Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Most Adorable Coronavirus Border Love Story Of All Time

Photo by Henrik Fransen

Inga Rasmussen is 85 and she lives in Denmark. Her sweetheart, Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, is 89 and lives in Germany. They met about two years ago and have, for the last year, spent nearly every day together.

The coronavirus has tried to throw a wrench in their romance. After all, their governments have closed the border between their two homelands.

But that hasn't stopped their regular get togethers. As the BBC reports, the two now meet daily near the border town of Aventoft to chat and share a drink -- at a safe distance, of course.

The photo on the right -- that was taken by the mayor of Tondor who spotted the couple while on a bike ride.



March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration groups sue Trump administration for keeping courts open during pandemic

Immigration lawyers are suing the Department of Justice EOIR over its refusal to close immigration courts during the coronavirus public health crisis. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for DC on Monday (to be heard by Judge Carl J. Nichols), the groups said the failure to suspend immigration hearings amid the pandemic puts immigrants, their attorneys, and government personnel at risk.

"EOIR is effectively forcing attorneys to choose between adequately representing their clients and jeopardizing their health; EOIR is also forcing detained immigrants to choose between their health and safety and their statutory, regulatory, and due process rights," the groups said, in The Hill.

They urged the court to block the agency from holding in-person hearings for the duration of the public health crisis.


March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

On the Bookshelves: Refugee Law 2nd Edition by Sasha Baglay and Martin Jones


Refugee Law 2nd Edition by Sasha Baglay and Martin Jones

Refugee Law is a concise account of Canadian refugee law, policy, and procedure. It presents refugee law as an independent system, yet one that is open to and influenced by other branches of domestic law, international law, the practices of other jurisdictions, and the general global trends in forced migration. The book examines the historic and contemporary context of refugee law, formal law, and government policy, and the domestic and international principles of refugee protection. The authors seek to provide a solid foundation from which to judge the merits and weaknesses of the existing system, allowing the reader to engage with the ongoing debate, both academic and popular, about the Canadian refugee system.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Canadian Refugee Policy
Chapter 2: Legal Framework of Refugee Law in Canada
Chapter 3: Categories of Status in Canadian Refugee Law
Chapter 4: The Definition of Convention Refugee
Chapter 5: Exclusion from Refugee Protection
Chapter 6: Persons in Need of Protection
Chapter 7: Overseas Protection
Chapter 8: Inland Protection
Chapter 9: Right to and Role of Counsel
Chapter 10: Appeals and Judicial Remedies
Chapter 11: Arrest and Detention
Chapter 12: Removal from Canada
Chapter 13: Conclusions


March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies in the Age of Coronavirus: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)



E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is the next classic film in the ImmigrationProf movie series.  And it is perfect for immigration folks.  The storyline from IMDb: "A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world." 

Director: Steven Spielberg Writer: Melissa Mathison Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote


March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Administration Is Deporting Unaccompanied Immigrant Kids Due To The Coronavirus

Hamed Aleaziz for BuzzFeed reports that Trump administration officials say they are following public health orders designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the United States; critics say they are using the health orders to skirt federal laws that govern the processing of unaccompanied minors.

The New York Times first reported that the Trump administration would apply to unaccompanied children from Central America a March 20 order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that bars the entry of those who cross into the country without authorization.

Previously, unaccompanied children from Central America picked up by Border Patrol agents would be sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), where they would be housed in shelters across the country as they began officially applying for asylum and waited to be reunited with family members in the US.

On Monday, a US Customs and Border Protection official confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the agency was now applying the CDC order to children.

“All aliens CBP encounters may be subject to the CDC’s Order Suspending Introduction Of Persons From A Country Where A Communicable Disease Exists (March 20, 2020), including minors,” read a statement from CBP. “When minors are encountered without adult family members, CBP works closely with their home countries to transfer them to the custody of government officials and reunite them with their families quickly and safely, if possible.”

For the CBS News story, click here.


March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigration Policy as a Defense of White Nationhood by Juan F. Perea


Immigration Policy as a Defense of White Nationhood by Juan F. Perea


President Trump's vilification and expulsion of undocumented Latino migrants is only the latest episode of the mass expulsion of Latinos. This essay places Trump's border enforcement policies into historical context as a defense of white national identity. Despite many asserted justifications for this mistreatment of migrants and refugees, the only justification that survives scrutiny is the need to reassure anxious whites that their racial status is being defended.


March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 31: Celebrate César Chávez Day

March 31 is César Chávez Day. It celebrates the birthday of the iconic activist and civil rights leader, César Estrada Chávez.  The day celebrates Chavez's commitment to social justice and respect for human dignity.

 Steve Bender has a book on Chavez and RFK 

César Chávez Day is a public holiday in 10 states, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Chavez had a complex history on immigration, seeking as United Farm Workers head both to organize all workers while opposing the use of undocumented workers as strikebreakers. 



March 31, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Pennsylvania Detainees Continue Strike

From the Hill


More than 150 detained immigrants in a Pennsylvania detention center have started a hunger strike to demand their release amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Movement of Immigration Leaders in Pennsylvania.

The York County Detention Center holds immigration detainees who are seeking asylum or had legal status in the U.S. before facing criminal charges. ...

Since the start of the pandemic, advocacy groups and public health officials have called for the release of immigration detainees and other prisoners to avoid the spread of the disease. 

Last year, a mumps outbreak that started at a Texas immigration detention center quickly surged through the system, sickening nearly 1,000 migrants in 57 facilities across the country. Then, an entire wing at York had to be quarantined for two months. Read more...


March 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants Get the Job Done! Immigrants Are About 1/3 of California’s “Essential Workers”


A new Cato at Liberty post by immigration policy analyst David Bier about how many of California's "essential workers" are immigrants. In response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and the closure of all “nonessential businesses" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bier reviews the employment demographics of those businesses likely to be deemed essential. 

He finds about 4.6 million immigrants would be classified as essential, constituting 33% of all the states' workers labeled as such. This analysis makes clear that immigrants are critical to helping California survive the challenges brought on by COVID-19:

One noteworthy essential subindustry is manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medicines where 42 percent of its labor force in California were immigrants. Immigrants were the same share of the workforce for manufacturers of medical supplies. Another noteworthy example is grocery wholesalers—nearly half (48 percent) of its workers are immigrants in California. Similarly, 46 percent of the workers at California’s nursing care facilities—which are on the frontlines of protecting the elderly from COVID-19—are immigrants.


March 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coronavirus: California farmworkers, growers continue working in fields through pandemic

The work of farmworkers continues in the time of coronavirus. Rebecca Plevin of the Desert Sun (Palm Springs) writes that California farmworkers and growers are continuing to work to ensure that produce aisles remain stocked.

The federal government has identified the agricultural sector as “essential critical infrastructure” that has a “special responsibility” to continue operating during the pandemic. And California, which supplies more than one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, plays a huge role in the nation’s food supply chain.

So even as California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week called for the state of nearly 40 million people to shelter-in-place to slow the transmission of the virus, the agriculture industry has continued chugging, albeit with some changes.

“We’re not slowing down at all,” said Janell Percy, executive director of Growing Coachella Valley, which advocates for agriculture in the Southern California desert. “We are part of the crisis infrastructure and we have a special responsibility to supply food.”


March 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

60 Minutes Tackles The Scams Luring Teenage African Basketball Players to the US

Last night's 60 Minutes had a fascinating report about how tall, teen-aged Africans are being drawn to the U.S. under false promises of education and basketball fame. The entire report is here. CBS has posted a small snippet to Youtube:


March 30, 2020 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cornavirus, DACAamented Health Care Workers, and the Supreme Court


Edith Roberts for SCOTUSBlog pulls together commentary on recent developments in the DACA cases before the Supreme Court:

"Ariane de Vogue reports at CNN that `[u]ndocumented immigrants who work as health care providers are asking for their efforts fighting the coronavirus to be taken into consideration as the Supreme Court considers the Trump administration’s bid to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,' in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that in a letter filed with the court on Friday, attorneys for a group of DACA recipients told the court that there are `about 27,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers who work in health care, many of them on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.' For USA Today, Richard Wolf talks to `DACA recipients working in the health care field in California, Florida, Texas and in the suburbs of New York City, where the coronavirus has hit hardest.' Marcia Coyle reports for The National Law Journal that `[i]t’s rare that the justices are asked to address issues that come up after arguments,' but `[t]he letter from the DACA lawyers is not the first time that new events have made their way to the justices’ attention in a pending case.' Commentary comes from the editorial board of The Boston Globe." (bold added).


March 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies in the Age of Coronavirus: Casablanca (1942)

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ImmigrationProf continues its film series "At the Movies in the Time of Coronavirus." We have a true fil classic -- and among the greatest American movies -- for you from 1942 -- its got star power, drama, and tells a refugee tale. In fact, an article by the BBC proclaims that Casablanca is "the ultimate film about refugees."

The film has aged well and tells a compelling story about love, refugees, and self sacrifice.  Previously featured on this blog (and here),  Casablanca (1942), as this plot summary from IMDb descreibes, tells

"The story of Rick Blaine [Humphrey Bogart], a cynical world-weary ex-patriate who runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco during the early stages of WWII. Despite the pressure he constantly receives from the local authorities, Rick's cafe has become a kind of haven for refugees seeking to obtain illicit letters that will help them escape to America. But when Ilsa [Ingrid Bergman], a former lover of Rick's, and her husband, show up to his cafe one day, Rick faces a tough challenge which will bring up unforeseen complications, heartbreak and ultimately an excruciating decision to make."

The cast includes:

Humphrey Bogart ... Rick Blaine

Ingrid Bergman ... Ilsa Lund

Paul Henreid ... Victor Laszlo

Claude Rains ... Captain Louis Renault

Conrad Veidt ... Major Heinrich Strasser

Sydney Greenstreet ... Signor Ferrari

Peter Lorre ... Ugarte


March 30, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Central America fears Trump could deport the coronavirus

Molly O'Toole for the Los Angeles Times reports that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are highly vulnerable to the pandemic, but they are also dependent on the United States for economic and security assistance. Despite fears of the virus spreading, all three are continuing to accept deportation flights from the United States, but only for their own citizens.

After barring foreign travelers and closing its borders and businesses to try to contain the spread of coronavirus, Guatemala earlier this month became the first nation to publicly refuse deportation flights from the United States.  But, just over a week ago, Guatemalan authorities allowed flights to resume — starting with 66 Guatemalans sent from Brownsville, Texas.

With chronic poverty, corruption and violence, and dysfunctional healthcare systems, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — Central America’s Northern Triangle — are highly vulnerable to the pandemic, but they are also dependent on the United States for economic and security assistance. They have little leverage against a Trump administration clearly determined to continue deportations despite the risk of worsening the virus’s spread.


March 30, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Teaching Online: Reflections on Week One

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 2.15.49 PM

I've only got 4 online classes under my belt, but I thought I'd share some preliminary thoughts.

Pre-releasing Hypos. I've made one significant change to my teaching approach: I am pre-releasing all hypotheticals that I plan to go over in class. So, this past Friday, I released all the hypos that I plan to use this coming Thursday and Friday. The idea is to allow students time to prepare responses ahead of time and therefore be ready to pipe up with their answers when we meet virtually.

I realize that some teachers have been doing this for a long time. I haven't because I've often been tinkering with new hypos up until the moment before class. And when we do practice multiple choice questions, for example, I think there's value to doing them in class under timed conditions.

That said, I'm really happy with this change and I will likely implement it going forward even when I return to in-person class-time.

The Zoom Waiting Room. I also have a further caution about the "waiting room" feature on Zoom. A few days ago, I noted that I'd inadvertently left the entire class in there. That's something I could learn to deal with. What I can't deal with is that every time a student loses their internet connection (which happens a lot), when they try to rejoin I have to notice that they're in the waiting room and let them out. That's one more distraction that I don't need while teaching.

The Zoom Chat. For my upper-level class, Crimmigration, the chat feature on Zoom has been fabulous. On Friday, we did a virtual tour of a detention facility and a virtual tour of a port of entry. They were filled with fabulous questions. And jokes (that were super on point). Somehow, even with just texts, the chat function created a real sense of community.

For a few semesters, I tried to get students to utilize a twitter hashtag during class (something like #KJS20Crimmigration). It was a tip I picked up at a SALT conference that sounded so promising, but it never worked with me. I couldn't get students to use it. I imagine that if the Twitter thing had worked it might feel like the successful chat function.


Here's wishing all my fellow immprofs great success in this new online world. We can do it!


March 29, 2020 in Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant detainees on hunger strike at York County Prison

News from Pennsylvania.  Advocates say as many as 180 immigrants held by federal authorities in York County Prison are refusing to eat in protest of what they say are insufficient precautions around the coronavirus pandemic.  “We are chickens in a chicken coop here — we are like sitting ducks,” said a detainee identified only as Jesus who is participating in the hunger strike. 

The protest follows a hunger strike at a different facility for Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees in Newark, New Jersey, and growing calls to release ICE detainees due to the heightened risk of coronavirus spread in detention centers. Some who are medically vulnerable have already been freed by ICE, or on the order of a federal judge who criticized the federal agency’s “deliberate indifference” to those in its custody.


March 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies in the Time of Cornavirus: Airplane! (1980)

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Need a break from COVID-19 24/7?  Airplane! (1980) is the next in the ImmigrationProf "At the Movies in the Age of Coronavirus" series.

Airplane! is a parody film. It stars Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty and features Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, the basketball legend), and Lorna Patterson. The film, known for surreal humor and slapstick comedy, parodies the disaster film genre.




March 29, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

States with stay-at-home orders


CNN reports that, in response to the spread of COVID-19, the following states have stay at home orders in place:
















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico



Rhode Island



West Virginia



March 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Like sitting ducks': Amid coronavirus, families, attorneys sound alarm over ICE detainees

1Ali Gostanian and Caitlin Fichtel and Osej Serratos for NBC News report that Americans with family members in immigration detention facilities, as well as their lawyers, are sounding the alarm and urging the release of nonviolent detainees with underlying health conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 24, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a person held in an immigrant detention center. “This is what public health experts have assured us would happen: People in detention centers are sitting ducks for the spread of this virus," Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy at the ACLU, said in a statement. "The same experts have also predicted that once outbreaks in detention centers begin, they will spread rapidly."

In interviews with NBC News, families and attorneys expressed concerns for their clients and loved ones who are detained in ICE facilities. There are currently 37,000 people held in ICE detention facilities throughout the country.








March 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Portugal to treat migrants as residents during coronavirus crisis

Reuters reports that all foreigners in Portugal with pending applications will be treated as permanent residents until at least July 1 to ensure migrants have access to public services during the coronavirus outbreak. Applicants, including asylum seekers, need only provide evidence of an application to qualify - granting them access to the national health service, welfare benefits, bank accounts, and work and rental contracts. “People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public service just because their application has not yet been processed,” Claudia Veloso, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. “In these exceptional times, the rights of migrants must be guaranteed.”

Hat tip to Carrie Rosenbaum.


March 29, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)