Thursday, October 31, 2019

Incomplete and Garbled Immigration Court Data Suggest Lack of Commitment to Accuracy


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) recently discovered gross irregularities in recent data releases from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the agency that oversees the U.S. immigration court system. After attempting - unsuccessfully - to work with the EOIR to fix these problems, TRAC decided to make public our observations of the quality of the agency's public data releases as well as express our concerns about the lack of commitment within the agency to responsible data management.

On October 9, 2019, the EOIR responded to TRAC's routine FOIA request for updated case-by-case data through September 2019. TRAC promptly began processing the data, and discovered serious inconsistencies that made the data unusable. TRAC alerted the EOIR to the problems we uncovered, and attempted to work with the agency through a series of additional flawed productions. However, EOIR ultimately declined to provide any assurances on the accuracy of the data it had provided TRAC.

TRAC views the issues with EOIR's data inconsistencies - described in the full report - as substantive, ongoing, and in need of prompt attention. Of greatest concern is the apparent lack of commitment from EOIR to ensure the public is provided with accurate and reliable data about the Court's operations.

It is deeply troubling that rather than working cooperatively with TRAC to clear up the reasons for these unexplained disappearances, the agency has decided to dig in its heels and insist the public is not entitled to have answers to why records are missing from the data EOIR releases to the public. TRAC urges the EOIR to take the basic steps necessary for managing any large database, especially a database of as inestimable value and relevance as the one EOIR maintains for the Immigration Courts.

To read the full report, including details on the problems TRAC uncovered, click here.


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC Davis Law Conference: The 25th Anniversary of Proposition 187: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Integration and Political Identity in California


UC Davis Law Review is hosting a symposium to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passage of Prop. 187. The conference will examine how this legislation - one of the first state anti-immigrant policies of the modern era - brought challenges and opportunities for change in Latinx and immigrant communities in California.

Schedule for Day 1: Date: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 Time: 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Schedule for Day 2: Date: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Location: King Hall, Room 1301

Click here for more information.


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: God and the Illegal Alien: U.S. Immigration Law and a Theology of Politics by Robert Heimburger.


God and the Illegal Alien: U.S. Immigration Law and a Theology of Politics by Robert Heimburger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018

Here is an abstract to the book:

Today in the United States, millions of men, women, and children are considered 'illegal aliens' under federal law. While the presence of these migrants runs against the law, many arrive in response to US demand for cheap labor and stay to contribute to community life. This book asks where migrants stand within God's world and how authorities can govern immigration with Christian ethics. The author tracks the emergence of the concept of the illegal alien in federal US law while exploring Christian ways of understanding belonging, government, and relationships with neighbors. This is a thought-provoking book that provides a fresh response to the difficult issue of illegal immigration in the United States through the context of Christian theology.

God and the Illegal Alien is reviewed by John S.W. Park, Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Law and Politics Book Review.



October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Candy Musings

I want candy! by Jan Jammershaug

Are you the kind of professor who brings candy to class on Halloween? Maybe you've just thought about bringing candy but you haven't been able to come up with the best product for your class. Never fear. Here is a definitive listing of the best candy to bring to your class, whatever that course is.

Ag Law: Jolly Rancher, Candy Corn, Cadbury eggs, jelly beans

Animal Law: Gummy Bears

Antitrust: Reece's

Bar Prep: Smarties, Nerds

Business Associations/Corporations: M&Ms, Mike & Ikes

Civil Procedure: 100 Grand, Twix, Swedish fish

Constitutional Law: Take some mints. Put them on a streamer. Attach that streamer to the door of your classroom. You now have door-mints for the dormant commerce clause. You're welcome.

Contracts: Now'n'Later

Criminal Law: Whoppers (telling one will get you in trouble every time!)

Employment Law: Pay Day

Entertainment Law: Starburst

Environmental Law: Salt Water Taffy, Heath, Pop Rocks, Sno-Caps

Family Law: Ring Pops

Immigration Law: Ice Cubes, Swedish Fish

Intellectual Property: Gobstoppers

International Law: Swedish Fish

LRW: Riesen

Military Law: 3 Musketeers

Property: Pretzel sticks, Kit Kat

Race and the Law: Skittles

Sales: Lemonheads

Science and Law: Milky Way, Atomic Fireball

Sports Law: Baby Ruth

Torts: Crunch, Lifesavers, Butterfinger

Women and the Law: Hershey


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Halloween, Guns, and the Death of International Student Yoshihiro Hattori

Colt Anaconda by Stephen Z

In 1992, Yoshihiro Hattori visited the U.S. as an exchange student from Japan, the BBC reports. It was October in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Yoshihiro was off to a Halloween party with a friend, dressed as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. The two got lost but eventually found a house with Halloween decorations and thought it must be the party. The house numbers were similar: 10311 versus 10131.

They knocked, a woman came to the door, saw them, and slammed the door. Moments later, a man opened the door. He was holding a gun.

Yoshihiro sang out: "We're here for the party! We're here for the party!"

The man shouted "Freeze!" Yoshihiro continued towards him. The man fired at Yoshihiro, hit him in the chest, and slammed the door.

Yoshihiro died. The man who shot him was acquitted of all criminal charges. He later lost a civil suit brought by Yoshihiro's parents.

Yoshihiro's family--both his biological one in Japan and his host family in the states--launched a gun control campaign in the wake of his death. That campaign, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan said, had a "very definite impact" on the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993. The families remain active in the fight against gun control to this day.


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beware of Halloween --- Costumes


It is Halloween and time for costumes.  And there are some not so good ones out there, which have been feature on ImmigrationProf over the years.  See here, here and here. One Immigration & Customs Enforcement official in the Bush administration was investigated for inappropriate customs at her Halloween party

NPR's Code Switch has this Guide to Halloween.  The NPR story above looks at offensive Halloween costumes.


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democrat accuses immigration chief of pursuing "white supremacist ideology"

330px-Ken_Cuccinelli_official_photo MatthewAlbence_2

Yesterday, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, held a hearing entitled “The Administration’s Decision to Deport Critically Ill Children and Their Families.” The hearing marked the first time that Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ken Cuccinelli, and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Matthew T. Albence, faced the Committee since the beginning of its investigation into the Trump Administration’s decision to deport children with critical illnesses and their families.

NBC News reports that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Cuccinelli was pursuing a "heinous white supremacist ideology at all costs, even if it means making critically ill children your collateral damage." Wasserman Schultz took particular offense that Cuccinelli did not know how many children would stop receiving access to essential social services if a proposed immigration rule that has been blocked by the courts goes into effect.

Cuccinelli responded by saying that neither he nor President Trump were white supremacists.



October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Vamos to Victory": Trump’s Spanish ads skirt immigration, warn of socialism

Talk of impeachment is gripping the nation.  But the preparation for the 2020 election continues.

Reuters repoirts that President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has run more than 3,000 Facebook ads in English asking for support to curb illegal immigration in the past six months, often asking people to sign online petitions to “deport illegals.”  In contrast, Republican Trump’s more than 1,200 Facebook ads in Spanish during the same period hardly mention his signature campaign promise to be tough on immigration. Instead, they warn that Democrats want Venezuela-style socialism and advertise “Latinos for Trump” merchandise, according to a Reuters review of more than 69,000 of Trump’s Facebook ads since May.

Venezuela is mired in an economic crisis and the Trump administration is using sanctions to try to force socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power. “Do you approve of socialism? Yes or no?” reads the Spanish-language text of several ads. Others tout a strong U.S. economy or bash prominent Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

It seems like pursuing the Latinx vote will be a tough sell for the Trump 2020 campaign.


October 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Groups sue to block Trump administration from denying visas to immigrants who can't afford health care


CBS News reports that a group of immigration advocacy groups and legal organizations yesterday filed a legal challenge to a proclamation issued by by President Trump earlier this month that would allow the U.S. government to deny visa applications of immigrants that it determines will not be able to pay for health insurance or cover medical costs in the U.S.

The organizations asked the U.S. District Court in Oregon to block the Trump administration from implementing the new policy, which is slated to take effect Sunday. According to an estimate from the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, the new requirements could deny entry to approximately 375,000 would-be immigrants each year. 

Here is the complaint filed by American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Justice Action Center, and the Innovation Law Lab, with Sidley Austin LLP providing pro bono assistance, to halt implementation of the administration’s healthcare ban for immigrants of October 4, 2019. (Doe, et. al. v. Trump, et. al., 10/30/19).


October 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Halloween! How Jack O’Lanterns Originated in Irish Myth

Happy Halloween! reminds us of the origins of the jack o' lantern in the United States:

"Pumpkins with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating jack-o'-lanterns originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as early canvasses. In fact, the name, jack-o'-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities."


October 31, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

US resettling zero refugees in October

The United States is on track to not admit any refugees in October, after already canceling around 500 flights this month, CNN reported. The moratorium will run through November 5, according to a State Department spokesperson. 

It's the third time this month that the State Department has delayed refugee admissions. Travel for refugees who were told they could come to the US was postponed through October 21, and then later to October 28

October 30, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump administration challenging California sanctuary law in Supreme Court

Last week, the Trump administration filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear United States v. California, a challenge to a California “sanctuary state” law that prevents state law enforcement officers from assisting federal immigration officers who seek to deport certain undocumented immigrants. The crux of the administration’s argument is that its immigration policies are immune to a long-standing Tenth Amendment doctrine that historically was championed by conservative justices.

California state law prohibits its law enforcement officers from being complicit in many of Trump’s deportation policies. In 2017, California enacted a trio of laws that make it harder for the Trump administration to pursue harsh immigration policies within the state’s borders. The Trump administration wants the Supreme Court to block one of these laws, the California Values Act (CVA).

This Vox explainer provides helpful context on the changing contours of immigration federalism as a protective device for immigrants' rights, whereas it was once used primarily to curtail them in instances like California's Prop 187 or Arizona's SB 1070. Considerable academic scholarship on sanctuary and anti-sanctuary provide additional context for understanding the new case.


October 30, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

House lawmakers reach agricultural immigration deal


Immigration reform legislation has a habit of sneaking up on us.  Tal Kopan for the San Francisco Chronicle reports that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have struck a deal that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented farmworkers in exchange for stronger employee verification in the agricultural sector.  A bipartisan group of Congress members reportedly will announce the deal later today. The deal could reach the House floor as early as the end of November.

The legislation is the product of negotiations by lawmakers from both parties and farm and labor groups. It would offer a path to legal status, either five-year visas or citizenship, for longtime U.S. agricultural workers with clean records. It would also overhaul the farm visa system to make it easier for employers to file applications, would limit mandatory wage increases, and would provide year-round visas for industries like dairy farms that are not seasonal.

UPDATE (11/1):     Nicole Narea for Vox explains the background behind the House immigration bill.  Her conclusion:

"It’s unclear whether other Republicans might proffer an alternative to the compromise bill introduced Wednesday . . . . 

If a significant bipartisan majority passes the bill in the House, it might push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. But even then, it will still need Trump’s backing, unless lawmakers can secure a veto-proof majority.

`Unless there is another place for Republicans to land, it’s going to be very attractive to dozens of House Republicans to vote for this bill,' Bier said. `Right now, there isn’t an alternative. They’ll either vote with the farmers or against them.'”


October 30, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The American Dream is still alive! Children of poor immigrants still beat US-born kids up the ladder - just as they did 100 years ago - but now Chinese and Indian migrants have replaced Italian and Irish as the most successful



Ran Abramitzky, Stanford University and Leah Boustan, Princeton University announce the findings of a new report:

"When large numbers of Italian immigrants came to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, they faced intense discrimination. But today, politicians from both the right and left have changed their tune, remembering Italians and other immigrants from Europe as dedicated members of American society who built the country, learned the language, and made it on their own.

Our understanding of how immigrants contribute to U.S. society is central to policymaking. But too often, that understanding is shaped not by hard evidence, but by pre-determined biases. This was true 100 years ago and remains true today.

For nearly ten years, we’ve been working on research that adds data to the debate. And now, in a new paper co-authored with Elisa Jácome of Princeton and Santiago Pérez of UC Davis, we use millions of father-son pairs spanning more than 100 years of U.S. history to show that immigrants today are no slower to move into the middle class than immigrants from 100 years ago.

Both today and in the past, many immigrants earn less than U.S.-born workers upon first arrival and do not completely catch up in a single generation. But their children do. No matter when their parents came to the U.S. or what country they came from, children of immigrants have higher rates of upward mobility than their U.S.-born peers. What’s more, their rates of mobility today are strikingly similar to rates of mobility in the past." (bold added).

The Daily Mail summarizes the fdindings of the report.


October 30, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Fugitive Slaves and Undocumented Immigrants: Testing the Boundaries of Our Federalism by Sandra L. Rierson


Fugitive Slaves and Undocumented Immigrants: Testing the Boundaries of Our Federalism by Sandra L. Rierson, University of Miami Law Review, Forthcoming


Political conservatism has traditionally been associated with the ideology of states’ rights and local control, at least since the pre-Civil War era. The South’s dogged quest to protect the institution of slavery during the antebellum period illustrates this phenomenon. Although traditionally associated with a states’ rights philosophy, during this era the South dominated the federal government and relied heavily on federal power to preserve slavery in the South and enable its spread throughout the territories. The battle over fugitive slaves, for example, pitted the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which granted Southerners broad powers to reclaim human “property” in free states, against free states’ personal liberty laws, which sought to protect the civil and human rights of all state citizens, including the free Blacks and slaves who were at risk under the federal law.

The illusory nature of states’ rights as a governing philosophy is also apparent today. As the center of power in Washington D.C. shifts right with the Trump administration, proponents of states’ rights are increasingly found in left-leaning Blue states, not the conservative Red states typically associated with demands for local control. As with the Fugitive Slave Act, efforts to increase enforcement of federal immigration laws have engendered conflict between federal and local governments. Some states and municipalities have declared themselves “sanctuaries” where local citizens can live without fear of federal immigration raids. President Trump, who has previously decried federal government overreach, has vowed to force states and localities to bend to the federal will. These shifting allegiances illustrate that curtailing the scope and power of the federal government is not a fundamental tenet of any political party, but a rhetorical means to an end.


October 30, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

New Data and Report on "Remain in Mexico"



From Tom Wong, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC), University of California, San Diego:

"We released new data today based on over 600 interviews with asylum seekers who have been returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the `Remain in Mexico' policy. Two key findings stand out:

  • Safeguards against refoulement are not being implemented under MPP and asylum seekers are being returned to Mexico despite telling U.S. immigration officials that their persecutor(s) can find and have access to them in Mexico
  • The data show that previous reporting on the harrowing circumstances asylum seekers experience in Mexico do, in fact, amount to systematic trends
  • See data points below

My twitter thread with a link to the report is here: Any help amplifying would be greatly appreciated.

We also released a policy brief on MPP, written by Krista Kshatriya and S. Deborah Kang. The policy brief can be found here

Top lines


  • Nearly 9 out of every 10 of our respondents (89.5%) who were asked by U.S. immigration officials about fear of being returned to Mexico responded by expressing fear of being returned to Mexico
  • Of these individuals, 40.4% were given a secondary interview by an asylum officer and 59.6% were not. In other words, U.S. immigration officials further investigated the fears of approximately 4 out of every 10 who expressed fear about being returned to Mexico.
  • However, approximately 6 out of every 10 were placed into the Remain in Mexico policy without any further investigation into the fears that they expressed about being returned to Mexico
  • Of those who were asked by U.S. immigration officials about fear of being returned to Mexico, responded by expressing fear of being returned to Mexico, and were then given a secondary interview by an asylum officer, 63.9% reported that their persecutor(s) can find and have access to them in Mexico but were returned to Mexico anyway
  • Of those who were not asked by U.S. immigration officials about fear of being returned to Mexico, but nevertheless expressed a fear of being returned to Mexico, just 3.9% were given a secondary interview by an asylum officer to further investigate these fears and 96.1% were not

Experiences in Mexico

  • Approximately 1 out of every 4 of our respondents (23.1%) have been threatened with physical violence while in Mexico as they await their immigration court dates
  • Just over 1 out of every 5 of our respondents (21.9%) who are seeking asylum with children under the age of 18 have been threatened with physical violence while in Mexico
  • Altogether, 56.5% of our respondents who have been threatened with physical violence reported that these threats turned into actual experiences of physical violence, including being beaten, robbed, and extorted
  • The length of time spent waiting in Mexico is statistically significantly related to being threatened with physical violence. Approximately 1 out of every 3 of our respondents will likely be threatened with physical violence while in Mexico before they make it to their immigration court dates
  • Just over 1 out of every 3 of our respondents (34.5%) have experienced homelessness while in Mexico as they await their immigration court dates
  • Approximately 1 out of every 3 of our respondents (31.9%) who are seeking asylum with children under the age of 18 have experienced homelessness while in Mexico
  • The length of time spent waiting in Mexico is statistically significantly related to experiencing homelessness. Over 4 out of every 10 of our respondents will likely experience homelessness while in Mexico before they make it to their immigration court dates


October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Podcast: The Battle of 187



This is California: The Battle of 187

A new podcast commemorates the 25th anniversary of Proposition 187, California's anti-immigrant initiative passed in 1994 by the Golden State's voters.

From the Los Angeles Times and Futuro Studios comes “The Battle of 187.” In this miniseries, reporter Gustavo Arellano breaks down how an anti-immigrant initiative that
passed 25 years ago in California turned the state into the progressive beacon it is today and
paved the way for Donald Trump to be elected president.

On November 13-14, the UC Davis Law Review is holding a 25th anniversary symposium on Proposition 187.



October 29, 2019 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

House Commitee Hearing on Military Denaturalization [updated]

The Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship proposes to hold a hearing entitled, “The Impact of Current Immigration Policies on Service Members and Veterans, and their Families” on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. Live stream and video here:

October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Urban Institute: Measuring the Latinx ‘Tsunami’ and its Impact on the US


A podcast from the Urban Institute:  

Measuring the Latinx ‘Tsunami’ and its Impact on the US 
The United States is home to over 50 million of Hispanic/Latinx origin. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban’s Chief Methodologist Rob Santos and Matt Barreto, a political scientist from UCLA and co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, about Latinx identity and how to accurately collect data to reflect their presence, particularly in the 2020 Census.


October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CNN: "Beauty Queen" stuck in Pilippines airport for almost two weeks, says she will be killed if returned to Iran


Remember the film The Terminal (2004) in which Tom Hanks plays a foreigner indefinitely stuck in John F. Kennedy International Airport?   CNN reports that a "beauty queen" from Iran who has spent almost two weeks in an airport in Manila claims that she will be killed if returned to Iran and is seeking asylum in the Philippines.

Bahareh Zare Bahari, a contestant in the recent Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila, claims that the Iranian government is attempting to silence her because of her public opposition to the government. In a press release last week, the Philippines Immigration Department said the international police agency Interpol issued a worldwide request to arrest Bahari, known as a "red notice."  Bahari told CNN that an immigration official told her Iran requested one in 2018.

Bahari said she has been confined to a passenger room in Terminal 3 of Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport since she arrived from Dubai 12 days ago. "I'm really mentally sick," she said, adding that the uncertainty over her case is wearing her down.

Stay tuned to learn how this matter turns out.


October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)