Thursday, January 31, 2019
Four migrant detainees at the El Paso Processing Center are being force fed, the BBC reports.
The migrants, men from India and Cuba, undertook a hunger strike in protest of conditions at the facility. They allege that guards verbally abuse the detainees.
After the men missed their 9th consecutive meal, ICE initiated "hunger-strike protocols" and secured a court-order to permit force feeding.
These men are being fed by tubes inserted through their noses, through which nutrients are pumped into their stomachs. This is non-consensual feeding.
I wondered if there might be a video explaining this force feeding process. There is. Here is Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def, voluntarily undergoing the procedure. He did this back in 2013 to bring attention to the force feeding of detainees in Guantanamo Bay who were on a hunger strike. Warning, this video is not for the squeamish.
From the Waco Tribune:
By the time local elections officials downloaded a list of 366 registered voters the Texas Secretary of State’s Office initially said may not be citizens, the office had called to tell them to disregard the list, Elections Administrator Kathy Van Wolfe said.
The state told her office by phone Monday that the citizenship of everyone on the list is not in question, Van Wolfe said. The office was informed Friday it would get the list and need to contact each voter for proof of citizenship, she said. The list came Monday, and the secretary of state had backed off on its initial request by the time anyone downloaded the list, she said.
Almost 140,000 McLennan County residents were registered to vote during the November 2018 election.
“They sent out a list and called us and said it was a mistake,” Van Wolfe said. “All those people have proven citizenship.” Read more....
Should universal health coverage include immigrants within the “universe?” Should federal taxpayers subsidize health insurance coverage for immigrants, even those who are undocumented? Should all immigrants be required to purchase health insurance? Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is conceived as a progressive project to expand access to coverage and promote equity in health care, it intentionally left out the 10.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States and preserved the existing restrictions on subsidized coverage for lawfully present noncitizens. In fact, it increased the disparity in access to health care between U.S. citizens and immigrants. As a result, immigrants suffer disproportionately from delayed treatment, unnecessary pain and suffering, and stress.
Understanding how and why immigrants have been left out of progressive efforts to subsidize health insurance coverage can help to illuminate the fundamental defects in our health care system that perpetuate these and other inequities. This Article introduces a new paradigm for analyzing the issue of immigrant access to the health care safety net, arguing that Health Justice requires that immigrants receive equitable access to subsidized health coverage. It demonstrates that the ethical norms underlying access to health care — the principle of need, which directs health care providers to offer care to those in need, and the principle of mutual aid, which dictates that health care resources should be distributed based on medical need — support the inclusion of immigrants in the community entitled to health care.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Denmark is installing fencing along its border with Germany. The small European nation is hoping to keep out hordes of migrant... pigs.
As the BBC reports, Denmark has a thriving pork industry. That business is threatened by African swine fever, which can be transmitted by migrating wild boar. The disease is incurable and fatal.
And, so, Denmark has concluded that a $12 million dollar fence is a small price to pay to protect its $1.7 billion dollar pork interests.
“¿Cómo estás, mi amor?” This is how Berenilsse Marcial greets her son Louis after picking him up from his after-school program the evening of January 23. She has been going out of her way to seem chipper in front of the second grader, who has been having trouble concentrating at school and won’t sleep alone anymore. Marcial doesn’t have the words to explain why his step-father has been absent for nearly a month because he is being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, or that their family’s fate rests in the hands of two immigration officials they’ve never even seen before.
On January 4, ICE agents detained Marcial’s husband, Hector Baca Gutierrez, in New York at a scheduled appointment. Back in November, Baca Gutierrez received a letter from Thomas Decker, the field office director of the District of New York’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for ICE, telling him to appear on the tenth floor of 26 Federal Plaza on December 13 to meet with “Officer Almodovar.” The reason for the appointment simply said “interview.”
“We knew it couldn’t be good,” said Neal Datta, Baca Gutierrez’s attorney. “The ninth floor of 26 Federal Plaza is where you go to report [to ICE]; the tenth floor is where you go and don’t come back out. Read more....
From the Bookshelves: Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire by Jeffrey S. Kahn
Last November, TRAC: Immigration reported that the immigration courts had a backlog of a million cases. The long shutdown of the U.S. government has made matters worse. Louise Radnofsky reports for the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that "[t]he immigration-court backlog grew by at least 10% during the partial government shutdown, as a funding dispute centered on border security left the nation’s overloaded immigration system digging out of an even deeper hole than before the five-week standoff."
I am humbled, honored, and in, fact, awed by the opportunity to give a lecture named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some wonderful speakers, including my friend Angela Onwuachi-Willig, have delivered the lecture.
Located on a beautiful campus in a beautiful town, Valparaiso University School of Law has a long and illustrious history. As the website states, “law is more than a job; it is a vocation: a responsibility and opportunity to serve others.” These nicely put words concisely set an admirable goal for all of legal education.
Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights icon, is not well-known for his positions on immigration. However, the principles for which his life stands can guide us in thinking about immigration law and its enforcement. Several principles, which I paraphrase here, struck me as particularly relevant:
- People should be judged by “the content of their character,” not “the color of their skin.”
- “The arc of moral universe is long but bends toward justice.”
- “I choose to give my life to those who have been left out.”
I have spent time considering how immigration is one of the civil rights issues of the new millennium. Please do not get me wrong. I in no way mean to suggest that there are no other civil rights issues. Criminal justice, voting rights, equal educational opportunities, and employment discrimination unquestionably are among those civil rights concerns that deserve our attention. I modestly assert that immigration is among the issues that deserve consideration.
The title of my remarks – Immigration and Civil Rights in an Era of Trump – were designed to afford me flexibility in what I talk about. This is especially important because President Trump regularly has something new, novel, and newsworthy to say about immigration. Almost every day, it seems, we hear something new from the Trump administration about immigration. Indeed, as I deliver this lecture, the nation is in the midst of the longest shutdown of the U.S. government in U.S. history, a shutdown that centers on a dispute over whether billions of dollars of congressional funding should be provided for a wall along the U.S./Mexico border.
Immigration news from Washington, D.C. has been a constant since President Trump’s inauguration. Just a few months ago, President Trump threatened to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship as provided by the Fourteenth Amendment. He also declared the “caravan” of migrants from Central America to be a national “crises” and “invasion.” Through a number of policy changes, the Trump administration has sought to remake the asylum system, with little regard to the rule of law. I could go on but you get the general idea.
President Trump’s immigration initiatives share two fundamental characteristics.
First, he consistently seeks to reduce immigration and specifically to reduce the number of immigrants of color coming to, and living in, the United States. These actions generally are contrary to the law prohibiting racial discrimination.
Second, despite the frequent claim that the administration is committed to simply enforcing the immigration laws, President Trump attacks judges who issue rulings with which he disagrees, calls for changes to our immigration laws that he claims are ridiculous, and all-too-often ignores the law. For example, President Trump, in my estimation, in many instances has sought to limit asylum eligibility in ways not permitted by Congress. To offer another example, few legal scholars believe that President Trump’s has the power call to abolish birthright citizenship. That proposal exemplifies what is becoming more and more apparent: President Trump feels little need to adhere to the rule of law. This is especially hard for lawyers and law professors to accept.
In the Immigration Act of 1965, Congress amended the immigration laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination in the issuance of visas on the basis of race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. Passed in the wake of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1965 Act repealed laws mandating racial and national origin discrimination in the U.S. immigration laws. The momentum of the civil rights movement led by Dr. King transformed immigration law. In so doing, Congress established a blueprint for immigration diversity, allowing millions of people of color to immigrate to the United States. The nation saw a dramatic rise in immigration from Asia; U.S. law had barred Asian immigration from the late 1800s through the first half of the twentieth century.
The trajectory toward a more diverse nation, however, is likely to change due to a myriad of policies embraced by the Trump administration. Those policies can be aptly characterized as waging war on immigration diversity and the rule of law. President Trump’s immigration actions show a desire to change that diversity, to take the nation back to the past to a time when Asians were excluded, when Mexicans were deported with impunity.
President Trump’s racial goals should not be surprising. Unlike any president in modern U.S. history, he regularly makes racially-explosive comments about immigrants. Consider a few:
- Mexicans are “rapists” and “criminals”;
- Salvadorans are MS-13 gang members;
- Muslims are “terrorists” who should be subject to “extreme vetting”; and
- El Salvador, Haiti, and nations in Africa are “s***hole countries” and the United States should not be providing safe haven to citizens of those countries.
President Trump has followed up on the incendiary rhetoric with a number of policies, many of them in tension with, if not in outright violation of, the law. In sum, the Trump administration has taken some of the most aggressive immigration enforcement policies in modern U.S. history. The policies almost all aim to restrict noncitizens of color from immigrating to the United States.
I am working now on an article about what I characterize as the “new Latino repatriation.” It shows how many of the administration’s immigration measures in total replicate (1) the Mexican repatriation of the 1930s, in which state, local, and federal governments forcibly “repatriated” persons of Mexican ancestry, including U.S. citizens, to Mexico; and (2) “Operation Wetback” in 1954, a military-style effort to remove Mexican immigrants in the Southwest. Not coincidentally, President Trump has endorsed "Operation Wetback" -- without using its official name -- as a legitimate policy approach to manage migration today.
Consider a few of the Trump administration policies that demonstrate the President’s desire to restrict immigration diversity and, in some instances, have been found to be unlawful.
1. The Travel Bans
Within days of his inauguration, President Trump issued an executive order that was intended to bar immigrants from a number of predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. The original travel ban was not carefully done and included obvious legal flaws. It, for example, was not clear whether it applied to lawful permanent residents. When the courts enjoined the first travel ban from going into effect, President Trump issued a revised version. The courts struck down the second version as unlawful and, in no small part, because of the President’s anti-Muslim statements. Although a 5-4 Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii upheld the third draft of the ban, four Justices would have concluded that the executive order was motivated by anti-Muslim animus, not national security concerns.
2. “Chain Migration” and Reforming Legal Migration
President Trump has called for ending “chain migration” and dramatically restricting family-based immigration to the United States. In that vein, he has expressed support for the RAISE Act, which would reduce legal immigration by one-half through reducing family-based immigration. That change would have the greatest impact on prospective immigrants from Mexico, India, and China, the nations that today send the most immigrants to the United States. And cutting legal immigration would likely increase pressures for undocumented migration, as many noncitizens without lawful options for rejoining family will seek to rejoin family members without authorization.
The Trump administration also has sought to restrict legal immigration with a proposed rule that would tighten the “public charge” exclusion. The result is that many immigrants now decline to seek public benefits to which they are lawfully entitled. The rule also would limit migration of poor and working people to the United States, an outcome contrary to the “huddled masses” welcomed in the famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty. In a similar vein, the Trump administration has drastically cut the numbers of refugees admitted into the United States each year.
3. “Zero Tolerance” Policies
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policies have targeted migrants from Mexico and Central America. In response to Central Americans seeking asylum, the Trump administration adopted a harsh detention and family separation policy, blaming the policy on the Democrats and the courts. A public outcry and litigation compelled the Trump administration to end family separation. As the 2016 midterm elections neared, similar rhetoric was used against asylum seekers from Central America – known as the “migrant caravan” – who were in route to the U.S. border. Working to build a “crisis” mentality among the general public, President Trump has been waging war on asylum.
a. Central American Asylum Applicants
Courts have played important roles in halting the administration from engaging in racially charged policies designed to stop Latinx families from immigrating to the United States. In particular, the courts have upheld the rights of immigrant children subject to detention under what is known as the Flores settlement, to which President Clinton's Justice Department agreed in 1997. The Trump administration has railed against compliance with the settlement. It has proposed to undo the Flores settlement so that the administration can indefinitely detain immigrant children and their families.
Other presidents have taken steps to deter Central American asylum seekers from seeking relief in the United States. But none have taken measures as harsh as those adopted by the Trump administration.
b. Sanctuary Cities
The Trump administration has challenged “sanctuary” states and cities for refusing to fully cooperate with the U.S. government in immigration enforcement. Although the courts have for the most part blocked those efforts, the administration has tried to halt the flow of federal funds to “sanctuary” cities. Seeking to capitalize politically on tragedies, President Trump has been quick to blame sanctuary jurisdictions for crime. It is odd that conservatives -- the traditional defenders of state and local rights when it comes to civil rights -- today challenge local authority and autonomy with respect to immigration and immigrants.
The Trump administration has sought to eliminate the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy for undocumented youth. The policy benefited hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants, with more than 80 percent from Mexico and Central America. Courts have enjoined the rescission of DACA.
The Trump administration announced the end of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans and nationals of other developing nations. TPS allows nationals of nations hit by mass violence or natural disaster to remain temporarily in the United States. More than 200,000 Salvadorans are threatened with the loss of TPS relief. To this point, courts have enjoined the end of TPS for nationals of El Salvador and other nations..
The Trump administration has aggressively increased removals and adopted approaches that would ensure that more than 95 percent of the noncitizens removed are from Mexico and Central America. Although many of the crime-removal programs are being carried forward from the Obama administration, the new administration has expanded the efforts and the crimes for which removal will be sought.
These policies together would significantly reduce diversity in the number of immigrants admitted to, and permanently reside, in the United States. Importantly, such policies violate the spirit if not the letter of the 1965 amendment to the immigration laws and Congress’s goal of promoting diversity in immigration. The courts have halted many of the more egregious violations of the law. The defunding of sanctuary cities has been halted. DACA’s rescission has been halted. Stripping of TPS has been stopped. Although the travel ban eventually went into effect, litigation refined and narrowed the ban.
Courts time and again have prohibited the Trump administration from pursuing immigration policies that violate the law. Legal and political attention must continue to be paid to these policies in order to prevent the country from returning to its pre-1965 law that fostered predominantly white immigrants white nation. Put simply, the unlawful war on immigrant diversity should not be permitted to continue. Political organization has been one response to the Trump immigration enforcement measures. The rise and fall of DACA energized immigrants’ rights activism and marked the ascendance of a political movement. That may be one of the most important long term impacts of DACA. An “Abolish ICE” movement has emerged. Congress has the opportunity to act to reform and improve the immigration laws.
I think that Martin Luther King Jr. would condemn the unjust immigration initiatives of the Trump administration. He would object to judging immigrants by the color of their skin, not the content of their character. He would see the current initiatives as contrary to the arc of justice. Last but not least, Dr. King would call for us to protect immigrants who are “left out” and deserve our protection.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
From the Los Angeles Times:
Two years after President Trump signed orders to hire 15,000 new border agents and immigration officers, the administration has spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort — but has thousands more vacancies than when it began.
In a sign of the difficulties, Customs and Border Protection allocated $60.7 million to Accenture Federal Services, a management consulting firm, as part of a $297-million contract to recruit, vet and hire 7,500 border officers over five years, but the company has produced only 33 new hires so far.
The president’s promised hiring surge steadily lost ground even as he publicly hammered away at the need for stiffer border security, warned of a looming migrant invasion and shut down parts of the government for five weeks over his demands for $5.7 billion from Congress for a border wall.
The Border Patrol gained a total of 120 agents in 2018, the first net gain in five years.
But the agency has come nowhere close to adding more than 2,700 agents annually, the rate that Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, has said is necessary to meet Trump’s mandated 26,370 border agents by the end of 2021.
The Works in Progress (WIP) committee for the 2019 Emerging Immigration Scholars’ Conference is now accepting proposals for works-in-progress or incubator ideas. In addition to incubator workshops focused on a research idea, participants are invited to submit proposals for workshops to discuss a litigation or advocacy project that could benefit from group input.
The 2019 Conference will take place June 7 and 8, 2019, at Brigham Young University in beautiful Provo, Utah. If you wish to be considered for a works-in-progress or incubator session, please submit your proposal to [email protected]. Further, this year we are again seeking discussants who will read and comment on the works-in-progress or incubator ideas.
If you want to propose a work-in-progress by email: Please put “ImmProf WIP [Lastname]” as the subject line Please submit an abstract of no more than one page, with a title.
If you want to propose an incubator (for a scholarly or litigation/advocacy project) by email: Please put “Incubator [Lastname]” as the subject line Please submit a description of no more than one paragraph, with a title.
If you would be willing to be a discussant: Please email us by March 29 if you wish/are willing to serve as a discussant with a list of your areas of expertise.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 29 at 5pm (PT). We anticipate notifying accepted WIP or incubator proposals by April 14. Final papers will be due on May 17, 2019. We look forward to receiving your submissions!
Please feel free to contact any member of the WIP committee, or conference planning committee, with questions or concerns. More information will be coming soon about the conference and how to register.
Other Members of the Planning Committee:
Sabrina Balgamwalla, Wayne State University Law School
Pooja Dadhania, California Western School of Law
Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Carolina Núñez, Brigham Young University Law School
Shalini Ray, University of Alabama School of Law
Monday, January 28, 2019
SoCal immprofs, this one's for you. (And, you know, road-tripping folks in Phoenix and NorCal.)
From February 9 through April 21 you can check out Desert X in Coachella Valley, California. As the LA Times explains, this is a free event where you can experience scattered large-scale artworks. Several will explore themes of migration:
Mexico City-born multimedia performance artist Pia Camil will figuratively connect Baja California and the Coachella Valley with her “Lover’s Rainbow,” two rainbow sculptures spanning 40 feet each, made from painted rebar. The pieces center on immigration, urban development and the desert terrain.
Brazil-born Cinthia Marcelle’s “Wormhole” will position television monitors in storefronts in the Coachella Valley and in Tijuana as a way of juxtaposing the two locations and addressing the distance between them.
The artist Norma Jeane will re-release “ShyBot,” the autonomous vehicle featured in Desert X 2017, Wakefield said. “But this time ‘ShyBot’ won’t be roaming the valley but along the Mexican border, bringing back images,” he said. “I think the idea of the connection between America and Mexico is obviously on everyone’s minds at the moment.”
Go, take pictures, and share!
From Borneo Bulletin:
Save the Children and other aid agencies on Saturday appealed to Italy to allow minors rescued in the Mediterranean to land, amid the latest diplomatic row over the fate of migrants saved at sea.
“These young people have already suffered enough violence and abuse during their journey to Italy and are particularly vulnerable,” Raffaela Milano, the Director of the Italian arm of Save the Children, said in a statement.
She called for an “immediate” response to the call by Catania prosecutors to allow the minors on board the Dutch-flagged rescue ship Sea Watch 3, currently sheltering from bad weather off Sicily, to be disembarked.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), its children’s agency (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also called for an “urgent” solution for the minors and other migrants, saying the situation was “critical”.
But far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini repeated his refusal to take in the migrants, and claimed the 13 unaccompanied minors were nearly 18 years old and not children.
“I will not change my mind. Italy’s ports are closed and will remain closed to people traffickers and their accomplices,” he said.
The Global Citizenship Governance Project, funded by an ERC starting grant and co-hosted by the European University Institute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, has a vacancy.
Toward a Global Compact on Citizenship? (Research Associate)
The research will explore models for a “Global Compact on Citizenship” from different perspectives: history, international law, political theory, and IR.
Salary: approx. 2,000 EUR/net per month (negotiable)
Duration: one year (flexible & renewable)
Deadline: March 1, 2019
Details about the vacancy are available here.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
This one is for those of us in the trenches: New York Times contributing writer Maeve Higgins (who is also a comedian, but not joking in this column) has authored an op-ed entitled "God Bless America, and Her Immigration Lawyers," highlighting the work of immigration lawyers operating in the current political climate. Maeve touches on high profile policy changes, heartbreaking client sorrows, and unexpectedly unfavorable adjudication and its impact on immigration attorneys. The column will no doubt resonate with immigration clinicians, practitioners, and professors with active matters. As John Khosravi, an immigration lawyer quoted in the piece, put it: "These past two years its' like someone is running around stick their finger in people's eyes and I'm an eye doctor."
I do feel compelled to take high praise of any group of lawyers with a grain of salt. Two points are worth noting. One is the continuing existence of immigration fraud amongst notarios and lawyers alike, and the related problem of poor levels of practice that still plague the profession. The second is the critical role that non-lawyer advocates play in organizing communities, mobilizing resources, and shaping advocacy-related narratives.
Still, in times that feel like many of us are putting out forest fires with water pitchers, it's a lovely piece to see in the NYT.
From the Washington Post:
Part of an email from Professor Megan Neely: “[D]isappointed that these [Chinese] students were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand.”
If the implication wasn’t clear enough — that Neely was encouraging students to speak only English or else face unseen barriers to future opportunities within the biostatistics department.
It is Oscar season and the Academy Awards ceremony is in February. Here is a not-so-good Oscar story.
The Daily Beast reports that Mexican actor Jorge Antonio Guerrero Martínez, who stars in “Roma,” might miss the Oscars because U.S. officials have denied his visa requests. Guerrero reportedly has applied for a U.S. visa on three occasions, even giving officials a letter from producers of “Roma,” which has been nominated for Best Picture and many other Oscars. The letter attested to how Guerrero had been invited to industry events and appearances in the U.S.
Last year, a Syrian documentary producer was initially denied a visa due to the Trump administration's travel ban but eventually won an appeal of the denial and was issued a visa.
Geoffrey A. Hoffman for the Yale Journal of Regulation's Notice & Comment looks at a series of efforts by the Trump administration to enforce the immigration laws that run afoul of the law. Hoffman looks at the changes to three
"broad areas of immigration law and the changes happening in each. These are symptomatic of the types of changes attempted to be put into place. The first involves the most important changes in humanitarian cases (for example, asylum, credible fear, and related issues). The second relates to the adjudication and treatment surrounding employment-based cases (for example, H1Bs, L1s and other various types of categories being made more difficult if not impossible, thus affecting the possibility for legal immigration). Third, I discuss the prime example affecting all family-based cases: the expansion of the public charge ground of inadmissibility."
The federal courts have played a big role in checking the legal excesses of the Trump administration:
"Those who have thus far gone to court in efforts to challenge the expansive policies of the administration discussed above have, in large part, been successful. Whether it is in the context of restricting eligibility for asylum, challenging family separation policy, or DACA rescission, the efficacy of the federal court in the Trump Era cannot be understated or undervalued."