Monday, December 31, 2018
Just a few days ago, Kevin pointed out how President Trump responded to the death of a California police officer at the hands of an unlawful migrant with a call to "Build the Wall!"
Now, President Trump has stated that the deaths of Jakelin Caal and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, the two children who recently died after crossing the border, are "strictly the fault of the Democrats" and would not have occurred "If we had a Wall."
On this last day of the year, news outlets are recapping 2018. One thing of note is the number of American members of the armed forces who have died in service of the country. Among them was Sergeant First Class Mihail Golin.
Golin shares the unhappy distinction of being the first service member to die in 2018, on New Year's Day one year ago. As the Army Times reported, Golin died of injuries sustained after "small arms fire engagement during a dismounted patrol;" several other soldiers were wounded in the same attack.
Golin immigrated to the United States from Lativa in 2004. He enlisted in 2005. He served for several years as an infantryman with the 25th Infantry Division in Alaska. Then, in 2014, he graduted from the Special Forces Qualification Course.
Prior to his death, Golin had been deployed to Iraq as well as Afghanistan. His service awards were numerous, including "the Purple Heart Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, four Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, two Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge."
In light of the current administration's hostility towards military recruits who have green cards, not to mention the documented practice of "quiet discharging" nonimmigrant recruits, Golin's record reminds us just how much our nation owes to foreign-born service members.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Australia has the legal authority to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they are convicted or even suspected of terror offenses.
The nation has utilized this power twelve times.
This week marked that twelfth occasion, when Australia removed the citizenship of Neil Prakash, a man the BBC calls "Australia's most wanted jihadist."
Prakash has been linked to ISIS, including making recruiting videos for the terrorist organization, and plotting terror attacks in Australia.
Prakash is now simply a Fijian citizen, though he's currently "living" in Turkey inasmuch as he's in jail there and facing trial on terrorism-related charges. Australia would have liked to try Prakash for crimes as well, but Turkey would not agree to extradite him.
French hero, Georges Loinger, recently passed away. As the BBC reports, Loinger saved hundreds of Jewish children during the second world war. And, hold on, there's an immigration angle!
Loinger found a football (soccer) pitch right on the French-Swiss border. It was surrounded by fencing about 8 feet high, but it wasn't guarded.
"I made the children play, I told some of them to lift up the fences and I passed the ball," Loinger said.
He also dressed children as if they were attending a funeral, escorted them to a cemetery on the French-Swiss border, and scooted them across the border on a gravediggers ladder.
All told, Loinger is said to have saved some 350 children.
Between his story and that of Zura Karuhimbi, I am really amazed to hear about the very best of humanity.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
We've noted before how churches have been using their signs to make immigration statements ("build longer tables, not higher walls"). Now check out this sign from Milwaukie Lumber (inexplicably an Oregonian institution) that has been making its way across the interwebs:
Friday, December 28, 2018
This Onion article about Stephen Miller dates back to late January. I'm not sure how I missed it then, but it's still terrible and fabulous all at the same time.
“I’ve been putting in some pretty long hours, so it’s nice to unwind a little at the Immigration and Customs facility watching all the kids held indefinitely in federal custody,” said Miller, who stopped outside a cramped 6-by-8 cell to smile warmly at a set of scared, parentless 7- and 8-year-old Mexican siblings, adding that the tear-streaked faces filled his heart with joy.
Washington & Lee Law Review Immigration Issue: Pham, Benson, Kanstroom, Chen, Hernandez, Cade, Wadhia, Margulies & Aziz!
There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2018
As the tweet above suggests, President Trump is seeking to make political hay out of a tragic crime -- and one in which the facts are somewhat hazy. Olga R. Rodriguez for the Associated Press reports on the killing of a police officer -- an immigrant from Fiji _-in the Central Valley by a person identified by the police as unlawfully in the United States:
"Ronil Singh came to the U.S. from his native Fiji to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an officer, joining a small-town police force in California and working to improve his English. The day after Christmas, he stopped another immigrant, this one in the country illegally, who shot and killed the corporal, authorities said Thursday.
Authorities said they identified but won't yet name the man who killed Singh of the 12-person Newman Police Department on Wednesday and has not been captured. They believe the attacker is still in the area . . . and is armed and dangerous."
Our sincere condolences to Ronil Singh's family, friends, and community.
1. President Donald J. Trump
Day in and day out in 2018, President Trump was at the center of the nation's immigration news. Building on his immigration policies during his first year as President, Trump continued to push the most aggressive set of immigration enforcement measures of any modern U.S. President. Indeed, he ended the year on a high profile note. When Congress refused to meet his demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, President Trump was willing to shut down the entire U.S. government at year end. As of this writing, there is no end to the shutdown in sight.
From day one of his campaign for the presidency, Trump has pushed the border wall. And nothing has changed. Here is a tweet from the President earlier this month:
A design of our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful! pic.twitter.com/sGltXh0cu9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
Detention, including the family separation policy discussed separately below, has been one of the focal points of the Trump administration's immigration enforcement policy. The conditions of detention have been under fire. That is likely to continue because, in December, two children in immigrant detention died, provoking controversy and concern.
The Trump administration's initiatives are too many to list here. Still, a few are worth highlighting. The Trump administration announced the end of Temporary Protected Status for approximately 200,000 Salvadorans. The administration also stripped TPS status from Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Sudanese, and Haitians. It also proposed tightening the "public charge" rule for admissions and limiting eligibility to asylum seekers to those who presented themselves at ports of entry. The Department of Commerce's proposed a citizenship question on the 2020 Census provoked controversy and litigation.
With Congress and the President at an impasse over border wall funding, the U.S. government suffered a partial shutdown. There also was an earlier shutdown over immigration. Although the news was jolting in the beginning, the nation handled the holidays well-enough without a budget and a federal shutdown.
To deter Central Americans, including many women and children fleeing rampant gang and other violence, from coming to the United States, the Trump administration adopted a policy of separating parents and children in immigrant detention. The family separation policy provoked mass protests and bipartisan resistance. Pictures like the one above galvanized the nation. Ultimately, President Trump ended family separation. But his administration took months to reunite families.
4. The Caravan
Over the year, President Trump on several occasions attacked the "caravan" of Central Americans coming to the United States. Photos of the caravan provoked concern. Republicans, including President Trump, used the specter of "the caravan" to build support for extreme immigration enforcement measures. President Trump characterized the caravan as an invasion and tried to use it in an attempt to spark a Republican comeback in the midterm elections. Mission was not accomplished and the Democrats regained control of the House!
5. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court continued its steady diet of immigration cases and immigrants continued to win more than they lost. In the 2018 Term, the Court struck down as unconstitutional two provisions of the immigration laws. At the same time, in a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld the third draft of the "travel ban" in Trump v. Hawaii.
This Term, the Court heard arguments in an immigrant detention case. The Trump administration has made detention a core part of its overall immigration enforcement strategy,
More recently, the Court in December refused to stay an injunction barring implementation of President Trump's new restrictive asylum policy.
At some point in the future, the Court will likely decide whether the Trump administration should be permitted to rescind DACA, which to this point been enjoined by three federal courts. See below.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was an immigration hawk and Trump loyalist. Among other things, he oversaw efforts to pressure immigration judges to close open cases and narrow asylum eligibility. Sessions also took on -- mostly losing -- efforts to fight "sanctuary" states and cities. Because of President Trump's unhappiness with Sessions over his recusal in the Robert Mueller investigation, Sessions was forced out. He took so many insults and barbs from the President that some Democrats almost felt sorry for him.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [Official USCIS video]
In September 2017, Attorney General Sessions announced the rescission of DACA. As I have written, the rise and fall of DACA will likely affect the future of immigration law. Three courts have enjoined the rescission of the policy and Ninth Circuit affirmed an injunction. It may take a while but the Supreme Court ultimately will likely decide the fate of the DACA rescission.
Despite President Trump and others seeking to make immigration enforcement the central campaign issue, the Republicans kept the Senate but lost the House. The new Democratic House is likely to put the administration, and its immigration policies, under scrutiny.
9. Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court.
It was not pretty but the Senate confirmed conservative Brett Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Given his record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which does not hear many immigration cases, it is hard to predict how he will approach immigration cases. With a limited record on immigration, there are only hints of his views on the topic, including some from dissents in cases involving a teen immigrant detainee seeking an abortion and an immigration employment case.
1o. Death on the Border Continues
Maybe it does not make the headlines but deaths of migrants on the U.S./Mexico border continue. Increased enforcement in major border cities has resulted in migrants traveling through mountains and deserts where they are more likely to die.
The death toll mounts but nothing seems to happen. Is there anyone out there?
Boalt Hall Changes Name: Yes, this has an immigration angle. UC Berkeley School of Law has long gone by the name "Boalt Hall." It was named after John Boalt, who published an anti-Chinese screed at the height of the Chinese exclusion era. A committee recommended a name change and UC Berkeley School of Law, or Berkeley Law, is now the official name of the school. Here is the Berkeley Law explkanation of the name change.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. It's a jazz album featuring a 21-piece band and spoken word stories from 53 DACA recipients hailing from 17 states and 17 countries.
Here's their new take on an old favorite, Immigrant Song:
They've also tackled Deportee:
South Coast Today has a nice write up on the album and its artists.
A newly-elected Democrat in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has announced that the county will end its INA § 287(g) agreement with the federal government, the Washington Times reports. This means that county jail detainees will no longer be screened for immigration status by ICE officials.
It's an interesting development. One wonders how many of the "blue wave" elections across the country will result in similar changes to agreements between the federal government and local governments regarding immigration enforcement.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Photo Joe Raedle/Getty Images via NPR
NPR reports that nearly 15,000 children are currently in detention facilities. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, authorized detention centers for children are at 92% of their capacity.
"The situation is forcing the government to consider a range of options, possibly including releasing children more quickly to sponsors in the United States or expanding the already crowded shelter network."
Whereas the two children who recently died came to the United States with family members, most of the children in detention are teenage boys who came to the United States by themselves.
The photo to the right is of the largest detention facility for children. The Tornillo, Texas, tent camp currently houses 2,800. It could house 3,800 with increased staff.
CNN reports that an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died late Christmas Eve in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection, the agency said, the second Guatemalan child to die in the agency's custody this month.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman-elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, identified the child in a statement as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez. The boy, who was detained with his father, died shortly before midnight at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, about 90 miles north of the border crossing in El Paso, Texas.
Earlier this month, a 7-year-old girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, fled Guatemala with her father, and after surviving the 2,000-mile journey to New Mexico, she died December 8, fewer than 48 hours after CBP detained her and her dad. Her body was repatriated Sunday to Guatemala.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
The death of 7 year old Jakelin Caal while in Border Patrol custody is a tragedy, and it is sadly emblematic of Trump Administration border policies that have devastated families, undermined U.S. asylum laws and betrayed traditional American values. Alex Aleinikoff, Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, takes a comprehensive and critical look at Trump border actions and argues for policies true to the facts and to values of decency and fairness.
Monday, December 24, 2018
This BBC obituary of Zura Karuhimbi is the most inspiring and informative article I've read all year.
Karuhimbi was a native of Rwanda. As a young girl, she lived in the country when its colonial overloads, the Belgians, "decided to take the population of Rwanda, and split them into clearly demarcated groups - complete with identity cards, laying out whether they were Hutu or Tutsi." (I didn't even know this history before reading the article - how horrible!) Apparently not content to simply divide the population, the Belgians also decided to start preferencing one group (the Tutsi) over the other (the Hutu), giving the Tutsi "access to better jobs and educational opportunities." Cue lifetimes of civil strife.
In 1994, when Karuhimbi was perhaps 76 (her exact birth date is unknown), hundreds of thousands of Tutsi were killed by Hutus in what is known as the Rwandan Genocide.
Karuhimbi, herself Hutu, hid Tutsis, Burundians and even three Europeans in her home, protecting them from certain death. Karuhimbi did this without any weapons. She was considered a witch and used her reputation to threaten would-be killers and protect many.
"[E]very single one of the people Karuhimbi had risked her life to save had survived."
In 2006, Karuhimbi was awarded the Campaign Against Genocide Medal for her work during the genocide.
It turns out, Karuhimbi's good work wasn't limited to the 90s. During another bout of tension in 1959, she helped one Tutsi mother protect her young son by disguising the small boy as a girl. "That boy, she said, survived - and went on to become the man who presented her with the medal, President Paul Kagame."
An amazing tale, an amazing woman. An inspiration for us all.
Sunday, December 23, 2018
In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay an injunction barring implementation of the Trump administration's latest attempt to limit asylum applications. Media reports are adding to the legend of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; she reportedly voted against President Donald Trump’s proposed asylum restrictions from the hospital where she had cancer surgery on the same day.
Immigration Article of the Day: Administrative Chaos: Responding to Child Refugees - U.S. Immigration Process in Crisis by Lenni Benson
Administrative Chaos: Responding to Child Refugees - U.S. Immigration Process in Crisis by Lenni Benson, Washington and Lee Law Review, Forthcoming
The immigration court is the wrong forum to consider the protection needs of migrant children. Worse still, our multiple agencies that adjudicate parts of children’s cases combined with the rapidly shifting policies are causing administrative chaos for the children and the system.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The BBC reports that 49 individuals have been arrested across the Americas for human or people smuggling.
Interestingly, the particular criminal enterprise targeted by the Interpol operation aimed to bring South Asian migrants into the United States.
The article is particularly helpful because it puts a price tag on smuggling: "Migrants from India, Nepal and Bangladesh were reportedly paying between $15,000 and $30,000 for each journey into the United States." That's an interesting figure to talk about in class.