Sunday, May 31, 2020

Book Review: Dads for Daughters by Michelle Travis

For Father’s Day, Dads for Daughters is a remarkable book that every father who has a daughter must read. Not only will the book inspire you to do the right thing, but you will learn how and why we got to this point. Only a legal expert with broad knowledge of labor and employment law, sex discrimination, Title IX, the judicial system, history, and relevant examples in each area, and who is a parent of confident, well-adjusted daughters could write this extraordinary work. That expert is Professor Michelle Travis.

The purpose of the book is to inspire dads of daughters to actively join the cause of making the world better for women and girls. In her call to action, Professor Travis invites us to imagine the impact if these men answered the call. From boardrooms to schools to the workplace to the sports field to the ballot box to any part of life, if fathers with daughters stood up for equality, things would change so much for the better.

And change they have in the dozens of accounts of dads with daughters that Professor Travis shares with us. There’s the electrical engineer who recognizes the need to inspire young girls to explore engineering and other STEM fields; the law firm chair who was among the first to sign the local bar association’s “No Glass Ceiling” commitment to increasing women partners; the dads with daughter employed by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare who saw to it that Title IX regulations require that girls are provided equal opportunity to compete in school sports; future hall of fame basketball coach Gregg Popovich and father of a daughter helped to break down barriers for women in professional sports coaching ranks; the not one but two U.S. Supreme Court Justices whose views on gender equality were influenced by the fact that at different points in their lives, they had to leave work early to pick up their grandchildren from school because their daughters were busy at work; the Brigadier General West Point Professor who became the headmaster at a K-12 school committed to reducing gender bias in educational materials and in the classroom; deficit hawk Senator Pete Domenici who pushed through full mental health parity funding after his experience with his own daughter’s mental health problems; and President Obama, with two well-known daughters who is proud of the fact that the first piece of legislation he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Immigrants play a role in some important stories, like Qusi Alqarqaz who has helped to establish tech opportunities for women and Ray Umashakar who, with his daughter, established a nonprofit organization to help women and their daughters escape the sex trade. The book also includes cross-border examples such as the Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program which works with high school coaches in India, South Africa, and the U.S. to teach male athletes about respecting women.

Grounded in these and so many more interesting stories, Professor Travis provides details, facts, and data on gender inequality that should embarrass us as a nation. In 2020, we have so much more ground to cover in order to achieve equality for our daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers. Dads for Daughters is something that every father of daughters should read and join in the battle on their behalf. In fact, even fathers or men without daughters should read the book and join the battle.


May 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Eternity Street: Violece and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles by John Mack Faragher

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Eternity Street: Violece and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles by John Mack Faragher (W.W. Norton & Co., 2017)

Los Angeles is a city founded on blood. Once a small Mexican pueblo teeming with Californios, Indians, and Americans, all armed with Bowie knives and Colt revolvers, it was among the most murderous locales in the Californian frontier. In Eternity Street: Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles, "a vivid, disturbing portrait of early Los Angeles" (Publishers Weekly), John Mack Faragher weaves a riveting narrative of murder and mayhem, featuring a cast of colorful characters vying for their piece of the city. These include a newspaper editor advocating for lynch laws to enact a crude manner of racial justice and a mob of Latinos preparing to ransack a county jail and murder a Texan outlaw. In this "groundbreaking" (True West) look at American history, Faragher shows us how the City of Angels went from a lawless outpost to the sprawling metropolis it is today.

The author, John Mack Faragher, discusses the book on this podcast.  Faragher makes it clear that that immigration is central to the story of Los Angeles, with Anglos and Blacks migrating to frontier LA when it was part of Mexico and interacting with Mexican and Indian peoples  living there, to be joined later in the 1800s by Chinese immigrants.  


May 31, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coronavirus: ICE confirms first case of COVID-19 at immigration detention center in Adelanto

As previously reported, immigrant detention centers are not immune from the COVID-19 virus.   Rebecca Plevin for the Palm Springs Desert Sun reports that federal immigration officials have confirmed the first COVID-19 case at the federal immigration detention center in the California desert city of Adelanto.

The patient is a 38-year-old immigrant from Belize.  The patient has been quarantined and is receiving care. Those who have come in contact with the immigrant are being monitored, consistent with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



There were 25,911 people in immigration detention as of May 13, according to ICE. As of Friday, the agency had tested 2,781 people and 1,406 of those — or 51% — were positive.

The largest outbreak is at Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, where 158 people have tested positive for the virus and one detainee has died.

Immigration officials this week also confirmed the first positive COVID-19 case at the Imperial Regional Detention Center in Calexico.

An ICE spokesperson said detainees at Adelanto "continue to be tested for COVID-19 in line with CDC guidance." But court documents indicate there has been minimal testing at the 1,940-bed facility, which is one of the country's largest detention centers.

Just 15 of the 1,112 immigrants detained at Adelanto — about 1.3% of the population — had been tested for coronavirus as of May 14, according to Gabriel Valdez, an assistant field office director for the  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. None had tested positive at that time, he said.

That means that for every 1,000 detained immigrants at the facility, about 13 had been tested as of May 14. In comparison, for every 1,000 immigrants in ICE custody nationwide, about 107 have been tested.


May 31, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Immigration Article of the Day: Immigrants and Interdependence: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes the Folly of the New Public Charge Rule  by Medha D. Maklouf & Jasmine Sandhu

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Immigrants and Interdependence: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Exposes the Folly of the New Public Charge Rule Free Download by Medha D. Maklouf & Jasmine Sandhu


On February 24, 2020, just as the Trump administration began taking significant action to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, it also began implementing its new public charge rule. Public charge is an immigration law that restricts the admission of certain noncitizens based on the likelihood that they will become dependent on the government for support. The major effect of the new rule is to chill noncitizens from enrolling in public benefits, including Medicaid, out of fear of negative immigration consequences. These chilling effects have persisted during the pandemic. When noncitizens are afraid to (1) seek treatment or testing for COVID-19 or (2) access public benefits in order to comply with stay-at-home guidance, it impedes efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, contributing to the strain on the health care system.

This Essay describes how the pandemic has exposed the folly of the public charge rule: Discouraging noncitizens from accessing public benefits to support their health and well-being is and always has been unwise from a public health perspective. The pandemic merely magnifies the negative consequences of this policy.

This Essay contributes to scholarly conversations about how immigration law and policy have framed the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it provides an in-depth analysis of the negative public health consequences of the new public charge rule during the pandemic.


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

Friday, May 29, 2020

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China


Read the Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of ChinaElizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Education describes the proclamation as follows:

"The Trump administration plans to cancel the visas of Chinese graduate students and researchers who have direct ties to universities in China affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, a decision that will only affect a small percentage of the approximately 370,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S. The move was praised by some as a smart approach to mitigating the risk of theft of sensitive research and criticized by others as an overly blunt and likely ineffective measure that could open the door for further restrictions on Chinese students."

The Preamble to the proclamation reads as follows:

"The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is engaged in a wide‑ranging and heavily resourced campaign to acquire sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property, in part to bolster the modernization and capability of its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  The PRC’s acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property to modernize its military is a threat to our Nation’s long-term economic vitality and the safety and security of the American people.

The PRC authorities use some Chinese students, mostly post‑graduate students and post-doctorate researchers, to operate as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property.  Thus, students or researchers from the PRC studying or researching beyond the undergraduate level who are or have been associated with the PLA are at high risk of being exploited or co-opted by the PRC authorities and provide particular cause for concern.  In light of the above, I have determined that the entry of certain nationals of the PRC seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an F or J visa to study or conduct research in the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the unrestricted entry into the United States as nonimmigrants of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions."

For commentary, see here (New York Times) and here (Inside Higher Education). The Times story quotes immigration law Professor Frank Wu:

“`In China, much more of society is government-controlled or government-affiliated,' said Frank Wu, a law professor who is the incoming president of Queens College. `You can’t function there or have partners from there if you aren’t comfortable with how the system is set up.'

`Targeting only some potential professors, scholars, students and visitors from China is a lower level of stereotyping than banning all,' he added. `But it is still selective, based on national origin.'”


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

Time to Declare War Against Racism

Friends--Minneapolis is a wake up call.

The tragic police murder of George Floyd highlights the sad truth that racial profiling of African Americans and the country’s racial divide continue. The juxtaposition of this incident and the fits and starts the nation is going through in its battle against the coronavirus provides us with an opportunity to declare another war — a war on racism in America. With race on the front pages, the opportunity is ripe for national, state, and local leaders to declare war on bigotry and hate.

More than 150 years after the Civil War and 55 years since the Civil Rights Act and the end of the national origins immigration system, racism continues in the United States. From hate speech and hate crimes to employment discrimination and forms of social preference, subtle actions and institutionalized racism continue to challenge our nation. Almost 20 years ago when Trent Lott was sharply criticized for racist sentiment at Strom Thurmond’s retirement party, we saw Democrats and Republicans alike agree that racism is wholly and completely unacceptable. But after Lott stepped aside, addressing racism was pushed to the back burner again, allowed to eat away at our nation’s character. We now see Donald Trump getting away with calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists at Charlottesville “very fine people” while labeling Minneapolis protesters as “thugs.”

A dozen years ago, presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a stirring speech on our nation’s racial divide. Then a few years later he sat down to discuss profiling with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his arresting Boston police officer. But after that, we heard little further discussion nor witnessed much direct public action. Any talk of improving race relations remains hushed and polite when it occurs at all. Hushed until there’s another black victim of police brutality: Amadou Diallo. Sandra Bland. Manuel Loggins Jr. Ronald Madison. Kendra James. Sean Bell. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Mario Woods. Philando Castile. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Sam DuBose. Tamir Rice. Eric Harris. Akai Gurley. Terence Crutcher. William Chapman. Jeremy McDole. Alton Sterling. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Sadly, George Floyd was not the first black murder victim of Minneapolis police—just Google the name Jamar Clark.

The problem with polite talk on these issues is that it lets the vast majority of the nation off the hook. The nation ends up treating overt incidents as the exception, regarding those instances as rare—as they move on to the next day’s headline. What will it take to realize that we should be taking aim at what should be our prime target—the foundation of institutionalized racism that has created an environment that enables subtle and unconscious racism, emboldens perpetrators of racist speech, and licenses acts of hate.

We need more than polite talk. We need a sense of outrage and indignation. We need massive mobilization over the issue. We need a declaration of war. The declaration of war on the evils of hate and racism must be loud and constant. Just as we have poured millions of dollars into campaigns against COVID-19, against drugs and smoking, and into efforts to address recycling and other environmental concerns, we need attention-grabbing strategies to begin now, in the midst of current recognition that improving race relations matters.

We need a clear vision statement on these issues to serve as the basis for this moral declaration. We must be driven, not politely, because we are beyond politeness on the evils of hate and prejudice that our sensible leaders acknowledge are not American values. Let’s put our heads together on this national priority. Be creative and imaginative in approaches. Set an example. Call for a broad new campaign to keep these issues in our consciousness constantly, new laws, enforcement of existing regulations, smart coalition-building, civility, respect and approaches to addressing private attitudes and actions. Make that call loud and clear and remind us over and over. Make it part of the national psyche, not just part of the national agenda. That call and that declaration of war against racism is happening right now on the streets across the country.

The public face of American pluralism — dominated by politicians, professionals and community leaders — has its positive moments in spite of Donald Trump. The problem is with the private off-camera face of America that fails to teach our children and challenge our neighbors to be respectful of others. We all share to varying degrees the blame for a culture that gives rise to hate speech and ethnic animosity. Every time we engage in even subtle racism or the fostering of stereotypes, we perpetuate that culture. As much as each of us shares the blame, each of us can be part of the solution. Every time we reach out to others whom we have been conditioned to distrust, fear, or subordinate because of culture, race or class, we begin to chip away at the wicked culture that gives rise to irrational hatred, animosity, and violence.

In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush spoke out against hate crimes directed at Americans of South Asian, Pakistani, Arab, and Muslim descent. He urged “Americans not to use this as an opportunity to pick on somebody that doesn’t look like you, or doesn’t share your religion.” But then, he and other leaders did little to demonstrate an informed understanding about the racialized structures of our society that continue to subordinate blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and many Asian Americans. President Obama called on Americans to do better, but his efforts have been derailed by the MAGA-wearing president. So we must take it upon ourselves to support and get on the war path against racism. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get serious about racism as a nation and as individuals. Will a local, state, or national leader please help us step up in this declaration of war? Please declare your commitment to work with schools, churches, neighborhood groups, business leaders, unions, and every day workers to constantly combat racism. Just imagine the impact if we see daily reminders at bus stops, stadium banners, text books, pulpits, classrooms, and public service announcements. We can and must do this together.

Bill Hing

May 29, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Immigrant Communities Would Benefit from Community-Based Investigation and Contact Tracing

From Ed Kissam and JoAnn Intili of the WKF Giving Fund:

COMBATTING COVID-19: Why Community-Based Case Investigation  and Contact Tracing is Crucial

By Ed Kissam and JoAnn Intili

May 27, 2020

While the current strategic focus of County Public Health Departments is on conducting as many tests as possible for the COVID-19 virus, the next critical juncture will be to follow up on case identification and treatment with rapid and effective contact tracing to control transmission and suppress further outbreaks of the disease. Rapid and efficient case identification and contact-tracing, coupled with effective case management to assist infected individual to self-isolate and for families to self-quarantine, will be crucial.[1]

However, the diversity of California’s population presents challenges for effective contact-tracing.  Building the capacity to rapidly and effectively conduct case investigation and contact tracing in low-income neighborhoods with concentrations of minorities and immigrants is not a small “marginal” problem. The Public Policy Institute of California has estimated that almost four in ten Californians (36.9%) live in poverty or near poverty.

It is clear that special efforts to combat COVID-19 will be needed in communities with concentrations of low-income minorities, and immigrants.

County public health departments charged with leading contact-tracing efforts in California can most effectively overcome the formidable challenges they face by partnering with a broad spectrum of community-based organizations and their networks of community activists to suppress recurrent outbreaks. Building such partnerships need to be seen not only as an investment in confronting the current emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic but as an essential component of sustainable response (since there will be ongoing resurgence of COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed and made widely available—probably at least through 2022).[2]

The Challenges That Must Be Confronted

Four out of five (79.6%) of California’s low-income minority and immigrant families are working poor—whose overall exposure to COVID-19 has been and will continue to be particularly high because so many are employed in essential businesses.[3] These “working poor” families confront distinctive dilemmas in dealing with COVID-19.[4]  The workplaces in essential industries such as agriculture, homecare, and health care where they are employed do not necessarily make social distancing easy. As an NPR reporter put it, “It’s not possible to pick strawberries on Zoom”. And effective self-quarantine is extraordinarily difficult, often impossible, in crowded living quarters.[5] These real-world considerations must be taken into account in crafting effective initiatives to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities with concentrations of low-income families of minorities and immigrants are known to have chronic and pervasive disparities in access to health care.[6]  This has consequences for COVID-19 strategy. For example, households without an existing relationship with a primary care provider and individuals in those households who lack health insurance have, until very recently, faced many difficulties in accessing PCR testing when ill, securing appropriate advice, and taking steps to avoid infecting others.

Given that the maximum period of infectiousness for COVID-19 is during a few days before and after symptoms appear, and the fact that about half of all cases are asymptomatic, it is clear that speed and thoroughness in case tracing determines the real-time reproductive rate of COVID-19 in these neighborhoods and communities.[7]

Unless California develops the public health system capacity to rapidly and reliably identify and map networks, COVID-19 transmission in low-income minority and immigrant neighborhoods will continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and continuing transmission in these areas will slow progress for the entire state. The speed and accuracy of case investigation teams in connecting with and interacting with “hard to reach” households will determine the eventual success of “reopening”.  The slogan “We are all in this together” has very practical implications.

Strategic Context for Implementing Case Investigation and Contact-Tracing

On May 4, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the overall framework for the state’s ambitious efforts to increase the size of the state’s case investigation/contact-tracing workforce needed to respond to “hotspots” of COVID-19 re-emergence as more businesses resume operations and as “stay at home” restrictions are loosened. The objective in Phase I of this strand in the comprehensive state strategy is to rapidly mobilize 10,000 case-tracers and, possibly, move on subsequently to expand to a workforce of 20,000 in Phase II. The state will support training provided through an on-line Academy with some ‘in-person’ supplementary content. Workers will be recruited from furloughed or volunteer government workers.

Unfortunately, a variety of factors mitigate against success of standard mainstream efforts to effectively implement contact-tracing in these neighborhoods and communities. Low-income communities of color and immigrants’ concerns about government intrusion; attitudes toward government agencies, experiences in previous interaction; living and housing conditions; vulnerabilities associated with immigration status make for limited interest in responding to contact-tracers and in communication about contacts.

Widespread dissemination of information explaining that 80% of COVID-19 cases are “mild” and that serious cases are most frequent among the elderly and people with co-morbidities, further, leads some contacts of COVID-19 infected individuals to discount the urgency of engaging with contact-tracers in the first place and/or self-isolating or self-quarantining.  Contact-tracers will need not only to be good listeners, good communicators, but also de facto health educators prepared to impact mistaken beliefs, nudge attitudes toward responsibility, and persuasively shape contacts’ aspirations and behavior.

Employers relying on a workforce of low-wage minority or immigrant workers may also be hesitant about exposing their worksite to the intrusion of contact tracers in search of individuals who have had direct contact with other workers diagnosed with COVID-19.  “Informal” working arrangements are common in many immigrant workplaces; and often work is not structured in a standard way, and supervisors have latitude to adopt and refine or, more often, simply not give much attention to social distancing. [8] But both efforts to sidestep guidelines about social distancing and incomplete follow-through on site can have devastating side-effects when there is a limited window in which work can be done (e.g. in harvesting crops).[9]

For this reason, contact tracing among front-line workers requires an orchestrated effort among the various stakeholders – not least of which are workers themselves, to build awareness about how controlling viral spread will actually maximize their chance of successfully continuing business operations, so that families can continue with their lives and jobs and paychecks maintained.

Requirements for Effective Case-Tracing in Low Income, Minority Communities

Accurately mapping networks of COVID-19 transmission, identifying nodes in local communities’ transmission networks, and the sub-populations affected, are needed to provide a basis for tailoring assistance to the distinctive needs of different kinds of individuals and households, and segments of the low-wage workforce, and delivering that help rapidly.[10] 

Effective response also requires working toward a deeper understanding of the dynamics of transmission—due to distinctive aspects of workplace organization that affect transmission risk, community social interactions, and housing infrastructure (household size, crowding, composition in “complex households”, prevalence and type of sub-standard, unconventional hidden housing). Just the overall panorama of ways in which social distancing and sheltering in place reduce transmission. Interactions between each of these “sub-domains” of social and economic life varies from community to community and better understanding of variations is a critical element in “design thinking” to develop optimal interventions.[11]

Consequently, beyond the general challenge of rapidly building overall state-level organizational capacity to conduct the level of case-investigation and contact-tracing needed to permit systematic opening-up of counties, states, and regions of the U.S., there needs to be focused attention to the demands of contact-tracing in these communities with linguistically and culturally diverse populations; where housing conditions might not be ideal for isolation or quarantine; and where healthcare access might be (or has been) constrained for some individuals.[12]  

To ignore the special demands placed on efforts to conduct effective case investigation and contact tracing in these communities, proceeding to do it in a standardized way without adaptation to local context, will not be advantageous either to the community itself or to California as a whole.  

It will be crucial to build into the state’s case investigation/contact-tracing initiative the following objectives, in order for it to function effectively:

  • Recruiting and training a linguistically and culturally diverse workforce of grassroots community service providers and activists who can reach out in each of California’s diverse communities to rapidly contact and establish rapport with sub-groups who are already under stress and resistant to communication with “outsiders”;
  • Developing local consortia that can efficiently integrate case investigation and contact tracing with practical advice, so as to streamline the challenging process of securing temporary housing for self-isolation or self-quarantine of COVID-19 infected and/or exposed individuals living in low-income overcrowded households;
  • Enhancing standard contact-tracing by reliance on the cultural and social capital of community contact-tracers to allow rapid and reliable identification of nodes in diverse social networks and workplaces where COVID-19 is particularly prevalent
  • Including mechanisms to mobilize the resources needed for rapid-response where patterns of transmission are identified that warrant special attention – e.g. where case clusters of COVID-19 are observed among farmworkers, day-laborers, hospital support staff, or home health care workers
  • Providing opportunities for case investigators, contact-tracers, and navigators recruited from low-income communities to move onward and upward in public health careers.

The optimal strategy is not to attempt to train “mainstream” health professionals to communicate effectively with communities they are not part of but, instead, to give priority to training community members.

Ideally, the workforce recruited for a California Community-Based COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact-Tracing Program would be diverse not simply in terms of language and cultural competency but, also, include workers drawn from diverse sociological sub-groups within each racial/ethnic population.  These might, for example, include: community activists who can gain the trust of their peers and communicate effectively with them, middle-aged locally well-known community activists, Chicanos/Chicanas and, also, Mexican and Central American immigrants from indigenous communities (e.g. Mixteco/as, Zapoteco/as, Kanjobal, Mam), African-American church leaders, and youth program counselors/leaders, Hmong elders, DACA recipients, and other immigrant community members under-employed or unemployed due to COVID-19 disruption.

Technical training to assure the integrity and reliability of case identification, contact-tracing, data collection, reporting and adherence to protocols to safeguard privacy is, of course, crucial.  But this technical competency can be developed rapidly. The UCSF pilot model, for example, consists of rapid online training followed by practicum.


Conclusion:  Community-Based Contact-Tracing is Crucial and Viable

A crucial objective for case tracing is rapid mobilization to initiate case identification, contact-tracing, and intervention so that new cases will rapidly self-isolate and persons who have been in close contact with an infected person will self-quarantine and that those with more infrequent and/or not such close contact will, at the very least, be particularly vigilant for COVID-like symptoms. 

Case investigation and contact-tracing is not necessarily easy or straightforward in diverse communities, especially immigrant ones that are particularly distrustful of outsiders-- given the current immigration enforcement climate and apprehension regarding potential federal mis-use of confidential data.[13] “Trusted voices” are more important than ever at this point in time as part of efforts to secure, accurate, complete information on sensitive issues; and speed is crucial in managing and containing the virus. [14] They can often elicit more reliable information. Informants reached by contact-tracers immersed in community life may more easily be prompted to accurately recall contacts from some contexts (like personal friends and families) than others (i.e. workplaces).   Incorporating a community-based COVID-19 case investigation/contact-tracing program into California’s newly-initiated case-tracing initiative will enhance the strategic effectiveness of these efforts.[15]  

By preparing contact-tracers to engage in conversations with family members in immigrant and other low-income minority households with little access to online information resources and limited experience in assessing personal health risk can, it is possible, as part of epidemiological surveillance, can also contribute practically to impacting beliefs and aspirations, thereby enhancing behaviors that contribute to reduced transmission of COVID-19.

Authorities and institutional leaders engaged in developing COVID-19 case tracing strategies agree that although medically-trained and other college-educated professional personnel are currently being relied on for contact tracing, lay people can also be successfully and rapidly trained to fulfill these roles.  A person with a high-school education, if well-trained, diligent in eliciting and recording information, good in communicating, and computer/database literate, could fill this sort of role well[16]

As Miguel Tirado notes, in a companion paper, quoting Wessler and Feliciano, “While it certainly is possible to identify bilingual individuals with advanced education to serve as contact tracers in these communities, the local population may still see the person as an outsider and not to be trusted”.  As Wessler and Feliciano suggest, “In diverse communities, being a peer from the community may be a more important qualification than education level or professional degrees” [17]

The first step toward enhancing the initial model for contract-tracing used by UCSF and the San Francisco Health Department is to put in place 2-3 pilot/demonstration projects that will provide a framework for enhancing the effectiveness of standard contact-tracing operations by creating partnerships in diverse California communities.  We recommend at least one pilot in a low-income urban community with a high degree of ethnic/racial diversity and one in agricultural areas of California with concentrations of farmworkers.[18]


[1] Hellewell, J. et al, “Feasibility of controlling COVID-19 outbreaks by isolation of

cases and contacts”, Lancet Global Health, March 5, 2020

[2] Kissler et al, “Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period” Science, April 14, 2020.

[3] See Public Policy Institute of California, “Who’s in Poverty in California” See, also, Sarah Bohn, Caroline Danielson, and Tess Thorman, “Poverty in California”, July, 2019,

[4] About one-third of California households with incomes of $25,000 or less were uninsured in 2012 (California Health Care Almanac, 2013). A proportion of the working poor families are not income-eligible for Medi-Cal and those who are undocumented have not, until Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on access to emergency access to Medi-Cal for COVID-19 related services have had great difficulty securing assistance.

[5] Antonio Olivo, Marissa Lang, and John D. Harden, “Crowded housing and essential jobs: Why so many Latinos are getting coronavirus”, Washington Post, May 27, 2020.

[6] Presentation by Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director, UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, UCSF

Institute for Global Health Sciences Webinar, May 5, 2020. See also

[7] The Los Angeles County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, as well as their initial strategic data analysis “COVID-19, Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Disparities Data and Strategies Report”, April 28, 2020, provides stark evidence as to how much higher real-time reproductive rate is in these low-income neighborhoods than in others.

[8] Nationally, about one-third of farmworker households are crowded.  In some areas of California such as Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, 93% of farmworkers live in crowded housing and one-third in extremely crowded housing. See Ed Kissam, “Why Special Help To Farmworker Families In Crowded Housing Is So Important As Part of Overall Strategy to Suppress COVID-19”, WKF Fund Working Paper, April 7, 2020.

[9] In particular, both employers and their employees are inclined to conveniently discount the challenges inherent in COVID-19 being asymptomatic in about half of all cases and about 40% of transmission being from pre-symptomatic infected individuals. (See CDC “COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios” for underlying coefficients for projecting transmission).

[10] Case investigation and contact-tracing needs to go beyond observed patterns in datasets derived from PCR and/or antibody-based testing to characterize the distinctive circumstances of transmission in specific outbreaks.  In the Smithfield outbreak among meatpacking workers, for example, it turned out that one factor in rapid spread was a well-known back door to the plant where workers could avoid pro-forma front-door screening.  In a well-documented COVID-19 cluster in a Washington state farmworker community, infection spread among workers on a crowded farm labor crew bus. Advocates have observed that work breaks with little shade have resulted in crowding and potential transmission. Field-packing in the lettuce harvest is also worrisome. It helps to identify these specifics rapidly.

[11] See Delamater PL, Street EJ, Leslie TF, Yang Y, Jacobsen KH. Complexity of the Basic Reproduction Number (R0). Emerg. Infect. Dis. 2019;25(1):1-4. It is assumed that, in general, within-household transmission accounts for about one-third of COVID-19 transmission but, based on data about farmworker household crowding and family size, in-home transmission is likely to be about 2.5 times higher than in the average U.S. household. 

[12] The utility of proximity-based contact-tracking technology has been debated at length—but “human intelligence” will be needed even if automated contact-tracking is widely accepted by the public because assessment as to whether proximity constitutes a “contact” generates many “false positives” and inconsistent use of cellphones will generate “false negatives”.

[13] There is widespread concern, for example, about potential use of DACA applicants’ personal information submitted to USCIS for enforcement purposes.  Parallel concerns persist about mis-use of data collected in Census 2020 and use of social service program data in review of eligibility for green cards (although DHS has stated it will not use information on services accessed during the COVID-19 pandemic in its review of family visa applications).   

[14] Speed is crucial because one of the components of the basic reproduction rate in an epidemic is the duration during which an infected person is in close contact with others.  

[15] Governor Newsom announced the initiative in his May 4, press conference on COVID-19 strategy. Summary descriptions have been published in several news outlets.  See, for example, Politico  More detailed discussion of details of some key elements were provided by the UCSF pilot team in their April 29, 2020 webinar.

[16] See Centers for Disease Control, “Health Departments: Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Plan”, May 20, 2020  Also, Watson, C., et al, “A National PlanTo Enable Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Finding and Contact Tracing in the U.S.”, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security”, April, 2020 national-plan-to-enable-comprehensive-COVID-19-case-finding-and-contact-tracing-in- the-US.pdf . Also Martha Bebinger, “Here’s How Contract Tracing Works in Massachusetts”, Commonhealth, May 7, 2020. Also, Resolve To Save Lives, “Contract Tracing Playbook”, May 12, 2020.

[17] Wessler J, Feliciano A. “Correcting NYC’s health disparities starts with how we do contact tracing”, City Limits, May 11, 2020). 

[18] About 90% of the California farm labor force consists of immigrants and the majority lack legal status.  This particularly vulnerable population of farmworkers and their family members number about 1.5 million.

May 29, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Civil Rights Coalition Files Lawsuit to Protect Families from Decades of Separation: Families Will Be Unable To Reunite Within Their Lifetimes Due To President Trump’s Proclamation

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Civil Rights Coalition Files Lawsuit to Protect Families from Decades of Separation
Families Will Be Unable To Reunite Within Their Lifetimes Due To President Trump’s Proclamation

May 28, 2020 – Today, litigators from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Justice Action Center (JAC), and Innovation Law Lab, with pro bono support from Mayer Brown LLP, have filed a lawsuit on behalf of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents petitioning for their children and derivative relatives to join them in the United States. The lawsuit, Gomez et al v. Trump et al, requests the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to protect these families from the harm caused by President Trump’s immigrant visa ban, which, as a threshold matter, will force many children to backtrack years, even decades, in their visa application process if they “age out” of their current visa categories — that is, they turn 21 and lose their ability to immediately immigrate to the United States — while the ban is in place.

President Trump’s family immigration ban, which he signed on April 22, is an unlawful attempt to upend a system that plays a vital role in the health and well-being of families and communities across the country. Issued with little more than a day’s notice, the ban will immediately have a devastating impact on children who will lose their current opportunity to immigrate to the United States before they turn 21 years old. If the ban remains in effect, these sons and daughters of lawful permanent resident and United States citizen parents could have to wait years, or even decades, before immigrating to the United States.

Plaintiff Domingo Arreguin Gomez has been a lawful permanent resident for the past thirty years. He and his wife have petitioned for his step-daughter Alondra to immigrate to the U.S. from Mexico. Because of the Proclamation, she is now at imminent risk of losing her place in the visa queue because she turns twenty-one in June. If Alondra “ages out,” she will move to a new visa category subject to a decades-long backlog - meaning that Domingo and his wife may be unable to reunite with her in the United States during their lifetimes.

Plaintiff M.S. survived years of severe domestic abuse and, as a result of her cooperation with law enforcement, is now a lawful permanent resident of the United States. While M.S. has been united with one of her two daughters in the U.S., her younger daughter remains outside the United States and is about to turn 21 years of age. While M.S. and her daughter have completed everything necessary to receive her immigrant visa, the Proclamation threatens to block her daughter’s opportunity to enter the United States before she turns twenty-one. M.S. and her daughter face the devastating possibility that they could remain separated for years, if not decades.

Plaintiff V.S. also a survivor of severe domestic violence, has been a U.S. citizen for fifteen years. She was able to sponsor a visa for her son to join her in the U.S. and now relies heavily on him for financial and emotional support, as both V.S. and her husband suffer from significant health issues. Since arriving in the U.S. to support V.S., her son has been separated from his children in El Salvador while their visa applications are pending. After a long wait, due to the Proclamation V.S.’s grandson is now in danger of “aging out” when he turns twenty-one. If he loses his visa eligibility, V.S.’s grandson will continue to be
separated from his family and trapped in dangerous conditions in El Salvador.

Esther Sung, Senior Litigator of the Justice Action Center, says, "It's absolutely ludicrous and heartless that people are forced to sue their own government in order to be with their own kids. As a country, we have always -- historically and rightly so -- identified young people to be treated differently than adults in our immigration system. The text of this immigration ban has made no exception for kids, and means that the administration haphazardly rushed to issue and implement the ban soon after the president announced it. The ban has been in place for more than a month, and the administration still hasn't tried to fix it. It just shows they're heartless and don't care about U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who just want to be with their families and keep them safe during a global pandemic."

Nadia Dahab, Senior Staff Attorney of Innovation Law Lab, noted, “Over the decades, Congress has enacted laws to help families reunite through our nation’s immigration system. This longstanding tradition of family unity is a key component of our nation’s stability, economic prosperity, and collective strength. This ban is yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to scapegoat immigrants and is a surprise attack that separates immigrant families from their loved ones.”

AILA Director of Federal Litigation Jesse Bless noted, “Instead of implementing rational, policy-based measures that promote the public health and economic interests of our country during this national crisis, the administration has resorted to distraction and political theater. This ban won’t heal the economy. It is a punitive measure that will separate families and perpetuate unnecessary human suffering and economic harm.”


Julia Ainsley for NBC News reports on the class action lawsuit.


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Bridging the Gap From Legalization to Legitimization: How Society Can Help Victims of Trafficking Beyond the T or U Visa  by Caleb Ohrn

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Bridging the Gap From Legalization to Legitimization: How Society Can Help Victims of Trafficking Beyond the T or U Visa Free Download by Caleb Ohrn


An understanding of the background on how the T and U visa have come into effect is used to develop the long-term solutions that are proposed in the analysis section. Those in this battle to end human trafficking must realize that attaining temporary legal status in only the first of many hurdles. Even if victims are able to get permanency in the United States through a T visa or a U visa, there is a deficiency of resources that address the bigger issues of employment opportunities and long-term services that can heal with a multi-generational approach in order for victims to not become revictimized. The proposition being set forth is centered around long-term planning that not only will avoid revictimization, but will hopefully address long term positive solutions that are not solely band aids, but actually cause healing and a sense of legitimacy for the long-term success of victims.

Moving from the basic background on human trafficking and how the T and U Visa came in to existence, next is addressing the positive aspects and deficiencies and where these resources currently are with helping victims of human trafficking is necessary in order to advance the objectives in the solutions aspect of the analysis. After setting forth the proposed solutions, each of the three-pronged approaches will be explored in depth and will provide suggestions that can be implemented on the micro-scale to have a lasting impact on the lives of victims. Currently, our legal system is solely focused on getting victims legal status and is not curtailed to long term sustainability and legitimization. Specifically, the three-pronged approach entails: survivor-informed leadership committees, securing long term employment in the United States and last, taking a multi-generational approach to healing not only the victims themselves, but taking a holistic family approach to this process of legitimization and healing.


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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Webinar Tomorrow 1-2 EDT: COVID-19 and Border Expulsions of Asylum Seekers

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Immigrant Rights in the Time of COVID-19

Virtual Series


Program II
U.S. Government Policies at the Border:
COVID-19 and Border Expulsions of Asylum Seekers

Friday, May 29, 2020
1 – 2 p.m. EDT


  • Expulsions at the Border: What Is Known
  • Reconciling International Human Rights and Public Health Imperatives
  • Advocacy Efforts Underway
  • What You Can Do to Help



Shaw Drake, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
Tania Guerrero, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc
Gretchen Kuhner, Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración


Casey Miller, Human Rights Advocate
Karuna B. Patel
, Fordham Law School Feerick Center for Social Justice

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

Your Thursday Funny: BBC's Where Are You From? The Game

This. Is. Amazing.

I inadvertently played this game at a wedding once. I was chatting with a young person and asked where they were from. I was looking for "Fargo" or "Bismarck" (we lived in Grand Forks, ND at the time) but got Nigeria. After explaining my confusion, it turns out the guest was, actually, from Fargo. Those Fargo-ites do stand apart.


May 28, 2020 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

From the Bookshelves: Hamilton and the Law by Lisa A. Tucker

Hamilton cover
An innovative book collecting essays on legal issues in Hamilton will be released by Cornell University Press (October 2020). Included are chapters on immigration-related issues by Elizabeth Keyes and Anil Kalhan. The full book description is here:

Since its Broadway debut, Hamilton: An American Musical has infused itself into the American experience: who shapes it, who owns it, who can rap it best. Lawyers and legal scholars, recognizing the way the musical speaks to some of our most complicated constitutional issues, have embraced Alexander Hamilton as the trendiest historical face in American civics. Hamilton and the Law offers a revealing look into the legal community's response to the musical, which continues to resonate in a country still deeply divided about the reach of the law.

A star-powered cast of legal minds—from two former US Solicitors General to leading commentators on culture and society—contribute brief and engaging magazine-style articles to this lively book. Intellectual property scholars share their thoughts on Hamilton's inventive use of other sources, while family law scholars explore domestic violence. Critical race experts consider how Hamilton furthers our understanding of the law and race, while authorities on the Second Amendment discuss the language of the Constitution's most contested passage. Legal scholars moonlighting as musicians discuss how the musical lifts history and law out of the dusty archives and onto the public stage. This collection of minds, inspired by the phenomenon of the musical and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, urges us to heed Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Founding Fathers and create something new, daring, and different.

The book will be featured in a LSA 2020 panel on Sunday, May 31 at 2:15 pm ET. Conference registration is required. More details in my prior Immprof post.


May 28, 2020 in Books, Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

USCIS to furlough employees unless Congress provides funding?


ImmigrationProf has previous posts on faltering U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fundingGeneva Sands and Phil Mattingly for CNN reports that USCIS is expected to furlough part of its workforce this summer if Congress doesn't provide emergency funding to sustain operations during the coronavirus pandemic. "Unfortunately, as of now, without congressional intervention, the agency will need to administratively furlough a portion of our employees on approximately July 20," USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow wrote in a letter.

Earlier this month, the agency -- which has 19,000 government employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices -- requested $1.2 billion from Congress due to its budget shortfall. 


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

Immigration Article of the Day: Families Fleeing: Family Membership as a Basis for Asylum  by Christine Natoli


Families Fleeing: Family Membership as a Basis for Asylum Free Download by Christine Natoli, 5 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law & Public Affairs (Forthcoming)


Hundreds of thousands of people each year risk the dangerous journey to the U.S. border, many seeking refuge from serious human rights abuses in their home countries. In an effort to keep them out, the Trump Administration has restricted access to the ports-of-entry, ramped up immigration detention, and advocated for interpretations of the law that make it considerably more difficult for asylum seekers to prevail in court.

On July 29, 2019, Attorney General Barr issued a decision challenging asylum for individuals who were harmed because of their family membership, which has until now been one of the more promising pathways to protection for many migrants, in particular Central Americans fleeing gang violence. This article (1) analyzes the existing state of U.S., foreign, and international law on persecution on account of “membership in a particular social group” defined by family; and (2) explores how this theory can be applied in practice. I argue that despite Barr’s recent ruling, the decades-long legal foundation for family-based claims should not and cannot be erased with a stroke of the pen.


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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

GLOW: Netflix show about '80s women wrestlers tackles immigration, genocide

Charis Tsuei, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I love the Neflix series GLOW. If you haven't tried it yet, the show is about a group of women who put on a wrestling show in the 1980s. It is fabulous.

The show is a mix of funny and dramatic. There are story lines about sexual harassment, parenthood, infertility, divorce, working moms, and sexual orientation, among other heady topics. All this with 80s hair and wardrobe.

The episode that recently caught my eye was Season 3, Episode 6: Outward Bound. Immprofs might want to check out 26:13-29:16

If you're only going to watch those few minutes, let me give you a brief background. The central players in this scene are Jackie Tohn (who plays Melanie Rosen) and Ellen Wong (who plays Jenny Chey). The two are former best friends, currently on the outs because the Jewish Tohn/Rosen impersonated the wrestling character of Wong/Chey, complete with a fake Asian accent.

Tohn has just told several of the wrestlers the story of Passover, with plenty of humor. But at 26:13 the mood changes. 

Tohn/Rosen: Well, I mean, trauma and mass oppression are still a pretty recent story for my people. Ever hear of a little thing called the holocaust?

Noel/Bang: OK, Let's just call it a night.

Tohn/Rosen: What, you'd rather I just joked around? Just joked, not really get into the trauma that's behind all the shit we don't want to talk about. How my aunt Pestle and her eight children died in Treblinka or how my dad, my dad, won't live in a house without a basement or an attic in case we have to hide again.

Wong/Chey: We hid on a boat. We were pretty lucky. My dad, he uh, he knew somebody at the embassy so we got one of the last flights out on a US military plane that had just dropped off all this rice. My dad's brother was with us. But, everyone else we knew died. Every relative. Every friend. Everyone. So, I understand what it's like to survive a genocide and not talk about it all the time. The Killing Fields. It's the whole reason I'm even here in the first place. I get to be one of the lucky ones. Like really, really really lucky. Now I'm jumping out of a fortune cookie every night pretending like everything's fine.

Tohn/Rosen: I am so sorry. I had no idea. I'm so so so so sorry.

Entertainment weekly has a wonderful interview with Tohn about the genesis of this scene. As it turns out, Tohn's mother is a first-generation Holocaust survivor and Wong's parents survived the Cambodian genocide. The actresses discovered their shared history of trauma at a Seder. And the two approached the writers about incorporating their stories into the show. Pestle is the name of Tohn's great aunt who was murdered with her family in 1939.

The moment on the show was incredibly powerful even before I knew it came from the actresses' own lives. It's a deeply moving scene that dramatically showcases the connection and effects of "trauma and mass oppression."


May 27, 2020 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System




A new report released today by the American Immigration Council examines major changes to the U.S. immigration system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges the pandemic has created for noncitizens and government agencies. The report, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System,” identifies disruptions throughout the immigration system and makes recommendations for improvements to the federal government’s response. 

Over the past several months, the Trump administration imposed immigration and travel restrictions and stringent border controls. Congress passed and is currently considering legislative relief with implications for noncitizens. This report details recent actions and raises important questions about the implications of these measures.

The report draws on the federal government’s policy changes and data to analyze the effect of the coronavirus on immigrants and nonimmigrants abroad, immigration processing at U.S. land borders, immigration detention, and enforcement practices, as well as the congressional response to the pandemic.

The main recommendations of the report include:

  • The United States should work to remove the red tape that makes it difficult for many medical professionals to move to the United States and contribute their talents. 
  • The ban on most new immigrants should be terminated, as it is a thinly veiled attempt to implement drastic changes to our system of family-based immigration and not a genuine attempt to help American workers. 
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection should immediately develop plans to administer appropriate screenings at the border for asylum seekers and unaccompanied children, allowing for the safe processing of all individuals in a way that protects the vulnerable, while preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should suspend all filing deadlines and extend all nonimmigrant statuses for at least 90 days beyond the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency. The agency should also administer oath ceremonies online to approved naturalization candidates.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should use its broad authority to release people from detention to the widest extent possible while their immigration court proceedings continue. For those who remain detained, telephonic access to one’s attorneys and family members should be robust. 
  • ICE should limit enforcement actions that put communities at heightened risk due to COVID-19 and feed the pipeline to immigration detention by implementing meaningful enforcement priorities —such as emphasizing the removal from the United States of people convicted of serious crimes and those who are serious public safety threats.
  • The Executive Office for Immigration Review should suspend all in-person immigration court hearings and utilize remote technology until COVID-19 is under control.
  • Congress should provide support to mixed status families and take proactive steps to protect immigrants whose status is at risk due to COVID-19.
  • KJ

May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

HealthRight International’s Human Rights Clinic Survey


HealthRight International’s Human Rights Clinic (HRC) is seeking immigration attorneys to participate in a survey on the forensic evaluation needs of children and adolescents. Participation is completely voluntary and should take about 15 minutes. You do not need to have experience representing children to participate.  This survey is part of a research study entitled Forensic Evaluation Needs of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in U.S. Immigration Proceedings (IRB-FY2018-2175), carried out in collaboration with NYU. Thank you for your assistance.

Follow this link to Take the Survey by June 5.  Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

For any questions, please contact Talia Markowitz, HRC Program Manager at


May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Worker shortage concerns loom in immigrant-heavy meatpacking

Stephen Groves and Sophia Tareen for the Associated Press reports on a troubling food supply story in the midst of a global pandemic.  

We have heard of COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants.   Groves and Tareen report that there are "roughly 175,000 immigrants in U.S. meatpacking jobs. The industry has historically relied on foreign-born workers — from people in the country illegally to refugees — for some of America’s most dangerous jobs."

With virus outbreaks in plants and the temporary closure of some plants, concerns have grown about the possibility of labor shortages that may make it difficult to meet demand for meat: 

"Companies struggling to hire before the pandemic are spending millions on fresh incentives. Their hiring capability hinges on unemployment, industry changes, employees’ feelings about safety, and President Donald Trump’s aggressive and erratic immigration policies. Trump has restricted nearly all immigration, but his administration recently granted seasonal workers 60-day extensions, affecting a smattering in meat and poultry."

Stay tuned!



May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

One Video, Shot in 11 Countries, Lets 50 Musicians Perform in Solidarity with Fellow Refugees and Migrants



Músicos venezolanos interpretan Algo está pasando - R4V (Español)

One Video, Shot in 11 Countries, Lets 50 Musicians Perform in Solidarity with Fellow Refugees and Migrants


May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Laboratories of Exclusion: Medicaid, Federalism & Immigrants  by Medha D. Makhlouf


Laboratories of Exclusion: Medicaid, Federalism & Immigrants Free Download by Medha D. Makhlouf, New York University Law Review, Vol. 95, 2020


Medicaid’s cooperative federalism structure gives states significant discretion to include or exclude various categories of immigrants. This has created extreme geographic variability in immigrants’ access to health coverage. This Article describes federalism’s role in influencing state policies on immigrant eligibility for Medicaid and its implications for national health policy. Although there are disagreements over the extent to which public funds should be used to subsidize immigrant health coverage, this Article reveals that decentralized policymaking on immigrant access to Medicaid has weakened national health policy. It has failed to incentivize the type of state policy experimentation and replication that justifies federalism arrangements in other contexts. Rather, federalism has (1) enabled states to enact exclusionary policies that are ineffective and inhumane and (2) created barriers for states to enact inclusionary policies that advance the normative goals of health policy. This Article concludes that immigrant access to health coverage is best addressed through centralized policymaking.

This Article contributes to scholarly conversations about federalism and health care by providing a case study to test the efficacy of federalism arrangements in achieving equity for those who were left behind by health reform. More broadly, it adds to the federalism literature by synthesizing insights from three fields that rarely comment on one another: health law, immigration law, and federalism theory.


May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)