I keep thinking about the new State Department rule establishing that "travel to the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa." As explained further on, the rule does this by creating "a rebuttable presumption that a B nonimmigrant visa applicant who a consular officer has reason to believe will give birth during her stay in the United States is traveling for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for the child."
Here's a critical piece of the puzzle. In many cases, B1/B2 visas have a 10 year lifespan. Check out the image with this post that I snagged off the interwebs. It was issued in 2010 and good through 2020. I know that time period has been common for B1/B2 visas issued out of Tijuana and likely is common in many places around the globe.
So, wouldn't a smart woman, intent on birth tourism, seek a B1/B2 visa before getting pregnant, then actually utilize then visa when pregnant to have their child stateside?
How is the agency going to prevent such conduct? Will they issue B1/B2 visas with shorter lifespans (less than 9 months) for any woman of potentially fertile age? Will men continue to be eligible for 10 year visas while women will not?
Another way things might shift is if CBP starts denying entry to any visibly pregnant woman, regardless of the validity of their issued visa so long as they believe that the current travel is for impermissible birth tourism. But, then again, while expensive, wouldn't the work-around be to come while not super pregnant? Say, 4 months and hiding well?
President Trump reportedly plans to announce an expanded travel ban this week, Jonathan Swan reports for Axios, restricting immigration from seven additional countries: Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Tanzania. Looking at the data, The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart writes: “The travel ban suggests he’s adding a new target, just in time for the 2020 elections: Africans.”
Since August, at least 16 Iranian students have been detailed and turned away at airports, losing their chances to study at prestigious universities, amid new tensions between the U.S. and Iran. These are a few of their names and faces, as published in the New York Times.
The students are largely being detained or deported on the visa revocations on the basis of national origin, which is a permissible factor for consideration.
Protests of individual cases of returned international students and related advocacy for Iranian-Americans being stopped in airports from coast-to-coast are emerging, but many of these stories are overlooked in the midst of so many immigration-related news developments.
Kim Bellware for the Washington Post reports that a Ohio trial court judge told several news outlets that he calls up Immigration and Customs Enforcement when he suspects that a defendant in his courtroom is undocumented. Judge Robert Ruehlman acknowledged he acts on a hunch when he calls ICE. He stated that he focuses on people who need interpreters or speak Spanish, have international connections, or are accused of serious drug crimes. The Judge's comments trouble civil liberty and immigration advocates in Ohio. The Trump administration has focused on tougher immigration enforcement.
Judge Ruehlman has given several interviews confirming and defending his actions. “I don’t see where the outrage is,” Ruehlman said in a Friday interview with WLWT in Cincinnati. “Number one, they’re an illegal alien. They’re not supposed to be here, so they’re breaking the law. Number two, they’re in front of me for a felony. ”
Judge Ruehlman's admissions came after Cincinnati TV station WCPO broke the news that ICE officials were entering the Hamilton County Courthouse to detain undocumented immigrants.
Newsweek reportsthat Judge Ruehlman denies that his reliance on hunches and Spanish language use amounted to racial profiling
Judge Ruehlman has been the subject of controversy in the past. In 2016, the editorial board of the Cincinnati Enquirer said that it was time for voters to remove him from the bench:
"Hamilton County voters should take a closer look at one Common Pleas Court race this year: that of incumbent Judge Robert Ruehlman vs. challenger Darlene Rogers. The Enquirer editorial board doesn’t typically weigh in on judicial races, but we feel compelled to do so in this one.
Ruehlman has been in the news a lot this year, and not in a good way. His rulings have been strongly criticized by two higher courts, and now concerns have arisen about his criticism of alleged rape victims."
Bowen Yang is the first Chinese-American cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” He is also one of the first openly gay comedians. He is getting positive coverage in the news media as a trail blazer on both grounds (and here) and praise from actress Sandra Oh who has worked with him when she hosted SNL.
So far Mr. Yang is best known for his Kim Jong-un (for which he learned some lines in Korean), Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and a concocted character for “Weekend Update” named “Trade Daddy.” Trade Daddy is a Chinese trade representative negotiating with the Trump administration who has an attitude: “A tariff is like a tax but it’s a little bit bitchyyy. And a retaliatory tariff is when China goes, ‘No rare earth minerals for you, you’ve been baaaad.’” For his “S.N.L.” audition, Yang he did an impression of The New York Times’s former chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani.
Outside SNL, Mr. Yang is playing a supporting role in the new Comedy Central show “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.” He also tours as a stand-up comedian and co-hosts the podcast Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers.
Mr. Yang is an immigrant born to Chinese parents who lived in Australia and Canada before he moved to Colorado.
It has been said before but it is worth saying again. Aviva Chomsky for the Nation reminds us that a number of President Trump's immigration policies are rooted in those of Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. As Chomsky puts it,
"In many ways, Donald Trump is only reiterating, with more bombast, ideas and policies pioneered under Clinton, that then became a basic part of Barack Obama’s approach to immigration. Those policies drew directly on racist `tough on crime' and antiterrorism police tactics that also helped foment white racial fears."
"Discover the history and contributions of Chinese Americans to California from the Gold Rush to the present day in `Gold Mountain: Chinese California Stories.'
This all-new signature exhibition explores how Chinese immigrants came to California in search of a better life, then stayed and helped to build the modern state. In so doing over the last 150 years, they triumphed over racism and other obstacles with ingenuity and perseverance.
In their stories, visitors will see the contributions that Californians of Chinese descent have made to our state’s economy, governance, and culture, and recognize the strength that comes from the state’s rich diversity.
The `Gold Mountain' Grand Opening today has a special Lunar New Year celebration featuring free admission with advance registration and an afternoon of exhibit-related programming."
Happy lunar new year! In recognition of this significant holiday, here are two stories about Asian and Asian American culture - one celebratory and one mournful.
The Asian-American Canon Breakers (Exclude Me In in the print edition of the New Yorker) profiles writer-activists who forged a cultural identity through their writings. Four writers known as the "four horsemen" -- Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Shawn Wong, Lawson Fusao Inada -- founded the Combined Asian American Resources Project in order to mark a literary movement that distinguished between Chinese Americans who had lived in Chinatowns for multiple generations and recent immigrants to the Chinatowns who tended to be the focus of outsider writing. As Chin wrote, "“If the purpose of BRIDGE [a Chinatown magazine] is to bind me to the immigrants,” Chin wrote, “I’m not interested in being bound.”
Their writing style was colorful and irreverant. Some examples appear in the anthologies Yardbird and Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers. Some of the authors had appeared in anthologies before “Aiiieeeee!,” such as Kai-yu Hsu and Helen Palubinskas’s “Asian-American Authors” (1972) and David Hsin-fu Wand’s “Asian-American Heritage” (1974), but the style and political tone of the new movement is distinct. The New Yorker article by Hua Hsucontains detailed analysis of the specific essays within the anthologies and mentions further examples from more modern times. Definitely worth a read.
The mournful story is about a fire that likely extinguished nearly every artifact in the collection of the New York City Chinatown's Museum of Chinese in America. The 85,000 objects were kept in storage within a building at 70 Mulberry Street that serves as a cultural hub and houses a senior center, the Chen Dance Center and a number of community groups. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to facilitate recovery.
The Trump administration has named a new head of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Rodney Scott will take over for Carla Provost, who is retiring, according to an announcement obtained Friday by The Associated Press from Mark Morgan, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Scott has been a member of the Border Patrol for 27 years, having joined in 1992 as a member of Border Patrol Academy class 252. He takes over the Border Patrol at a critical time. The agency is in charge of border security and has managed high levels of crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. Scott has led the San Diego Sector, which includes 60 miles of border shared with Mexico and 931 miles of coastal border. He has direct oversight of the area’s eight Border Patrol stations and more than 2000 law enforcement officers and staff.
Prior to his new appointment, CPA Scott served as the CPA of the El Centro Sector, as the Deputy Chief Patrol Agent at SDC, and as the Patrol Agent in Charge at the Brown Field Station in SDC. CPA Scott also has held a variety of leadership positions, including Assistant Chief within CBP’s Office of Anti-Terrorism in Washington, D.C., and as the Director/Division Chief for the Incident Management and Operations Coordination Division at CBP Headquarters.
Joe Patrice at Above the Law reports that the Georgetown Law dean's office sent around an email informing students that, among other things, the school is considering changing law school policies to allow for the punishment of students, faculty, or staff who disrupt speakers.
As been blogged about here, the Trump administration this week moved to address "birth tourism." Some news reports make it seem that visitors are coming to the United States to give birth to U.S. citizens in large numbers. The data does not support that assertion.
"Currently, it is not illegal to come to the United States with the intention of giving citizenship to a child. There are also no definite, specific statistics as to the number of people coming to the country with that intention. However, the U.S. Center for Disease Control ("CDC") reported 7,955 births by non-residents in the year 2012, the last year this data was available, which may serve as a very rough indication of the number of individuals who come to give birth in the country." Matthew D. Kugler, Current Developments in Immigration Law: The Debate Surrounding "Birth Tourism", 32 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 321, 321 (2018) (footnote omitted).
Reuters and the Associated Press report that Mexican authorities yesterday adopted tougher measures against Central American migrants, detaining 800 of them who had entered Mexico from Guatemala intending to reach the border with the United States. Mexico is under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to contain migrants crossing through Mexico on their way to the United States.
he National Migration Institute (INM) said it had transferred 800 migrants, some of them unaccompanied minors, to immigration centers where they would be given food, medical attention and shelter. If their legal status cannot be resolved, they will be returned to their home countries.
The authors talk about the federally-administered CODIS or Combined DNA Index System. As of January 6, it's being used in a way it's never been before -- to "warehouse the genetic data of people who have not been accused of any crime, for crime detection purposes." Yikes.
Collecting DNA in this manner, the authors posit, "puts us all at risk."
Well, "once you break the norm requiring criminal conduct for inclusion in CODIS, it is difficult to re-establish." This brings us closer towards the creation of a dystopian "genetic database that will ultimately encompass anyone within United States borders, including ordinary Americans neither convicted nor even suspected of criminal conduct." And that should be concerning. Because "the more complete the information database, the more suffocating, dehumanizing — and potentially totalitarian — the society."
"What if the United States government took the DNA of vast numbers of Americans for use without their consent? The Trump administration has just brought us one step closer to that dystopia. On January 6, the federal government began collecting DNA from any person in immigration custody — previously, it had required only fingerprints. With this move, the federal government took a decisive step toward collecting and tracking large numbers of its citizens’ genetic information too."
Continuing the thread (and here) on travel restrictions for pregnant passengers: The State Department has told US embassies across the world to deny visas to people they suspect are coming to the US to give birth, according to diplomatic cables obtained by Vox. The cable, sent Wednesday afternoon, says that the new policy goes into effect on Friday, January 24.
The policy would create a barrier for pregnant people seeking a short term visa from a consulate abroad, such as the B visas that is which offered for tourists, business travelers, and people seeking urgent medical care. According to the cable, a US consular officer can’t ask a visa applicant if they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. However, “if you have reason to believe the applicant will give birth during their stay in the United States, you are required to presume that giving birth for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship is the applicant’s primary purpose of travel,” the cable reads. The presumption can be overcome if if the passenger demonstrates “a different and permissible primary purpose of travel.”
The cable also says that a visa applicant “seeking medical treatment in the United States must demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that they have both the means and the intent to pay for all treatment-related costs.”
The apparent goal is to clamp down on foreigners giving birth to children in the US who become American citizens by birth. Immigration advocates and medical experts worry that the broad discretion given to consular officers could prove dangerous to pregnant people seeking medical care. The government does not track how many pregnant travelers come to the US on B visas, but 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the new guidance would likely affect roughly 10,000 people annually.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the cable, drafted by a staffer who works on consular affairs. The State Department didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment about these concerns.
Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. Her family fled Somalia to escape the war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. After first arriving in New York in 1992, Omar's family secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995 and lived for a time in Arlington, Virginia, before moving to and settling in Minneapolis. Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
The Immigrants is song performed by different musicians. Pick your favorite version:
Here's the meat of the chorus:
The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America The immigrants ain't going nowhere, they're here for America Fighting for a better life Fighting through the grunge America remember Ellis Island We all came here to take the plunge