Saturday, December 26, 2020

Highpoints of 2020: LA Dodgers Win World Series and How an Immigrant's Son Became a Dodgers Owner


Needless to say, 2020 has been a tough year.  In my closing posts of the year, I will try to list a few stories that brought some relief from the hard times.

Major League Baseball had s shortened but eventful season.  In an amazing season, with a global pandemic and all, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series in decades.  And, as always,  there was an immigration story to tell.  I could tell about Mexican immigrant Julio Urias closing the series with a save and how that meant much to him because Dodger star Fernando Valenzuela had opened the door to many Mexican ballplayers. As Mike Digiovanna put it in the Los Angeles Times,

"In his mind, Urías wasn’t just helping the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988. He was carrying on the legacy of Fernando Valenzuela, the Navojoa, Mexico native who, as a 20-year-old left-hander in 1981, sparked the Fernandomania craze and pitched the Dodgers to a championship.

`Ever since I signed, since my debut, we all know which team is most popular among Mexican and Latino people, and it’s because of what Fernando was able to do,' Urías said. `The Dodgers are famous in Mexico, and you’re familiar with what it means to put that blue on. I’m very blessed to be part of the organization.'"

That is an amazing story in itself but the immigration story that I want to tell is this:  one of the Dodger owners, Alan Smolinisky, is the son of immigrants who came to the United States from Argentina with four dollars in his pocket.  In this commentary in TIME, Smolinisky explains:

"Dad embraced America, which meant he naturally fell in love with baseball. His beloved Dodgers, who played just a few miles from the garment district in their new stadium, became part of his life. He’d attend games and sing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. He learned English by permanently tuning his radio to Vin Scully’s Dodger broadcast, which was delivered in the legendary commentator’s warm, unhurried style.

With the support of my mother . . . , Dad worked his way up from sweeping floors to the head of a department. He and Mom used their savings so Dad could start a garment business that eventually would bring 30 years of success and allow him to hire and mentor new immigrants. With guidance and encouragement from Dad, many of those immigrants went on to start their own businesses, something that brought him great joy throughout his life. . . .

I arrived at Dodger Stadium with my son for my first game as an owner, 38 years after Dad took me to my first game in that same sanctuary. We arrived early. My boy wore a Clayton Kershaw jersey, I wore Fernando Valenzuela—two legendary Dodger south-paws. We watched batting practice and grabbed peanuts and dogs before lineups were announced.

When called upon to stand for the great American tradition, we rose and removed our Dodger hats placing them firmly over our hearts for the “Star Spangled Banner.” I gazed out at our country’s flag and thought of everything it represented: freedom, opportunity, hope (and, of course, baseball). In no other country on earth would my family’s story be possible."


December 26, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 25, 2020

Best Immigration Books of 2020 Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Best Immigration Books of 2020.  Here are Parts 1 and 2


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

This fictional account of the journey of an asylum seeker from Mexico generated considerable controversy.  NPR discusses the controversy over a white author writing a book about the Mexican migrant experience, which some say include negative stereotypes of Mexico and Mexicans that Donald Trump might endorse.  The book has been characterized as "trauma porn."   Critics have levelled claims of cultural appropriation against American Dirt and the author, Jeanine Cummins.  At the same time, the best-seller focused many peoples' attention on the conditions along the U..S./Mexico border.



The President and Immigration Law by Adam Cox & Cristina M. Rodríguez (2020)

In The President and Immigration Law, Adam B. Cox and Cristina M. Rodriguez chronicle the untold story of how, over the course of two centuries, the President became our immigration policymaker-in-chief.

Could this book have been more timely?


December 25, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas immprofs! Nationally syndicated political cartoonist Dana J. Summers knows just what's on my list this year. I sure hope Santa delivers. 



December 25, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

France Gives Frontline Immigrant Workers An Expedited Path to Citizenship


As the BBC reports, France has created a new and expedited path to citizenship for immigrant workers on the frontlines of the country's fight against covid. The grant extends to medical workers but is not limited to them. It includes cleaners and shop workers as well. (I love that! A hospital would be nothing without its cleaners.)

The fast-track process was announced in September and nearly 3,000 have applied for citizenship under the program. Seventy-four applicants have already been granted and the country reports nearly 700 are in the final stages. A two month turnaround? Wowzahs. 



December 24, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Headlines of the Year


This week, the ImmigrationProf blog has been celebrating some milestones of 2020.  I thought that the headlines below deserved a post all of their own.  In some ways, the headlines exemplify the bluntness and harshness of the 2020.  Both include a reference to Stephen Miller, senior Trump advisor and immigration guru.

Vanity Fair sure grabs attention with this one:  "STEPHEN MILLER RACES TO F--K OVER IMMIGRANTS ON HIS WAY OUT THE DOOR. "  Caps in the original.

Another great one from Vanity Fair


December 24, 2020 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day, A New Beginning: Early Refugee Integration in the United States, by Van C. Tran and Francisco Lara-García

Today's immigration article of the day is A New Beginning: Early Refugee Integration in the United States, The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, November 2020, 6 (3) 117-149, by Professor Van C. Tran and Francisco Lara-García.

Here is the abstract:
The U.S. refugee population not only has grown dramatically, but the countries from which the refugees are fleeing have also diversified over the last decade. Focusing on five recent refugee groups—Bhutanese, Burmese, Iraqis, Somalis, and Cubans, we examine how premigration characteristics and postmigration integration policies shape early socioeconomic integration in the United States. Our analyses point to three findings. First, early socioeconomic outcomes show only modest differences across refugee groups, despite significant variation in premigration selectivity in human capital. Second, the two possible pathways toward integration are schooling and employment. Third, postmigration integration policies matter. Our findings highlight the role of integration policies, programs, and practices in successful refugee integration, underscoring U.S. refugee policy as a key component of immigration policy.

December 24, 2020 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Border wall construction presses full steam ahead in final days of Trump administration


Photo courtesy of Kit Johnson

CNN reports that construction continues on President Trump's U.S./Mexico border wall:

"At a secluded spot in southeast Arizona, the San Pedro River flows north from Mexico and crosses the United States border, running under a majestic canopy of tall cottonwood trees.

The river's winding path is a migration gateway and critical habitation for hundreds of animal species. The National Audubon Society for Arizona says 40% of bird species in North America spend part of their lives on the San Pedro River at some point.

But the US Border Patrol sees the river as a natural gateway of drug smuggling and illegal immigration into the United States.

In the waning days of the Trump administration, construction crews are rapidly building a 30-foot high steel bollard-style wall across the riverbed. . . .  The work is part of a final sprint to complete as many miles of border wall as possible before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20."


December 24, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Best Immigration Books of 2020 (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of the best immigration books of 2020.  Click here for Part 1. 


Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America by Philip G. Schrag (2020).  

Provocative and timely, Baby Jails exposes the ongoing struggle between the U.S. government and immigrant advocates over the duration and conditions of confinement of children who seek safety in America.

December 24, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Deregulating Legal Immigration

Cato proposals

One place where libertarians and progressives agree is on a desire for less aggressive immigration regulation. The Cato Institute's brief, Deregulating Legal Immigration, lays out 30  proposals by 15 authors—including several of America’s leading immigration law experts—to help the Biden administration operate the immigration system "as openly and efficiently as the laws allow."

The proposals focus on agency measures to improve the process for legal immigrants, compared to short term fixes to COVID scenarios and longer term reforms requiring Congressional action.


December 23, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Class Action Against ICE and Georgia Doctor Alleging Medical Abuse


Photo courtesy of ICE

More than 40 of the women who were allegedly subjected to invasive medical procedures without consent by a Georgia gynecologist while in immigration detention have filed a class-action lawsuit against a doctor and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reports Rowaida Abdelaziz for HuffPost. The women also allege in the lawsuit that ICE and LaSalle Corrections officers at the Irwin County Detention Center retaliated against the women who spoke out about the abuse. At the press conference about the lawsuit, a 21-year-old detainee, told her story: "I just feel like I have no control over my body anymore. … The people that we trust, the medical staff that is here, we can’t trust them anymore. We don’t know what they are doing with our bodies."

The 160-page class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia with the help of several organizations and law firms, including the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Atlanta’s Dreyer Sterling, and New York’s Morningside Heights Legal Services.


December 23, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day, The Value of Citizenship and Service to the Nation by Cara Wong & Jonathan Bonaguro

Today's immigration article of the day is The Value of Citizenship and Service to the Nation, The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, November 2020, 6 (3) 96-116, by Professor Cara Wong and Jonathan Bonaguro.

Here is the abstract:
Noncitizens in the United States have been receiving citizenship for military service in every war and almost every significant military operation since before the country was founded. Currently, many noncitizens fight for the United States and in return receive faster access to naturalization and citizenship. Nevertheless, politicians and pundits across the political spectrum tend to avoid mentioning this policy altogether. To explore the possible mass bases of this elite silence, we provide the first look at whether contemporary Americans support jus meritum (citizenship based on service) or not. Using experiments, we also examine whether opinions differ if the immigrants initially entered the country with documents or not, and whether the type of service (military or other) affects public support for these long-running policies.

December 23, 2020 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Tempers Expectations on Rollback of Trump Immigration Measures




There has been considerable discussion on possible immigration changes in an Biden administrationThe  Associated Press reports that "President-elect Joe Biden says it will take months to roll back some of President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration, tempering expectations he generated during his campaign and one that may rile advocates pushing for speedy action on the issue.

His Tuesday comments echo those made by two of his top foreign policy advisers in an interview with Spanish wire service EFE . . . hitting the brakes on rolling back Trump’s restrictive asylum policies. Susan Rice, Biden’s incoming domestic policy adviser, and Jake Sullivan, his pick for national security adviser, as well as Biden himself, warned that moving too quickly could create a new crisis at the border."

UPDATE (12/24):  NPR reports that immigrant advocates, eager to break with four years of Trump administration policies, are raising concerns about President-elect Joe Biden's plan to move cautiously to avoid making matters worse.  While still publicly supporting the Biden transition team, they are imploring the incoming administration to move with urgency.


December 23, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Best Immigration Books of 2020 (Part 1)

Immigration Books of the Year 

Looking for a gift for an immigration buddy?  (I know its late but oh well.).  This year saw the publication of a number of great immigration books:


Check out Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era by the ImmigrationProf Blog's very own Ming Hsu ChenThe Stanford University Press synopsis:  "Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era provides readers with the everyday perspectives of immigrants on what it is like to try to integrate into American society during a time when immigration policy is focused on enforcement and exclusion."



Perchance to Dream by Michael A. Olivas.  Professor Olivas was 2010 Immigration Professor of the Year.   As described by the publisher:  "Perchance to DREAM is the first comprehensive history of the DREAM Act, which made its initial congressional appearance in 2001, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the discretionary program established by President Obama in 2012 out of Congressional failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform." 

See Part 2 tomorow.


December 23, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Effort to Undo DACA Program in Texas Court.... Again


The latest effort to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, goes before a federal judge Tuesday in Houston.

The outcome of that judge's decision could impact more than 600,000 DACA beneficiaries across the country, also known as "Dreamers."

It was just in June that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the program continuing despite President Donald Trump’s attempts to end it.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

“Chilling Effects” of the Public-Charge Rule Are Real: Steep Decline in Benefits Use by Immigrant Families

New data on the use of federal means-tested public-benefit programs by immigrant-led households offer the first evidence of what researchers and others have long predicted—that the public-charge rule proposed by the Trump administration in 2017 and finalized this year would deter large numbers of noncitizens from using benefits for which they are eligible.

In a new commentary, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) researchers offer their analysis of recent U.S. Census Bureau data on participation in programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), and Medicaid.

They found that between 2016 and 2019, participation in TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid declined twice as rapidly for noncitizens and their U.S.-born children as for U.S. citizens. Although enrollment rates in these programs decreased overall between 2016 and 2019, most likely due to improving economic conditions, the steeper drop among noncitizens and their children suggests that the rule and other administration policies chilled participation.

Confusion over the public-charge regulation, combined with fears of immigration enforcement and negative rhetoric on immigration, likely have contributed to program withdrawal or reluctance to enroll.

You can read this commentary here.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's NOT in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act: Changes to EB Visas

While we were waiting to see the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, folks were worried about what immigration provisions might be in it. Specifically, there was significant concern that the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act might be swept into the appropriations bill.

As well described by Forbes, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act had a noble purpose -- ending the long delays facing Indian nationals seeking EB visas as skilled workers who have been delayed by the per-country limits on EB visas. However, as opponents of the bill argued, the results would have been to delay the processing of skilled worker applications from other parts of the world for many years.

In the end, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act did not make it into the appropriations bill.

What did make it in? As I wrote yesterday: money as well as some small changes regarding H2B seafood industry workers and a mention of denying visas to Chinese officials interfering with Tibetan Buddhists. (No such provision about Uighurs.) And the creation of a Smithsonian Museum of the American Latino.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mixed-status immigrant families eligible for stimulus checks in New COVID relief bill


CBS News reports some good news for mixed status families.  Under the $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed yesterday, Congress allows mixed-status households with undocumented family members to receive stimulus checks that they were denied under the first round of legislation.

The text of the legislation provides that U.S. citizens and green card holders will be receive $600 in direct aid, even if they filed a joint tax return with an undocumented spouse, as well as additional $600 checks per dependent child.

The new compromise would also retroactively make mixed-status families with one Social Security number-holder eligible for the $1,200 per household and $500 per child checks allocated by the CARES Act, which was passed in March.  A lawsuit challenged the denial of benefits to mixed status families.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day, Help Wanted: Employer Demand for Less-Skilled Temporary Foreign Worker Visas in an Era of Declining Unauthorized Immigration by Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny

Today's immigration article of the day is Help Wanted: Employer Demand for Less-Skilled Temporary Foreign Worker Visas in an Era of Declining Unauthorized Immigration, The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, November 2020, , by Pia M. Orrenius, Vice president and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Professor Madeline Zavodny.

Here is the abstract:
Employer demand for less-skilled foreign workers admitted on temporary worker visas has increased considerably in recent years. Issuances of H-2A visas for agricultural workers and J-1 visas for exchange visitors have soared, and the cap for H-2B visas for nonagricultural workers is reached well before the end of the issuance period. This article examines the rise in employer demand for these programs, focusing on the roles of improved economic conditions, tougher immigration enforcement, and the drop in the number of less-skilled workers, including unauthorized immigrants. Economic conditions appear to be the most important determinant of employer demand. The upward trend in employer usage of the programs suggests that they can be a viable alternative to hiring unauthorized workers, and even more so if restructured appropriately.

December 22, 2020 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Don't Undocumented Immigrants "Wait in Line" to Come Lawfully to the US?


The American Immigration Council (Why Don’t Immigrants Apply for Citizenship? There Is No Line for Many Unauthorized Immigrants) explains why undocumented immigrants don't "wait in line" to come to the United States:

"Many people wonder why all immigrants do not just come to the United States legally or simply apply for citizenship while living here without authorization. These suggestions miss the point: There is no line available for current unauthorized immigrants and the `regular channels' are largely not available to prospective immigrants who end up entering the country through unauthorized channels. Even though most unauthorized immigrants have lived in the United States for nearly 15 years, many could live out the rest of their lives without any opportunity to become legal residents of this country."

The Fact Sheet offers the following explanation:

No “line” is available for the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants.

Many unauthorized immigrants are barred from obtaining legal status while inside the United States.

Family-based immigration is limited to certain close family relationships and is numerically restricted.

Employment-based immigration requires a U.S. employer to request specific foreign workers.

Most people fleeing their home countries cannot access humanitarian protection.

Even those who can get in line are subject to long backlogs and waits.

There is a limited lottery for certain countries.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Film of the Year: Immigration Nation

Film of the Year (well, really a series)

Is "Immigration Nation" the 21st Century "Harvest of Shame"?

The Nextflix series Immigration Nation exposes Trump administration's immigration cruelty. The U.S. government unsuccessfully sought to halt production of the series.  If you have not already, please make sure to check out Immigration Nation when you are next browsing Netflix for shows to binge.


December 22, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)