Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Reminder: Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. Here are four ways they do

It is the end of the (tax year) and many people have taxes on the mind.  Although some commentators claim that undocumented immigrants fail to pay taxes, that is not true.  Obed Manuel for the Dallas Morning News reminds us all how undocumented immigrants pay taxes through:

1.  Sales Tax

2.  Property Tax

3.  Social Security, Payroll Deductions

4.  Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

The Dallas Morning News article states that, according to Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, upwards of 75% of unauthorized immigrants file taxes with the federal government.

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

High Level DHS Official Says Hate Crime Suspect Lacked 'American Values' As Dad Was Once Undocumented Immigrant


Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Acting Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security



Jeffrey Martin for Newsweek reports on a troubling story coming in the wake of an apparent hate crime directed at Hasidiuc Jews in New York.  In a tweet yesterday that has been deleted, acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Ken Cuccinelli seemed to imply that the suspect in a hate crime committed the act because his father had been an undocumented immigrant.

"The attacker is the US Citizen son of an illegal alien who got amnesty under the 1986 amnesty law for illegal immigrants," Cuccinelli tweeted. "Apparently, American values did not take hold among this entire family, at least this one violent, and apparently bigoted, son."

Criticism of the tweet followedDavid Lapan, a former department spokesman, accused Mr. Cuccinelli of “fear-mongering” and sending a political message to Stephen Miller, the architect of hard-line immigration policies at the White House.  For more criticism, click here and here.

“I see no relevance at all, especially today at this early stage, and that’s what’s really distasteful,” Mr. Lapan said. “Inside 48 hours of this horrific incident happening he’s already trying to leverage it for his own and Stephen Miller’s own agenda on immigration.”


December 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

US Census Bureau: Net International Migration Projected to Fall to Lowest Levels This Decade



Anthony Kanapp for US Census writes that net international migration added 595,000 to the U.S. population between 2018 and 2019, the lowest level this decade. This is a notable drop from this decade’s high of 1,047,000 between 2015 and 2016.

Released yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2019 population estimates show that international migration added about 7.9 million people to the nation’s population since the last census in 2010. Annual growth in net international migration slowed between 2015 and 2016 and has been declining since.

Migration patterns measured since 2015 primarily reflect three major trends: declining immigration of the foreign born, increasing foreign-born emigration, and changes in Puerto Rican migration following Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

China replaced Mexico to become the largest sending country of foreign-born immigrants to the United States as of 2018.


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

Mexican Women Fighting Domestic Violence

A new generation of women in Mexico is demanding social change, casting off male-dominant cultural norms that overlook their suffering and instead standing up for their rights.

As the New York Times reports:

A new generation of Mexican women has taken to the streets in recent months to banish the idea that somehow — with their clothing, their demeanor, their whereabouts — they provoke the violence they suffer. That attitude is so entrenched in society that it extends to the police and the courts.

The anger that is surfacing in Mexico is rippling across much of Latin America, where machismo is common, and law enforcement officials and the authorities can be passive, complicit or in some cases even abusive toward women who try to report it.

The significance of the emerging resistance in light of recent changes to asylum law weakening gender-based protections is something to watch.


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

Monday, December 30, 2019

AALS: Immigration Programming

Immprofs heading to AALS this week will have a lot of options for immigration programming:

  • Friday, January 3 from 8:30-10:15AM: Immigration Control and Environmental Regulation: Toward Justice?
  • Friday, January 3 from 8:30-10:15AM: Emerging Issues in Elder Law
  • Friday, January 3 from 1:30-3:15PM: Clinical Legal Education - Exploring Immigrant Justice from Intersectional Perspectives
  • Friday, January 3 from 3:30-5:15PM: New Voices in Immigration Law
  • Saturday, January 4 at 8:30am: Discussion of Benson, Yake-Loehr, Sivaprasad Wadhia casebook
  • Saturday, January 4 from 10:30AM-12:15PM: The Challenge of International Law in Dealing with the Causes of the Global Refugee Crisis: Climate Change, Armed Conflict, and Gross Human Rights Abuses Perpetrated by State and Non-State Actors
  • Saturday, January 4 from 1:30-3:15PM: Federal Courts at the Border
  • Sunday, January 5 from 8:30-10:15AM: Recent Developments: How Easily Can Agencies Change Regulatory Policy in Immigration & Civil Rights?
  • Sunday, January 5 from 3:30-5:15PM: Scaling the Invisible Wall: Bureaucratic Controls Over Legal Immigration

If you're interested in participating in the Friday afternoon New Voices session, contact me anytime before the event (or during) and I will send you copies of the papers under consideration. The six papers chosen will be considered in three groups:

Group 1:
Smita Ghosh: Halting & Holding, or Crimmigration Across the Border
Lindsay Nash: Administrative Arrest Warrants

Group 2:

Caitlin Bellis: Accardi in the Trump Era
Nicole Hallett: Rethinking Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement

Group 3:

Laila Hlass & Lindsay Harris: A Tool for Teaching Effective & Justice-Oriented Legal Interviewing: The Legal Interviewing and Language Access Film Project
Eisha Jain: Policing Immigration Status


December 30, 2019 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nolan Rappaport (The Hill): Removal of DACA recipients has begun: It didn't take a crystal ball to see DACA would not end well

There have been reports that the Trump administration is beginning to target DACA recipients for removal.  Nolan Rappaport on The Hill ("Removal of DACA recipients has begun: It didn't take a crystal ball to see DACA would not end well")  offers a "I told you so" response to the reports:

"In June 2012, former President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided temporary lawful status for a two-year period, subject to renewal, for certain undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States before reaching the age of 16.

This was supposed to be a compassionate act, but I foresaw unintended consequences if a person with strong immigration enforcement policies were to become the president before the passage of a bill to provide permanent resident status for the participants." (emphasis added).


December 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Path to Citizenship for Liberians

News You May Have Missed: Congress gave 4000 Liberians a path to citizenship in a provision folded into the National Defense and Authorization Act, a $700 billion defense policy bill signed earlier this month. According to the provision, the USCIS is accepting green card applications for Liberians who have lived in the US since November 2014, as well as their spouses and unmarried children. After holding a green card for five years, eligible Liberians can apply for US citizenship.

As Vox explains, civil war drove thousands of Liberians to seek refuge in the US from about 1989 to 2003 under a program known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) that gave them temporary protection from deportation. About 4,000 Liberians continue to live in the US with DED status, which Trump threatened to end last year before deciding to extend the wind-down period to March 30, 2020. Liberians have also held other temporary protections over the years, inculding Temporary Protected Status until the Trump administration revoked it in 2017. Most of those with TPS status, however, have since attained DED status.

In an era of deadlocked immigration policy, this marks the first time in decades that Congress has offered a pathway to citizenship to a new group of immigrants.

MHC [H/T Hunter Knapp]

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

Hispanic voters being overlooked in Democratic presidential campaign

Hispanics are increasingly influential in the Democratic Party and in general election contests, but leaders and activists say they feel ignored and misunderstood by candidates who have spent much of their time focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, predominantly white states at the top of the nominating calendar, reports the Washington Post

Latinos are poised to make a significant general election impact in the Sun Belt, the Rust Belt and parts of the South, including closely contested states seen as crucial in 2020. On average, there was a near doubling last year in the number of Latino voters ages 25 to 34 in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to an analysis by Univision.

Hispanics are projected to account for more than 13 percent of eligible voters in 2020, surpassing all other ethnic minority groups, according to a Pew Research Center study. After years in which turnout by Hispanics disappointed Democrats, their participation in the 2018 midterm elections was up 13 percent from 2014, and about 7 in 10 voted for Democratic candidates in House races.

Although Latino leaders are demanding greater attention, Hispanic voters have not rallied around one of their own as a candidate. More candidate-by-candidate impressions from Latino voters in the Washington Post article.


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

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Top 10 Immigration Stories of the Decade




Many "best of the  decade" lists (see, e.g., TV shows; novels; movies) are appearing in newspapers and the blogosphere.  Here is a quick stab at the top ten immigration stories from 2010-2019.  My focus was on the stories on topics and issues that have had long term impacts on U.S. immigration law and policy. 

If readers think that I missed something, please post a comment.


1.  Topping our annual list of immigration news stories for consecutive years, President Donald J. Trump made immigration a signature issue of his successful 2016 presidential campaign and, as Presiden5t, took a series of bold (including many unprecedented) immigration measures, from the Muslim ban to the Return to Mexico policy. Trump unquestionably is the modern U.S. president who has pursued the most aggressive immigration enforcement measures.



2.  DACA:  In 2012, President Obama announced his innovative Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which provided limited relief to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the United States as children.  Symbolizing the efforts to secure justice for immigrants, the DACA policy has been at the center of a resurgence of immigration activism.

In 2017, President Trump attempted to rescind DACA.  The Supreme Court is currently considering the lawfulness of the rescission.  Expect fireworks to follow whatever the ultimate outcome of the case, with a decision expected by the end of June 2020.

3.  Deportation Records:  Before DACA, the Obama administration removed record numbers (here and here) -- in the neighborhood of 400,000 a year from 2009-2012 -- of noncitizens from the United States. The removal records led some critics to refer to President Obama as the "Deporter-in-Chief."  A demonstrated commitment to immigration enforcement was thought to be a way to convince Republicans in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. 

The end result:  mass removals and no immigration reform

4.  Arizona v. United States (2012):  During President Obama's first term, several states passed laws designed to facilitate immigration enforcement and encorage "self-deportation" by undocumented immigrants.  In its most significant immigration decision in years, the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States invalidated three of four provisions of one of those laws, Arizona’s S.B. 1070, on federal preemption grounds.  The Court made clear that the U.S. government had exclusive authority to admit and remove noncitizens and that the states could not interfere with those functions.  Federal courts also invalidated significant portions of the immigration enforcement laws of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina

5.  The Rise of Sanctuary Cities:  In response to the Trump administration aggressive immigration enforcement measures, a number of cities declared themselves to be "sanctuaries" for immigrants.  Sanctuary cities drew the ire of the Trump administration, which sought to strip these jurisdictions of federal funding

In an amazing turnaround from the days of the anti-immigrant milestone Proposition 187 in the 1990s, the California legislature declared itself to be a sanctuary state and refused to assist in federal immigration enforcement except as required by federal law.

6.  Family Separation Policy:  To deter Central Americans, including many women and children fleeing rampant gang and other violence, from coming to the United States, the Trump administration adopted a policy of separating parents and children in immigrant detention.  The family separation policy provoked mass protests and bipartisan resistance.  Pictures like the one above galvanized the nation in oppposition to the policy. 

Ultimately, President Trump ended family separation.  But his administration was slow to reunite families.  The family separation policy is often criticized by the 2020 Democratic candidates for President.



Photo courtesy of Don Roth

7. BREXIT:  The United Kingdom Exits the European Union

Brexit has had reverberations the world over.  With immigration and immigrants a major -- if not the primary -- concern,  voters in the United Kingdom in 2016 voted to leave the European Union.  Free migration within the EU had been one of the hallmarks of the regional arrangement.  The Brexit campaign was hotly contested but the aye votes carried the day

As it turned out, exiting the EU was easier said than done.  The British government continues to try to work out the details of leaving the EU.

8.  Central American MigrationFleeing widespread and uncontrolled violence in their home countries, Central American asylum seekers continued to come to the United States over the decade.   President Obama responded with, among other things, family detention.  President Trump responded by deriding the "caravan", implementing a Return to Mexico policy, mass detention, narrowing asylum eligibility, family separation, and more.


9.  The Failure of Comprehensive Immigration Reform:  The last truly comprehensive immigration reform proposal failed in Congress in 2013.  Immigration reform and the DREAM Act have been discussed in Congress for more than a decade.  A majority of Americans believe that there are major deficiencies in the U.S. immigration laws.  Still, the nation awaits Congress pass immigration reform.



Pew Research Center

10.  The Stability of the Undocumented Immigrant Population in the United States:  Despite increased removal efforts and immigration enforcement,  a relatively stable population of about 10-11 million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States from 2010-19.  Although it has declined a bit and the composition has changed somewhat over time, the nation has had millions of undocumented residents for many years.


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

From the Bookshelves: All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We Know It by Daniel Denvir


All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We Know It by Daniel Denvir (Available January 20, 2020)

A major recasting of American history from the vantage of immigration politics

It is often said that with the election of Donald Trump nativism was raised from the dead. After all, here was a president who organized his campaign around a rhetoric of unvarnished racism and xenophobia. Among his first acts on taking office was to issue an executive order blocking Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. But although his actions may often seem unprecedented, they are not as unusual as many people believe. This story doesn’t begin with Trump. For decades, Republicans and Democrats alike have employed xenophobic ideas and policies, declaring time and again that “illegal immigration” is a threat to the nation’s security, wellbeing, and future.

The profound forces of all-American nativism have, in fact, been pushing politics so far to the right over the last forty years that, for many people, Trump began to look reasonable. As Daniel Denvir argues, issues as diverse as austerity economics, free trade, mass incarceration, the drug war, the contours of the post 9/11 security state, and, yes, Donald Trump and the Alt-Right movement are united by the ideology of nativism, which binds together assorted anxieties and concerns into a ruthless political project.

All-American Nativism provides a powerful and impressively researched account of the long but often forgotten history that gave us Donald Trump.


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

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Trump administration begin to ramp up DACA removals?

There are reports in several states (here, here, here) that the Trump administration is seeking to initiate removal proceedings against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.  Such actions cannot help but increase fear and anxiety in immigrant communities. 

The Supreme Court currently is considering the effectiveness of the Trump administration's rescission of the DACA policy.  Expect a decision in June 2020.

One of the news stories quotes an oppoinent of DACA as welcoming the removal efforts.  “I think they think they’re going to win [in the Supreme Court],” James Carafano said. “And I think what they’re doing now is prepping.” Carafano is with the Heritage Foundation. He said that, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump administration, ICE will actively work to deport DACA recipients. “If DACA is wiped away, then everything is back on the table, and all the cases are really up for review,” Carafano said.


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

Friday, December 27, 2019

Congress investigating immgrant detainees' medical care

In The Hill:

A House subcommittee has opened an investigation into immigrant detainees’ medical care after allegations surfaced of negligence, abuse, injury and death at detention centers.

The House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties submitted letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), asking for documentation relating to the allegations.

The subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee is asking for the documents by Jan. 10.

At least seven children have died in detention since 2018, after almost a decade without any such deaths. The investigation comes more than a week after BuzzFeed News published whistleblower allegations of substandard medical care.


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

Taking Private Lands for the Border

Coming up against deadlines for promises to build 450 miles of wall by 2021, access to private land may be the "tallest barrier" standing between the president and his wall.

As recounted in the NY Times, the list of challenges still facing Mr. Trump’s “big, beautiful” wall include an investigation into construction contracts, funding delays and a recent legal decision blocking emergency access to Defense Department funds to build it. The nationwide injunction has, for now, curtailed wall work on 175 miles in Laredo and El Paso, Texas; in Yuma, Ariz.; and in El Centro, Calif.

But the path for the section in southern Texas would be on land that is privately owned and would require Mr. Trump use the government’s power of eminent domain to “take the land.” Under eminent domain, experts say that landowners along the border have limited options once they receive a request from the government: "They can voluntarily allow the authorities to access and survey their land and, if officials decide they want it, accept the government’s offer. Or they can be taken to court where they can argue for higher compensation. But under the law, even before the landowners are paid in full, the government can begin construction."

The United States brought more than 300 cases against landowners for their property after President George W. Bush signed a bill to begin installing fencing along the border in 2006, most of which have now settled, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project. The Trump administration has filed 48 lawsuits to survey and begin work on other parcels of property.

Moreover, property owners say that the border line will shift northward after the takings:

The construction isn’t on the border, which follows the Rio Grande, but to the north, well on the American side. “If the wall goes up, it will be the new border,” said Richard Drawe, a landowner in Texas.

Becky Jones, who owns farm land alongside a wildlife refuge says, “Forget deplorable Americans,” she said, “you’re disposable Americans if you happen to be on the south side of the wall.” 


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

AP: Immigration Policy Second Biggest News Story of 2019


The influential Associated Press lists immigration policy as the second biggest news story of 2019.  Impeachment is the top story and the probe of the Trump administration by Robert Mueller as third.

Immigration law professors are often focused on immigration developments.  However, the Trump administration and its frequent immigration initiatives have grabbed the headlines like no modern President.  


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

Trump administration chasing immigration judges away?


Priscilla Alvarez for CNN reports on the increase in the departures of immigration judges.   The immigration courts are within the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Over the past year, 45 judges have left, moved into new roles in the immigration court system -- which is run by the Justice Department -- or passed away. That number is nearly double the number who departed their posts in fiscal years 2018 and 2017, when 24 and 21 judges left, respectively. 

Alvarez explains the increasing departures as follows: 

"The reasons why individual judges have moved on from their posts on the bench vary, but in interviews with judges who left in recent months, one theme ties them all together: frustration over a mounting number of policy changes that, they argue, chipped away at their authority.

Their departures come as the Justice Department faces a backlog that exceeds 1 million cases. The bogged-down system has led to immigration cases being pushed out years in the future, leaving many immigrants residing in the US unsure if they'll be allowed to stay or be ordered removed.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nation's immigration system, specifically taking issue with the practice of releasing immigrants while they await their court dates. To remedy that, the administration has sought to hire more immigration judges. Most recently, the immigration judge corps hit a record high, though the Justice Department still has to contend with judges leaving over policy disagreements.

In a statement to CNN, the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review spokeswoman, Kathryn Mattingly, said the agency `continually plans for attrition, and both improvements to the hiring process and a policy of "no dark courtrooms" help minimize the operational impact of (immigration judge) separations and retirements."


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

Immigration Judges Asylum Grants & Denials: Fiscal Years 2018-2019

Bryan Johnson of Amoachi & Johnson, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, a New York immigration law firm, posted some information on immigration court asylum grants and denials.  It includes asylum  grant/denial information for immigation judges from across the country.  Here is part of the introductory comments to the data:

"After over 7 months, [Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)] finally provided the Immigration Judges’ asylum grants and denials for FY 2018 and FY 2019, respectively.

To see the same statistics from FY 2014 to FY 2017, see this previous post. (which took less than 1 month for responsive records)

Of note is the asylum grants and denials for the 6 Immigration Judges who AG William Barr hand-picked for the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2019:

2 of the 6 new BIA members–Hunsucker and Cassidy–denied all their asylum cases in FY 2019.

All 6 of the new BIA members had asylum grant rates of below 10% in FY 2019." (bold added).


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

Thursday, December 26, 2019

How U.S. Immigration Policy Changed This Year -- in 10 minutes


The Trump administration continues to implement immigration policy changes.  WBUR's Here & Now's Tonya Mosley takes a look back at how the administration's new asylum policy has radically altered the lives of people along the border with Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute's office at New York University School of Law.


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

In Christmas Day Message, Pope Francis Shines Light On Migrant Suffering


NPR reports  that, in his annual Christmas Day address, Pope Francis offered a message of hope and a call for kindness to migrants around the world.

"May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life," the pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

"It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries," he said. "It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference."

The Christmas speech is titled "Urbi et Orbi": to the city and the world.

He prayed that God would comfort those who are suffering, and he called on people to show good will and find solutions to ongoing humanitarian crises. Francis urged an end to conflicts in the Middle East, Latin America, Ukraine and Africa, and prayed for those who are persecuted on the basis of religion.


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

Colorado Governor Pardons Immigrant Mother Who Sought Sanctuary

LexisNexis Immigration Law Newsroom reports on a very nice holoiday gift.  On December 23, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order pardoning Ingrid LaTorre, a noncitizen from Peru who has lived in sanctuary to avoid deportation.

As reported by CNN, Ingrid Latorre sought sanctuary inside churches in the Denver area. After a felony conviction in 2010, she lived in fear of being deported back to Peru and being separated from her two young children, who were born in the United States (and thus are U.S. citizens). 

In pardoning Latorre, Governor Polis stated that "Since your conviction, you completed your probation and paid restitution and taxes. . . . You are a dedicated and caring mother to your three children. You are working to educate others on legal ways to obtain employment and the consequences of using false documents."

At age 17, Latorre came to Denver in 2000. Two years later, she bought false documents with another person's Social Security number that allowed her to work at an assisted-living center.  In 2010, Latorre was arrested.  At the advice of her lawyer, she pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal impersonation and was able to avoid jail time. She says she paid back the $12,000 in taxes that she owed.

Fearing possible deportation from the United States,  Latorre in December 2016 claimed sanctuary at Mountain View Friends Meeting House.


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

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Santa's Visa Options


Merry Christmas Immprofs!

Check out this blog post from Passage Immigration Law in Oregon about Santa's visa options. Love it!


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