherlands have been taking turns leading services at Bethel Church.   


November 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)