Wednesday, March 31, 2021

New Data Report on TPS Holders

The TPS Working Group led by CLINIC has released a new report that relies on government data on TPS holders. The report, which is titled Pulling Back the Curtain: Analysis of New Government Data on Temporary Protected Status, analyzes data from DHS on TPS holders obtained via a FOIA request. The report takes that data and distills it into a more usable format for advocates and the public. You can view the full report here.


March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Yorker Hosts Panel on Immigration and the Politics of the Southern Border: Today at 6 p.m. Eastern

The New Yorker Live will host an online conversation today, March 31, 2021, at 6 p.m. E.T. with Representative Joaquin Castro and the author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, about immigration and the politics of the southern border. They’ll be joined by David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, and Sarah Stillman, a staff writer and the director of the Global Migration Project, at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.


March 31, 2021 in Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Backdrop Podcast: Lizbeth De La Cruz on “Humanizing Deportation”

Need a podcast to listen to on your daily walk.  Here is an immigration podcast.

Lizbeth De La Cruz on “Humanizing Deportation”

In a typical year, hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the U.S. for entering or staying in the country illegally. A digital storytelling project at UC Davis, called “Humanizing Deportation,” aims to document their storOn this month’s episode, Ph.D. candidate Lizbeth De La Cruz, discusses the project’s goals, how it got started and her experience working as a member of one of the research teams collecting and preserving these stories.



Lizbeth De La Cruz








March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Guide to Title 42 Expulsions at the Border

A Guide to Title 42 Expulsions at the Border” by the American Immigration Council provides comprehensive information about Title 42, how it has been implemented, its impact and whether it has or not served its intended purpose.   The introduction offers a explanation of the importance of the Guide:

"[S]ince March 20, 2020, that fundamental right [to apply for asylum] has been largely suspended. Since that date, both migrants seeking a better life in the United States and those seeking to apply for asylum have been turned away and `expelled' back to Mexico or their home countries. These border expulsions are carried out under . .  . section 265 of Title 42, which the former Trump administration invoked . . . . Using this provision, hundreds of thousands of people have been subject to expulsions since the pandemic . . . ."


March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

4 reasons why migrant children arriving alone to the US create a ‘border crisis’



The "crisis" along the U.S./Mexico border continues to dominate the immigration news.  Focusing on the humanitarian need of the migrants, Ediberto Roman on the Conversation offers "4 reasons why migrant children arriving alone to the US create a ‘border crisis’":

  1. Children need care
  2. Care is costly
  3. Migrants are nobody’s constituents
  4. Care is complicated


March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

America’s Immigration Amnesia: Despite recurrent claims of crisis at the border, the United States still does not have a coherent immigration policy.

Caitlin Dickerson in The Atlantic has an insightful analysis of the current U.S./Mexico border situation.  She notes that:

"for decades, most immigration experts have viewed border crossings not in terms of surges, but in terms of cycles that are affected by an array of factors. These include the cartels’ trafficking business, weather, and religious holidays as well as American politics—but perhaps most of all by conditions in the children’s home countries. A 2014 Congressional Research Service report found that young peoples’ `motives for migrating to the United States are often multifaceted and difficult to measure analytically,' and that `while the impacts of actual and perceived U.S. immigration policies have been widely debated, it remains unclear if, and how, specific immigration policies have motivated children to migrate to the United States.'”





March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Panel Discussion of the Independence of the Immigration Courts

2020.04.07 Lack of Judicial independence in the immigration courts

Check out this virtual panel discussion on judicial independence and the immigration courts being organized by the New York City Chapter of the Hispanic National Bar Association.  This panel will discuss these issues along with how we got here.  The goal of this discussion will be to educate the greater legal community and public about these issues and how we can move forward to change this. 
Panelists include:
This discussion will take place Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00pm - 7:30pm EST.  The flyer for this event is attached.  You may RSVP here.

March 31, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Seeking Access to Historical Papers of Anti-immigrant Powerhouse, John Tanton

w:User:FredElbel743, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Tanton might not be a familiar name to you, but you're undoubtedly familiar with his legacy. Tanton was a founder of three well-known anti-immigrant organizations: the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA.

Mother Jones has the fascinating story of one man's quest to access to a store of Tanton's personal papers that Tanton bequeathed to his alma mater, The University of Michigan, under the requirement that many remain sealed until April 6, 2035. Hassan Ahmad, an immigration attorney in Virginia, wants access sooner.

The papers are kept in "25 cardboard boxes containing correspondence, memos, legal filings, news clips, and photographs—documents dating from 1960 to 2007." 14 boxes have been made public. The rest are not.

"If what is known of Tanton’s anti-immigration crusade has provided a blueprint for many of the most restrictive policies of the past and present, Ahmad wonders, could the secret papers provide more clues about his proposed playbook for the future?"

Ahmad has tried using FOIA requests to access the non-public records. U Michigan denied that the documents were covered by FOIA, given that they weren’t actually public records at all. Ahmad appealed, and lost. He filed a second suit in Michigan state court, lost, won on appeal, and the case headed to the Michigan Supreme Court. No decision has yet been handed down.

Those opposing disclosure of the Tanton files worry that without honoring access restrictions like the one Tanton demanded, "controversial figures" might otherwise destroy valuable historical records. Those seeking disclosure of the files, on the other hand, argue that it's in the public interest to expose the "underpinnings of the modern anti-immigrant movement."


March 30, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: 'Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude': The Constitutional and Persistent Immigration Law Doctrine by Craig S. Lerner


'Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude': The Constitutional and Persistent Immigration Law Doctrine by Craig S. Lerner,Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2021


For over a century, American immigration law has provided that an alien is deportable for “crimes involving moral turpitude” (CIMT). For nearly as long, observers have lamented the persistence of the phrase, complaining of its antiquarianism and imprecision. These criticisms have ripened in recent years into the argument that the phrase is so vague as to be unconstitutional. Defenders of the phrase are scarce among judges and nonexistent in the scholarly community.

This Article offers a defense of the CIMT provisions, built upon a more thorough understanding of their history. It demonstrates that Congress has acknowledged objections to the CIMT provisions but ultimately rejected these criticisms. The recent void-for-vagueness precedents cited to support the invalidation of the CIMT provisions are, for the most part, inapposite. Furthermore, the argument that the CIMT provisions are indeterminate, because there is no moral consensus in American contemporary society, is overstated. The Article concludes that the CIMT provisions reflect and highlight the differences between criminal law, which punishes discrete acts, and immigration law, which sets a minimum moral threshold for inclusion in a political community. The CIMT provisions invest executive officials with a measure of discretion, channeled by precedent, that allows them to achieve the goals of immigration law.


March 30, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cruelty at the border is not the same as strength or an effective immigration strategy


I found this commentary in the Arizona Republic to be thoughtful.  Peter Boogaard, communications director of and former White House and National Security Council spokesman and Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Obama administration, claims that the Trump administration's cruel immigration enforcement are not necessary or effective in addressing unauthorized migration:

"Cruelty didn't work as a deterrent and it was wildly unpopular. People across the country rejected [President Trump's] family separation policies . . . . Biden is right to take a new approach, both because of the human toll and also because the policies weren't effective over the long term. As he expands capacity to process families and children with dignity, he and Vice President Kamala Harris also plan to address the underlying conditions driving migration."


March 30, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Immprof Natalie Nanasi on Dallas' "Decompression Center" for Migrant Children


Immprof Natalie Nanasi (SMU) spent the weekend volunteering at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, which has been converted into a "decompression center" for some 2,000 migrant children.

Over at The Hill, Nanasi talks about what she saw (many cots, lots of boredom) and she offers four takeaways for the future of caring for unaccompanied minors:

  1. we must release children from the decompression center as efficiently as possible
  2. care should be taken that this decompression center remains more like a shelter than a prison
  3. sites like the one in Dallas should be temporary solutions
  4. we as a country must rediscover our compassion

It's wonderful to see this outstanding immprof in action on the ground, spreading the word about what she's seeing, keeping us informed, and offering concrete ideas for change!


March 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Legacy of Racism within the U.S. Border Patrol by Katy Murdza and Walter Ewing

This American Immigration Council report (The Legacy of Racism within the U.S. Border Patrol by Katy Murdza and Walter Ewing) is well worth reading.  Here is part of the Executive Summary:

"Since its creation in 1924, the U.S. Border Patrol has been steeped in institutional racism and has committed violent acts with near impunity. The racial animus of U.S. immigration policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century formed the foundation for the agency. Federal laws banning Asian immigration were followed by the national origins quota system, which prioritized northern and western Europeans over the rest of the world. While not included in the original quotas, Mexicans, who previously could travel freely across the U.S.-Mexico border, began to experience increasing restrictions in the 1920s. Congress created the Border Patrol in 1924 to patrol the northern and southern borders between ports of entry. Many officers came from organizations with a history of racial violence and brutality, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Texas Rangers, carrying over the culture of a racist “brotherhood” into the new agency. In the Border Patrol’s early days, it focused on the unlawful entry of Asian and European immigrants. However, in the 1930s enforcement began to shift to Mexican citizens entering along the southern border.

A culture of racism within the Border Patrol has persisted throughout its history. Repeated reports have surfaced of agents using racial slurs, sexual comments, and other offensive language. Various lawsuits and studies have demonstrated the Border Patrol’s use of racial profiling in stops within the interior of the United States. Agents have maintained connections to the white supremacist movement and the paramilitary SWAT-style Border Patrol Tactical Unit has been deployed to crack down on protests of police brutality against Black people."


March 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Center for American Progress: The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems

In The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems, Center for American Progress, February 1, 2021, Jenny Rowland-Shea & Sahir Doshi look at the environmental movement and immigration.  It examines the so-called “greening of hate” and its negative effects on U.S. environmental and immigration policy. The article reports that certain right-wing pundits, politicians and policymakers point to immigrants as the primary cause of environmental degradation, despite the fact that immigrants are less likely to contribute to pollution than the U.S.-born. Identifying nine anti-immigrant groups funded, founded or supported by right-wing extremists to which almost every formal argument that claims immigrants are the cause of environmental degradation can be traced, the article analyzes historical and current uses of environmentalism and arguments purportedly couched in science to “greenwash” and disguise anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric and advocacy. 


March 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

International Organization for Migration: It Takes a Community Campaign


A global campaign launching today,It Takes a Community, spotlights migrants and fellow community members who contribute to building stronger and more inclusive societies, especially taking into account their roles during the current pandemic.  

‘It Takes a Community’ represents a growing movement to eliminate misinformation and anti-migrant sentiment worldwide by demonstrating the positive impact migration can have on communities everywhere. The campaign brings together a range of voices from across many sectors to demonstrate ways individuals and organizations are creating more welcoming, resilient communities. 

This project is driven by national and local stakeholders: governments, businesses, youth networks and civil society. It is facilitated by the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and led jointly by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Governments of Canada, Ecuador and the GFMD Mayors Mechanism.  

It Takes a Community is a global movement to celebrate how all people, regardless of where they are born, contribute to make our communities better places for us to live and call home.

Join us in celebrating how migration enriches our lives by sharing your own story or the stories of your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers or classmates from around the world who are making your community a better place. Throughout history, migration has helped us to foster new connections, exchange innovative ideas, and enrich each other’s lives. More recent times, however, have seen inaccurate and harmful narratives about migrants rise worldwide, a challenge that has become even more urgent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it is important for us to come together to ensure that everyone receives the support and protection they need for communities to build back better from COVID-19.

By showing how diverse individuals, including migrants and refugees, are working together to strengthen their communities, we can challenge discrimination, hate speech and xenophobia, and build more welcoming and inclusive communities for all.


March 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Articles of the Day: Empathy for the Vulnerable? The Fourth Circuit's Internal Struggle to Grapple With the Trump Administration's Immigration Policies: Parts I and II


Empathy for the Vulnerable? The Fourth Circuit's Internal Struggle to Grapple With the Trump Administration's Immigration Policies: Part IWest Virginia Law Review Online, Vol. 123









The Trump Administration’s immigration policies consistently targeted immigrants, refugees, children, victims of gang violence, and individuals classified as “public charges.” For example, one of former President Trump’s first Executive Orders increased detention of immigrants at the border, including women and children, and limited access to asylum nationwide by expanding expedited removal. Another Order issued the very same day cut federal funding to “sanctuary cities” —jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws for the sake of protecting immigrant communities. And still another originally suspended the issuance of visas to nationals from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen—the so-called “Muslim Travel Ban”; shut down the U.S. refugee program for 120 days; slashed the number of refugees admissible to the U.S. in FY 2017 in half; and halted the resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. Further, in 2018, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled a 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) decision, stating that judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum. And in 2020, the ACLU reported that over 600 children have yet to be reunited with their parents after being subject to a policy of separation at the U.S. border.

Needless to say, appellate courts have become embroiled in disputes over these contentious policy changes. This two-part series of articles reviews two such disputes. Part I describes and analyzes Portillo-Flores v. Barr, a case in which the Fourth Circuit, over Judge Stephanie Thacker’s dissent, upheld the BIA’s denial of asylum to a Salvadorian asylum seeker who, as a child, was beaten nearly to death by MS-13 because Portillo-Flores’s sister fled the country to avoid becoming a gang leader’s girlfriend. Part II analyzes Casa de Maryland v. Trump, a case that upheld the Trump Administration’s exceedingly broad definition of the statutory term “public charge,” over Judge Robert B. King’s dissent. Both cases showcase the extent to which the Fourth Circuit and other reviewing courts are grappling with the Trump Administration’s disdain for some of the most vulnerable members of the human race—children, refugees, asylum seekers, and the poor.

Empathy for the Vulnerable? The Fourth Circuit's Internal Struggle to Grapple With the Trump Administration's Immigration Policies: Part II, West Virginia Law Review Online, Vol. 123, same co-authors


Part I of this article described and analyzed Portillo-Flores v. Barr, a case in which the Fourth Circuit, over Judge Stephanie Thacker’s dissent, upheld the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) denial of asylum to a Salvadorian asylum seeker who, as a child, was beaten nearly to death by MS-13 because his sister fled the country to avoid becoming a gang leader’s girlfriend. It contends not only that Portillo-Flores is inconsistent with general immigration standards, but also that the Fourth Circuit committed two main legal errors. First, the Fourth Circuit erred in requiring that Portillo-Flores should have reported the persecution to police, even though such a report would have been ineffective or put him in more danger. Second, the Fourth Circuit failed to apply a child-specific standard when evaluating persecution against 14-year-old Portillo-Flores.

Part II of this article addresses a different class of vulnerable persons: the “public charge.” Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), “any alien who . . . is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible” to the U.S. “Public charges” cannot receive a visa to travel to the U.S., be granted admission to it, or receive status in it. While vulnerable groups like refugees, asylees, and other individuals admitted to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds are exempt from the public charge rule, 40% of all immigrants that are subject to the rule constitute another, equally vulnerable group: spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens seeking family-sponsored admission. This is the focus of Part II of this article.


March 29, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hot Takes on Ted Cruz's Trip to the Border

Ted Cruz took a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with a few friends, some armed backup, and a whole lot of audio-visual support. Here, I'll let him tell you all about it.

People had a lot of feelings about this video. Here are just a few of the hot takes (click for videos/photos).

The Guardian has a whole list of on point tweets and videos that are all quite amusing. As does Salon.


March 28, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Doug Massey: In 2019, the US Undocumented Population Continued a Decade-Long Decline and the Foreign-Born Population Neared Zero Growth


US/Mexico Border Photo courtesy of Kit Johnson

Stuart Andersom for Forbes shines a light on influential demographer Robert Warren's new research on undocumented immigration.  Released earlier this month, "In 2019, the US Undocumented Population Continued a Decade-Long Decline and the Foreign-Born Population Neared Zero Growth" presents new estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in July 2019, by country of origin and state of residence.

The report shows that the annual numbers leaving the population, especially through return migration to Mexico, have been the primary determinant of population change in the undocumented population in the past decade. Increasing numbers leaving the population have also led to near-zero growth of the total foreign-born population, which grew by just 20,000 from July 2018 to June 2019, the slowest growth in that population in more than a half century. Major findings include the following:

  • The undocumented population continued to decline in 2019, falling by 215,000 compared to 2018; this population has declined by 1.4 million, or 12 percent, since 2010.

  • The undocumented populations from Central America and Asia increased at the same rate from 2010 to 2016.

  • After 2016, the population from Asia stopped growing, and the population from Central America increased by about 200,000.

  • Since 2010, the undocumented population from Mexico has fallen from 6.6 million to 4.8 million, or by 28 percent.

  • In 2019, 42 states and Washington, DC, had fewer undocumented residents from Mexico than they had in 2010.

  • The states with increases in undocumented persons from Mexico had small undocumented populations.

  • The undocumented population in California continued its decade-long decline, falling by 23 percent from 2.9 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2019.

  • Annual arrival and departure data for Mexico show that the US Senate–passed comprehensive immigration reform bill, which provided for a large legalization program, did not increase undocumented immigration; instead, it seemed to reduce emigration from the United States.

  • Net growth of the total foreign-born population fell to just 20,000 from July 2018 to June 2019. The drop occurred because the number leaving the population increased sharply after 2015.


March 28, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Immigration Article of the Day: Practical Abolition: Universal Representation as an Alternative to Immigration Detention by Matthew Boaz


Practical Abolition: Universal Representation as an Alternative to Immigration Detention by Matthew Boaz, Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 89, Issue 1 (2021) (Forthcoming)


Currently, there is a broad movement, embraced by both liberal and conservative factions, successfully advocating for criminal decarceration. The compelling point for conservatives is that maintaining custody of these individuals is too costly to taxpayers and a burden on both state and federal budgets. For liberal factions, lengthy incarceration has been harmful to individuals whose livelihood and families are affected by their detention. By relying on Derrick Bell’s convergence theory, this Article demonstrates the current opportunity to replicate the success of the criminal decarceration movement in the context of immigration detention. This Article provides a first step in a practical pathway toward radically downsizing and eventually eliminating immigration detention. If the United States can comfortably release individuals from criminal detention while mitigating concerns about flight risk and danger to the community, then the same logic applies even more persuasively for civil immigration detention. After all, individuals in immigration detention are primarily held for an alleged civil violation – that they lack, or have yet to prove, some cognizable status to remain lawfully in the United States. If the ultimate purpose of immigration detention is to ensure attendance at future hearings, there are more humane and cost-efficient ways of doing so.

This Article primarily relies on a fiscal argument that has broader appeal than the typical theoretical underpinnings of an abolitionist framework. This Article proposes that funds that would normally fuel the immigration detention apparatus instead be reallocated to local non-profits and public defender offices. These local organizations could provide universal representation in immigration proceedings to those individuals who would have otherwise been detained during the pendency of those proceedings.

Universal representation is a more cost-effective approach than immigration detention in ensuring attendance at future immigration hearings, especially when coupled with low-cost wrap-around community services. Satisfying the ultimate purpose of detention through other means demonstrates that immigration detention is unnecessary. Eliminating immigration detention would result in higher tax revenue while reducing the overall costs of system administration. It would also lower external costs to states and localities that frequently occur when immigration detention separates families. Providing universal representation would be a less expensive alternative that would also ensure a greater likelihood for individuals to successfully obtain relief in their immigration proceedings. This vision of a more just system tracks with a less carceral approach as an initial step toward abolition of immigration detention.


March 28, 2021 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

How Many ICE-Related COVID-19 Deaths Have Gone Unreported?

A powerful new post by Katy Murdza in Immigration Impact investigates the serious problem of immigrants dying from COVID-19 after their release from detention. To date, ICE has reported only nine COVID-related deaths of individuals held in their custody. However, Murdza notes that "there are concerns that individuals who contracted COVID-19 in detention but died after being released would not get counted in ICE’s data. The situation could create perverse incentives for ICE to release very sick people quickly without accountability." Murdza carefully documents several tragic cases of individuals released from ICE custody only to die shortly thereafter from the virus. Calling for increased reporting of data on individuals who are infected when released is definitely an important step for ICE to take.

For those interested in more information on the pandemic inside ICE detention, the UCLA Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project is tracking the staggering number of incarcerated people testing positive for COVID-19 inside ICE facilities, as well as the number of reported deaths.


March 27, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Human Impacts of No Immigration Reform: Immigrant Families in Limbo


This PBS News segment tells of the impact of immigration uncertainty on a family.  Fifteen years ago, Josseline came to the United States left El Salvador just after her seventh birthday. With her aunt, she made it to the United States and across the border, joining her parents, who had crossed a few years earlier.  After securing DACA relief, Josseline earned a college degree and is a contact tracer during the pandemic.  She hopes for more permanent relief.  Josseline's undocumented parents are more vulnerable.


March 27, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)