Thursday, April 30, 2020

Seventh Circuit Rejects Trump's Effort to Defund Sanctuary Cities, Affirms Nationwide Injunction


President Trump has been consistent in challenging sanctuary cities that resist his administration's aggressive immigration enforcement measures.  In an opinion by Judge Ilana Rovner, joined by Judge William Bauer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit  rejected the Trump administration's effort to de-fund sanctuary cities and affirmed a nationwide injunction barring the de-funding:

"We conclude again today, as we did when presented with the preliminary injunction, that the Attorney General cannot pursue the policy objectives of the executive branch through the power of the purse or the arm of local law enforcement; that is not within its delegation. It is the prerogative of the legislative branch and the local governments, and the Attorney General’s assertion that Congress itself provided that authority in the language of the statutes cannot withstand scrutiny."

Judge Daniel Manion dissented in part:

"My concurrence addresses all parts except the court’s approval of a nationwide injunction. Broad, sweeping relief of such nature is rarely appropriate, and nothing indicates Chicago needs a nationwide injunction . . . . "

Attorney General William Barr has derided nationwide injunctions entered by the federal courts.

For more details on the ruling, click here.


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

Italy Considers Permits For Undocumented Migrants To Fill A Big Farmworker Gap


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A Senegalese migrant collects oranges on the plain of Rosarno and San Ferdinando in Calabria, Italy, on Feb. 6. The lockdown countries imposed to stop the coronavirus pandemic have cut off the usual flow of seasonal farmworkers.  Alfonso Di Vicenzo/LightRocket via Getty

Sylvia Pogglioli for NPR reports that the global pandemic is reviving Italy's fierce debate over immigration. The Italian government is considering giving work permits to thousands of undocumented immigrants in the country, as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens crop harvests.

Seasonal farmworkers usually go to Italy each year from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, but recent lockdowns have kept them home. That's creating a critical shortage of labor for picking fruits and vegetables needed for food and exports. To fill the gap, Italian Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova wants to grant work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the country. The proposal comes as Italy braces for deep economic impacts. If approved by parliament, the move would signal a change in a country that in recent years took strong measures to limit immigration.


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

Anil Kalhan: Trump's New Immigration Ban Is Potentially More Dangerous, and More Legally Vulnerable, Than You Might Think



Anil Kalhan critically analyzes President Trump's suspension of immigration for the American Constitution Society.  His wrap-up:

"In that context, the Supreme Court might very well prefer not to become enmeshed with and tied to the election-year politics of Trump’s immigration agenda at all. As with Trump’s Muslim exclusion orders, it may find itself unable or unwilling to avoid doing so."




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

Court refuses to suspend Trump's immigration suspension

Susannah Luthi for Politico a federal judge in Oregon refused to suspend President Donald Trump's recent proclamation suspending admission of most lawful permanent residents.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon, who ruled for plaintiffs in a suit over another presidential proclamation. That policy would deny visas to immigrants who cannot afford health insurance or foreseeable medical costs.  Judge Simon temporarily enjoined its implementation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reviewing that injunction.

The court found it stretch to connect the two policies, and that it was outside his authority to stop the proclamation suspending immigration because it might apply to some of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit. The court further refused to interfere with the president's suspension of immigration.


April 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Report Shines Spotlight on Abuses and Growth in Immigrant Detention Under Trump

The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and National Immigrant Justice Center released a first-of-its-kind report today on immigration detention under the Trump administration: “Justice-Free Zones: U.S. Immigration Detention Under the Trump Administration.” The report looks at how the immigrant detention system has grown since 2017, the paltry conditions and medical care – even before the Covid-19 outbreak – and the due process hurdles faced by immigrants held in remote locations. 


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

Podcast: Keeping Farmworkers Safe


This podcast on "Keeping Farmworkers Safe" addresses an important food chain question in the age of the coronavirus.
"California grows more than a third of the country's vegetables and two thirds of its fruit and nuts. That means farmhands are essential workers. . . . But many farmworkers lack the resources that other essential workers in our economy have, like access to the internet and healthcare."

More reading: Coronavirus pandemic brings new levels of misery to Coachella Valley farmworkers.

"Coronavirus in California: Stories from the Front Lines" is podcast from the Los Angeles Times hosted by reporter Gustavo Arellano.


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

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

PANDEMIC vs. FIRST: A Legislative Tit for Tat

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Y'all know that I love a good legislative exercise. I use fashion model legislation in my podium immigration course and marijuana legislation in my crimmigration course.

Recent legislative proposals from Rep. Matt Gaetz (PANDEMIC) and Sen. Booker (FIRST) offer another exciting opportunity for legislative analysis in the classroom.

Sen. Booker's proposal came first (pun originally unintended, but I'm thoughtfully keeping it in). It's FIRST or the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act. What's he hoping to accomplish? "To require the release of most aliens detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during a national emergency related to a communicable disease."

As for Rep. Gaetz, he's got a different agenda. PANDEMIC stands for Protect American Nationals During Emergencies by Mitigating the Immigration Crisis Act. His goal? He wants to remove all noncitizens in detention during a "national emergency related to a communicable disease," except for any "alien against whom charges for a crime of violence are pending."

The two proposals work nicely read together. You could assign them both to get students used to reading proposed legislation. You could assign just one (say PANDEMIC which is only 3 pages compared to FIRST's 14) and utilize it to discuss policy or to review law (what would it mean to allow removal of all noncitizens during a pandemic "Notwithstanding any other provision of law"?). Lots of exciting possibilities here.


April 29, 2020 in Current Affairs, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Evangelical Immigration Table Asks Trump Administration to Reconsider Immigration Policies



The Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter yesterday to President Trump urging a reversal of new policies restricting legal immigration and compliance with laws designed to protect the vulnerablel it read sin part: “Reducing legal immigration and setting aside laws designed to protect vulnerable people at this time will neither slow the spread of COVID-19 nor speed the economic recovery.”  “Instead, we are concerned that these restrictions will hinder economic growth, contribute to family separation, increase illegal immigration and put vulnerable children and families who have fled persecution at risk of further harm. We urge you to reconsider.”

Earlier this month, the Table also wrote to the Trump administration urging the release of migrant detainees from immigration detention centers in order to help slow the spread of the virus.


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

Migrants with HIV of concern in COVID-19 era

Marion MacGregor for InfoMigrants offers another layer of concern to the coronavirus pandemic.  People with illnesses, such as HIV and AIDS, are more vulnerable to the virus.  It is especially worrying for HIV-positive migrants who are undocumented or who cannot access treatment.

COVID-19 holds particular dangers for migrants who are forced to live and work "illegally" because they are living with HIV and are in a country where their HIV status is a grounds for deportation. For these migrants their irregular status means they are forced to use informal networks to access antiretroviral therapy (ART) or rely on their families to send them medicine. Others may try to share medicines or buy them locally.

Now, another factor is compounding the problems facing HIV-positive migrants: COVID-19, quarantine measures and the impact on economies worldwide have left large numbers of migrants stranded and without jobs, making it even harder for those with HIV to access necessary treatment.


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

Refugee tailors switch to making face masks and protective gear


Rashid Ibrahim, a tailor from Syria, now living in Seddiner See near Potsdam, Germany, is sewing face masks to support his local community in the fight against the Corona virus © UNHCR/Fatima Ibrahim

As nations around the world close their borders as the global pandemic continues, the United Nations Refugee Agency relays a positive refugee story:

"As more and more countries advise or require their citizens to wear facial coverings to curb the spread of COVID-19 refugee tailors and artisans from around the world are stepping up to help.

In the German town of Seddiner See, near Potsdam, a Syrian family of four have been working day and night to supply non-medical masks to nurses at the local hospital who were faced with a shortage. Rashid Ibrahim, who is a tailor by trade, did not hesitate when his German friend Bodo Schade asked him to help. His wife, Fatima, and their two young daughters have been working with him to cut, sort and count the masks."

I do not know about you but I am always looking for a positive story coming out of the worldwide pandemic.


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

UC Davis Chancellor Re-Affirms Support for DACA and Undocumented Students


Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

As the end of the Supreme Court Term nears, the immigrant community is on pins and needles awaiting a decision on the lawfulness of President Trump's rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)  policy, which was put into place by the Obama administration in 2012 and has provided temporary relief from removal (and work authorization) to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.  For analysis of what is at stake with the rise and potential fall of DACA, click here.

The decision in the DACA case will affect many college and university students.  The students, of course, currently face the anxiety and uncertainty of a global pandemic.  Add to that the anxiety and uncertainty about their place in our society.  Statements of support from university students are critically important.

University of California, Davis Chancellor Gary May issued a statement yesterday in support of our DACA and undocumented students.  The statement begins:

"In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone in our campus community is dealing with a certain amount of stress and uncertainty.

Many in our community are experiencing another level of uncertainty as we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

I want to assure you that UC Davis remains committed to supporting our undocumented community, no matter the outcome of this decision.

Rescinding the DACA program runs counter to the University of California principles of open and equal access to higher education for students of all backgrounds.


UC Davis is home to a dedicated community of DACA/DACAmented students and staff from across the globe. UC Davis graduates who were protected from deportation under DACA have blossomed with careers in medicine, law, social work and much more.

These students — many of whom are the first in their families to attend college — contribute to our rich diversity of cultures and perspectives that is integral to our success as a global university. They are paving a future for themselves and their families so they can give back to our society.

We have campus resources to help guide DACA/DACAmented and undocumented students through their financial, legal and even emotional challenges."

This statement does not come out of the blue.  Chancellor May, for example, participated in UC’s “I Stand With ...” campaign as oral arguments neared in the DACA case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The UC Board of Regents is leading the challenges to the Trump administration’s rescission of the program.  

As the DACA decision nears, other university leaders are reaffirming their universities' support for DACA students.

University of California President Janet Napolitano, who was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when DACA was put into place, has led the legal challenge to the rescission of DACA.  Several years ago, She created the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, which provides legal assistance to immigrant students and their parents on the UC campuses.  The Center has provided legal assistance to hundreds of UC students on a wide variety of immigration matters.  We are proud to house the Center at UC Davis School of Law.


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

Rethinking Immigration Webinar: May 1


Please register for the live webcast of the RETHINKING IMMIGRATION conference, brought to you by the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.  The event will be held exclusively ONLINE.  

U.S. immigration policy is a longstanding political flashpoint, one that may be further inflamed by the coronavirus crisis.  The RETHINKING IMMIGRATION web conference will feature movement leaders, academics, and policy experts who will discuss the roots of the crisis we face, progressive immigration policy goals, and strategies to achieve those goals.  

The live-streamed conference includes four plenary sessions.  The first three cover:

(a)  Historical perspectives on U.S. immigration, the economic impact of immigration, and the current nativist backlash.

(b)  Visions of a progressive immigration policy:  remediating the damage incurred under the Trump administration and looking forward to a path to legalization for the undocumented, as well as longer-term policies for border enforcement, family reunification, worker rights and future flow.

(c) Strategies for change, including organizing, coalition-building, framing and communicating progressive policy ideas to policymakers and the public.

These daytime plenary sessions are followed by a live webcast of a Town Hall with immigrant rights movement leaders in the evening.


The conference has a great group of scholars, political leaders, and others on the program.  Among them are Hon. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. House of Representatives, Mae Ngai, Ceclia Muñoz (New America), and Marielena Hincapié (National Immigration Law Center).



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

Immigration Article of the Day: Exceptional Circumstances: Immigration, Imports and Climate Change as Emergencies by Daniel A. Farber


Exceptional Circumstances: Immigration, Imports and Climate Change as Emergencies by Daniel A. Farber


President Trump has used emergency powers to achieve key parts of his policy agenda, exemplified by his travel ban, funding for the border wall, and tariffs on many imports. This essay examines how the Administration has invoked the need for urgent action in these and other settings, along with the responses of the courts. The essay also consider how these actions could be used as precedents by future presidents, such as declaring a climate change emergency. Finally, the essay discusses the risks of normalizing the use of emergency powers, along with the forces that may impel presidents in that direction.

April 29, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Trump Warns Sanctuary Jurisdictions May Not Get Funding to Fight Coronavirus

President Trump says he'd "want certain things" from states before giving them coronavirus-related funding (including bail out funds) from the feds. What does he want? "Sanctuary city adjustments." (See 1:04-1:22 in the first clip below).

Here's another, similar, statement from a different briefing today:

I'll take this opportune moment to plug a short piece of mine: The Mythology of Sanctuary Cities. It's a brief piece that tackles common myths about sanctuary cities, some of which Trump perpetuates in both of the clips above (sanctuary cities are lawless; sanctuary cities are not entitled to federal tax dollars).


April 28, 2020 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories by Marvin Opiyo



In Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories, Educator Marvin Opiyo shares fascinating and heart-wrenching accounts from years of his tireless research. The process of immigration is one which marks a crucial turning point in one’s life. Not only does immigration impact the country and communities left behind, it also changes the face of the new landscape entered into.

While using mostly fictitious names to keep identities confidential, Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories showcases a wide variety of personalities, backgrounds, and issues of the storytellers’ experiences. The realities of leaving one world for an entirely contrasting new world is astounding. Readers will not be able to help empathize and understand better the harshness immigration can bring to individuals and families everywhere.

In Stuck Here: African Immigrants Tell Their Stories, some of the backdrops include the genocide in Rwanda, during and after apartheid in South Africa, and life in Zimbabwe pre- and post-independence. Opiyo gains the trust of individuals across the U.S. to share these stories so we can all understand, support one another, and move forward. Opiyo says, “These are but a sample of the lives of a much larger African population in the United States. The decision to go, or not to go, can then be based on one’s readiness and ability to pay the price, which is often exorbitant.”


April 28, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney Positions with the Asylum Project of the National lmmigrant Justice Center (NIJC)


The Asylum Project of the National lmmigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is growing and seeks a staff attorney and supervisory attorney to join its asylum representation team!  NIJC advocates for the human rights of and due process protections for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through direct legal services, advocacy, impact litigation and public education.  NIJC’s Asylum Project includes eight attorneys and four paralegals who provide pro bono representation to asylum seekers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin before the immigration court and the asylum office through direct, in-house representation and through NIJC’s network of more than 1,600 pro bono attorneys.  In NIJC’s Asylum Project, attorneys have the opportunity to develop novel asylum strategies while collaborating with NIJC’s policy and litigation teams on issues impacting asylum seekers across the country.  This position is based in our Chicago office.  If you are interested in the staff attorney position, please see here.  If you are interested in the supervising attorney position, please see here.



April 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coranovirus in California Podcast: Immigrant Detainees Fight COVID-19



On an episode of the Coronavirus in California” podcast for the Los Angeles Times, Gustavo Arellano interviews Sergio Jonathan Moreno, who was just released (with the help of the UC Irvine law school Immigrant Rights Clinic) from one of the largest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers in the country  (Adelanto ICE Processing Center in San Bernardino County (California)), because he is at high risk for contracting COVID-19. Moreno tells about the cramped quarters, which the ACLU has called a “tinderbox scenario” for a potential coronavirus outbreak.




April 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Poll shows support for Trump's immigration pause

Poll supporting immigration pause
A majority of Americans back a temporary halt to nearly all immigration into the United States during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll out this morning

  • The party differences: 83 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents said they supported a temporary block on immigration. 
  • Democrats divided: The poll shows 49 percent support a block and 49 percent oppose. 
  • Broad support across demographics: At least 6 in 10 whites and nonwhites, men and women, and older and younger adults also expressed support for a suspension.

The findings are a sharp departure from past support for legal immigration,which generally draws strong support among Democrats, Republicans, and independents. This indicates that Americans would be far less likely to back a permanent ban once the pandemic is contained. 

The poll, which began after Trump's April 20 announcement he planned to pause immigration to stop the spread of the virus and protect jobs for Americans but before the details became public two days later, found that 65 percent of Americans support a temporary suspension. Thirty-four percent of Americans were opposed. 


April 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cambodian Refugees and the Criminal Removal Pipeline


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Cambodian refugees who began migrating to the United States. during the Southeast Asian conflicts of the 1970s remain vulnerable to  the “prison-to-deportation pipeline,” Agnes Constante reports for NBC News.

Professor Eric Tang, author of “Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto (2015), argues that the Refugee Act of 1980, which established a standardized refugee admissions system, fell short of addressing the needs of Southeast Asian refugees. If the United States recognized its rolein the conflicts in Cambodia and Vietnam, Tang says, “then maybe we wouldn’t have put all these conditions into the Refugee Act, which insisted on wildly unrealistic expectation that [refugees] would somehow find livable wage jobs overnight and become economically independent.”

Here is an abstract of Professor Tang's book Unsettled:

"After surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide, followed by years of confinement to international refugee camps, as many as 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees arrived in the Bronx during the 1980s and ‘90s. Unsettled chronicles the unfinished odyssey of Bronx Cambodians, closely following one woman and her family for several years as they survive yet resist their literal insertion into concentrated Bronx poverty.  

Eric Tang tells the harrowing and inspiring stories of these refugees to make sense of how and why the displaced migrants have been resettled in the “hyperghetto.” He argues that refuge is never found, that rescue discourses mask a more profound urban reality characterized by racialized geographic enclosure, economic displacement and unrelenting poverty, and the criminalization of daily life

Unsettled views the hyperghetto as a site of extreme isolation, punishment, and confinement. The refugees remain captives in late-capitalist urban America. Tang ultimately asks: What does it mean for these Cambodians to resettle into this distinct time and space of slavery’s afterlife?"



April 28, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Citizenship and the Constitution by Gautam Bhatia


Citizenship and the Constitution by Gautam Bhatia  


This article examines the vision of citizenship set out in Part II of the Indian Constitution, through a close reading of the Constituent Assembly Debates. I argue that through its specific provisions in Part II, the Constitution articulates a vision of Indian citizenship that is interwoven with Indian constitutional identity as a whole: secular, egalitarian, and non-discriminatory. Drawing upon universal humanist principles – and in specific and conscious contrast to the State of Pakistan – the Constituent Assembly crafted an idea of citizenship that rejected markers of identity, whether ethnic or religious. A careful reading of the Constituent Assembly Debates reveals, therefore, that while Parliament was free to legislate on citizenship, it was to be bound – always – by the defining features of the Indian polity. Parliament could not – and was not intended to – ever create conditions for entry into the polity (through citizenship laws) that were fundamentally at odds with its secular and civic-nationalist identity. This was meant to act as an “implied limitation” (a concept familiar to students of constitutional law) upon Parliament’s powers under Article 11. Under this Constitution, therefore, religion cannot become a basis for citizenship.


April 28, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)