Saturday, November 30, 2019

States Push Back Against ICE Courthouse Arrests


Douglas Keith for the Brennan Center for Justice provides an update on state resistance to federal immigration arrests at state courthouses.  In 2017, the Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, was the first to protest federal immigration arrests at California courthouses.

Keith reports that, since President Trump took office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have dramatically increased their presence in state courthouses.

ICE officers have walked the halls, sat in courtrooms, and questioned court attendees and staff, trying to identify and arrest people in court for cases unrelated to immigration. The people they target may be appearing as a defendant or witness, seeking a restraining order against an abusive partner, or seeking custody of their children.

Advocates have documented the chilling effect ICE’s presence has on courthouse access — deterring victims, survivors, and witnesses from pursuing justice and using court services — and the resulting harm it does to the justice system. That’s why judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and advocates have demanded an end to ICE’s courthouse activities.
ICE has repeatedly rejected these appeals.  2019 has seen momentum build against courthouse immigration arrests as several states have taken action.

This month, Oregon became the latest state to push ICE out of its courthouses, prompting a protest from the ICE.

Click the link above to read the full story.


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


#NoMusicForICE is a campaign by musicians to remove their music from Amazon in protest of the tech company's "providing digital infrastructure that powers Immigration and Customs Enforcement," in furtherance of ICE's "human rights abuses."

Check out this piece from Newsweek and this post on Medium for more on the movement.

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

Podcast This American Life Looks at the Remain in Mexico Policy

The podcast "This American Life" takes a look at  the frontlines of the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy. We hear from asylum seekers waiting across the border in Mexico, in a makeshift refugee camp,  and from the officers who sent them there to wait in the first place.  


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

Call for Papers: Michigan Law School 2020 Junior Scholars Conference


Michigan Law School 2020 Junior Scholars Conference
April 17-18, 2020
Call for Papers
Deadline for Submission: January 3, 2020

The University of Michigan Law School is pleased to invite junior scholars to attend the 6th Annual Junior Scholars Conference which will be held on April 17-18, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The conference provides junior scholars with a platform to present and discuss their work with peers and receive detailed feedback from prominent members of the Michigan Law faculty. The Conference aims to promote fruitful collaboration between participants and to encourage their integration into a community of legal scholars. The Junior Scholars Conference is intended for academics in both law and related disciplines. Applications from graduate students, SJD/PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, lecturers, teaching fellows, and assistant professors (pre-tenure) who have not held an academic position for more than four years, are welcomed.


To apply to the conference, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words reflecting the unpublished work that you wish to present and a copy of your CV through the online submission form by January 3, 2020. Please save all files as word documents in the following format:

Selection will be based on the quality and originality of the abstract as well as its capacity to engage with other proposals and to foster a collaborative dialogue. Decisions will be communicated no later than January 31, 2020. Selected participants will be required to submit final papers by March 16, 2020, so that they may be sent to your faculty commentator and circulated among participants in advance.

Financial Assistance

A very limited fund is available to help cover partial travel expenses and accommodation for selected participants. If you wish to be considered for financial assistance, please submit a separate written request through the online form specifying your city of departure and an estimate of travel costs. We regret in advance that we are unable to provide full financial assistance to participants.

Questions can be directed to the Organizing Committee Chair through the email address below.
Chun-Han Chen, Chair
University of Michigan Law School Center for International and Comparative Law
Junior Scholars Organizing Committee 200 Hutchins Hall, 625 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215, U.S.A.


November 30, 2019 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

World Migration Report 2020



Released at this week's 2019 International Office for Migration's Council meeting, the latest edition of the World Migration Report 2020, provides information on migration that is well-researched, rigorous and accessible. 
Download Report I Infographics
"IOM has an obligation to demystify the complexity and diversity of human mobility,” Director General Vitorino told representatives of IOM's member states. 
"As this report shows, we have a continuously growing and improving body of data and information that can help us ‘make better sense’ of the basic features of migration in increasingly uncertain times,” he said. 
First published 20 years ago, this tenth edition in the World Migration Report series provides the latest data and information on migration as well as analysis of complex and emerging migration issues. WMR 2018 was downloaded over 400,000 times. 
Topics covered in the report include human mobility and environmental change, migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation, children and unsafe migration, migration and health (among others), which are not only timely, but are also highly relevant for both specialist and general audiences. 
Ambassador Doreen Debrum, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, welcomed the report, stressing that “the Republic of the Marshall Islands is now at the brink. Each scientific report brings home a more profound and serious exposé of the imminent risks, threats and dangers posed by climate change; this would put the entire Marshallese population at risk, and most likely result in the forced relocation of our people, and the loss of our homeland.” 
German Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg pointed out that migration has become an intensely debated issue in societies around the globe. 
“This is a good development. However, we have to face the risk of undue politization and misrepresentation of facts," he said. "The World Migration Report will contribute to a constructive discussion of this highly sensitive issue and lay the ground for much needed international cooperation”


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

Friday, November 29, 2019

Your Playlist: James Brown

How have I never played this classic before? James Brown's Living in America. I'm thinking this might pair well with 42B Cancellation.


November 29, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital by Kimberly Clausing


Open:  The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital by Kimberly Clausing

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the Left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

Accessible, rigorous, and passionate, Open is the book we need to help us navigate the debates currently convulsing national and international economics and politics.


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

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Two Men Walk Into A Bar...

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Ken Cuccinelli and Martin O'Malley
photos by Gage Skidmore

Thanksgiving. It's a time to travel home where you can meet up with old high school friends at the local bar and get into heated arguments over immigration.

Oh no, wait, that's just what happened to acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli.

According to multiple sources, Cuccinelli went to the D.C. bar the Dubliner last night. It's a popular hangout for graduates of Gonzaga College High School.

Unfortunately for Cuccinelli, he ran into another Gonzaga alum: former governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley. And O'Malley apparently got into it with Cuccinelli over current policies towards migrant children, saying "his immigrant grandparents 'would be ashamed of him putting children in cages on our southwest border.'"


November 28, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving!

This article spells out how Thanksgiving is a celebration of immigration.


November 28, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Immigration Article of the Day: Reframing Taxigration by Jacqueline Lainez Flanagan


Reframing Taxigration by Jacqueline Lainez Flanagan 


Tax compliance by undocumented immigrant workers could and should be the architectural centerpiece of immigration reform. Analyzing this premise using broad economic frameworks and examining corresponding mechanisms in U.S. tax and immigration systems, this article seeks to reframe “taxigration” to signify tax filing as a threshold condition to legalization.

“Taxigration” was originally coined by immigration practitioners to signal the intersection between immigration and tax law, most often when individuals in the midst of legalization proceedings file tax returns to supplement their immigration petitions. Conversely, unauthorized workers with no viable path toward legalization must adhere to a tax filing mandate, facilitated by an IRS-issued individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), but with no correlated immigration benefit. In fact, undocumented workers perceive risk in tax return filing, with an estimated fifty-percent tax compliance rate largely due to fear of detection, detention, and deportation. Further, since the 2016 election, ITIN applications and renewals have reportedly decreased, demonstrating a foreseeable chilling effect on tax filings.

This article explores the benefit of conferring a quasi-protected status upon this class of worker, allotting certain preferences in immigration proceedings directly correlated to tax compliance. It argues political rhetoric surrounding immigration reform must be tempered with appreciable fiscal realities, including the undocumented population’s utility in the workforce and their extensive sales, income, and payroll tax contributions that further governmental interest in GDP growth and U.S. tax base expansion. Ideally, this reframing would generate significant political goodwill to aid passage of meaningful immigration reform and the development of strategic, humane responses to the ongoing influx of new arrivals, benefiting the social and financial security of native citizens and society writ large.

November 27, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

TRAC Immigration: Growth in ICE Detention Fueled by Immigrants with No Criminal Conviction


According to data recently obtained by TRAC, the growth in detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over the past four years has been fueled by a steady increase in the number of detainees with no criminal history. On the last day of April 2019, ICE held about 50,000 people in detention centers nationwide. Nearly 32,000 - or 64% - of detainees had no criminal conviction on record. This is up from 10,000 - or just under 40% of the nationwide total - four years prior. Over the same period, the total number of detainees with criminal convictions remained consistently between a low of 16,000 in March 2015 to a high of just over 19,000 in late 2017 and early 2018.


November 26, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.K. Truck Driver Admits Role in 39 Migrant Deaths

NPR provides an update on a migration tragedy in the United Kingdom.  

Just more than a month since dozens of dead migrants were discovered in a truck in southeast England, the driver has admitted to conspiring to assist unlawful immigration and acquire criminal property. Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty to the two charges at a court hearing Monday in London.

Robinson also faces one manslaughter charge for each of the 39 Vietnamese nationals found dead in his truck's trailer last month. He faces 43 charges in all — including the two he pleaded guilty to and charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit human trafficking.  The court on Monday did not ask for Robinson's plea regarding these other charges.

The guilty plea marks a step forward in a case that has unsettled the U.K. in the weeks since the refrigerated container was found abandoned in the port town of Grays, in the county of Essex. Inside were the bodies of 31 male and eight female migrants, ranging in age from teens to mid-40s.



November 26, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants Played Vital Role in Trump Impeachment Hearings

It is fair to say that the possible impeachment of President Trump has been in the news.  Last week, Congress held spellbinding hearings.  Voice of America highlights the role of immigrants in the hearings.  Close watchers of the hearings would see that the important role that immigrants play for the nation and the opportunities the country has afforded them.

Several key figures in the impeachment hearings are naturalized citizens, two of them children of refugees. Two earned positions in the White House itself, working on the ultra-sensitive National Security Council. A third worked her way up to the top of the country’s diplomatic corps.

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is the child of immigrants who fled first from the Soviet Union, and then from the Nazi occupation of Europe. Born in Canada, she grew up in Connecticut and became a naturalized U.S. citizen when she turned 18.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was born in Ukraine, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. His family fled to the U.S. when he was a small child. Like both of his brothers, Vindman joined the U.S. Army, earning numerous commendations including a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat in Iraq. He is now Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council.

Fiona Hill, who until recently served in a senior position on the NSC, where she was Vindman’s functional superior, opened her testimony by describing herself as “American by choice.” Born in a hardscrabble coal mining town in Northern England, she came to the U.S. as an adult, attended Harvard University, and became a citizen in 2002.


November 26, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant Success Stories: Nearly Half of 2019 Rhodes Scholars are Immigrants

The Rhodes Scholarship reports that, for the third consecutive year, the class overall is majority-minority and approximately half are immigrants. One is the first transgender woman elected to a Rhodes Scholarship; two other Scholars-elect are non-binary. As CNN reports, "the winners include Kristine E. Guillaume, the first black woman President of the Harvard Crimson, Daine A. Van de Wall, Brigade Commander at West Point, and Hera Jay Brown, a Fulbright-Schuman fellow who the trust says is the first transgender woman selected for the program." The full list of biographies is here.

“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars—independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—once again reflect the extraordinary diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States," said American secretary of the Rhodes Trust Elliott Gerson.

The list from last year included the first DACA-recipient, Jin Park a South Korean immigrant who attended Harvard College.

The trend reflects an immigrant success story that research shows extends beyond the elite Rhodes scholarship. An American Immigration Council report, The Immigrant Success Story, on the upward trajectory of family-based immigarnts says: "A defining feature of immigrants coming to the United States via the family-based system is their upward economic mobility. Since 1965, when family-based immigration became the dominant means of migrating to the United States, the earnings of immigrants in general have increased dramatically during their first decade in the country." The researchers say there is an important research and policy implication from the trend. In terms of research on immigrants' economic mobility, "This [upward] trend is completely missed when economists focus only on the initial earnings of immigrants upon their entry into the U.S. labor market." In terms of policy, it demonstrates that family-based immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy despite contemporary efforts to frame them as less productive than employment-based immigrants. AIC summarizes their key finding: "We argue that the upward trajectory in earnings among family-based immigrants is the product of the high rate of investment that they make in their own human capital (education and training) in order to acquire new skills that will improve their employment prospects. From this perspective, low initial earnings by family-based immigrants cannot be dismissed as an inefficient use of their skills and abilities. Instead, it becomes apparent that family-based immigrants contribute to the long-term economic productivity of the United States."


November 26, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

There’s no other way to explain Trump’s immigration policy. It’s just bigotry.

Catherine Rampbell for the Washington Post bluntly states that President "Trump’s anti-immigrant bigotry was always just anti-immigrant bigotry.

There’s no other way to explain the Trump administration’s latest onslaught against foreigners of all kinds, regardless of their potential economic contributions, our own international commitments or any given immigrant’s propensity to follow the law. Trump’s rhetoric may focus on `illegals,' but recent data releases suggest this administration has been blocking off every available avenue for legal immigration, too."

Read the full commentary at the link above.  It pulls no punches.


November 26, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Litigation in the Time of Trump by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia


Immigration Litigation in the Time of Trump by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia 53 UC Davis L. Rev. Online 121 (2019)


A number of immigration policies have been announced, implemented, or challenged in courts during the first half of Donald J. Trump's presidency. This Essay provides an update on ongoing litigation on a handful of these policies and was inspired by keynote remarks delivered at the Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference at Brigham Young University in June 2019. The topics covered by this Essay include: litigation affecting those covered by the travel or "Muslim Ban," asylum policy changes, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"), unlawful presence rules, and the border wall. This Essay also discusses lessons and common themes emerging from the litigation brought in the first half of the Trump administration, including the nature of the legal claims, the limitations of litigation, and the human costs of the policies despite these issues.


November 26, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Proposed Changes to USCIS Rules for H1-B, H-4, EB-5, L-visas

The Trump administration plans a far-reaching set of new immigration regulations that, if enacted, would profoundly affect employers, international students, H-1B and L-1 visa holders, EB-5 investors, asylum seekers and others. The proposed forthcoming rules are detailed in the administration’s just-released Unified Agenda for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

H1-B: The summary of a forthcoming H-1B rule states it would: “[R]evise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages. In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.” (The target date for publishing a proposed rule is December 2019.)

H-4 EAD: The administration continues to place on the regulatory agenda a measure to rescind an existing rule that allows many spouses of H-1B visa holders to work. The target date for a proposed rule is March 2020. (See here for more background.)

L-1: According to the summary of a new item placed on the regulatory agenda: “In order to improve the integrity of the L-1 program, the Department of Homeland Security will propose to revise the definition of specialized knowledge, to clarify the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship, and ensure employers pay appropriate wages to L-1 visa holders.” (September 2020 is the target date for publishing a proposed rule.)

OPT: The ability to gain practical work experience following a course of studies attracts many international students to the United States. Many competitors for talent and students, such as Canada and Australia, already make it easier than the United States for international students to work after graduation. The administration continues to target Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows international students to work for 12 months after graduation and 24 additional months in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. A summary of a rule proposal on the agenda states: “ICE [Immigration and Custom Enforcement] will amend existing regulations and revise the practical training options available to nonimmigrant students on F and M visas.” (August 2020 is the target date for a proposed rule.)

EB-5: USCIS has proposed and finalized (November 21, 2019) a rule governing EB-5 (employment-based fifth preference) “immigrant investor classification and associated regional centers” that made significant changes to the category, including substantially raising the minimum investment amount for a foreign investor. The administration appears interested in further restricting the category with two items placed on the agenda. One would make regulatory changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, including how they file, and their designation, termination and continued participation. The other rule would “increase monitoring and oversight of the EB-5 program as well as encourage investment in rural areas.”

[UPDATE 11/25/2019 For more context on how these rule changes fit together, see this HuffPo piece and prior coverage of what AILA calls the invisible wall]


November 25, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sorry Mr. President, Americans Get Arrested More Often Than DACA Applicants


Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute takes on President Trump's suggestion that many DACA recipients are "very tough, hardened criminals" and shows that they commit crime at a lower rate than U.S. citizens.



November 25, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

60 Minutes: A widow recalls how her husband and daughter drowned in the Rio Grande


60 Minutes follows up on a major immigration news story last summer and an image of desperation was captured on the bank of the Rio Grande. The photo showed a father and his 23-month-old daughter, facedown in the muddy river. The two drowned trying to come to the United States. The report tells the story behind that photo, including the moment a mother, Tania Avalos, saw her husband and daughter swept away. Last month in El Salvador, Tania told 60 Minutes the story about her family and their journey to the United States.  It is heartbreaking:

"Oscar and Valeria's bodies were discovered the next morning, washed up on the Mexican side of the river. A photographer was there and snapped the now famous photo. Father and daughter in a final embrace.

In the days that followed, the image became a global symbol of the crisis at America's southern border. It prompted a brief moment of bipartisan reflection for a Congress deadlocked on immigration.

Within a week, Congress did pass an emergency multi-billion dollar package to hire new judges and build facilities to deal with the surge of Central Americans at the U.S. border. Since then, the Congress has not passed any immigration legislation."


November 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Supremacy, Inc. by David S. Rubenstein


Supremacy, Inc.  by David S. Rubenstein, 67 UCLA Law Review, Vol. 67, 2020 (Forthcoming)


The federal government has always contracted with private entities for mundane goods and services (e.g., pencils, laundry service, construction, and so on). Today, however, private actors implement major federal programs and exercise decisional authority in ways traditionally performed by federal actors. Public-law scholars have decried privatization’s distorting effects on constitutional rights, separation of powers, and administrative law. Missing from the literature, however, is a corresponding account for federalism. This Article pivots into that neglected space, with some urgency. In statehouses and courthouses around the county, politicians and advocacy groups aim to hold federal contractors accountable to state law. For example, recently enacted state laws seek to regulate private immigration detention facilities and student loan servicers operating within their jurisdictions. Against these initiatives, the federal government and its contractors argue that state law is displaced not only by federal law, but also by federal contracts and implied constitutional immunities.

Asked whether federal contracts can displace state law, most if not all jurists and scholars would say ‘no'—only federal law can trump state law. That is right in theory but wrong in practice. In undertheorized and outmoded precedents, the Supreme Court has held that federal contracts can preempt state law (“preemption by contract”), and that federal contractors can be constitutionally immune from state regulation (“privatized immunity”). Following the Court’s lead, the federal government and its contractors portray these doctrines of “Supremacy, Inc.” as everyday federalism.

This Article rejects that premise and sounds the alarm. In our era of privatized governance, contractors may stand in for federal officials. But contracts need not, and should not, substitute for federal law. Efficiency is the coin of federal outsourcing, and the most efficient way to displace state law is by contract. Although the Supremacy Clause has been liberally construed in other contexts (for example, to give preemptive force to administrative regulations), the displacement of state law by federal contracts is a step too far. If accountability to state law interferes with programmatic efficiencies, that is a fair constitutional price for outsourced governance. Should the nation not wish to pay it, the government can shield contractors with federal laws—which are the “supreme Law of the Land.”


November 25, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)