Tuesday, February 18, 2020
On February 7, 2020, the Denver Law Review held a symposium on Immigration Law in Shifting Times.
The day began with a panel on Immigration, Citizenship and Family Law, moderated by Chris Lasch (DU).
- Gillian Chadwick (Washburn) discussed her work exploring the privilege of biological families in immigration law, what she calls "biological supremacy." She gave compelling examples regarding surrogacy and legitimation to challenge our notions of family unity and parentage.
- Ming Hsu Chen (CU and blogger extraordinaire) discussed her forthcoming piece (with the DULR) on the particular problems facing noncitizen soldiers who wish to naturalize. She talked about the extraordinary delays facing such applications, which aren't even reaching USCIS and so aren't counted in the general naturalization backlog! She also discussed the appallingly high denial rate facing soldiers who do manage to get their applications to USCIS.
- Lisa Brodyaga (Refugio del Rio Grande) spoke abut the realities on-the-ground at the Southern border today including the particular problems facing individuals whose U.S. passports have been revoked by the government.
Following this panel, we were treated to a discussion on The Historical Origins of the World's Largest Immigration Detention System by Dr. Carl Lindskoog (Raritan Valley Community College). Dr. Lindskoog spoke about his book Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the Rise of the World's Largest Immigration Detention System. His comments will be published in the DULR symposium edition.
The second panel of the day, moderated by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (DU) tackled Immigration and Criminal Law.
- Carrie Rosenbaum (Golden Gate) spoke about her forthcoming theoretical piece with the DULR regarding the plenary power doctrine and the rule of law.
- Sirine Shebaya (National Immigration Project) discussed the breath of 8 USC § 1324 in terms of charging individuals with encouraging or inducing unlawful migration, noting the hung jury in the criminal case against Scott Warren and the pending SCOTUS case of United States v. Sineneng-Smith.
The lunchtime keynote speaker was Nina Perales (MALDEF). She gave us a sweeping view of many of the recent changes regarding asylum seekers at the Southern border including MPP, Transit Countries Asylum Ban, Asylum Cooperative Agreements, Prompt Asylum Claim Review, and HARP. While not entirely uplifting, Ms. Perales suggested that new waves of Latino voters (just now reaching 18) offer hope that our political environment may change. Her comments will also be included in the DULR symposium edition.
The third panel of the day tackled Immigration and Employment Law. Lisa Martinez (DU) moderated a panel including:
- Myself. I spoke about threats to the employment authorization of TPS and DACA recipients and discussed business entity solutions (namely LLCs) to continued work in the U.S. without running afoul of laws against the employment of unauthorized workers.
- Shannon Gleeson (Cornell) spoke about her soon-to-be published DULR piece with co-authors Kati L. Griffith and Vivian Vazquez--Immigrants in Shifting Times on Long Island NY: The Stakes of Losing Status. Their piece comes out of interviews with TPS holders and assesses what they stand to lose if their TPS status is taken away. Naturally, many were worried about their economic mobility. But many shared fears that extended beyond income.
- Shayak Sarkar (UC Davis) spoke about migrant workers in the home including the proposed federal Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and unique issues facing au pairs and employers with diplomatic immunity.
The final panel of the day considered Lives in Danger, Justice Denied: Historical and Current Perspectives on the Closing Space for Seeking Asylum in the United States. Scott Johnson (DU) moderated comments from:
- Clara Long (Human Rights Watch) who talked about on-the-ground regarding the deportation of Salvadorans as well as the Migrant Protection Protocols -- focusing on the deprivations suffered by those subject to the MPP, the violence they face in Mexico, and the damage to their due process rights. She bemoaned the lack of Congressional interest in MPP where the pace to consider these issues "is too slow for the amount of harm" being inflicted.
- Geoffrey Heereen (soon-to-be Idaho) talked about his forthcoming piece with the DULR about "distancing refugees." That is -- the encampment model under which refugees are warehoused in the least developed areas of the globe. He offered a historical perspective on his practice as well as an explanation of its current iterations in the U.S. and abroad.
- Pooja Dadhania (Cal Western) is also contributing an article to the DULR symposium edition. Her work discusses language access problems with the asylum system which managed to narrow the availability of asylum without change to substantive law. For example, interpreters at master calendars are being replaced with a subtitled video in Spanish about generic rights--never mind that there are individuals who don't speak Spanish or who are not literate at these court dates.
All in all, it was a fascinating conference. I learned a great deal that I have already taken straight to the classroom. I very much look forward to the final publication of the symposium edition.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention that all of these talks are available online at this link.