Thursday, February 21, 2019

‘The most unbelievable story in golf’: A treacherous border crossing was just the beginning of José de Jesús Rodríguez’s journey to the PGA Tour



Here is an immigration "feel good" story about an unlikely Professional Golf Association rookie,  José de Jesús Rodríguez’s (with the nickname, El Camaron (The Shrimp), who years ago crossed the US/Mexico border poor, impoverished, and taking great risk, worked hard in the U.S., returned to Mexico, and now is a professional golfer. 

Here is a description of El Camaron's initial efforts to cross the border:

"Late at night, when he made his forays for freedom, the river was as black as ink. Underfoot were treacherously slippery rocks and other unseen hazards. Growing up in land-locked Irapuato, Mexico, José de Jesús never learned to swim. Now the chilly water lapped against the teenager’s chin, inviting the darkest fear: `If I slip, I die,' he remembers thinking. Day after day, for three agonizing months, José de Jesús tried to steal across the Rio Grande, only to be thwarted by its currents and the United States Border Patrol. So many times he wanted to give up and return home, but what kept him going were the people he’d left behind: seven siblings who slept shoulder-to-shoulder on the dirt floor of their one-room, bathroom-less adobe home; a mother who endured seven stillbirths but still found a way to hand-make tortillas seemingly every day; a father he revered but whose body was breaking under the strain of so many years of toil as a laborer on construction sites."

José de Jesús Rodríguez has come on the scene in a time when immigration is a divisive political issue.  He says, “I want to set a good example so American golf fans can see we are good people who want to work hard.” “Follow your dreams,” Camarón says. “No matter how impossible it seems, they can come true. I’m proof of that.”


February 21, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Being An Immigration Judge Was Their Dream. Under Trump, It Became Untenable.

Hamed Aleaziz for Buzzfeed reports on the crumbling morale of the nation's immigration judges and the decision of many to retire or leave their posts.  The bottom line:  "“It has become so emotionally brutal and exhausting that many people I know are leaving or talking about finding an exit strategy,” said one immigration judge. “Morale has never, ever been lower.”

Former Attorney General Sessions oversaw new caseload measures in immigration court performance reviews, tightened eligibility for asylum, and pushed immigration judges to close cases )and increase removals).  For analysis of those measures, see this article by Catherine Y. Kim.   


February 21, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Towards Empowerment and Sustainability: Reforming America's Syrian Refugee Policy by Sahar F. Aziz, Joanna Gardner, and Omar Rana


Towards Empowerment and Sustainability: Reforming America's Syrian Refugee Policy by Sahar F. Aziz,  Joanna Gardner, and Omar Rana


The number of refugees and displaced people worldwide has reached unprecedented levels. Of the world’s 68.5 million refugees and displaced people, by far the largest number are Syrian. The nearly 13 million Syrian refugees and internally-displaced persons account for sixty percent of Syria’s pre-war population. A violent proxy war starting in 2011 has resulted in mass civilian casualties, human rights abuses, and widespread destruction. After eight years of war, Syria remains too dangerous for most refugees to return home. The UN refugee agency warns it is unknown when threshold requirements for large-scale safe and voluntary returns to Syria will be met for refugees who fled their homes to live in neighboring countries.

While media coverage has focused on Syrian refugees seeking asylum in third countries, such as Europe and the United States, eighty percent of the seven million externally displaced Syrians have sought refuge in the countries neighboring Syria: Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon. As millions of Syrian refugees crossed their borders, these countries assumed the enormous financial burden of providing refugees with the protections mandated by international law. The principle of non-refoulement — a legal norm prohibiting host nations from sending refugees back to countries where their lives are in danger — requires host countries to provide refuge to Syrians until it is safe for them to return home.

Four recommendations, if implemented, would contribute toward a sustainable and more effective U.S. Syrian refugee policy. First, U.S. aid should increase to fund programs that empower refugees to be economically independent rather than indefinitely dependent on international aid. Second, development aid to Jordan should strengthen both state institutions and the private sector. Third, the U.S. should fund humanitarian projects with broad eligibility criteria not limited solely to Syrian refugees. Granting access to U.S.-funded humanitarian programs to low-income Jordanians and refugees from other countries reduces inter-community tensions and promotes social cohesion. Finally, sustainable and targeted aid to countries of first asylum such as Jordan should be prioritized in conjunction with an increase in Syrian refugee resettlement to the U.S.

While U.S. refugee resettlement cannot replace the need for a final solution to the Syrian conflict, increasing the U.S.’s refugee resettlement ceiling, particularly the number of refugees who can be admitted from the Middle East and especially Syria, would ease the burden on the U.S.’s allies in the region that currently shoulder most of the financial and political costs of the crisis. By accepting its fair share of refugees, the U.S. encourages countries of first asylum to continue meeting their international obligations with respect to refugees. Conversely, the Trump administration’s hostility towards refugees grants tacit permission for host countries to give in to mounting domestic political pressure to prematurely send Syrian refugees home to dangerous conditions.


February 21, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigrant Sanctuary as the "Old Normal": A Brief History of Police Federalism by Trevor George Gardner


Immigrant Sanctuary as the "Old Normal": A Brief History of Police Federalism by Trevor George Gardner, 119 Columbia Law Review 1 (2019)


Three successive presidential administrations have opposed the practice of immigrant sanctuary, at various intervals characterizing state and local government restrictions on police participation in federal immigration enforcement as reckless, aberrant, and unpatriotic. This Article finds these claims to be ahistorical in light of the long and singular history of a field the Article identifies as “police federalism.” For nearly all of U.S. history, Americans within and outside of the political and juridical fields flatly rejected federal policies that would make state and local police subordinate to the federal executive. Drawing from Bourdieusian social theory, the Article conceptualizes the sentiment driving this longstanding opposition as the orthodoxy of police autonomy. It explains how the orthodoxy guided the field of police federalism for more than two centuries, surviving the War on Alcohol, the War on Crime, and even the opening stages of the War on Terror. In constructing a cultural and legal history of police federalism, the Article provides analytical leverage by which to assess the merits of immigrant sanctuary policy as well as the growing body of prescriptive legal scholarship tending to normalize the federal government’s contemporary use of state and local police as federal proxies. More abstractly, police federalism serves as an original theoretical framework clarifying the structure of police governance within the federalist system.


February 20, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Playlist: Randy Rainbow

Oh wow. Randy Rainbow covering Madonna's Borderline with a new spin: Border Lies. Fabulous.

Thank you, immprof Ediberto Román for bringing this excellent tune to our attention! 


February 20, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democrats Moving More Pro-Immigration?


This NPR story considers how Democrats are increasingly viewing immigration as a civil rights issue and have embraced pro-immigrant policies.  Changing public opinion and political activism also have had an impact.


February 20, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Caravans of Hope

Debra Adams Simmons in the National Geographic interviews photographer Moises Saman.  Saman has captured the toll of living with poverty and violence in Central America or leaving everything behind in search of the unknown in the U.S. .  

Moises Saman is a documentary photographer and a member of Magnum Photos. His work has focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more recently the turmoil of the Arab Spring and its aftermath. In 2011, Moises relocated to Cairo, Egypt, where he was based for three years while covering the Arab Spring. His book Discordia documents the tumultuous transitions that have taken place in the region. In 2015, Moises received a Guggenheim Fellowship to continue his work in the region. Moises Saman’s work on El Salvador is featured in the March 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.


February 20, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Deported Americans


The California Sunday Magazine offers an intriguing dive into the lives of deported Americans--the U.S.-born children of undocumented Mexicans working to make a life with their parents in a new country after deportation.

When Ashley first returned to Mexico, she struggled with her classes. Despite being a "top student" in the U.S, she had a hard time "trying to learn in a language that she couldn't read or write and could barely speak." Classmates "laughed at her weird name and her terrible Spanish."

Ashley is among the 3% of Mexican students who are American-born. Journalist Brooke Davis notes that:

American students in Mexico frequently end up in rural schools, the ones with the fewest resources to help them. No public schools offer Spanish as a Second Language classes, and less than 5 percent of their teachers speak any English. Many families, especially if they were deported unexpectedly, have trouble assembling and authenticating all the various documents that are needed to enroll, which means that kids end up missing months or even years of instruction. Some never return to a classroom.

Quoting immprof Dan Kanstroom, Davis calls these children "de facto deportees."


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York Asylum & Immigration Law Conference


The 2019 New York Asylum & Immigration Law Conference will take place on Friday, March 8th, 2019, at New York Law School. Designed to engage new attorneys as well as more experienced lawyers, academics, and students, the conference features panels ranging from introductory presentations on asylum law to more specialized and advanced sessions. Three tracks allow participants to engage in diverse topics including constructing narrative, detention, discussion of mandatory bars to asylum, and advanced issues such as new developments in particular social group formation. Earn up to 7.5 CLE credits, including Ethics as well as Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias credits.

This year, our conference is on International Women's Day. Our plenary session and other events will commemorate and celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have played extraordinary roles - as artists, as activists, and as advocates.

This conference is organized by the Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section and New York Law School's Asylum Clinic.

Registration closes on Wednesday, March 6th. No walk-in registrations, please.


View Conference Agenda

NYLS Tuition Assistance Policy and Refund Policy


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

California and 15 Other States File Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Declaration of National Emergency at the Southern Border


Yesterday, the State of California, led by former Congressman Xavier Becerra, announced a legal challenge to President Trump's emergency declaration:

"California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a 16-state coalition, today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and his attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes. In the complaint, the coalition alleges that the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration and diversion of funds is unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful. The states seek to block the Trump Administration’s emergency declaration, the unauthorized construction of the border wall, and any illegal diversion of Congressionally-appropriated funds.

“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up 'national emergency' in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution,” said Governor Newsom. “This 'emergency' is a national disgrace. Rather than focusing on fighting the real vulnerabilities facing Americans, the President is using the powers of America’s highest office to fan the flames of nativism and xenophobia. Our message to the White House is clear: California will not be part of this political theater. We will see you in court.”

“President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt. He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court. He is willing to manipulate the Office of the Presidency to engage in unconstitutional theatre performed to convince his audience that he is committed to his ‘beautiful’ border wall,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre.”  

The complaint filed today alleges that the Trump Administration’s action declaring a national emergency due to a purported border crisis is unlawful and unconstitutional. President Trump’s hyped crisis is a pretext to justify redirecting congressionally-appropriated funds to pay to build a wall along the southern border after he failed to get Congress — or Mexico — to pay for it. The facts do not support President Trump’s rhetoric or his declaration. Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry. There is no credible evidence to suggest that a border wall would decrease crime rates.

The states allege that the Trump Administration’s action exceeds the power of the executive office, violates the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, and would illegally and unconstitutionally divert federal funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to block the emergency declaration, the construction of the wall, and any illegal diversion of congressionally-appropriated funds. 

Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.

A copy of the complaint is attached to the electronic version of the press release here."

The Complaint includes a constitutional separation of powers claim, as well as claims for violation of the appropriations clause, ultra vires, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Prayer for Relief states as follows:

"WHEREFORE, Plaintiff States respectfully request that this Court enter judgment in their favor, and grant the following relief:
1. Issue a judicial declaration that the Executive Actions’ diversion of federal funds toward construction of a border wall is unconstitutional and/or unlawful because it: (a) violates the separation of powers doctrine; (b) violates the Appropriations Clause; and (c) exceeds congressional authority conferred to the Executive Branch and is ultra vires;
2. The States of California and New Mexico seek a judicial declaration that
Defendants violated NEPA and the {Administrative Procedure Act (APA)] and further seek an order enjoining [the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)], requiring it comply with NEPA and the APA—including preparing an EIS—before taking any further action pursuant to the Executive Actions;
3. Permanently enjoin Defendants from constructing a border wall without an appropriation by Congress for that purpose;
4. Permanently enjoin Defendants from diverting federal funding toward construction of a border wall; and
5. Grant such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.


February 19, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Robert Tsai on the Constitutionality of President Trump's Emergency Declaration

Monday, February 18, 2019

Man Living "The Terminal" Interminably

Eissa Muhamad was deported from Israel for being present in the nation without authorization. He was sent by air back to his home nation of Niger. But Niger refused him entry. So he was returned to Israel. Then Israel re-returned him to Niger. And along that route back to Niger for the second time, Muhamad became stranded in an airport in an Ethiopian airport, where he has been living on handouts for the past four months.

The BBC has the shocking tale, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Tom Hanks film The Terminal.

Authorities say that Muhamad could apply for asylum in Ethiopia, but he would prefer to return either to Niger or Israel. At the moment, neither appears to be an option.


February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Cities Can Do to Promote Immigrant Integration? An Example from the Central Valley of California

150px-Seal_of_Fresno _California

Some have argued that, with respect to immigrants, state and local governments should focus on how to best integrate immigrants into the community rather than to attempt to facilitate immigration enforcement.  A city in the Central Valley of California, known for its agriculture and not known for being liberal, has taken a step toward facilitating immigrant integration.

Last week, the Fresno City Council unanimously passed a resolution to establish a 15-member immigrant affairs committee. The committee will be tasked with advising the City Council on issues related to immigrants.

The resolution begins as follows:

"WHEREAS, fostering a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin, enhances the City of Fresno’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness, and overall prosperity for current and future generations; and

WHEREAS, the City of Fresno is home to a diverse population of immigrants from around the world, speaking over one-hundred different languages, and adding to the cultural richness of our community . . . ."


February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration And The Economy

NPR has a good reminder on the benefits of immigrants to an aging labor force.  "The U.S. has a big advantage when it comes to a young labor pool — its population of immigrants. David Wessel of the Brookings Institution explains why to NPR's David Greene."



February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Presidents' Day!


Hope ImmigrationProf blog readers have a great holiday.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a page on Presidents' Day.  It begins:

"Washington’s Birthday, more commonly called Presidents' Day, gives Americans the opportunity to honor George Washington and the fascinating history of the American presidency.

Did you know that there are 18 USCIS civics test questions about U.S. presidents[on the naturalization test on civics]? For Presidents' Day, we want to highlight some of the resources we offer for learners and teachers on U.S. presidents."

For the resources on the Presidents, click here.



February 18, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Immigration Detention Center in Tallahatchie, Mississippi, Far From Immigration Counsel

photo Troy Catchings / Clarksdale Press Register / AP file

Check out this disturbing article from Mother Jones about the detention of asylum seekers at a Core Civic facility in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.

The facility has, until now, been principally used to house out-of-state inmates for states whose own prisons are too full to accommodate all those convicted of crimes. But when California decided to stop sending inmates across the country to Mississippi, Core Civic signed a contract with the feds to house immigration detainees.

The problem with housing migrants in this part of the country is that there are no immigration attorneys within miles of the facility. Since it hadn't previously housed migrants, there are no nonprofit organizations or even private immigration counsel to assist the detainees.

Jeremy Jong of the Southern Poverty Law Center told Mother Jones: “If someone wanted to build a jail where asylum-seekers lose otherwise winnable cases because of lack of access to the outside world, that jail would probably look a lot like Tallahatchie does now.”

The article follows the story of one migrant with a compelling claim for asylum currently housed at this facility.


February 17, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hey, Iowa. What's Up?

Detained for Speaking Spanish?



With the Trump administration, the atmosphere for immigrants in the United States for the Latinx population has taken a sharp turn for the worse.  Read the story of Ana Suda, a native-born U.S. citizen, who was questioned by the Border Patrol in Havre, Montana for speaking Spanish in a convenience store.  Her experience has caused great concern:

"Life hasn’t changed just for our families. Other Mexican and Latinx people in Havre have approached us in the grocery store or on the street, fearful about whether they could also be stopped by Border Patrol just for speaking Spanish or looking differently."  

The ACLU has brought suit to vindicate Suda's rights.  The case, Suda v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was filed in U.S. District Court.  The complaint is here.


February 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Border Towns Are Among the Safest in the United States


City of El Paso Police Department

In issuing an emergency declaration to allocate funding to the wall along the US/Mexico border, President Trump emphasized the lawlessness of the border region.  The truth of the matter is much different, however.

Melissa Cruz for Immigration Impact offers the counter-story to Trump's depiction of lawlessness.  Earlier this week,  Texas, two very different images of the U.S.-Mexico border emerged from El Paso, Texas.

President Trump held a rally to make the case for his border wall again, repeating his usual talking points on the supposed dangers lurking in the region. A block away, former Democratic Representative from El Paso, Texas Beto O’Rourke held an opposing rally to counter the president’s claims on immigrants, refugees, border town safety, and the need for a wall.

The demonstrations show just how easy it is to stir up the public around the issue of immigration, particularly when the backdrop is the southern border region. However, the truth is the communities along the U.S.-Mexico border are among the safest in the United States.

El Paso, the site of the two rallies, has been considered one of the safest cities in the nation for the last 20 years, long before any border fencing was built.


February 16, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Schrödinger's Immigrant

Check out this fabulous meme, perfect for generating discussion about political discourse surrounding migration.



February 15, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)